Wednesday 26 August 2020

Dublin Festival of History moves online next month

Dublin Festival of History is to move online for the first time in 2020. The announcement came as the festival was officially launched at the Edward Worth Library in Dublin 8 by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu. The festival, an initiative of Dublin City Council, will take place from Friday 11 September to Sunday 4 October, with all events free to attend.

The festival, which is organised by Dublin City Libraries and is now in its eighth year, will take place largely online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but will still play host to an international and domestic line up of speakers and panels.

Subjects covered will be as broad as ever and will include Irish and international historical topics.

In addition to online talks, there will be a number of socially-distanced walking tours of historical locations including St. Anne’s Park, Raheny, Croke Park, and Richmond Barracks, Inchicore.

Some of the highlights from the 2020 programme:
  • The Road to Black Lives Matter: The Construct of Race, from Juneteenth to George Floyd, with Cecelia Hartsell. This talk will examine the history of the construct of race in the United States, tracing it from slavery, including the protection of slavery in the U.S. Constitution; through blackface minstrelsy; Red Summer 1919; the Tulsa Massacre of 1921; the history and public memory surrounding Confederate monuments; and the legacy of that construct, which underpins the systemic racism that led to the death of George Floyd.
  • Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends, with Anne Applebaum. Anne will pose and explore the question of why so many of those who won the battles for democracy or have spent their lives proclaiming its values are now succumbing to liars, thugs and crooks on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen, with Greg Jenner in conversation with Anna Carey. This discussion assembles a vibrant cast of over 125 actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, freaks, demigods, ruffians, and more, in search of celebrity's historical roots.
  • Stacking the coffins: Influenza, war and revolution in Ireland, 1918–19, with Ida Milne in conversation with Sarah-Anne Buckley. The 1918-19 influenza epidemic killed more than 50 million people, and infected between one-fifth and half of the world’s population. Like COVID-19 there was no preventative vaccine for the virus. In this work, Ida Milne tells how it impacted on Ireland, during a time of war and revolution.

Speaking at today's launch, Dublin City Librarian Mairead Owens said: “This year marks a huge departure for the festival. We have always prioritised the ‘in person’ experience of attendees at the festival, bringing people together to hear stories from our shared and diverse history. This year, however, for reasons that we all know only too well, we are moving online. This also presents a whole new opportunity for the festival, opening it up to people across Ireland and the world.

“Previously, people from around Ireland might have had to travel to Dublin for one day, or two. Now they can join the festival from the comfort of their own home, for as many events as they wish. Our own home-grown historians can also share their incredible historical research with people from anywhere in the world. It’s a very exciting time for the festival and we look forward to sharing what we have created here with communities beyond our traditional reach.”

The full programme of events will be published on the Festival's website in the coming weeks.

UPDATE, 28 August:
Booking is now open. View the programme.