RCE Dublin - 2019

Dublin in the Coming Times project
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Dublin in the Coming Times project
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Dublin
Contributing organization(s) : 
Dublin City University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Orla Lehane
Organizational Affiliation: 
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Address of focal point institution for project: 
March, 2014 to March, 2019
In acknowledging the need for the public to think about issues of sustainability and, in doing so, look to and consider the future, this project was developed to offer creative ways of doing so. Given the centrality of storytelling in the lives of Dubliners, including storytelling about the city, it was decided to make this the focus of the literature strand of RCE Dublin. This approach emphasises the creative writing process itself as a form of sustainability, and contributes to the ongoing recognition of Dublin as a City of Literature. Having Dubliners engage in storytelling and writing about the future of the city would brought both a focus to the sustainability of the city from the perspective of its citizens, and encouraged and supported new writing, something that remains an integral part of the very culture and sustainability of the city. The resulting publications offer ongoing engagement for readers around themes of sustainability.
The aim of this project is to:
1) Raise awareness of sustainability issues through a programme of creative writing workshops and accompanying publications.
2) Engage citizens of Dublin in the reimagination of their own city and what it might look like in the future.
3) Design and develop appropriate workshops for this to happen
4) Establish and support sustainable communities of writers within the city.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Activities and/or practices employed:
The activities employed in activating these objectives include:

1) Workshops:
Members of the public across Dublin participated in creative writing workshops that encouraged them to reimagine their city in the future. Between January 2016 to June 2017, the project reached over 1,000 adults and 2,500 children and teenagers, with close to 200 volunteers involved.

2) Publications:
The Irish Times ran a series of pieces – nine in total – by professional writers, their work reimagining the city of Dublin in the future. The series, collated by Roddy Doyle, includes contributions from Sebastian Barry, Aoife Dooley, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Belinda McKeon, Paul Murray, Paula Meehan, Harry Clifton, Enda Walsh and Louise O’Neill. These pieces not only brought the project and its aims to a wider audience, encouraging the readership of the Irish Times to consider the future of Dublin, they were also used within workshop settings. The pieces were read and discussed by the participants, who considered the style and content of the work. This formed a basis for beginning the discussions around the theme in question.

Submissions from the various workshops were published on the project website, hosted by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature: http://www.dublincityofliterature.ie/projects/dublin-coming-times/

A book, ‘Dublin in the Coming Times,’ was published and launched in November 2017. Copies of this book are available in public libraries around Dublin city. This is a valuable resource offering a way for the public to think about the future of the city and for use in the sparking of discussion and debate about this future.

3) Events:
A number of events took place as part of this project. These include evenings for the various writing groups to come together and read their work, alongside established writers. Other events included a comics reading/performance at Fighting Words by Stray Lines Comics Collective, a play reading with professional actors reading the work created by Transition Year students from Coláiste Mhuire, Cabra, and an evening of readings organised by the Ballyfermot writers group as part of the Dublin International Festival of Literature.
Between January 2016 to June 2017, the project reached over 1,000 adults and 2,500 children and teenagers, with close to 200 volunteers involved. All participants engaged in discussion and creative writing activities focused on the future of the city. Workshops were widely attended and attracted a variety of participants from a variety of backgrounds, including those for whom English is not a first language. A number of publications are now available with stories and other creative pieces that speak to issues of sustainability through a creative focus on the future.
Lessons learned: 
One of the challenges within the workshops was dealing with the fear and reluctance of many people when thinking about the future. The fact that these were creative workshops helped to allay this to some extent; participants were given free rein to imagine their own visions of the future. Another challenge, or consideration, is how people might be encouraged to act on these discussions and creative pieces.
Key messages: 
In his 1893 collection, ‘The Rose,’ WB Yeats included the poem ‘To Ireland in the Coming Times.’ Borrowing its title, Dublin in the Coming Times is a free, citywide programme of creative writing in which Dubliners, young and old, can create their own stories and poems as they look to the future of their city as it goes through another phase of evolution and renewal.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
The focus on cultural sustainability is related to the broader RCE work of addressing the challenges facing Education for Sustainable Development and developing ways to support learning and engagement around these issues. In this case, the development of workshops in the non-formal education sector allows for the engagement of those that otherwise might not be reached. By approaching the issues through creative writing, again, those who might otherwise not be involved in these discussions have a way in and a way to have their voices heard regarding the future of their communities and city.
Funding for a project coordinator and publication of a Dublin in the Coming Times book was provided by the project partners.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon book cover.jpeg (11.44 KB) Dublin In Coming Times - Participants Book Publication
Image icon croke park cover.jpeg (5.52 KB) Dublin in Coming Times - Participants book Publication
Image icon dublin hun.jpeg (10.88 KB) Dublin in the Coming Times - Professional Creative Publication
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
Curriculum Development 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level