Urban Roof Farms

In the midst of chapter writing, I came across some interesting items about urban spaces. I was very interested to see that the New York Times have an article on green roofs. The idea is similar to the concept of a vertical garden. A green roof is a roof which is covered in plants, which help ease air pollution, reduce the amount of heat in large cities (where roofs are often black), and also help to reduce the amounts of run-off which can put pressure on sewage systems.

I was interested in the fact that “Chicago City Hall uses a blend of mulch, compost and spongy stuff”- one wonders what the “spongy stuff” is comprised of- but it’s wonderful to see civic centres participating in such endeavours. Other roofing options mentioned in the article are white roofs (instead of being covered in black tar, the roof is painted white), blue roofs (to slow the release of rain water) and solar panels. One of the most interesting innovations is the idea of a farm on a roof. The ones outlined in the NYT piece are not grown as a green roof but in barrels raised above the roof.

With the world’s ever increasing population and the pressure that is being put on both food resources and urban spaces, I think that urban gardening and farming is a sustainable way to serve city communities.

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The Modernisms Research Centre here in UCC has organised for a talk by Professor David Llyod, “De golpe el golpe: Vallejo’s Violence”.

The MRC has successfully hosted several events such as talks by Professor David Ayers and Dr Sabine Kriebel, and also the recent conference on Feminism: Activism: Modernism.

The event will take place on the 6th of October at 3pm in room 1.56 in the O’Rahill Building. More information can be found here.

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What I Did During the Summer Holidays…

As the autumn term meanders along, and the postgrads and staff brace themselves for the onslaught of undergrads once more, I suppose that it’s time I updated my poor blog which has been ignored for most of the summer.

I spent the summer rather enjoyably engaged; there was some academic sight-seeing done, a moderate amount of writing managed, and a great deal of reading done (some of which was even academically relevent). I particularly enjoyed Watermelon Nights by Greg Sarris and Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick (although as always with Ozick, I suspect that I missed some of the humour due to my own inattention)!

In June, whilst in Paris, I went to see where Edith Wharton lived on the Rue de Varenne. Sadly my attempts to take photographs of No 58 were foiled by an apologetic gendarme who informed me that as it’s now an annex of the Prime Minister’s office, photographs could not be permitted. And although I did manage to see the plaque to Wharton on the wall of No 53, my camera had stopped working at that point! Still, it was lovely to be able to walk the streets in which the end scenes of The Age of Innocence are set, with the dome of the Hotel des Invalides glinting in the background.

Back in Cork, I set about finalising my up-grade from PhD (Track) status to fully fledged PhD candidate, which was rather over-due by that point. However, I can happily state that all is as it should be now, and I can enter into my 3rd year next month without the upgrade hanging around my neck.

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An “Uneasy Exchange”?

A couple of months ago, I cam across articles online which discussed the appropriation of Native American symbols and patterns into mass-made clothing and accessories. Specific attention was centred on the Navajo Nation’s cease-and-desist letter to Urban Outfitters, who had been using the trademarked ‘Navajo’ whilst marketing clothing and other items.

I don’t agree with The New York Times‘ proclamation that it is “an uneasy exchange“, as I find it to be far more problematic than that.

The question at hand isn’t whether it’s acceptable to use a logo or name without permission, but whether one can claim ownership over sartorial methods of expression. Then, there is also the question of suitability and respect in relation to items like a flask intended for alcohol when the Navajo nation is a dry one. I agree that the use of a trade-marked name is wrong, and to label items in such a way is misleading, but

I had been aware of the discussion, but was reminded of it this month whilst invigilating exams in my university, and noticed all the prints inspired by Native patterns. It’s a complicated situation, as whilst I don’t think that patterns in general can be regulated or censored, I do think that there should be some respect given to items which convey specific cultural or religious meaning, and that intellectual property rights can also be applicable in such scenarios.

Interesting links to which further discuss the objections:





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Bookends Day 2

Today we had panels on film and literature (including my paper this morning), a reading by poet James Cummins and a wonderful plenary by Dr Bairbre Walsh “Claude McKay: Deviant Renaissance Man”.

The day has gone very well, and I’m sorry to see the end of Bookends 2012.

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Bookends Day 1

A wonderful first day at the annual Bookends post graduate conference here in UCC.

A very interesting day, concluding with a great plenary from Dr Leonard Madden.


The title of his talk was “The Deviant Book: Reading, Temptation, and Carnality.

Talk based uponThe Divine Comedy, InfernoCano V.

The poetics of doubling, the binary between Francesca and the Virgin Mary and the legend of Narcissus are all being discussed.

Madden suggests that through the action of bending over the text (likely to be the tale of Lancelot), Francesca enacts the role of Narcissus as he falls in love with his own image in the pool. She also positions herself as text, (because she falls in love with the idea of herself as a Queen Guinevere figure) and therefore sets up the idea that her companion is both her auditor and reader.

Madden ends with a warning to us all- be careful what, and how, we read!

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What Have You Done Lately?

So, when my supervisor asks me “What have you been doing lately?” I know that he doesn’t really want to hear that I’ve been teaching myself to turn a heel whilst knitting socks, that I managed to finish said sock successfully, that I’ve made my way through two unremarkable novels, or even that I had a fantastic time socialising at a recent conference. He wants to know whether I’ve been writing recently and if it’s anything good.

This is rather more problematic than it possibly should be- mainly because I’ve fallen prey to the common post grad idea that the longer one waits between submitting work/ having a meeting, means that the work has to be infinetly better than is expected- and by this point one presumes that expectations are high…

As Jorge Cham depicts it:

So, if anyone needs me, I’ll be hunkered down at (or indeed under) my desk trying to work up the courage to hit the “Send” button on my work.

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