The Future State of Ireland, 17 - 18 November 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Goldsmiths, University of London

Keynote Speakers

Professor Roy Foster (Oxford)

Mr Fintan O'Toole (The Irish Times; Princeton)

Dr Emer Nolan (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Dr Elaine Byrne (Trinity College, Dublin)

Liz Burns (Firestation Artists' Studios; Troubling Ireland Think Tank)

Gareth Kennedy and Sara Browne (Kennedy Browne)

About the conference

The Future State of Ireland is an interdisciplinary conference examining cultural responses to the economic crash. The conference will provide an opportunity for leading thinkers and practitioners across different disciplines to come together to discuss artists' and citizens' reactions and resilience in times of crisis and austerity.

At the end of 2010 Ireland became the second European Union (EU) country following Greece to receive a bailout loan from the EU/International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the Irish State reached a point of sovereign insolvency coinciding with the global financial crisis. Once the poster child of globalisation, Ireland is now the poster child of austerity, implementing a program of economic restraint including tax rises and public service funding cuts that curtails the recently found financial freedom in Irish society. In a crisis that is still unfolding, allegations of widespread corruption and cronyism in political and business life and a lack of civil morality in Irish society have emerged.

The Future State of Ireland seeks to examine the repercussions of the crash for an island on the periphery of Europe from a literary and an artistic perspective. Examining cultural responses both pre and post economic meltdown, the conference will explore the possibilities of a new post-crisis Ireland: from the highly visible to the barely perceptible consequences of the crash and austerity, sources and limits of citizen resilience in crisis, the perceived value of cultural responses and active/passive citizenships.

A programme of visual and live art focused on crisis, resilience and endurance will intersect the conference schedule. Featured artists/events include Kennedy Browne and Troubling Ireland.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

■ What role can contemporary Irish culture play in questioning and guiding modes of governing and forms of civil responsibility?

■ Can a new space for dissent, critique, and activism open up in Irish life?

■ Are accusations of citizen quiescence justified?

■ Do Irish citizens demonstrate resilience in crisis? Are there limits to citizen resilience?

■ What are the gender impacts of imposed austerity programmes?

■ Does Ireland have a new colonial master in the EU/IMF? Will new post-colonial complexes arise?

■ Is the migratory propensity of Irish citizens an act of resilience or an act of counter-colonisation?

■ What role can philosophy and critical theory play in coming to terms with crisis, building resilience and establishing a post-crisis state?

■ How has contemporary Irish writing responded to the crisis and what can it teach us about the resilience of Irish citizens?

■ Do small European countries like Ireland fare equally against larger EU players? Is there more than simple acronym in the PIGS/ PIIGS label?

■ Is Irish civil society really tolerant of political corruption and cronyism and will it change?

■ Could Ireland's class system, built largely upon access to university and professional career paths, affect and be affected by the post crisis state?

■ Has the traditional inclination towards land and property ownership been permanently disrupted by the property crash?

■ Is it enough for Ireland to change within the bounds of the existing socio-economic system or does it require a paradigmatic shift?

■ How could we visualise Ireland's natural and architectural landscape in 2050?

■ In what ways has the relationship between North and South been reconfigured by the crisis?

■ What is the likely shape of Ireland's future economic model?

Please submit proposals by 1 September 2012 to to include:

■ Name of author and institution (we welcome proposals from independent researchers)
■ Title of the paper
■ A 300 word abstract
■ Details of audio visual requirements
■ Indication of any enhanced access support needs
■ Proposals will be considered for inclusion in a follow up publication. If the proposal is not available for publication please indicate at the time of submission.

Organizing Committee:

Dr Derval Tubridy (

Stephanie Feeney (