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Exploring the session space
Daithí Kearney

12 ‘Traditional Irish music here tonight’: exploring the session space Daithí Kearney It is a Tuesday night, November 2010, approaching half past nine in a bar in east Cork. Two television screens show European Champions League soccer matches featuring teams from the English Premier League. A scattering of people are gathered around watching with varied levels of interest; many are regulars in that they come here when the team they support is playing, or simply for a quiet pint. Séamus, the manager, is behind the bar, greeting many by name and knows their drinks

in Spacing Ireland
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Place, society and culture in a post-boom era

Ireland is a turbulent place. This book engages readers with the contours of transformation of Irish society through a series of distinct episodes and sites where change can be confronted. The content of the book intersects with the boom and bust themes to explore the economic and social implications of the recession. The processes are as diverse as cross-border development, farming knowledges, food movements, and the evolution of traditional Irish music. The modernisation of Irish society during the Celtic Tiger and its subsequent demise was a 'spatial drama' involving transformation in the material landscape and the imaginative representation of the island. The first part of the book explores the revolving intersections of identity politics with place. It tracks the discovery of the ghost estate and the ways in which it has been implicated in debates about the Irish economic crash, complicating ideas of home and community. After a discussion on immigration, the book discusses the role of migrants in filling labour and skill shortages. The second part pays attention to questions of mobility and consumption in urban and rural contexts. The new Irish motorway network, free time, leisure and holidaying in the lives of lone parents during the Celtic Tiger, and the role of National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) are discussed. The third part explores diverse cultural practices and some longstanding representations of Ireland. An autobiographical tour of the pub session, National Geographic's representations of Irish landscape and the current Irish imagination are the key concepts of this part.

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Jenna C. Ashton

Manchester: Something rich and strange Hair – Jenna C. Ashton Can things be, or tell, stories?4 I ponder this question as I open the long envelope passed to me by the archivist at the Royal Northern College of Music on Oxford Road. I am in search of an evocative object, a souvenir of longing. I know it resides here. Whose story do I wish to tell? Can the dead speak through their things? Are we simply clumsy translators looking for meaning to validate our own interests? I suspect it is the latter; but never mind – I find it, I feel it. A brown packet, Mother

in Manchester
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Something rich and strange

Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.

This book explores contemporary urban experiences connected to practices of sharing and collaboration. Part of a growing discussion on the cultural meaning and the politics of urban commons, it uses examples from Europe and Latin America to support the view that a world of mutual support and urban solidarity is emerging today in, against, and beyond existing societies of inequality. In such a world, people experience the potentialities of emancipation activated by concrete forms of space commoning. By focusing on concrete collective experiences of urban space appropriation and participatory design experiments this book traces differing, but potentially compatible, trajectories through which common space (or space-as-commons) becomes an important factor in social change. In the everydayness of self-organized neighborhoods, in the struggles for justice in occupied public spaces, in the emergence of “territories in resistance,” and in dissident artistic practices of collaborative creation, collective inventiveness produces fragments of an emancipated society.

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Infrastructure, financial extraction and the global South

No struggle for social justice that lacks a grounded understanding of how wealth is accumulated within society, and by whom, is ever likely to make more than a marginal dent in the status quo. Much work has been done over the years by academics and activists to illuminate the broad processes of wealth extraction. But a constantly watchful eye is essential if new forms of financial extraction are to be blocked, short-circuited, deflected or unsettled. So when the World Bank and other well-known enablers of wealth extraction start to organise to promote greater private-sector involvement in ‘infrastructure’, for example through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), alarm bells should start to ring. How are roads, bridges, hospitals, ports and railways being eyed up by finance? What bevels and polishes the lens through which they are viewed? How is infrastructure being transformed into an ‘asset class’ that will yield the returns now demanded by investors? Why now? What does the reconfiguration of infrastructure tell us about the vulnerabilities of capital? The challenge is not only to understand the mechanisms through which infrastructure is being reconfigured to extract wealth: equally important is to think through how activists might best respond. What oppositional strategies genuinely unsettle elite power instead of making it stronger?

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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

Listening in/to Tim Robinson
Gerry Smyth

11 ‘About nothing, about everything’: listening in/to Tim Robinson Gerry Smyth And now as if the cleaning and the scrubbing and the scything and the mowing had drowned it there rose that half-heard melody, that intermittent music which the ear half catches but lets fall; a bark, a bleat; irregular, intermittent, yet somehow related; the hum of an insect, the tremor of cut grass, dissevered yet somehow belonging; the jar of a dor beetle, the squeak of a wheel, loud, low, but mysteriously related; which the ear strains to bring together and is always on the verge

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
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Sarah Butler

. The stink of traffic fumes. The lack of somewhere to sleep. The colour grey. Out of line.    Cross the line.     Down the line.       End of the line.         Bottom line. Free books. Pizza. Burrito. Noodles. Theatre ticket. Plug adaptor. Memories. Cheap veg. A place to go. Guitar string. Lamb karahi. Family swim. Concerto. Americano. Chameleon. Knowledge. Music. Prayer. Pre-loved jumper. Haircut. Bank loan. Fertility treatment. Contemporary art. Trees. A line into and out of the city. A place of beginnings and middles and ends. A string of and then, and then, and

in Manchester
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John Elder

north-western Spain. One reason for my fascination with this family resemblance, geologically speaking, is a growing interest in Irish music over the past decade. My life, from birth in Kentucky to adulthood in Vermont, has involved a progression up the Appalachian spine. The fretless banjo eventually gave way for me to playing Irish flute. Even before observing those colourful Appalachian bedrocks splashed into the maps of Ireland and Vermont, I  was struck by the strong continuities between Celtic musical traditions and those of the southern Appalachians and New

in Unfolding Irish landscapes