Tag Archives: People

Romanticising Yet Disregarding Revolution in Modern-Day England

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I’ve chosen a beautiful drawing by Andrea Bowers, which is based on Walter Crane’s 1894 Offering for May Day as the photo for this piece on purpose. Walter’s original was published in a socialist magazine and Bowers reimagined version can be seen in London’s Tate Modern. Theoretically this should be seen as a progression because the symbol has become immortalised in art and lauded as a masterpiece in the modern day. However, in reality, it seems to symbolise society’s desire to romanticise symbols for their aesthetic beauty and not their message.

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The Status Quo of Schools

Why – as a species – are we so obsessed with the protection of the status quo? I’ve been too busy to blog recently as a return to work after the holidays has proven hectic. However, it has given me ample time to reflect on my role as an (somewhat reluctant) enforcer of the status quo – a teacher. Through school, we ensure that children are kept occupied spending – at least – two-thirds of their waking childhoods consuming skills and facts integral to becoming a ‘productive’ part of society.

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Warmth in Rural Ireland

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It’s become a cliché to remark on the friendly demeanour of the Irish and as an Irishman, a statement that I’ve always contested. Not with any kind of vehement hatred but more an understanding that friendly and hostile people exist in equal measure everywhere – you sometimes just have to find them! However, in my most recent homecoming, I’ve found there is a lot of truth to the stereotype.

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted and this period can only really be described as a creative hiatus. It would be wrong to call it writer’s block because the problem extended far beyond words on a page. It was more of a shutting down of creative thought. It’s curious that periods like effect more than just my writing and creativity. It – at risk of melodrama – corrodes the very sinews of the soul and chips away at my sense of purpose.

Writing and creating are towards the heart of my sense of being, if they are interrupted I feel lost.

Last year, I wrote an article about creating an artwork from chaos. I went to Tenerife’s Carnaval. It’s an event whose Christian origins are, thankfully, lost in a sea of beer, urine and colourful costumes, storming with the beats of Spanish salsa sounds. I arrived – as before – with a blank canvas, paint and colouring markers intent of creating another piece with the help of the masses.

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March 7, 2015 · 9:00 am

Circumcision Festival: Mbale, Uganda

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The stifling morning air churns with excitement, energy and the sweet smell of homemade hooch. The road is coated with drunken pilgrims seeking refuge, dancing and chaos inside the gates. A sea of blue and green monitors the scene ready with cattle-herder’s sticks and AK-47s to beat any civil unrest – which might be detrimental to the elite minority -into the muddy dust at our feet.

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A Solution to Poverty & Corruption

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There’s a strong and unmistakable feeling of pride that one gains as a teacher. The feeling when you teach a student a new concept and watch them apply it. It’s truly wonderful and one of the greatest perks of the job. However, with training teachers, I experienced something even greater. The feeling when you teach a teacher a new concept and watch them apply it. You can then watch the students become more engaged in the lesson and learn more. It is a truly rewarding experience and one that I find incomparable.

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Sharing Skills with Ugandan Teachers

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The nineteen year old headmaster – with a second level qualification – leads me to our shelter from the morning sun. We sit in the shade of a pine tree, around a locally-produced wooden table and chairs. I am warmly greeted by the other members of staff, a man in his late-teens and an eighteen year old mother nursing her baby boy, as I take a sit at the rather delicately-placed table. The school – a cobbled concoction of mud, concrete and bricks – sits almost apologetically beside some eavesdropping cows and goats. This was my first experience of being a ‘teacher-trainer’ last week.

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The Disarming effect of Ugandan Religious Fervor

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I am, and have always been, a staunch atheist with a respect and fascination with religion but a firm belief that it shouldn’t be aggressively re-enforced or alluded to, publicly. Personal experience has dictated that people who vocalize their beliefs are the same people that disregard those of others. Further being raised in the semi-rural Ireland of the 1990’s, I had a Catholic-immersed childhood. The most positive result of which having ample imagination-developing time at Mass each week. However, peculiarly I don’t find the reality of religion seeping into every facet of life in Uganda as abhorrent as I thought I would.

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Pessimism Greets Victory

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Ireland tops a – grammatically adventurous – survey to win ‘goodest’ country to live. Now that in itself isn’t something that I deem worthy of comment[1] . However, the outrage (within my homeland) over the victory needs to be unpacked. Irish people greeted the award with angry emails denouncing the country’s status.

On the surface, this seems like a ludicrous concept rooted in a deep-seeded, anti-nationalistic, pessimism. A society so lacking in patriotism that any celebration of the nation leads to cries of treason. However, such a reasoning lacks an understanding of the self-deprecating and cynical nature of the Irish.

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The Wasted Third

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I started thinking yesterday after work about our relationship with our working lives. I personally really enjoy my work – I’m a teacher – and gain great satisfaction and pleasure from my job. It really got me thinking. As I speculated, I sought the assistance of a thesaurus for language manipulation. If we consider the synonyms of work we find the words toil, labour, grind and drudgery. All of which paint a Dickensian portrait in charcoal and darkness on the innocent canvas of youth. We are almost trained to believe that work – like school to many youths – is the necessary evil for enjoyment. I’ve never been (nor do I ever care to be) a member of this rather bleak club. For many though it is, sadly, the norm that they exist within.

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