(The new, and very much talked about, 4 Corners Festival continues this week with an evening on the Book Of Kells. The idea of the evening and a much longer project on the Book Of Kells is Carol Rossborough's. Soul Surmise speaks to her...)
What sparked your interest in the Book Of Kells?
Northern Ireland may have different tribes, but many of us have the same spiritual DNA. I think when we have a chance as a people to sit down and really look at the spiritual journey of Belfast we have more in common than we think. The Book of Kells really struck me as significant in this idea of unity in Belfast as it is a heritage that belongs to both Catholic and Protestant communities and we should really celebrate that together!
For me this book is symbolic of much more than just unparalleled art and creativity, it also symbolises an era for Ireland that sees a nation riddled with war and poverty transformed into a nation of peace and prosperity. It speaks of a people filled with hope and new vision for the future. It represents new beginnings and transformation, unity in the roots of the faith of our nation and the foundation and importance of creativity in our heritage.
What made you then run an evening such as this one?
I’ve had this notion of unity in Belfast in my heart for a while and it just seemed like the right time to let the wider community engage with the idea through the arts scene in the city. I’m part of a collective of people who meet weekly to enjoy art in the city and encourage each other in our individual projects such as visual art and creative writing. With their encouragement, I decided to run a few
events around the vision of celebrating our shared heritage in the Book of Kells. I think one of the best ways to move forward with vision in a city is allowing the people to wrap the vision in art and creativity.
Who is Dr Angela Griffiths, how did you meet her and what do you think she can bring to the evening? On the night, what can people expect?
Dr Angela Griffith is a lecturer in Irish Art History at Trinity College Dublin and she is passionate about The Book of Kells and its cultural impact on Ireland. The lecture will examine the origins and processes used in the manuscript's production, its artistry and cultural contexts. The discussion will also include a summary of how the Book of Kells became an icon for 'Celtic' Revivalist designers and artists at the turn of the twentieth century. There will be room for Q&A and some discussion at the end.
What do you hope the evening will achieve?
I hope to see people from all over the city, from different organisations and different walks of life get together for a
celebration of something we share, and just have a good chat about it. To gain a broader perspective on where we’ve come from and
stir up hope that radical transformation is possible for Northern Ireland, it happened through the Book of Kells and it can happen again. I think people need hope.
There will also be a seminar group for reflection and discussion meeting on 24th January in Common Grounds café as an overflow from the lecture. I hope that people can use this as a time to engage
with the idea of Celtic heritage belonging to both communities in Belfast and hown that could change their view of our city.
Why did you connect the event with 4 Corners Festival?
It seems that the committee organizing 4 Corners and myself had very similar visions for bringing Belfast together through the arts, and it made sense to team up with the Festival! I loved the vision of mobilising people out of their comfort zones into a part of the city they have never had any reason to visit, or they just didn’t feel comfortable with the unknown. Part of the delight in this Festival is the warmth of welcome extended to people who make the effort to engage with a different part of the city.
Is it a one off event or will there be more in your Book Of Kells project?
As I said, there will be a seminar group for reflection and discussion meeting on 24th January in Common Grounds café as an overflow from the lecture.
There will also be a series of workshops culminating in
an exhibition of work from artists all over Ireland inspired by the theme, ‘The Book of Kells, the Hope of Something New’ in St Mary’s University College, Falls Road from 7th-24th March. Thursday 7th March will be a late night opening with a celebration of song, spoken word and various artists presenting the rationale behind their work.
Other things we should know about the event –
There will be tea and coffee from 7pm for a 7:30pm start.
Culturlánns Cafe Feirste is open for a bite to eat
beforehand with a great menu!
Car parking is available at St Mary’s University College
opposite Culturlánn at 191 Falls Road until 9:30pm