The aim of this lecture series is to honour Derry native Seamus Deane and to continue with Field Day's 37-year tradition by bringing to Derry some of the world's leading thinkers who have the potential to make the city an international centre of intellectual discovery every year.
In 2017, the Seamus Deane Annual Lecture is on the status of immigrants in Ireland north and south. A parallel lecture on this theme will also be held in Galway in October.
Videos of the lecture series will be available online at fieldday.ie, where the brand new Field Day podcast is also available.
The lecture is one of two Field Day lectures in the series, themed on "The Right to Have Rights" in contexts of migration.
Stephen Rea will introduce the event, and the keynote lecture will be preceded by Seamus Deane's reflections on
Hannah Arendt's concept of "the right to have rights." renowned Donegal fiddle player Dermot McLaughlin will perform At the beginning of the evening, before Dr Conor Kenny will deliver his keynote lecture drawing on his
experience as a field medical doctor working with Médecins Sans Frontières around the Mediterranean.
Dr Conor Kenny is a London-based General Practice trainee and qualified physiotherapist. Originally from Sligo, he has served on three missions with Médecins Sans Frontières during the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean. He was a field medical doctor in refugee camps at the Greek-Macedonian border and subsequently worked with
unaccompanied minors on the island of Lesbos. Most recently, he was the sole medical doctor on board the MV
Aquarius, involved in the rescue of 4,500 people escaping into the central Mediterranean.
This lecture will be followed by contributions from local activists Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, who delivered the 2016 Seamus Deane Annual Lecture, ‘A Terrible State of Chassis', and Zimbabwean national Sipho Sibanda, who will discuss how local politics can better serve asylum seekers and migrants, before a Q&A session moderated by human rights lawyer Michael Farrell.
On October 14 at NUI Galway, Dr Bryan McMahon will address the topic of Direct Provision.
Dr Conor Kenny is a London-based General Practice trainee and qualified physiotherapist. Originally from Sligo, he has served on three missions with Médecins Sans Frontières during the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean. He was a field medical doctor in refugee camps at the Greek-Macedonian border and subsequently worked with unaccompanied minors on the island of Lesbos. Most recently, he was the sole medical doctor on board the MV Aquarius, involved in the rescue of 4,500 people escaping into the central Mediterranean. On each of these
missions, he fulfilled duties in emergency, primary, mental and public healthcare. He is also actively engaged with medical journalism, refugee advocacy projects, and projects fostering healthcare entrepreneurship toward improvements in healthcare and patient safety, where his work has been recognized by several national awards.
When providing medical care in camps or out at sea, I am continually reminded that
these people are not the abstract labels such as ‘migrants' or ‘refugees'. They are normal
people like you and me. Just like us and our own traveling ancestors, we share similar
concerns and aspirations in life. Sadly, however, forcing them in these decrepit boats
negates their chance of ever fulfilling these aspirations.
- Dr Conor Kenny
Field Day is delighted to welcome the return of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, who
delivered the 2016 Seamus Deane Annual Lecture - "A Terrible State of Chassis." Bernadette is one of Ireland's finest political orators, with a career spanning the duration of the Troubles, when she was a leading voice in the civil rights campaign and in the Smash H-Block Campaign, through the Peace Process and recent debates in Northern Ireland, in the course of which she has consistently offered critique and civic leadership in the tradition of feminist republicanism. In 1997, she cofounded the South Tyrone Empowerment Programme, which she continues
to direct, with a focus on migrant workers' rights and community development.
Sipho Sibanda is a Zimbabwean national who lives in Belfast and is currently seeking asylum.
Sipho is a mother and an activist. She was instrumental in setting up Housing4All, a movement of asylum seekers and supporters campaigning for housing rights for asylum seekers in Northern Ireland, in 2015, in which she remains involved. She is also Joint Coordinator for City of Sanctuary Northern Ireland and Deputy Chair for Refugee Welcome. Remaining active in her home politics, Sipho is a member of Zimbabwean African People's Union (ZAPU) and is the European Chairlady of ZAWU - ZAPU's women's wing.
The Seamus Deane Annual Lecture Series
Field Day, the publishing and theatre company, established this annual lecture series to
honour Seamus Deane by continuing his legacy of provoking discussion about Ireland
and its political future. Seamus Deane has an international reputation in the world of
literature and literary criticism. As he himself has stated, his work is not devoted to a
rewriting of the Irish past but to a writing of the Irish present.