London Showcase Event brings Arts and Humanities to Life
23 June 2017 - On Thursday 8th June, the Trinity Long Room Hub held an event in London to showcase the vibrancy of the Arts and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin and tell the story of why the Arts and Humanities matter in today’s world.
The evening was hosted by Lady Dufferin, the Most Honourable Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, in her home in London. Lady Dufferin has strong connections to Trinity and works closely with the Trinity Long Room Hub to further North-South links in Ireland through the Clandeboye Reading Party.
The showcase was opened by the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, and Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History and Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub.
Trinity graduate Sir Martyn Lewis, CBE was MC for the evening and facilitated the stories from Trinity scholars. These included contributions from Professor John Horne, Emeritus Fellow and former Professor of Modern European History, who spoke of ‘History and Commemoration’, the current ‘decade of centenaries’ and how the humanities at Trinity have worked to bring issues to a wider public in order to inform the centenary decade. He also spoke about the importance of the Institute’s public lecture series including ‘Europe’s Violent Memories’, which was made possible by generous benefactions to the Trinity Long Room Hub.
‘The Enduring Relevance of the Classical World’ was discussed by Professor Brian McGing, Regius Professor of Greek, Department of Classics, who noted how the Athenian democracies of the 5th and 4th centuries have a lot to teach us about contemporary democracy. ‘In a world in which freedom is under threat, we need to be answering questions like, what did the Athenian democracy get right, and how can we use this to think about government in the 21st century?’
Dr Rosie Lavan, Assistant Professor of Irish Studies at the School of English, discussed ‘How Poetry Helps Us Come to Terms with the Incomprehensible’, her work on Seamus Heaney and how poetry rooted in the past can help us to understand modern day events which can be difficult for us to process. Heaney’s ‘Anything Can Happen’ a version of an ode by the Roman poet Horace, was written to confront the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Representing the School of Creative Arts, Dr Nicholas Johnson, discussed his work in Creative Arts Practice and how it gives us ‘The Freedom to Imagine, with the Power to Change.’ This was followed by a short musical performance of ‘On Raglan Road’ by composer and PhD student Michael Gallen who also discussed his work as Artist-in-Residence at the Trinity Long Room Hub.
Dr Jennifer Edmond, Research Fellow and co-director of the Trinity Centre for Digital Humanities, spoke of the importance of ‘Bringing Technology to the Humanities and Humanities to Technology’ which can enable exciting discoveries in multidisciplinary research. ‘Creating the next generation of artificial intelligence will be the work of engineers, but we must match these developments, step for step, with a next generation understanding of ethics, empathy and how to harness the best, rather than the worst, impulses of human nature.’
Sir William Sargeant, academy award winner and CEO and co-founder of Framestore, added a ringing endorsement about the importance of digital humanities and more generally of the power of a Trinity education, as did other alumni including more recent graduates Thomas Spencer and Emily Johnson.
The showcase concluded with a short story by Sophie Hingst, current PhD student at the Trinity Long Room Hub and was followed by an animated discussion with alumni and friends.
On the success of the evening Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, commented: ‘The Hub is a community of outstanding scholars and students, whose excellent research we celebrate on a daily basis. We were delighted to be able to share this with an audience in London and really bring those stories to life. We hope that by continuing to tell our story we are securing a future for the role of Trinity’s Arts and Humanities. We greatly value everyone who has supported us, helping us to achieve our mission and with whose help we aim to do much more.’
Notable guests included Professor Roy Foster, Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford and Trinity College Dublin and former Carroll Chair of Irish History at Hertford Colleg,e who said 'the Humanities, as broadly conceived, illuminate our understanding of the practical world.'
Economic journalist and Trinity alumnus, Hamish McRae, noted, ‘It was wonderful in so many ways: the venue, the ideas, the charm, the group of friends, the sense of belonging, and most of all, the big message of how the humanities matter to the world.’
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View a gallery of photos from the evening here.
Contact: Aoife King, Communications Officer | Trinity Long Room Hub | firstname.lastname@example.org | 01 896 3895