Derry/Londonderry

Derry/Londonderry, as its dual name and nickname, Stroke City, implies, has been a divided space, geographically, politically and culturally. Its selection as UK City of Culture highlights this conflicted identity since the city’s traditions are both Irish and British (which currently encompasses Scottish, but 2013 may bring a new perspective on that …) We expect Irish and other aspects of national and regional identity, to be themes throughout the conference programme, to which we hope scholars from the Republic of Ireland will contribute. The City of Culture concept – which will be discussed in our opening plenary – also represents general economic and social regeneration. As the local team puts it: ‘City of Culture is now the catalyst for the transformation and regeneration of Derry, with plans to invest more than £200 million in its infrastructure including the recent construction of the iconic Peace Bridge (see picture) and the redevelopment of the historic Ebrington Military Site, adding a whole new dimension to the city’s product offering.’

Cultural activities

The Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau, (see www.derryvisitor.com ) along with the City of Culture team, are offering support to the conference in a variety of ways, including negotiating special deals with hotels, helping with transport, setting up venues for events and entertainment, and publicity. The bureau has provided a suggested itinerary for visitors who might like to spend longer in the city (see attached). We’ve also tried to make time within the conference programme for sampling the city’s striking landmarks during daylight (alas, days are short in January). Alongside the conference programme will be cultural events – screenings, tours, music, exhibitions, and of course the traditional pub quiz. This will take place after the Conference dinner on the middle night, Thursday 10th January. Both dinner and quiz will be in the beautifully restored Custom House restaurant close to the Derry quayside (see accompanying pictures). With the help of the Bureau, a number of hotels have offered special conference rates for five nights, not just three, for visitors who’d like to spend longer in the city; several hotels in the city are holding reserved accommodation for us. The city is small, and virtually all the venues and hotels are within walking distance of each other and of the Magee Campus. Help with transport arrangements is being offered by the City of Culture organisers.

For more about Derry/Londonderry see:

www.derryvisitor.com and www.cityofculture2013.com

Posted by Einar Thorsen