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    Web tool allows for cultural comparisons

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

    An interesting tool for would-be migrants, expats and international business executives: Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions tool, which is aimed at providing insight into other cultures  to enable better results. The tool allows the user to compare his or her home culture with the host culture on five dimensions:

    • Power Distance Index – measuring expectation of inequality.
    • Individualism – the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups
    • Masculinity – measuring role distribution
    • Uncertainty Avoidance Index – dealing with tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity
    • Long-Term Orientation

    Visit the Geert Hofstede website.

    National emigration history centre given go ahead in New Ross

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

    A national emigration history centre is planned for the Dunbrody Visitor Centre in New Ross, Co. Wexford, as part of a €2.5 million redevelopment plan for the Dunbrody Visitor Centre. The plan was given a go-ahead by the New Ross Town council last month, and the new visitor center could be completed as early as next year.

    Related website:

    UCDscholarcast aimed at global audience

    Monday, June 15th, 2009

    UCD has launched a new podcast service on Irish cultural topics. There are three series of UCDscholarcast available so far:

    1. The Art of Popular Culture
    2. Archaeologies of Art: Papers from the Sixth World Archaeological Congress
    3. Scholars Off the Page

    The podcasts are recorded in a studio and aimed at academics and others; the series also includes PDF transcripts of the podcasts, to facilitate citation in written academic work. Director PJ Mathews notes the series may be of interest to the Irish abroad.

    Just in time for Bloomsday, the latest podcast is Declan Kiberd, Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at UCD, reading the closing chapter of his book “Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living”.

    Related websites:

    “I Only Came Over for a Couple of Years” records experience of London Irish

    Monday, May 11th, 2009

    Yet another oral history project detailing the experience of elderly Irish emigrants has come to your correspondent’s attention. “I Only Came Over for a Couple of Years”, a documentary that was completed in 2005, is now available on DVD from the Irish Studies Centre of London Metropolitan University. The film is a collection of interviews of Irish elders who came over to London between the 1930s and 1960s.

    The DVD is a production of the Irish Elders Now project, which is aimed at building a substantial video and oral record of a generation of Irish migrants to Britain whose stories and experiences have been underrepresented in other official records.

    For more information and to order the DVD, visit the Irish Studies Centre website.

    Colm Toibin focuses on reluctant exile in “Brooklyn”

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

    Colm Toibin’s new novel, “Brooklyn”, garnered substantial press over the weekend. The author’s sixth novel is about a reluctant emigrant from Enniscorthy who moves to the New York borough knowing “the rest of her life would be a struggle with the unfamiliar”. The book reflects on the pangs of homesickness and depicts the struggles of the main character, Eilis as she adapts to a new land fraught with its own struggles and eventually falls in love.  Just as she begins to settle in, Eilis is called home by a family tragedy and must return to Enniscorthy.

    The book is receiving widespread critical acclailm.

    Related web pages:

    Surfing film highlights Irish role in origins of sport

    Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

    The role of Irish-American George Freeth in establishing the modern sport of surf-boarding is explored in a film now playing in movie theatres. Waveriders tells the story of Freeth, who had a Hawaiian mother and an Irish father. He brought the sport of surfing from Hawaii, where it had nearly been eliminated by missionaries, to California, where he initiated a revival of the sport. Freeth also set up the first lifeguard unit in California and introduced the sport of water polo to the state.

    The film, which won the audience award at the Dublin International Film Festival, also highlights the role of Irish-Americans in establishing the sport in Ireland.

    Related sites:

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