Centre Culturel Irlandais Director Nora Hickey M'Sichili introduces the Centre's Addressing the Nations series, featuring four evenings of impassioned speeches from contemporary Irish creatives - watch the Addressing the Nations sessions above and below. 


With 2020 as the year of the televised address of the nation, the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris commissioned 40 artists from a wide range of artistic disciplines to address the world with their reflections on these times, inviting these artists and creative thinkers, our cultural augurs, to have their say and set their roadmap for the future.

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Over 4 evenings, the invited artists conveyed their values and preoccupations, their messages of courage, gratitude, anger, despair and aspiration. 

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Launched on 20 January, Inauguration Day in the US, Irish artists addressed the burning issues of our time; the impact of Covid-19, inequality, populism, Brexit and mental health. Addressing the Nations begins on the cusp of not just a new year, but on the cusp of the European Union, with the first artist literally standing on the Irish/UK border. The artists think local, they think global.

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Artists such as Siobhan McSweeney point to the failures of world leaders in the face of the pandemic and call for action. Filmmaker Paul Rowley in Brooklyn reflects on four years in the USA under the Trump administration with hope now for a brighter future, with those who once felt on the margins, now claiming their place in society. The importance of hearing those living on the edges is brought to the fore in a very tangible way by performance poet Alice McCullough.

With artists so often spearheading societal, political and cultural change, these impassioned speeches reinforce how vital it is that our artists have a seat at the table in determining our future.