Joyce masterpiece inspires European odyssey

James Joyce’s novel Ulysses and Homer’s Odyssey are the inspiration for a creative journey across 18 European cities over the next year.

The Ulysses European Odyssey programme involves public events taking the book’s 18 episodes as starting points for creative responses to challenges facing contemporary Europe.

In a pan-Continental exchange, 30 emerging artists and 18 writers, one from each city, will be involved. The cities include Lugo, Vilnius, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Cluj, Zurich, Leeuwarden, Eleusios, Oulu and Berlin.

The programme, conceived by Arts Over Borders Ireland Ireland working with Brave New World Producties of the Netherlands, will tackle contemporary issues including citizenship and democracy, migration, youth, ageing populations, social media, food production and sustainability, education, religion, sexual identity, the environment, mental health and community will all be found to resonate in Joyce’s pivotal novel.

Ulysses and Odyssey are two of the greatest works of literature, each having something to say about people, society and our relationships with one another” said Séan Doran and Liam Browne of Arts Over Borders at the launch to mark Bloom’s Day, June 16. “Like those two inspiration points, Ulysses European Odyssey is a journey that involves people and ideas, which moves across Europe at a pivotal time in its history.

“As James Joyce did, it celebrates the modern city and through public performance and lively debate we hope it will shine a light on human complexity, develop new international partnerships, offer cross-border solutions and stimulate new active citizenship between the arts and society.”

The programme includes 14 free public city events in public areas, with symposia involving people from all areas of life invited to take part. “The aim” said Doran and Browne “is to create chARTer 309, a new democratic statement for the future relationship between the arts and society based on the 18 themes in Ulysses to be published in late 2024”. TheUlysses European Odyssey is funded through an award of €1.72m from the European Commission’s Creative Europe Fund, and the full programme can be found at this website. 

Image shows the Odyssey of Vilnelé at Vilnius, June 2023



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