Q&A with Naoise Nunn – Curator of The Library of Progress Stage – Body&Soul

Q&A with Naoise Nunn, Curator of The Library of Progress Stage

The Library of Progress is a new stage at this year’s Body&Soul Festival (June 23rd – 25th). Taking inspiration from Body&Soul’s original ethos, being an incubator of great ideas and being ahead of the curve, The Library of Progress is a positive subversion of The Library of Congress, the United States’ repository of some of humanity’s greatest works and the largest library in the world. Curated by Naoise Nunn, it looks to celebrate all that is good about our inquisitive nature, the scientific method and open critical thinking. He has curated a truly forward-thinking roster that will appeal to the most discerning ears, gathering great minds to dismantle and debate a programme of big ideas which will use the festival as a platform for tangible positive social change.

You have been involved in the Kilkenomics Festival for a number of years. Are you using many of the same contacts for this event?

There’s no crossover really between the economists and comedians at Kilkenomics and the lineup for the new Library of Progress stage but the principles behind the programming are similar in that they encourage open thinking and questioning and inject a fair bit of fun into serious talk.

Body&Soul festival is very different from other music festivals. Are these talks an important part of that difference?

Yes, I think Body&Soul is a really refreshing festival on the Irish scene with a hugely diverse programme of music and non-music performances, workshops and experiences. Library of Progress adds to the mix with some great chats about drug policy, creativity and scientific issues as well as some of Ireland’s best up-and-coming rappers and slam poets.

What is your aim for the Library of Progress?

I’d love it to become an oasis of clear thinking, reasoned argument and inspirational ideas that is integral to the Body&Soul experience.

The ‘Illuminate’ event aims to give the audience an insight into the creative process of various artists, writers and theatre makers. How did you pick the people involved? 

They were picked to represent reasonably broad definitions of creativity and creative people, with a diverse range of approaches and processes.

The Rubberbandits are quickly becoming important social commentators in Ireland. What can we expect from the FACTION series of talks?

Blindboy Boatclub, as well as a gifted comic writer and performer with the Rubberbandits, is also a serious thinker and has become an important voice in Irish society on a range of issues from diversity to mental health. His satirical instinct cuts to the core of many of today’s problems with a bite and sense of humour that makes him compelling to listen to. His sharpness cuts through the bullshit very efficiently.

What reaction did you get from the various Professors involved when you told them they would be appearing with Blindboy?

No one needs much persuasion that Blindboy is an important voice who can speak to a bigger, younger audience.

Another name to really emerge this year is Emmet Kirwan. He will be hosting the ‘Beats and Rhymes’ section. Will this blur the lines between music and spoken word?

That’s exactly what we’re aiming for. Emmet has put together probably the best lineup of established and up-and-coming rap, slam and spoken word artists of any bill this summer and it will make for an uplifting and invigorating show on each of the nights of Body&Soul.

What people would you have at your dream dinner party?

Stephen Fry, Nina Simone, Grace Jones, Gore Vidal, Noel Gallagher and Richard E Grant.


Body&Soul takes places in Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath from June 23rd – 25th. Weekend Camping tickets costing €195 plus booking fee and Sunday tickets costing €65 plus booking fee are available from www.bodyandsoul.ie



Categories: Festivals, Gigs, Header, interview, Talks

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