The Art of Witness

Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, in conjunction with the Annual Mother Tongues Arts Festival 2021 are delighted to host ‘The Art of Witness’, a  presentation of creative practice and an online panel discussion exploring themes of language, identity and culture on the island of Ireland. ‘The Art of Witness’ takes place online on Friday 14 May 2021 at 7.30pm.


Artists and panel members are award-winning writer Féilim James whose work in both Irish and English has won several awards including the Arts of Council of Ireland Literature Bursary Award and Professional Development Award and an Arts Bursary from Dublin City Arts Office; Noelle McAlinden, from Northern Ireland who is a visual artist, creative advisor, mental health campaigner, curator and cultural broker; Richard Edgar, Author and Historian and Kwasie Boyce, Artistic Director of M.A.D. Youth Theatre, Dundalk. Our event takes place in partnership with Mother Tongues Festival and features discussion with all panel members, moderated by Kwasie Boyce, intercut with poetry readings by Féilim James and visual art offerings by Noelle McAlinden.


Across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Europe and beyond citizens of all backgrounds and cultures are finding ways to come together to create spaces where culture works to strengthen social ties. Smashing Times are delighted to bring together a panel of artists, creatives and communities from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to share artworks and generate dialogue on how the arts can be used to explore themes of language, identity and culture in relation to equality and rights and to imagine alternative ways of living and engaging with others in understanding, trust and peace on the island of Ireland and beyond.


Presented by Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality as part of State of the Art and Creative Connections. Supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and The Reconciliation Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


The Art of Witness Online Event

Artists and Panel: Feilim James, Noelle McAlinden and Richard Edgar

Moderator: Kwasie Boyce

Where: Online via Zoom

When: Friday 14 May, 7.30pm

Booking: Booking fee of 5 euro – Book here


Panel Members


Féilim James, writer

Féilim James is a writer from Dublin, Ireland. In 2020, the Arts of Council of Ireland awarded Féilim a Literature Bursary Award to finish his debut novel, Flower of Ash, as well as a Professional Development Award. He also received an Arts Bursary from Dublin City Arts Office in 2021 to finish his first poetry collection, I was a river, lost. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals, including The Fiction Pool, The Galway Review, and Icarus. His work through Irish, under Féilim Ó Brádaigh, has won seven Oireachtas na Gaeilge literary awards. Visit his website.


Noelle McAlinden, Visual Artist, Creative Advisor, Mental Health Campaigner, Curator and Cultural Broker

Noelle Mc Alinden is a practicing artist exhibiting locally, regionally and Internationally with work in public and private collections across the UK, Europe, US and Canada. Noelle is a Creative Adviser, Curator, Arts Educationalist, a former Head of Art and Design in a Post-Primary school and Senior Lecturer for Arts at Fermanagh College of Further Education. As an Arts Activist for almost 39 years Noelle has worked across statutory, voluntary, youth and community sectors. Noelle is passionate about all artforms promoting visual and performing arts, moving image, film and digital literacy. She was Chair of Creative Youth Partnerships and served as Chair of The Forum for Local Government and the Arts. She is an active advocate for the arts supporting the development of artists and creatives and promoting collaborative and strategic partnerships locally, regionally and Internationally. Noelle is also passionate about the power of the arts to transform communities, support cultural tourism, economic regeneration, health and wellbeing and support for peace and Reconciliation.


Richard Edgar, Author and Historian

Richard Edgar is an Author and Historian based in Portadown. He has a keen interest in Genealogy and is also a regular contributor to Portadown Heritage Tours.


Kwasie Boyce, Artistic Director of Mad Youth Theatre, Dundalk

Kwasie Boyce lives in Dundalk, County Louth. He was born and raised in Trinidad and later grew up in New York from his early teens. He found his calling as an actor and trained and performed with IMPACT Repertory Theatre Performance Company, Negro Ensemble Company and Theatre For the New City. He was drawn to theatre companies where Activism is at the core to the work they create and stories they tell.


He took part in many film projects including features in Vikings, Red Rock and Bloods.  He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Dundalk’s M.A.D. Youth Theatre and proud to say they are heading into their 10th Year. They have devised and produced award winning plays and have a reputation for taking risk and not shying away from issues that young people want to talk about.  He works as a freelance drama facilitator in schools and various youth organisations and currently serves as Dundalk Youth Centre’s programme coordinator for PEACE IV Anticlockwise programme, where they use art as a tool to explore conflict, peace and reconciliation.


Mother Tongues Arts Festival 2021

With a programme featuring over 40 artists, Mother Tongues Arts Festival 2021 will take place primarily online, keeping participation at the heart of their programme with the Walk A While initiative.


The Mother Tongues Festival remains the largest Irish Festival celebrating linguistic diversity throughout the arts. Until 2020, the weekend-long Festival took place on the 21st of February to celebrate its founding organisation’s first birthday and UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. This year, the programme will take place throughout May 2021 in conjunction with World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The Festival will feature a dynamic programme of art workshops, school visits, film screenings, and a series of events available in 20 different languages.

To learn more about the 2021 Mother Tongues Festival and to get your tickets, visit

Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality is dedicated to the promotion, study and practice of the arts, human rights, climate justice and gender equality. Smashing Times is an international award-winning organisation working with artists, citizens and communities to create collaborative art practice in local, national, European and international settings. Our mission is to lead the development of the arts to promote and advance equality and human rights and to connect citizens to the arts, human rights, climate justice and gender equality. 


For further information please visit the Smashing Times website or contact the Smashing Times office

on  or call us on +353 (0) 1 865 6613


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