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An accessible and interactive new website, celebrating Ulster-Scots poetry will be launched at a major literary conference to be held at the University of Ulster, Belfast, on Friday 9 March 2012.

The last 20 years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in Ulster-Scots poetry and amid much political controversy and debate, a dynamic and varied body of writing, both recent and traditional, has emerged.

Out of the Archive: Re-evaluations of Ulster-Scots Poetry is a one-day, free, open-to-everyone conference, which will examine how the genre might be explored and understood by academics and the public in Northern Ireland and further afield, and what implications this evolving canon might have for literary critics, linguists, historians and cultural commentators.

Last year, the University of Ulster in collaboration with BBC NI launched the Ulster-Scots Poetry Project, to raise awareness of this literary goldmine.

The conference and website are part of the project and the website in particular will make the works of Ulster-Scots poets including James Orr, Samuel Thompson and Sarah Leech accessible to everyone and raise awareness of the rich, yet mostly unknown, legacy left by writers during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The conference will provide a platform for established and emergent critics to assess how Ulster-Scots poetry might be interpreted, developed and utilised in the 21st century.

Topics will include: Ulster-Scots poetry as community voice; Ulster-Scots poetry and literary theory; Ulster-Scots Poetry and diaspora; Ulster Scots poetry and digital humanities; Ulster-Scots poetry: Commemorating the Future.

Speakers will include: Professor Gerry Carruthers, University of Glasgow; Richard Holmes, University of Bristol; the University of Ulster’s David Gray, Frank Ferguson, Carol Baraniuk and Kathryn White; Andrew Holmes, QUB; Laura Spence, BBC; David Hume, Ministerial Advisory Group for the Ulster-Scots Academy (MAGUS) and Ivan Herbison and Alister McReynolds, MAGUS, QUB and Jennifer Orr, University of Glasgow.

Also during the event, there will also be a special launch of Dr Jennifer Orr’s latest book, The Correspondence of Samuel Thomson 1766-1816 (Four Courts).

University of Ulster English lecturer Frank Ferguson is at the helm of the Ulster Scots Poetry Project.

He says: “The conference will demonstrate the current vibrancy of research and public engagement with Ulster-Scots poetry. We are delighted to have such a range of speakers and variety of topics to discuss.

“We are pleased in particular, to attract our keynote speaker, Professor Gerard Carruthers — an internationally-recognised scholar of Robert Burns and Scottish Literature — to this event. His presence highlights the degree of interest that Ulster-Scots literature is now generating inside and beyond Northern Ireland.

“We are also thrilled to have a number of speakers who are developing exciting new avenues of inquiry in Ulster-Scots studies. This should prove to be a very stimulating and rewarding day.”

Out of the Archive: Re-evaluations of Ulster Scots Poetry for the 21st Century, Friday 9 March 2012, 10am – 6pm, Room 82D23, University of Ulster, Belfast Campus, York Street.

For further details contact, Frank Ferguson: 028 70123577. Email: <

Media enquiries:

Audrey Watson

Media & Corporate Relations

University of Ulster

Tel: 028 90366386