Cultural and Political Regeneration in Derry: Historical Documentary Practice
My PhD by prior publication draws on a trilogy of documentary films I have made, and two books I have written, on the work of writers and political thinkers in Derry who sought to radically redefine identity in Derry and, by extension, in Ireland North and South. These outputs have a common thematic orientation. From the 1947 Education Act, which enabled for the first time the citizens of the Northern Irish State to avail of education on a meritocratic basis, through to the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s and the proroguing of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1972; from the attempts to reimagine and recreate identity in Northern Ireland through art; finally, an original examination of the most important leader of the Nationalist minority in Northern Ireland over the thirty year period of the Troubles.
Maurice Fitzpatrick is a film director and a lecturer. He has made two documentary films for the BBC: The Boys of St. Columb's (2009; also, an RTÉ production), which tells the story of the first generation of children to receive free secondary education as a result of the ground-breaking 1947 Education Act in Northern Ireland, whose participants included St. Columbs' Nobelists John Hume and Seamus Heaney; and a second film for the BBC, an examination of Brian Friel's play, Translations. In 2017, he wrote, directed and produced a documentary feature film, In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America. He is also the author of a book entitled John Hume in America (2017, Irish Academic Press).