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Winter Schools

February 1 - 5, 2021

Introducing our first Online Winter School

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is excited to announce our first Online Winter School taking place in February 2021.

From Brexit to digital footprints, performing arts to asylum seekers, the whole world has been affected by the Pandemic—but this isn’t the first time. Join us to discuss what happened following the pandemics of the past, the changing world that we live in and what we might come to expect in the near future.

Participants will be able to choose options from a menu of 20 sessions looking at 'Pandemics: Past, Present, Future', to explore and debate what our world may look, sound, smell and feel like beyond COVID-19.

Choose from 20 FREE sessions over 5 days...

On Monday 1 February the Winter School will be opened by Professor Richard English, Queen's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Internationalization and Engagement. Professor English is an internationally recognised historian, academic and author having conducted extensive research in Irish politics and history, political violence and terrorism.

Day 1 choose from:
  • Translating Back and Forward - Dr Piotr Blumczynski 
  • The Impact of Covid-19 on Freelance Performing Artists - Dr Ioannis Tsioulakis
  • Your Digital Footprint: Biosurveilance in a time of Pandemic - Prof John Morison 
  • Stuck: Exploring Lockdown Routines in (Northern) Ireland - Dr Maruska Svašek
Translating Back and Forward

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to move our social interaction to electronic and digital channels, which brought about some limitations but also new affordances, which we are only starting to understand. As we eagerly anticipate a return to a “new normal”, how can we start translating ourselves into it? And how can we better understand the “old normal”, including those aspects that had remained invisible until translated?

The Impact of Covid-19 on Freelance Performing Artists

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the introduction of local lockdown measures, many people have found themselves participating in (or consuming) culture online. Yet, artists who make a living out of performing events have seen their livelihoods diminish or disappear overnight. Based on ethnographic research among musicians and theatre artists in Greece, this presentation will analyse how the pandemic impacts on the careers of creative artists, as well as examine some of their collective responses (campaigns and protests) that have emerged in the past few months. 

Your Digital Footprint: Biosurveilance in a Time of Pandemic

Unimaginably large volumes of data about the detailed lives of each of us are now available. Techniques around big data, cloud storage, data mining, pattern recognition, machine learning, dataveillance, allow massive data sets to be gathered in a volume, velocity and variety that makes conventional forms of analysis impossible, and new algorithmic forms possible. All this means that the ‘data trails” we leave behind us when we interact online, shop or simply move around are available for both government and big corporations to use, monitor us and control our behaviour. The Covid-19 health crisis has provided a conjunction of political conditions to produce a government response to the pandemic that aligns with developing technology to introduce a new regime of “bio-surveillance”.

Stuck: Exploring Lockdown Routines in (Northern) Ireland

This talk explores the ways in which migrants in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have coped with fluctuating lockdown restrictions in 2020. It analyses the experiences of a number of women from Europe and the US, in particular how they have adjusted their use of space, time and communication technology to structure their lives in new ways, aiming to maintain a sense of (long-distance) social life. What can we learn about the dynamics of sociality, temporality and spatiality from this case-study?

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Day 2 choose from:
  • Brexit... and Brexiting in a Time of Covid - Prof David Phinnemore       
  • The Shadow Pandemic: Covid-19, Intl Human Rights Law and Domestic Violence - Dr Ronagh McQuigg   
  • Shakespeare, the Plague and What Happened Next - Dr Ramona Wray 
  • The Pandemic and Conflict in Northern Ireland: Symbolism in Lockdown Belfast - Prof Dominic Bryan
Brexit... and Brexiting in a Time of Covid

Brexit has happened. The UK has left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and has been managing the process since in the midst of the Covid pandemic. What impact, however, has Covid had on how the UK and the EU have managed Brexit, on how the UK has been able to respond to the challenges and opportunities that leaving the EU entails, and on how the UK and the EU have sought to negotiate the terms of their future relationship now that the UK has left the EU’s single market and the multiple forms of policy cooperation that membership involves?

The Shadow Pandemic: Covid-19, International Human Rights Law and Domestic Violence 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of domestic abuse have increased significantly around the world.  Indeed, the UN has termed violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic as being the ‘shadow pandemic’.  This session will discuss domestic violence as an issue for international human rights law, and will examine the increase in instances of domestic abuse since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In particular, the session will focus on responses by UN entities and the recommendations which have been made by such bodies as regards the measures which should be adopted by governments to address domestic violence in the context of the pandemic.

Shakespeare, the Plague and What Happened Next

This workshop will look at Shakespeare’s experience of the plague. The plague was both disastrous for Shakespeare (it closed the theatres) and also advantageous (it allowed him the time and space to compose his greatest works). The workshop will consider the different aspects of Shakespeare’s plague experience and assess how it affected his life, work and reputation. 

The Pandemic and Conflict in Northern Ireland: Symbolism in Lockdown Belfast

This talk will look at the extraordinary development of symbols right across Belfast expressing support for the National Health Service during the Covid pandemic. Symbols, particularly the use of the rainbow, appeared in household windows, on banners, on flags and on murals regardless of the political divisions within the city. This presentation will explore the use of the symbols and ask what it might tell us about social cohesion in contemporary Northern Ireland.

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Day 3 choose from:
  • Building Back Better after the Pandemic: A Green and Just Economic Recovery - Prof John Barry
  • Coronavirus, Emergency Laws and Conflicting Narratives of the Dead - Prof Heather Conway
  • Philosophical Questions about the Pandemic -  Dr Tom Walker
  • Broadcasting from your Bedroom - Dr John D’Arcy and Frank Delaney


Building Back Better after the Pandemic: A Green and Just Economic Recovery
The pandemic has cancelled the future…but that’s ok.  It was a pretty bad one anyhow.  And we should resist the calls for us to ‘return to normal’.  ‘Normal’ was the problem.  Normal was increasing levels of inequality.  Normal was increasing greenhouse gas emissions causing climate breakdown. Normal was policies for ‘jobless growth and competitiveness’.  The crisis and any recovery from the crisis should be about creating less unequal and more sustainable, regenerative economies and societies – not a ‘green’ version of what went before.  Building back better means building back differently. 
Coronavirus, Emergency Laws and Conflicting Narratives of the Dead 

The practicalities and social consequences of dealing with the dead have been addressed by countries worldwide, in response to COVID-19. This session explores the conflicting narratives of the dead, and how they are constructed and conceptualised in emergency laws, government messaging and societal responses to the pandemic. It looks at the corpse as a disease vector in funeral restrictions; as a public health risk in laws allowing mass burials and disposal of remains; as a fear-inducing statistic in daily mortality rates; and as a loved in death and in the changed social ritual of the funeral.

Philosophical Questions about the Pandemic

The pandemic has brought range of philosophical questions into the spotlight, including: how to fairly distribute life saving resources, who to believe in a rapidly changing situation, and the proper limits of state power in an emergency. This talk reflects on what the answers to these questions reveal about how to build back better in a post-covid world.

Broadcasting from your Bedroom 

Want to turn your passion into a creative media project but not sure where to start? Do you have a story to tell, but worry you're not creative enough or you're not sure how to get it out there share it with the wider world during lockdowns? Join Senior Lecturer in Broadcast Production Frank Delaney and Lecturer in Digital Media Dr John D'Arcy for this interactive seminar and workshop exploring creativity, how to find your voice and applying this to media content production.  From ideas generation and concept development, through to the nuts and bolts of scripting and vocal delivery, this session is the perfect kick-start for your new Podcast, YouTube or social media channel.

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Day 4 choose from:
  • Heard of the Human Right to Science? - Prof Thérèse Murphy
  • Reframing the Home in Impressionism: Perspectives from 21st century-post-Covid Life -Dr Claire Moran
  • An Historical Comparison with Earlier Pandemics - Dr John Curran and Dr James Davis   
  • Inequalities and the Pandemic: Gender, Race, Indigenous communities - Dr Francine Rossone de Paula, Dr Nik Ribianszky and Dr Jamie Hagen
Heard of the Human Right to Science? 
Few know about the human right to science, yet it has been part of international human rights law for more than 70 years. In this lecture, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 injunction to #followthescience, Professor Therese Murphy will introduce the right. In the companion workshop, you will develop its meaning. More specifically, you will draft interpretive guidance designed to bring this right to life in the pandemic context. Time permitting, you will then create variations on this guidance, eg, to communicate it to children or to scientists.
Reframing the Home in Impressionism: New Perspectives from 21st century-post-Covid Life 
This workshop will help draw parallels between the works of 19thc- French female Impressionists and 21st century-post-Covid life. In particular, we will focus on the notion of the modern home, and will seek to re-define understanding of the modern home through a close analysis of pivotal Impressionist works.  Following the experience of ‘lockdown’ across the world, the importance of domestic space has never been so visible to so many; and discussions will contextualise the notion of the modern home historically and offer new ideas on its relevance to 21st century life. 
An Historical Comparison with Earlier Pandemics          
The first part of the session explores the impact of widespread disease on the communities of the ancient Mediterranean world, looking at the challenges to which people, politicians and science sought to respond. Following the testimony of eye-witnesses, a wide range of human responses can be recovered, from panic and demoralisation to resilience and acceptance, illustrating vividly the ancient mind in both crisis and recovery. The second part looks at the Black Death, which first struck Europe in 1347 and within a couple of years had killed perhaps 40-50% of the population. Contemporary commentators regarded this as a divine punishment for the sins of society. This session will look at the range of ways that medieval people responded to this pandemic and its consequences, which included practical measures such as quarantine and labour legislation, but also religious appeals (some quite extreme) and the targeting of scapegoats.
Inequalities and the Pandemic: Gender, Race, Indigenous Communities
Minority groups are being disproportionately affected around the world by COVID-19. This roundtable invites scholars from different disciplines to debate the impact of the global pandemic on the most vulnerable. They will challenge the idea that the pandemic is democratic by sharing on the experiences of people of colour and of queer and indigenous communities.
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Day 5 choose from:
  • The Impact of Covid-19 on Asylum Seeker Lives in Ireland: A View from an Anthropologist of Displacement - Dr Fiona Murphy
  • Covid and Constitutions - Prof Gordon Anthony 
  • Success and Failure Under Covid - Prof Debbie Lisle
  • Writing and the City: A Seminar with the Ciaran Carson Fellows - Seamus Heaney Centre
The Impact of Covid-19 on Asylum Seeker Lives in Ireland: A View from an Anthropologist of Displacement

This session will focus on the experiences of asylum seekers in the Irish asylum system called direct provision. Direct provision is a system of institutionalised living where asylum seekers wait while their asylum claims are being processed. The pandemic has further exposed how egregious this system is and broadened calls to end the system.

Covid and Constitutions 

This session will examine how the UK government has reacted to the Covid pandemic, notably through the introduction of ‘lockdown’ measures. It will identify some core concepts in the constitution and how they have been strained by the need to protect public safety. Issues to be explored include the democratic (or otherwise) nature of Covid restrictions, and the role of Parliament and the courts in controlling government measures. Attention will also be given to the role and relevance of human rights standards – do pandemics set those at nought?

Success and Failure Under Covid

The pandemic has prompted a number of comparisons between countries who managed Covid-19 well (e.g. New Zealand, Taiwan) and those that did not (e.g. Italy; the UK; the USA; Brazil). But what explains these differences? Is it useful to use such a broad metric of success and failure? If we are ‘all in this together’, how come some people are doing better than others? And if we consider only state responses, what other failures do we miss (e.g. racial, gender and class disparates of disease)? 

Writing and the City: A Seminar with the Ciaran Carson Fellows

The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s presents a seminar illustrated with poetry and prose readings which will reflect on Belfast, and imagines a future city, through its literature. Themes which will be explored include: other cities/‘every-city’ in literature, the ‘stuff’ of cities - architecture, infrastructure, citizens, nature, sensory elements (sound/smell/lights of sight), and the role of history and memory; considering how could these influence literary form.

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Applications have now closed
Complete our expression of interest form

Completion of the application form does not guarantee attendance, Queen's will review applications to ensure that students are of suitable academic standing to undertake the Winter School. We will be in touch in due course to confirm if your application has been accepted, due to the high volume of applications anticipated, we would appreciate your patience with this correspondence. Priority may be given to students whose home institution hold an International partnership agreement with QUB.

All sessions will run 17:00 - 19:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Space on each live session is limited so applicants will be asked on the application form to rank sessions in order of preference. If you are admitted to the Winter School and we are unable to offer your preferred choice, we will offer you an alternative session. But don't worry! You won't miss a thing. All sessions will be recorded so you will have the opportunity to watch all sessions at a later date.

An opportunity not to be missed

QUB Partner Institutions

Share with your students

We are delighted to offer the Winter School 2021 opportunity to current students of our valued international partners. If you have students who are considering study abroad in the near future, or whose study abroad plans have been disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic, our Winter School is the perfect taster!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does my application guarantee attendance?
Unfortunately not, spaces are limited so we will be in touch to let you know if your place on the Winter School has been confirmed or not.

Who is the Winter School open to?
The Winter School is open to students currently enrolled at University

How many sessions can I attend?
You can attend one session per day for five days. All sessions are recorded though so you can watch the other session afterwards if you wish.

What happens during a session?
Each session comprises a lecture followed by small group discussion on the issues raised.

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