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What can we do with our Vulnerability? (Mental Health & the Arts Series)

WHAT CAN WE DO WITH OUR VULNERABILITY?  Words to Make Meaning of Life’s Experiences

Words to Make Meaning of Life’s Experiences

Event Description 

This interdisciplinary, cross-border event will include a reading by Emilie Pine, followed by a public conversation with her. After a tea and coffee break, the audience will be invited to engage in smallergroup discussions about selected passages from Notes to Selfon one of the following themes: (1) Memories of childhood, (2)The stories our bodies might tell, (3)Learning to let go, (4) Feelings at work, and (5) Being afraid and doing it anyway.Each group will be composed of eleven people, including a trained facilitator from Verbal’s Reading Rooms Project, using their unique way of facilitating conversations around written material. 

This event is open to all. It will be of particular interest to Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Social Care Workers, Community Workers, Youth Workers, Psychiatrists, Nurses, and other healthcare professionals, as well as academics and students in the aforementioned fields as well as people lecturing and studying disciplines based in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Health Sciences.

This event forms part of the Mental Health & the Arts interdisciplinary, cross-border initiative and is organised by Dr Noreen Giffney, Dr Maggie Long and Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer at Ulster University. The event is co-sponsored by Counselling & Health Communication in the School of Communication & Media at Ulster University (@UlsterCHC) and Verbal ( For further details about the event and the Mental Health & the Arts initiative, visit or email,,

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine(Tramp Press 2018; Hamish Hamilton 2019)

'I am afraid of being the disruptive woman. And of not being disruptive enough. I am afraid. But I am doing it anyway’.

In this dazzling debut, Emilie Pine speaks to the business of living as a woman in the 21stcentury – its extraordinary pain and its extraordinary joy. Courageous, humane and uncompromising, she writes with radical honesty on birth and death, on the grief of infertility, on caring for her alcoholic father, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. Devastatingly poignant and profoundly wise – and joyful against the odds – Notes to Selfoffers a portrait not just of its author but of a whole generation.

(Description from Penguin edition)

Notes to Self is a Number 1 non-fiction bestseller, the book wonBook of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2018. Emilie Pine has won ‘Newcomer of the Year’ at An Post Irish Book Awards and the IACI Butler Literary Award. 'Newcomer of the Year' An Post Irish Book Awards, Irish American Cultural Institute’s (IACI) Butler Literary Award. The book has been lauded by critics in Ireland and the UK and described as ‘Honest, full-voiced … a vital collection’ (Belinda McKeon), ‘Do not read this book in public: it will make you cry’ (Anne Enright); ‘… a wise and talented essayist … every line pulses with the pain and the joy and complexity of an extraordinary life’ (Mark O’Connell); ‘Unsparing, formidable, raw. The kind of book you want to give everyone’ (The Irish Times); and ‘Despite her painful material, the Irish academic’s debut collection of essays is wry and uplifting … what is most striking about the collection as a whole is its universality’ (The Guardian).


Emilie PinePhDis Associate Professor of Modern Drama in the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin in Ireland. Emilie has published widely as an academic and critic. Notes to Self is her first collection of personal essays and the winner of the Butler Literary Award, the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award, and the An PostBook of the Year Award, 2018.She teaches and supervises student work in the fields of theatre and memory cultures. Emilie is Director of the Irish Memory Studies Research Network and Editor of the Irish University Review. She is Principal Investigator of the Irish Research Council New Horizons major project Industrial Memories, a digital witnessing of the 2009 Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Ryan Report). Emilie has published widely in the fields of theatre and memory studies, including The Politics of Irish Memory: Performing Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Culture, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Her forthcoming book is on the dynamics of witnessing memory and trauma in contemporary international theatre (Indiana University Press). Emilie is a member of the Advisory Board of the international Memory Studies Association and is convenor of the Memory Cloud Project. 


Earlier Event: October 20
Super Sunday Big Breakfast Session
Later Event: October 26
"DIY LK" Showcase