News and Events

New Romantics: Performing Ireland and Cosmopolitanism on the Anniversary of Human Rights


4/07/2019 - 5/07/2019


1:00PM - 8:00PM


Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Square, Queen's University Belfast



Supported by the QUB AHSS Faculty Research Initiatives Fund and the GIS EIRE


This year is the 230th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (26 August 1789).

The conference asks in what ways a ‘Celtic Cosmopolitanism’ (Le Coadic, 2000; Wulff, 2008 and an ‘Irish Cosmopolitanism’ (Wulff, 2008; Pearson, 2017), emerging from humanist Enlightenment and Romantic traditions, inform human rights activism in contemporary theatre, performance, literature and the arts.  Delegates will explore how international contemporary frameworks of critical theory such as New Materialism relate to human rights activism and cosmopolitanism in Irish literature and performance within a wider European context and in what ways they continue, critique, or challenge humanist moral philosophy and enlightenment thought.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Professor Stephen Wilmer, Professor Emeritus of Drama (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Dr Drew Milne, Judith E. Wilson Reader in Poetics (University of Cambridge)
  • Paula McFetridge, Artistic Director (Kabosh Theatre Company, Belfast)

This event has been organised by Dr Eva Urban-Devereux (Mitchell Institute) and Dr Lisa FitzGerald (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis). It is supported by the QUB AHSS Faculty Research Initiatives Fund and the GIS EIRE, France.

Attendance is free but you must register in advance for the event through Eventbrite.

Please advise of any dietary requirements by contacting

To download the conference description, please click here.


Conference Programme


4 July, Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Square, QUB

13:00 Tea, Coffee, Registration

13:15 Conference Opening: Dr Lisa FitzGerald and Dr Eva Urban-Devereux

13:30 The Performative Cosmopolitanism of Irish Literature and Drama:

  • 13:30 Dr Eva Urban: Bards, Saints, and Cosmopolitan Vagabonds in Breton and Irish Drama
  • 13:50 Dr Matthieu Kolb: From Ballybeg to Buncrana: Brian Friel and Frank McGuinness’s Donegal Plays and the search for cosmopolitan Ireland
  • 14:20 Prof Dr Caroline Lusin: Renouncers, Rumours and ‘Beyond-the-Pales’: Literature, Empathy and Cosmopolitanism in Anna Burns’ Milkman (2018)
  • 14:40 Prof Sunghyun Jang: Yeats’ Influence on Modern Korean Poetry: The Case of Kim So-Wol

15:15 Keynote 1 Professor Stephen Wilmer: Yael Ronen’s Post-Migrant Dramaturgy of Dissensus (including short film screening)

16:30 Tea, coffee

16:50 Entangled, Embodied, Embedded: New Materialist Encounters in Irish Culture and Politics - Prof Anne Goarzin, Dr Maria Parsons, Sinead McDonald, Dr Lisa FitzGerald, Dr Eva Urban

18:00 Keynote 2 Dr Drew Milne: Anthropocene Intersectionality: performing human rights and human wrongs

19:00 Drinks Reception

David Torrans (No Alibis Bookshop): Book stall

19:20 Drew Milne: Poetry Reading


5 July, Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Square, QUB

10.00 Tea, Coffee, Registration

10:15 Human Rights and Theatre Panel

10:20 Dr Natasha Remoundou: Human Rights Theatre in Education: Performing Refugeeness in “Fortress Europe”

10:40 Roundtable Discussion: David Grant, Dr Tom Maguire, Rosemary Jenkinson

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Dr Lisa FitzGerald: Entomological Modernism, Automata & the Nonhuman in Flann O'Brien's Rhapsody in Stephen's Green

14:00 Performance and the Body Panel

  • Dr Aoife McGrath: Choreographing the Let Down: a danced intervention into the "quietening" of maternal corporeality
  • Brian Connolly: Rite, Rights & Response-abilities
  • Sinead O’Donnell: ‘Crossing Permissions’

15:30 Tea/Coffee

16:00: Paula McFetridge: Keynote 3: Giving voice to the silent

17:00 End of conference.

While this is a free event, registration is required for catering purposes.