Journalist and author Susan McKay returns to Londonderry to explore what 'City of Culture' status has meant to the place of her birth. Known as both Derry and Londonderry, the walled city became the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013, and Susan examines what rebranding and reimagining has meant to a place that endured some of the worst episodes of the 'troubles' throughout her school days. As its search for identity continues, what has the city gained from its year in the limelight, and has anyone beyond its ancient walls noticed?
Composer, jazz musician and session pianist Neil Cowley revisits his year as musician in residence for Derry / Londonderry, the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013. Neil arrived in a city he knew little about, full of trepidation thanks to years of headlines about terrorism and violence in Northern Ireland. What he found among the city's young musicians challenged and changed not only his long-held preconceptions, but also his view of music as a tool to bring about change.
Novelist Brian McGilloway was born and brought up in Derry, a city from which his imagination has never quite escaped. He explores how the urban landscape shaped him creatively, from the river Foyle which divides the city, to its dark, tangled streets and alleyways, and the strange hinterland of the nearby Donegal border. As his writing progressed, the city began to take shape as a character in its own right, one which continues to feed and inspire his imagination.
Dublin born Nuala Hayes first came to Derry in the 1970s to act in Brian Friel's early Field Day productions, including the first staging of Translations at the height of the 'troubles'. Since then she has become fascinated with the city's many stories, and in particular those of the famous shirt factories. Nuala ponders the common threads of the city's shirt factory and story-telling traditions, examining the shirt as a symbol in Irish poetry and literature, and on the factory floors of Derry where story-telling became a way of life for the city's women.
|05 LAST||Glenn Patterson||20131018|
Novelist Glenn Patterson is proudly Belfast, and admits to being baffled by Derry in his childhood - it seemed far off in the distant West, and not quite in Northern Ireland, and not quite in Donegal, on whose border the city lies. Belfast has had a tendency to feel superior culturally, so why then has Derry's unique cultural tale had such a lasting impact and influence on Glenn? The city's Punk rockers The Undertones changed his view of music and 'shook' him awake, so why does he now think of them as Canadians?