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Getting your fix of culture can be challenging during lockdown. That's why our British Council Ireland team have decided to share some of the ways they've been engaging with, and experiencing, culture during lockdown.

Mags Walsh - Country Director

The Dublin Film Festival 2020 now seems like a lifetime ago but thanks to Netflix there is now an opportunity to view one of this years festival’s stand out movies. Rocks has gathered rave reviews and tells the story of a community of teenage girls, dealing with adversity and sharing in each other’s grief and triumphs. 

Among the many literary and other awards recently was the Ewart Biggs Prize which was established to recognise work promoting and encouraging peace and reconciliation in Ireland; a greater understanding between the peoples of Britain and Ireland, or closer co-operation between the partners of the European Community. Anna Burn’s novel Milkman won one prize and intriguingly Katy Hayward’s twitter account took the second prize for its political and sociological account of the Brexit process as it unfolds. Her acceptance speech eloquently capture what social media can offer us, as we navigate an ever changing world.  

Liz McBain - Senior Programme Manager

 The Sound of Belfast festival returns for its 7th year! Reflecting the devastating impact of Covid on the music industry in 2020, the festival will be done in a way that strongly communicates the community still exists and that we’ll all return to enjoying live music together one day. Running from 6-12 November, Sound of Belfast 2020 will shine a spotlight on what’s to admire about Belfast, including its diverse and vibrant music scene. You can find out more about the packed programme of events, talks and workshops here.

It seems like yesterday I mentioned the BBC’s Springwatch in one our first Culture Fixes and here we are over six months later with Autumnwatch now on our screens.  It’s a pure tonic yet again and from the Great Orme in Llanddudno to the Calm in a Celtic Rainforest, the entire series is a reassuring and much needed reminder of the wonder of nature and continuity of life. 

 

Aysylu Mutigullina - Programme and Partnerships Manager

 First of all, no Culture Fix is without a book! This month’s recommendation is Girl by Edna O’Brien. Having thoroughly researched the topic, O’Brien doesn’t spare her reader’s feelings, and from page one you’re immersed into a brutal and horrifying reality for so many women and girls in Nigeria, who became (or live in fear of becoming) victims of Boko Haram. 

This month quite coincidentally I’ve been prompted to think about the relationship between humans and technology (however, with Zoom parties and online gigs taking over this year, I’m surprised I haven’t thought about it sooner!). Dublin Theatre festival’s To Be A Machine (Version 1.0) explored the idea of transhumanism: to be honest, I think the show only benefitted from having to be reimagined for online audiences. Much talked about Social Dilemma on Netflix, although did mention a number of very interesting facts about social media designs and algorithms (some excellent quotes for conversation with Facebook-obsessed parents!), didn’t make me delete all my social media accounts (not yet anyway) – they are, after all, can a force of good. And finally, an article in Financial Times reviewed two books on digital privacy: one arguing that “genie is out of the bottle” and we need to accept that the idea of “privacy” is forever redefined, another “delivers a bracing call-to-arms” to fight back for our rights. I’m yet to decide which camp I belong to. 

Aoife Ward - Office and Project Administration

With Halloween finally over and my mind able to focus on something other than horror movies for the first time in a month and a half I thought I’d kick off this month in celebration of that by treating myself to some of the virtual screenings Cork International Film Festival has to offer. The festival is all online this year and is running from the 8th-15th of November and their programme this year is fantastic. 

Of course my first port of call was to secure myself tickets to Short Shorts, which is screening between the 9th and the 11th of November. The festival also has some great documentaries screening this year including The 8th which depicts the struggle of activists in the lead-up to the 2018 Irish abortion referendum. On top of that there are some really exciting films being screened this year and some great Irish premieres. 

Film festivals aside I also made a promise to myself that with all the free time I have in the evenings now I’d get my Christmas shopping over and done with early this year (because I love to lie to myself). One thing I am hoping will help in this quest is this list of Irish retailers I can order from and support this year!