Friday, 23 July 2010

John Hewitt Summer School, Armagh July 26-30, 2010

‘Back to Uncertainty: Considering Other Possibilities’

"In its eighth year in the welcoming surroundings of The Market Place Theatre in Armagh, the John Hewitt International Summer School will offer yet another attractive and stimulating programme of events – readings, talks, workshops, discussions, exhibitions and outstanding evening entertainment - something for everyone!

An impressive line-up of writers and performers will join esteemed visiting speakers who will address the challenges of history and identity suggested by this year’s theme, which drew its inspiration from the poem Hand Over Hand [1967] by the celebrated Northern poet and political thinker, John Hewitt:

This billowing freedom threatens to

Smother me with euphoria.

Hand over hand eagerly I crawl

Back to uncertainty.

In a society as deeply separated in its perceptions of identities and symbols as Northern Ireland, Hewitt appreciated that the certainties of one group were challenged directly by those of the other. So, he welcomed ‘uncertainty’ as a stance between two traditions, where he could appreciate both the Protestant culture of his birth and that of his Catholic neighbours.

As a political thinker, Hewitt was describing what is, perhaps, the only meaningful way of coping with deep differences. Rather than denying them, or elevating one identity or version of the truth above all others, he recognised success in politics as the capacity to bridge differences. To achieve this requires the starting point of ‘uncertainty’, which opens the door to imagining the ‘other’ and their place.

So come along to The Market Place Theatre at the end of July for a week, for a day or for an individual event or two and be stimulated, challenged and entertained! There is one certainty - you will be more than welcome!"