Whales, Bats & Anarchy - A Journey of Co-Creation

Whales, Bats & Anarchy - A Journey of Co-Creation

Thursday, 7 March 2024, 7.00pm

A collection of works created by groups and communities across Ireland and overseas. They are musical, digital, improvisatory, colourful, and poignant.

From 7 - 16 MARCH in various locations around Cathedral Quarter Belfast.



A collection of new music and video works

⚲ Artcetera Studio

Community engagement in the making of ambitious collaborative art has always been the driving force behind Dumbworld’s work.

Co-artistic Directors Brian Irvine and John McIlduff believe in the unique beauty and creative potential of the individual. The idea that extreme art exists in us all whether we are conscious of it or not.

This exhibition delves into the nexus of music and politics, exploring how music shapes cultural identities and beliefs. Collaborating with five community groups, a series of new songs, music, and films were co-created to amplify and illuminate particular messages of hope, solidarity, and change. Facilitated by Dumbworld’s Co-Artistic Directors, the workshops involved conceptual development, lyric writing, and musical composition using improvised, inclusive techniques.

A huge shout-out to community groups:

Forthspring Inter-Community Group
Hive Cancer Support Choir
Tools for Solidarity

Rice College, Ennis
Art of Music Foundation, Nairobi

Northern Ireland premiere of A CHILDREN’S GUIDE TO ANARCHY (Part of Belfast Children's Festival 2024)

A series of musical animations

⚲ Ulster University

Inspired by the 1931 publication ‘La Anarquia Explicada a Los Niños’, an instructional manual for children published during the Spanish Civil War that explained the ideas and practises of anarchy – composer Brian Irvine and director John McIlduff in collaboration with the children of Oakwood Primary School in Glasgow and the Red Note Ensemble have created a collection of 7 musical animated video posters that explore key elements of “anarchical” thinking such as autonomy, kindness and human connectivity from a child’s perspective.

The work was developed over a year-long process of co-creation involving pupils, teachers, artists, and musicians.

A Children’s Guide to Anarchy (An Easterhouse Children’s Manifesto) was completed and premiered at Platform, Easterhouse on the 14th of June 2023.



A retro arcade game opera

⚲ The MAC

Written and directed by John McIlduff and composed by Brian Irvine, Dumbworld collaborates with artist Stephen Maurice Graham (The Washington Post, VICE, MTV) to create a bold new video-game opera experience.

Both humorous and thought-provoking, A New Topography of Love introduces audiences to unforgettable new characters and some familiar faces. An original accompanying operatic soundtrack reflects this satirical, dark humor as audiences are taken on a journey through destruction, re-birth, love, and most importantly – hope. In a debut collaboration with Whitepot Studios, we pay homage to the beloved, yet nearly forgotten, 1970s video game culture (think Space Race and Pacman).


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Published by dumbworldltd on 21 February 2024

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