This is our twentieth Liverpool Irish Festival (#LIF2022)!
We have taken ‘hunger’ as our theme, considering how this motivates and punishes, activates and harms. As we watch the world reconfigure itself to accommodate Covid, fake news and war-caused human-displacement in Europe, the Irish story of migration and a steadfast ambition to survive and thrive are not far from our thoughts.
Though noted for their nostalgia (a hunger for home), diaspora populations are now recognising that -in their new generations- ‘fernweh’ is on the up. Fernweh is the German word meaning ‘far sickness’; a hunger for a place that you have never been to.
At its glibbest, hunger may mean nourishment, but nourishment takes many forms. To be positively motivated, it is important that individuals balance and fuel their hungers. In Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Need’ the very foundation of the hierarchy consists of food, safety, warmth and self-esteem. Combined and balanced, these produce ‘homeostasis’; an internal equilibrium.
Without these basic physiological groundings, an individual will struggle to develop and grow. Only when these baseline hungers are sated, will a person look to improve their physical-, financial- and social- safety and wellbeing, thought of as our ‘safety needs’. With body and mind in check (however simply), we can venture in to social relationships, develop our esteem and push towards dreams and attainments. Each is driven by a hunger that follows on from fuelling one before; cause and effect. That food, safety, warmth and esteem are at the base of the pyramid, but the first to be threatened when war commences, is no mistake. Our sense of identity suffers when any of our basic hungers are challenged.
In 2022, as food availability and costs rocket; politics show discord, harm, disbelief, multiple ‘isms’ and war; energy prices soar whilst simultaneously climate change affects our warmth, it is unsurprising our self-esteem and identity are called in to question. Who are we? What motivates us? Can our hunger be used for good?
These are the sorts of questions we are looking at during #LIF2022 and in doing so we hope this year’s Liverpool Irish Festival will provide you with a space to feed and refuel; find and have conversations; build safer environments for and with each other and relate.
What have we done with our hunger in 2022?
Across the year we have been feeding our hungers. In February, we elevated female voices. We celebrated St Brigid, taking part in a Consul led discussion about women in the arts, defining our needs and spaces. March saw us seeking connection and friendship. Using #GlobalGreening we connected with global sister-cities. Additionally, we attended the Liverpool-Manchester Metro-Mayoral delegation to Dublin. During May and July, we sustained our Art Arcadia friendship, with artistic residencies in Derry and Liverpool.
Throughout 2022, we have been exercising our thirst for knowledge; compiling and delivering a book, maps and information on the Liverpool Irish Famine Trail. This has helped us to understand the Irish Famine’s lasting effects on Liverpool’s identity and the surrounding environment (more at liverpoolirishfaminetrail.com). We have built friendships and a space for creative pursuit, using our Cultural Connectedness Exchange Network (#CCEN). During our October Festival, we will celebrate Irish identity by giving voice to unheard stories, building confidences, providing representation and giving artists space to -in Maslow’s terms- ‘self-actualise’.
Despite its even number, 2022 is an odd year. As artists emerge from lockdown, programmers are trying to squeeze three years of work in to one year of venue availability. Having had no choice for entertainment outside the home, we are now spoiled for options. There are more one-person plays, podcasts, illustrations and solo works than ever. There are fewer new bands, large-scale films and ensemble pieces. Our programme reflects this change in hunger/demand/production. Likewise, our newspaper provides deeper insights in to the work, the lives of our artists and the stories they share.
Share and refuel your hunger
Our Festival is made of stories about Irishness and reveals people searching for -and finding- their identity. We hope you ‘ll join us in the physical and virtual spaces we build and that we can feed some of your hungers. We can’t wait to see you and share time with you. In the meantime, tabhairígí aire agus fanaígí slán/take care and stay safe!
Use our handle @LivIrishFest or hashtag #LIF2022 on all platforms. Keep it ‘real-time’; get in touch or comment on the Festival as we go along.
Liverpool Irish Festival (registered charity No.110126, Company No. 4800736) is governed by a volunteer board, chaired by John Chandler, an original founder.
We receive regular funding from Liverpool City Council’s Culture Arts Investment Programme and the Government of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs Emigrant Support Programme. In 2020, we received HM Government’s Cultural Recovery Funding: #HereForCulture. We have been fortunate to receive
- National Lottery Heritage Funds for work on the Liverpool Irish Famine Trail
- Arts Council England funding (to deliver our Festival in Oct 2022)
- Tourism Ireland sponsorship
- media support from The Irish World who are additionally supporting our launch.
To each we say thank you and go raibh maith agat/may you have goodness.
First published: 30 Aug 2022.