‘Women of the Ulster Unit’ Film release

The film ‘Women of the Ulster Unit’ launches on Thurs 29th July with an evening of readings, a screening of our short film, Across the Grain (dir: Joe Laverty), and the website will go live. 


Women of the Ulster Unit

A collective of artists emerged in Belfast in 1934. Their secretary was famous art critic and poet, John Hewitt. Among their ranks were those who would go on to become some of Ulster’s best known painters and sculptors – John Luke, Colin Middleton, George McCann. But the group, despite their shared ethos and modernist feelings, fell apart after just one show. Why? John Hewitt blamed his lack of ambition for the collective but what was the reason their only show was described as “hocus pocus”? Was Ulster not ready for modern art? And what became of the women artists from the unit that could not stay united? 


In Women of the Ulster Unit, writers Laura Morgan & Maeve O’Lynn have attempted to track down and research the life and work of these elusive female artists: Mabel Annesley, Kathleen Bridle, Elizabeth Clements, Jean McGregor, Anne Workman Yeames and Margaret Yeames. Consulting historical documents, visiting former homes and conducting interviews with family and friends, Morgan and O’Lynn have sought to bring the world of the Ulster Unit to life once more, putting together their own archive which brings together both fact and fiction in a hybrid experience of audio drama, film and documents to explore.


Links to Craft:

The film makers used the studio of contemporary craft maker Gail Kelly of Algan Arts to film about Lady Mabel Annesley who was an excellent print maker specialising in wood engraving. Lady Annesley was born in London but spent many years living in County Down. She inherited Castlewellan Castle in 1914 and much of her work shows scenes of rural life in and around the Mourne Mountains. Gail Kelly is an established and successful Northern Irish maker who uses wood blocks to print directly onto linen. Her work can be found at craftnigallery.org and at her own website


womenoftheulsterunit.com  Website will go live on Thurs 29th July


The Women of the Ulster Unit project was supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “Many people will be familiar with the names of the artists behind the Ulster Unit but few will be familiar with the stories of the female artists of that time. Inspired by events and real life figures connected to the work of the Ulster Unit, this is an exciting creative project which we are pleased to support through Arts Council National Lottery Funding. We wish both writers all the best for the project’s launch and with the website.”
Maeve O’Lynn and Laura Morgan are writers, producers and co-founders of Up The Lagan. Please contact maeve@upthelagan.com / tel 07847509073.
Maeve O’Lynn was shortlisted for the 2021 Society of Authors Awards, the 2020 Zodiak Kids Writers Award with BBC NI, and won the 2019 TU Short Story Award at Red Line Book Festival, Dublin. She was commissioned as a writer for season two of Historic Royal Palaces’ Outliers podcast last year. About (maeveolynn.com) 
Laura Morgan‘s poem, Vertigo, was published in Folkway Press Anthology, We Are Not In the Shadows, 2020. She was selected to perform at the 2019 Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway. Her poetry has been published with the Bangor Literary Journal, Abridged Online, and was commended in the Poetry Day HeadStuff competition, 2018. Laura’s first novel, Stars Apart, is available on Amazon Kindle. 
Also collaborating on the project are:

As COVID guidelines may change between now and the time of each event please check back for updated information, or contact the event organiser directly. Stay safe!

Event Details

Start Date: August 1

End Date: August 31

Location: Online

Type: Online

Price: Free

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