What were the books that opened minds, bridged divides or inspired new possibilities amongst Loyalist and Republican political prisoners?
This panel event draws on a unique Open University Oral History Archive researching the educational life-journeys of former political prisoners, Open University staff and prison education staff in Northern Ireland’s prisons from 1972-2000. Come and listen to our panel, comprised of Open University staff and ex-political prisoners, discuss the books that inspired change.
John D’Arcy: National Director, The Open University
Panel members include:
Billy Hutchinson: an Open University graduate and Loyalist ex-prisoner who studied with The Open University while in the Compounds in the Maze Long Kesh prison. Billy is currently leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) and a Belfast City Councillor.
Jennifer McCann: an Open University graduate and former Republican prisoner who studied with The Open University during her time in Armagh and Maghaberry prisons. Jennifer was MLA for West Belfast until 2016 and is currently working for Relatives for Justice.
Seanna Walsh: an Open University graduate and former Republican prisoner who studied with The Open University during his time in the H-Blocks in Maze Long Kesh prison. Seanna is currently a Belfast City Councillor, political activist and Legacy and Outreach worker for Coiste na n-Iarchimí.
Gabi Kent: Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University. Gabi is a member of The Open University in Ireland Oral History project team and will be leading the discussion around the panel’s chosen texts.
A separate tour of Crumlin Road Gaol will be taking place at 8.45pm. Please note that this is not part of this event but if you would like the opportunity to join the tour, you must make payment to Crumlin Road Gaol on arrival, before the event takes place. Booking is based on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information and contact details for the venue, please visit crumlinroadgaol.com.