NINOW100 is a cross-artform programme of work by 18 artists, academics, activists, playwrights, and pioneering (ex)politicians that responds to or touches upon the Northern Irish Centenary of 2021, that is, the partition of Ireland and creation of Northern Ireland as a state.
You can explore all of the artistic responses to the Northern Ireland Centenary below - from poems to audio plays and written scripts to video essays - from the deeply personal to the fantastical.
Our hope is that their words will inspire personal reflection for the people of Northern Ireland, and for those outside of NI, an insight into the (often misunderstood) experience of living here.
We’ll be adding responses each week over the coming weeks this December, 2021, which will create and build upon the cacophony of voices heard here and that exist within NI.
Click the details tab for more information about the project.
The Now. The Next..
The contentious “anniversary” of the partition of Ireland and the establishment of Northern Ireland has offered many people a moment to reflect on the last 100 years and importantly, the next 100 and future of Northern Ireland.
To support this, the MAC has commissioned 18 artists, academics, activists, playwrights, and pioneering (ex)politicians to respond to this anniversary, which we are now delighted to release over the coming weeks.
The commissions, which span art forms from audio plays to poetry to essays, are presented here as a digital time capsule, of where we are now as a country, and what we hope Northern Ireland will look like 100 years from now (if it exists at all).
NINOW100 was initially devised as a small scale project that allowed for non-partisan insight and responses to the Centenary: how divisive the subject matter is cannot be overstated. However, as we tentatively lifted the lid on this subject matter, the commissionees found themselves overwhelmed by their desire to tell their own story; understand their identity; examine personal histories; unpick intergenerational trauma, and imagine a different and better future.
The intersection of religion, identity, and cultural history is unique to people who have lived in Northern Ireland – whether they were born here and left like so many do, migrated here, or are NI born and raised. Our participating artists have been brave, vulnerable, and honest, and we’re excited to share their work with you here.
Damian Gorman is a poet and playwright. Born and reared in Newcastle Co. Down, he now lives in Wales. His work has garnered awards as diverse as a Better Ireland Award and an MBE; a Golden Harp and a BAFTA. Alongside his “own” work, he has been an encourager of other people’s writing for 35 years. In the mid-1990s he was founding director of the pioneering An Crann project, which worked to “help people tell, and hear, the stories of the Troubles” through the arts. For 10 years from 2006 he worked to help facilitate dialogue between young Israelis and Palestinians as part of the “ground-breaking” Olive Tree programme.
His selected poems and memoir As If I Cared was recently published to great acclaim.
Damian is a Fellow of the Oxford Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights.
Tara Lynne O’Neill has been a professional actor working in TV, Film, Radio & Theatre for twenty-five years.
Actor in numerous premiere productions including Everything Between Us, (Tinderbox, Belfast, Glasgow, USA Tour).
Work on numerous Radio Productions for BBC & RTE most notably the Award-Winning Grenades for RTE (New Writing).
Work with numerous companies and theatres including Tinderbox, Kabosh, Ouroborous, Replay, PrimeCut, Greenshoot, The Lyric, Belfast, the MAC, Belfast, The Gate, Dublin, Solus Nua, Washington and 59E59, New York
Film/TV work includes dramas for HBO and CBS, BBC and most recently appearing in Derry Girls for Channel 4.
Writing work includes:
Commission for Brassneck Theatre Company, Belfast. Sew On and Sew Forth (First draft of play 2018)
Commission for Kabosh Theatre Company, Belfast. Gallagher Girls. (Produced 2018)
Co- Commission for the MAC & Cahoots Theatre Company, Belfast. The Elves and the Shoemaker (Full production 2018)
Co- Commission for the MAC, Belfast. A Christmas Carol (Full production 2019)
Commission for The Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Rough Girls (Full production 2021)
Mícheál McCann is a poet from Derry, living in Belfast. His poems have appeared in The Stinging Fly, Ambit, Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee Lit. and fourteen poems. He was a recipient of the inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Prize in 2019, and has received generous support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in that same year. His pamphlet of poems Safe Home was published by Green Bottle Press in 2020, and he is currently working on a collaborative text with Kerri ní Dochartaigh for Skein Press forthcoming in 2022.
Maria Fusco is an award-winning interdisciplinary writer born and brought up in Ardoyne, North Belfast. Her work is translated into twelve languages and she is currently Professor of Interdisciplinary Writing at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee, as well as Visiting Professor at Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Frankfurt, the Lead of Practice Research Assembly at the Scottish Graduate School of Arts & Humanities, a Member of AHRC Peer Review College, Research Assessor of Carnegie Trust and Fellowship Reviewer at Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Find out more: mariafusco.net
Wendy Erskine debut short story collection, Sweet Home, was published by The Stinging Fly Press in September 2018, and Picador in June 2019. It was shortlisted for The Republic of Consciousness Prize and The Edge Hill Prize, and longlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize. It won the Butler Literary Prize and was optioned for TV. Her new collection, Dance Move, will be published in 2022 by Stinging Fly and Picador.
Dawn Purvis was born and brought up in Belfast. She describes herself as a recovering politician after leading the Progressive Unionist Party and being an MLA for East Belfast for four years. She is the former director of the Marie Stopes Northern Ireland. As well as her day job in social housing, she serves on a number of boards including Healing Through Remembering, Informing Choices NI, Alliance for Choice, Positive Life, and is the vice-chair of the John and Pat Hume Foundation for peaceful change and reconciliation.
Dr Margaret Ward is Honorary Senior Lecturer in History at Queen’s University and a former Director of the Women’s Resource and Development Agency. She has a PhD from the University of the West of England and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Ulster, for her contribution to advancing women’s equality. Her latest book is Fearless Woman: Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Feminism and the Irish Revolution. She has recently published ‘Irish Suffrage: Remembrance, Commemoration and Memorialisation’ in (ed) Oona Crawley Women and the Decade of Commemorations (Indiana University Press) and ‘Gendered Memories: Belfast Cumann na mBan 1917-1922 in (ed.) Linda Connolly, Women and the Irish revolution (Irish Academic Press). Margaret is a board member of Libraries NI and a former Trustee of National Museums Northern Ireland.
Anesu Khanya Mtowa is a student currently studying at Queen’s University Belfast. She was recently a participant in the 21 Artists for the 21st Century Programme, where she features in the upcoming anthology Awkward Middle Children. Her work focuses on the disordered relationship she has with her Femininity, her Blackness and her family. Anesu can be found on Facebook @AnesuKhanyaMtowa and Twitter @ulster_afro.
Michael Patrick (actor/writer) & Oisín Kearney (writer/director) are a Belfast-based creative partnership. Theatre writing: My Left Nut (Fishamble’s Show in a Bag); The Alternative (Fishamble’s A Play for Ireland, winner of two Irish Times Theatre Awards), and currently under commission with Prime Cut Productions. Current members of ITI’s Virtual Attic and Bewley’s Cafe Theatre New Writing Initiative.
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has a novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears and short story collection, Children’s Children, (Liberties Press), two micro-fiction collections, Postcard Stories 1 and 2 (Emma Press) and a short story collection, The Last Resort (Doubleday). Her novel The Fire Starters (Doubleday) won the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland 2019, the Kitschies Prize for Speculative Fiction 2020 and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Book Prize 2020. Jan won the Harper’s Bazaar short story competition in 2016 and has been shortlisted for the BBC National Story Prize, Sean O’Faolain Short Story Prize and the An Post Irish Short Story of the Year Award. Jan’s forthcoming novel, The Raptures will be published by Doubleday on January 6th 2022.
Since starting as an open spot at a local comedy club, Jake has regularly appeared on both television and radio for almost three decades, becoming one of NI’s best-known comics.
Jake has presented documentaries on topics ranging from the Euros to the demolition of the King’s Hall. He’s been a weekend columnist in NI’s most popular paper, the Irish News, for the last five years. Jake also writes and performs a review of the year comedy show, which has sold out theatres around NI for the last seven years. Jake’s show exhibits political satire at its sharpest. With Jake there is no divide, from playing sold-out shows at Féile an Phobail to the Shankill road’s Spectrum Centre, he has the rare talent to cross all political and religious denominations, taking an honest, critical and very funny look at life on both sides!
Abby Oliveira is a writer, performer, lyricist, and theatre maker based in Derry. She has been an eminent member of the Irish spoken-word scene for over a decade. She performs regularly at events and festivals throughout the UK, Ireland & abroad and has toured work in Australia, New Zealand (via support from Arts Council NI), and Singapore. She has had work commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and Foyle, RTE radio, and more.
Emma DeSouza is a writer, commentator and civil rights activist. She successfully reaffirmed the identity and citizenship provisions of the Good Friday Agreement by securing legislative changes to domestic UK immigration law through a lengthy court challenge. She works in the area of constitutional law and is an advocate for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and enforceable human rights protections in Northern Ireland.
Emma is the Chairperson of the All-island women’s Forum, leadership coordinator at a leading national NGO, the vice-chair of votingrights.ie and sits on the board of 50:50Ni
She is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and has also been published in the Guardian, Byline Times, Huffpost UK, The Irish Examiner, Irish News, Journal.ie and Sunday Business Post.
Emma is working on her first book on the power of civil rights movements and how individuals can challenge the state and change the law.
Emily DeDakis grew up in the southeast U.S. and now lives in north Belfast. She is a writer, producer and dramaturg currently teaching playwriting at Ulster University and working with Fighting Words NI (a creative writing centre for young people, where she mentors and coordinates teen scriptwriting projects). Emily’s writing has appeared in Dead Housekeeping, The Vacuum, Ulster Tatler, Yellow Nib, Of Mouth, Choice Words, Household Belfast, and on BBC radio and television. She sings in the experimental choir HIVE and often collaborates with sonic artists on sound/text pieces.
Emma Campbell is an artist/activist member of Array Collective, who have been nominated for the 2021 Turner Prize. Emma gained her Documentary Photography BA (Hons) at U.W.C.N Newport in 2001, an MFA in Photography at Ulster University in 2012, and continues her practice-based PhD addressing photography as an activist tool, an artist practice and as reflexive academic inquiry in the movement for abortion rights.
Inspired by methods used by the women photography collectives in her historical research, Emma employs archive images, documentary, film, group performance, found images, street art and collage. For her forthcoming practice supported by University of Atypical she is using photography and sculpture to create a series of pre-Christian-esque artefacts which reimagine fantastical queer feminist icons. Emma also collaborates frequently with Irish artist Siobhán Clancy and is co-convenor of Alliance for Choice. Emma has exhibited in solo shows in Belfast, Dublin & Berlin and in group shows in London, Liverpool, Donegal, Dublin, Belfast, Stockholm, and Bangkok as well as street art and online.