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From banned books to a silent disco – Trinity Week 2019 explores the theme of 'Silence'

26th April 2019

Censorship in Ireland, the sounds of dead languages and a first-hand account of locked in syndrome are among the diverse range of topics to be explored during 'Trinity Week' – a series of free public events taking place in Trinity College Dublin between Monday April 29 and Friday May 3.

The programme of over 45 events, including film screenings, literary events, health and well being workshops, nature walks and public discussions, will this year focus on the theme of 'silence'. It is being hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to showcase the research and educational initiatives undertaken within the faculty as well as elsewhere in the university. The full programme is available to view here: www.tcd.ie/trinityweek

Commenting on the programme, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Professor Darryl Jones said: "This year's theme of silence brings together a wide spectrum of the intellectual interests and academic specialisms of the faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. We will explore the very different imposed silences of locked-in syndrome, cerebral palsy, deafness, childhood, and censorship. We will be putting on an avant-garde art and cultural performances and silent film, discussing the silence of religious observances, the meaning of silence in architecture, in law, in literature, and much else besides. And we'll end by making as much noise as we can. So come along and experience the sound of silence."

Highlights of the week:

  • silent contemplation of the stunning polychromatic interior of Trinity’s Museum Building, regarded as one of the finest and most influential examples of Victorian architecture, will open the programme on Monday, April 29th. This will be followed by a choral performance by the award-winning mixed-voice choir Mornington Singers showcasing the stunning acoustics of the Museum Building. The eclectic programme will include works by Michael Holohan, Henry Purcell and Michael Ostrzyga.
  • A series of events focusing on censorship in Ireland on Tuesday, April 30thwill examine the history of censorship in the Irish State from historical, legal and literary perspectives. This will include a public discussion entitled ‘Silencing The Country Girls: Edna O’Brien and the Censor’. A library exhibition will showcase some of the books banned by the Censorship of Publications Board since 1930.
  • Award winning comedian Francesca Martinez and patient advocate Kate Allat will share their first-hand experience of challenging silence while living with cerebral palsy and locked in syndrome at a symposium Tuesday, April 30th entitled Silence, Communication and Society. The Forget-Me-Nots, an inclusive community choir for older people, particularly those affected by dementia, will perform at the event.
  • The notion of ‘deafness as silence’ will be challenged by experts from the spheres of sociology, geography, linguistics, and creative arts practice at an event entitled ‘The Sound of Silence’ on Tuesday, April 30th.
  • On Wednesday, 1 May, Trinity is teaming up with the Embassy for the Republic of Rwanda, London to mark the 25th commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide with a public event entitled ‘Remember-Unite-Renew’ which will break the silenceon genocide denial with a call to the international community to strengthen their commitment and actions towards prevention and punishment of perpetrators of genocide throughout the world.
  • Recreating the lost sounds of dead languages will be the focus of an event on Thursday, May 2nd entitled ‘Lost Sounds, Silent Languages’. Language and literary scholars will read aloud short texts in five dead languages, reconstructing the pronunciation to the best of their ability of languages that have fallen silent.
  • Beckett fans can enjoy an atmospheric sound installation based on recordings of spaces on campus associated with Samuel Beckett made by sound and installation artist Darri Lorenzen on Thursday, May 2nd.
  • Also on Thursday, four literary scholars will give a multimedia presentation on the use of awkward silence in literature including examples from Shakespeare, Beckett and Pinter.
  • Public consciousness of the role and operation of prisons in Irish societywill be examined at an interactive event on Friday, May 3rd entitled ‘Filling the silence: prison as a silent institution’. A Library exhibition entitled ‘A Stain on Silence’, will feature a letter written by Bobby Sands, will explore why certain voices continue to be listened to, while others, prisoners for example, are not.
  • The week will close with a lunchtime ‘Silent Disco’ and an evening ‘Smashing the Silence’ event on Friday, where people are invited to ‘make noise’ for 5 minutes, through song, poetry, written word and music.