States of Independence
A celebration of Change-Makers
Celebrating the stories of ten change-makers from the Decade of Centenaries and the stories of ten changemakers today working to make society a better place for all
Supported by The Arts Council Open Call, as part of ART: 2023 a Decade of Centenaries Collaboration between The Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Inspired by the stories of ten changemakers, visionaries and leaders from the Decade of Centenaries 1912-1922 and the stories of ten change-makers from today working to make society a better place for all, ten professional artists come together to collaborate on the development of a series of artworks for public display in eight sites – both ancient and modern – across Ireland and for display via creative billboards and online.
States of Independence celebrates the stories of ten change-makers from the Decade of Centenaries 1912-1922 linked to the stories of ten change-makers today working to make society a better place. The twenty stories gathered act as inspiration for the creation of new artworks by ten artists, working in visual art, film, dance, theatre, creative writing and digital arts. The artists come together to create a range of artworks and performances for public display in eight sites – both ancient and modern – across Ireland and for display via a creative billboards campaign and online on the Smashing Times Virtual Art Gallery. The stories, artworks and performances are shared with public audiences to reflect on modern day revolutionary visions for the future inspired by the past, launched for the annual Dublin International Arts and Human Rights festival 13 to 22 October 2022.
The internationally acclaimed team of ten artists is led by Mary Moynihan, an award-winning writer, poet, director, theatre and film-maker and Artistic Director, Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, working with John Scott, Artistic Director and Choreographer, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, and a range of artists working in literature, visual arts, theatre, film and new digital technologies.
The team collaboratively create a series of interconnected artworks including a live multi-disciplinary performance, visual art projections and a creative billboards campaign to be launched for the 2023 annual International Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival taking place from the 13 to 22 October 2023. Events are accompanied by panel discussions and public talks on new visions for a peaceful and equal society for all.
Events take place in Dublin, Kerry, Clare and Donegal with online work accessible across Ireland and internationally celebrating changemakers and heroes from the past and today, bringing people together to promote active citizenship, equality, human rights and diversity and celebrating new visions for a peaceful and equal future for all. Events take place in a range of venues both ancient and modern including Office of Public Work spaces throughout Ireland.
Why do we need Change-Makers?
States of Independence is a project using creativity and new digital technologies to celebrate ten visionaries, change-makers and leaders from the Decade of Centenaries linked to the work of ten change-makers today, ordinary people acting to make society a better place, and using the stories and artworks to reflect on modern day revolutionary visions for the future inspired by the past. The work generates discussion and reflection on how the past impacts on our lives today in positive, inspiring ways and highlights the future as a place where anything can happen, and you can be anything you want to be. Change-maker stories are drawn from women, working classes, union members and diverse communities active in Ireland from 1912-1922 and active in Ireland today highlighting the role ordinary citizens played in the fight for freedom in the past as well as in the struggle to create a better society for all today.
The number 10 symbolises the completion of a circle or the circle of life. For this project, ten artists come together to respond creatively to the ten years of the Decade of Centenaries 1912-1922 through a celebration of the stories and actions of ten change-makers, visionaries and heroes from 1916-1923 linked to ten change-makers today, creating artworks for public display in sites – both ancient and modern – across Ireland.
Perhaps ten can be described as a perfect number because 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. This number symbolized unity arising from multiplicity, oneness of the spirit arising from growth. 10 symbolises all possible spaces. The symbolic meaning of the number ten signifies a previous cycle of life has ended and a new cycle has begun. The one and the zero are reunited whereby energy has taken a full course and transformed – or stayed the same. Ireland is celebrating a decade of centenaries and we are looking at new beginnings and what a new Ireland means today, exploring new visions for the next ten, twenty or one hundred years.
Why do we need change-makers? For young people they can inspire and motivate them to be heroic themselves. Change-maker stories can amplify values of equality and rights, they can show us how to overcome challenges, how to stand up for others, and can inspire us to work together to build a better world for all. Change-makers highlight qualities we already have but may not be aware of. Stories of change can pick us up when we are down and give us hope. They bring light into darkness and validate cultural values of dignity and respect for others. Finally, stories of heroes and heroic myth have been around for centuries alongside our desire for equality and justice. Heroes can fuel a community desire to stand up for justice and the rights of others.
When it comes to who our change-makers are, we need to move beyond the traditional narratives to learn about new heroes for new states of independence on the island of Ireland. If we remove the cloak of invisibility, what stories exist in the liminal space from diverse sources. A key theme is to explore why do we need change-makers and what are our revolutionary visions for the future?
Change-Makers from the past – Decade of Centenaries
The stories from the past are taken from the Decade of Centenaries period and aim to highlight the work done for change in Irish society by ordinary people living under extraordinary circumstances. Many people active during the period 1914-1924 such as women or trade union members were consciously striving not just for freedom but for a new social order where all people were treated equal, living up to the ideals of the Irish proclamation. The aim is to highlight the work of these changemakers and their actions and to explore their impact alongside similarities and differences for changemakers in Irish society today who are still campaigning for a full realisation of the visionary ethics framed within the Irish proclamation first publicly proclaimed at the GPO in 1916.
There are Multiple states of independence within the Irish nation state – men, women, LGTBTQ+, people with disabilities, ethnic minority communities, asylum seekers, refugees, youth, adults, different religions and different political parties. Working with diverse communities or ‘states of Independence’ the project is a choreography of movement, bodies, ideas, images, story and text taking place across multiple platforms. The stories from the past and today reflect these diverse states of independence, with the project animating stories from the past, to be shared in the present through an ambitious, large-scale, public-facing live action art programme.
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is celebrated every year on 10 December, when the world remembers the extraordinary accomplishment on that day in 1948 when all the nations came together in Paris to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human Rights Defenders are people, either individuals or members of a group, who work peacefully to defend the rights of others. They are key agents of social change working peacefully to create more just and equal societies in their own countries. This work is often seen by repressive governments, or other powerful interests, as a threat to the status quo. Their work is criminalised, and they themselves are the subject of smear campaigns in the media and are often the targets of threats, intimidation, arrest and killings. The arts can be an inclusive and accessible way to promote learning in relation to human rights by remembering and celebrating the courage and achievements of human rights defenders .
Open Call and Public Workshops for Gathering Stories of Change and quotes on new visions for the future
As part of States of Independence, Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality are conducting ten creative workshops open to the public and are holding an open call inviting members of the public to nominate a change-maker story from the Decade of Centenaries and a change-maker story from today.
Who was a change-maker , visionary, champion or warrior in your life, a person who inspired you, made change for you, themselves or others? This can be a friend, relative, a loved one, a stranger, your best friend, someone from history or yourself!
Tell us who is the change-maker that inspires you.
Tell us who is the change-maker that inspires you. Nominate a change-maker.
For further information please contact Freda Manweiler, producer, telephone 087 2214245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
States of Independence Creative Workshops
Take part in one of ten States of Independence theatre-based town-hall style workshops open to the public and held to explore and identify stories of change-makers and to gather 100 quotes, statements and stories from members of the public on the key themes ‘Who are the change-makers, visionaries, champions or warriors that inspire us?’ and ‘Revolutionary Visions for the Future’ exploring new visions for an equal and peaceful society for all.
The workshops use a fun, theatre-based process to explore and collect stories of change-makers from the Decade of Centenaries and stories of change-makers from today, as well as 100 quotes and statements for the future on two key themes ‘Who are the change-makers, visionaries or warriors that inspire us ?’ and ‘Revolutionary Visions for the Future’.
Sign up here if you would like to take part in a States of Independence Creative Workshop. All welcome. No experience necessary.
Friday 5 May 2023. 7.30pm – 9pm
Sandymount Cultural Committee
Sandymount Community Centre,
Thursday 22 Jun 2023. 10am – 1pm
Kildare Traveller Action
Aras, Main Street Newbridge,
Tuesday 4 July 2023 7pm – 9pm
SoloSIRENs theatre collective at the Civic Theatre for Change-Maker theatre-based workshop
Civic Theatre, Tallaght,
Booking email: Admin@smashingtimes.ie
Saturday 8 July 2023 12.30 to 1.30
Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Thursday 20 July 2023 2pm – 4pm
Bankhouse Refugee Centre,
Wednesday 12 July 2023 11am – 1pm
Saint Michaels House
Macro Community Centre, Green Street,
Sunday 13 August 2023, 2pm – 3pm
Pearse Museum, St Enda’s Park
Grange Road Rathfarnham,
Saturday 19 August 2023, 2pm – 3pm
Pearse Museum, St Enda’s Park
Grange Road Rathfarnham
Sunday 20 August 2023, 2pm – 3pm
Pearse Museum, St Enda’s Park
Grange Road Rathfarnham
Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality – Who We Are
Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality is an award-winning creative arts organisation, leading the developing of the arts to promote and advance equality, human rights and diversity. Founded in 1991, Smashing Times operates as a world class arts space and digital hub for artists, activists, citizens, communities and the general public presenting work on the national and international arena and working with over 50 organisations across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally. The vision is to connect citizens to the arts, human rights, climate justice, gender equality, diversity, health, well-being and peace, working with artists and local communities and communities of interest to create collaborative art practice in local, national, European, and international settings. The company provides a Resource and Advice service; an Arts and Human Rights network; an annual and multi-annual interdisciplinary arts programme; training and an annual international Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival. All artistic mediums are supported with a focus on the performing and collaborative arts including theatre, film, visual arts, dance, music and digital arts. The company is led by award-winning writer, theatre, film-maker and Artistic Director Mary Moynihan and Producer Freda Manweiler. Company patrons are Sabina Coyne Higgins, Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, Ger Ryan, actor and Tim Pat Coogan, writer and historian. Founding patrons were writers Maeve Binchy and Brian Friel.
Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival
Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and Front Line Defenders, and a range of partners, present the fifth annual, international Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival taking place from the 13 to 22 October 2023 and featuring a range of exciting and innovative events which promote equality, human rights and diversity through the arts.
The aim of the festival is to use high quality creative processes and collaborative arts practice to showcase and highlight the extraordinary work of human rights defenders in Ireland and around the world, past and present, and to celebrate the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today. The artistic curator for the festival is Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, Smashing Times and the human rights curator is Laura O’Leary, International Events and Promotions Coordinator, Front Line Defenders. The festival is a hybrid programme delivered over 10 days and hosts an exciting blend of events happening in-person and online, featuring Irish and and international artists and guest speakers, reaching audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. There is something for everyone interested in the arts for equality, human rights and diversity. The Dublin International Arts and Human Rights festival is supported by The Arts Council.
Partners: Supported by the Arts Council, the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival is an annual, international festival organised by Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and Front Line Defenders, a Dublin based international organisation working to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders at risk, in partnership with Amnesty International, Fighting Words, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Trócaire, and Irish PEN. Creative partners include Irish Modern Dance Theatre, dlr Mill Theatre Dundrum, EPIC Irish Emigration Museum, Unapologetic Magazine, and UNESCO Dublin City of Literature.