Voices of the Unheard at the VAC

The voices of the unheard will ring out this Thursday at the Verbal Arts Centre, during their much anticipated Crows on the Wire Symposium

Picture for blog story Voices of the Unheard at the VAC

Hosted by Guardian and Observer Irish Editor, Henry McDonald, the Symposium will bring together former UDR man David Crabbe, former IRA man Seanna Walsh and former RUC officer Roger McCallum, alongside conflict transformation academics for a full day of in-depth discussions, theatre performances and photo exhibitions.

The symposium follows on from the hugely successful Crows on the Wire theatrical production – dealing with the human story behind the changeover from the RUC to PSNI – that toured across Northern Ireland last year.

Mhairi Sutherland, Crows on the Wire Community Engagement Co-Ordinator, said

She was delighted to be able to offer a wide range of voices to the public.

“A range of different perspectives and experiences have been heard in response to the themes throughout the life of the project,” she said.

“Séanna Walsh, of Coiste na nIarchimí, is one of the longest serving former IRA prisoners’ and David Crabbe OBE, who served in the Army for nearly 30 years, were brought together by the Crows on the Wire project. They will come together to share their stories with us at the Symposium. It will be fascinating to hear these voices of the unheard, from polar opposites of life in Northern Ireland.

“Henry McDonald will give a unique perspective of the Troubles as seen from a news reporter and photographs from the darkest days of the Troubles will also be on display during the symposium. Irish News Photographic Editor Brendan Murphy’s work, one of which is pictured above, captured some of the most poignant events and pure raw human emotion, that sits well with Fergus Jordan’s quite dark ‘Altered’ artwork.”

The Symposium runs from 9.30am to 3pm on Thursday October 2nd at the Verbal Arts Centre. Members of the public are welcome to come along and are asked to register their names with Dr Mhairi Sutherland on mhairi.sutherland@theverbal.co before Thursday.

Crows on the Wire explores the transition of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), from the perspective of some of those most directly impacted, the rank and file officer. Set in a police station locker room, the production is an intense dramatization of the actual transition of the RUC to the PSNI on a night in November 2001. The performance toured across Northern Ireland in November 2013, giving 20 free of charge performances accompanied by post-performance discussions between an invited panel and the audiences. Prior to the tour an engagement programme with drama + discussions forums took place with schools and community groups in September and October. Since then, the project has produced an innovative educational app, in the form of a digital graphic novel based on the original script, which will be freely downloadable for schools and the public, in autumn 2014.

Crows on the Wire is funded by the SEUPB Peace III Programme managed by Pobal.

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