Video Image from the Installation ‘Rhythms of a Port’
Visual artist, Moira Sweeney, will be displaying and talking about her work, Rhythms of a Port, at the ‘Women and the Sea’ symposium:
“In the summer of 2014, my multi screen film installation Rhythms of a Port premiered in an old redbrick warehouse on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, a once vibrant hub of Dublins’ working docks. The filmic project was situated at the creative nexus between art, ethnography and documentary and critically responded to working life and social change on Dublins’ Docks. In this presentation I utilise audio-visual clips from Rhythms of a Port to explore how the cinematic process can generate a milieu for social actors such as dockworkers, mariners and boatmen to articulate their transforming work life and experiences. Inspired by the methodological frameworks of observational documentary filmmaking, I discuss the adoption of a multi modal approach to recording working life and gathering stories, memories, concerns and conflicts. This longitudinal ethnographic approach privileges a somatic and intuitive understanding of a dock community and space. I will therefore explore how a revitalised geographic and documentary imagination facilitated the process of depicting the sensuous nature of a port through the layering of imagery, sounds, and stories. Personal reflections and insights on dock life are intertwined with the stories and memories of dockworkers, boatmen and port managers. Arresting industry visuals are amplified by the rugged harmonies of forklift warnings, creaking wood and metal, squeaking ropes and pulleys, and seagulls.”
From the Installation ‘Rhythms of a Port’
Ronnie, Willie and Dick from the series Stevedoring Stories
Tomo Nolan from the series Stevedoring Stories
Dr Fiona Savage from the University of East Anglia will speak at the ‘Women and the Sea’ symposium in Dun Laoghaire about voyaging in the travel writing of Sarah Bowdich:
‘Children and sailors are but synonymous terms’ (Lee 1835, 269). This quote, taken from a woman’s autobiographical account of a four-month voyage to West Africa in 1816, could so easily be misconstrued as dismissive and offensive on first sight. However, it is in fact an affectionate observation from one who witnessed first-hand the harsh realities of a seafaring life. This paper takes as its focus Sarah Bowdich’s (1791-1856) little known publication ‘Fragments from the Notes of a Traveller’ in order to highlight how, this forgotten and neglected literary source, offers a unique female perspective on maritime travel in the early nineteenth century. Sarah’s travel account, for example, provides important glimpses into the rituals, roles and routines of life on-board ship through a woman’s eyes and also contains unique insights into how she forged friendships with her shipmates, maintained her respectability and negotiated dangerous, difficult and sometimes deadly situations whilst at sea. In re-assessing this account, I hope to introduce Sarah Bowdich to a new audience and promote her travel account as, not only a ripping yarn, but also an important source document.
Professor Claire Connolly from University College Cork will speak at the ‘Women and the Sea’ symposium, addressing how the Irish novelist, Maria Edgeworth, represented her experiences of the Irish Sea. The paper discusses the ways in which Maria Edgeworth imagines the significance of the Irish sea, both in her fiction and in her extensive correspondence. In the writing, the sea crossing seems at once momentous in metaphorical terms and insignificant as a practical undertaking. Edgeworth’s writing is strongly invested in the ideology of technological and infrastructural improvement but it also yields evidence of instabilities of significance and scale. These questions will be assessed via a close consideration of the relevance and meaning of the Menai straits for Edgeworth. Her depiction of the hazardous journey across the narrow stretch of tidal water that separates the island of Anglesey from the rest of North Wales. is shaped by her family’s lively interest in civil and marine engineering. Her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth, developed a plan to tunnel under the straits, while her brother William sought employment on Thomas Telford’s bridge and road building project.