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‘Something unique is getting created’

Concordia prof Katie Young invites her School of Irish Studies students to exhibit at this year’s Nuit Blanche on March 2
February 26, 2024

Young smiling woman with glasses, shoulder-length blonde hair and wearing glasses and a teal blazer and blue top. Katie Young: “Students in the program find it so enriching to study in more than 12 disciplines and have small classes.”

New Concordia faculty member Katie Young is finding innovative ways to bring all things Irish into her classroom and beyond. Her courses in cultural geography are the latest addition to the wide array of multidisciplinary courses offered by the School of Irish Studies.

This winter, Young’s students are working on projects that will be featured as part of Nuit Blanche, Montreal’s annual all-night arts festival. “They’re doing some really exciting things,” she says about the school’s first foray into the festival on March 2.

“One student group is looking at light and how different experiences at night are influenced by it. Others are working on an interactive zine, a short film and a podcast of interviews featuring DJs from Ireland. Something unique is getting created.”

Called Night Culture in Ireland and the Irish Diaspora, the event will include histories of the night, its physical geography and shifting policies and cultural movements around night space.

A group of laughing young people sitting round desks in a library settting

Why Irish Studies?

As an arts-based ethnographer and now an assistant professor of cultural geography, Young explores everyday experiences of space through the lens of music and media.

“Concordia is great because you have so much diversity and interdisciplinarity within one course, which makes it very vibrant,” she notes.

“And the School of Irish Studies is a really great place to learn because you have researchers and academics coming from all different disciplines and perspectives. It’s a unique opportunity.”

Despite the school’s name, more than half of the students aren’t of Irish heritage, according to Young.

Instead, they’re interested in studying Ireland’s history and culture and the variety of complex issues surrounding them. These include colonization, language, cultural preservation and shifting national identities — all of which are very familiar here in Canada and Quebec.

“Students in the School of Irish Studies program find it so enriching to have the opportunity to study in more than 12 disciplines and have small classes. They also have professors who teach about their own PhD research topics in multiple Irish studies fields ranging from history, politics, literature, film, geography, gender, diaspora studies and more,” she explains.

“In class, all of these topics are expanded, from Ireland’s rich story to contemporary world issues.”

An exciting Green Season

During the several weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, as well as after it — a time dubbed the “Green Season” — the School of Irish Studies will be offering a variety of programming options in addition to the Nuit Blanche event.

They include the season three launch of the popular podcast, The Irish in Canada, from Jane McGaughey, the Johnson Chair of Quebec and Canadian Irish Studies; and a Lunch & Learn series where McGaughey will explore the history of Quebec’s Irish community. Both events take place on March 7.

And on March 21, author Lisa McInerney will presents as part of the Writers Read Series.

Find out more about
Concordia’s School of Irish Studies.



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