On our English degrees at Salford, I teach two Irish Literature modules: Revival and Revolution (Level 5) and Alternative Ulster (Level 6). These are options for a variety of degree programmes and have been popular with students studying literature, drama and creative writing. As Module Convenor, I’ve been delighted to work with Dr Julie Mullaney, Culture and Education Officer at the Irish World Heritage Centre on a series of academic projects and to bring her expertise to our students and their assessments. We worked with her and the centre in November 2016 on a Being Human project on the 20th Anniversary of the Manchester Bomb. Last semester’s students on Alternative Ulster attended and helped out with the organisation of the day.

This semester’s Revival and Revolution students have been writing a first assignment directly targeted at the sort of public engagement remit that is vital to the work of the centre. The centre runs an impressive programme, with the backing of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, which uses the sorts of texts that we study to engage and empower the Irish community in Manchester. Julie presented to our class on the 15th March on a variety of helpful, relevant topics. She began with a description of a new exhibition on the revolutionary lives of two sisters, Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth, both of whom we study on our course. She discussed a variety of primary materials, including some which have inspired students to do further work on these writers, and invited students for guided viewings of these exhibitions.

Julie explained the work of the centre and of how culture and arts organisations work with partners for their funding. She then spoke to students about a range of volunteering opportunities at the centre, which are now online. Finally, she introduced them to new publishing trends within Irish studies: writing on women’s involvement in the Easter Rising of 1916 and the boom in writing for young adults. She gave students, who are also studying children’s literature, a variety of publications she has received on topics relevant to our course. It was a highly successful visit that speaks directly to our ICZ objectives and has really sparked the interest of my students. I look forward to working with her to enhance our curriculum on Alternative Ulster and on a major academic conference on the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Dr Caroline Magennis
Lecturer in 20th and 21st Century Literature, School of Arts and Media
Admissions Lead for English, Drama and Creative Writing