ULYSSES European Odyssey (UEO) is an epic project from 2022-2024 across 18 cities in 16 countries, producing artistic responses in public spaces to social and cultural themes identified in the 18 episodes of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
At the same time, a cycle of 18 public symposia will be held in each city to produce 309 questions (Ulysses, Episode 17) towards creating a new arts and society charter for Europe. The project also has 30 artist residencies which will contribute to a new book, Europe-Ulysses (working title), alongside 18 new writing commissions, one writer from each city.
The original model for the artistic vision of ULYSSES European Odyssey 2020-2024 was first seeded and nourished in Enniskillen through AOB’s bio-festival work viscerally interweaving aspects of the works of literary giants Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde (and Brian Friel in Donegal, Ireland) with the physical and metaphorical landscape of their childhood connections with place. In 2019, AOB Ireland was founded in preparation for a new J M Synge bio-festival on the Aran Islands for Galway European Capital of Culture 2020.
In December 2020, Dublin (with the Museum of Literature Ireland, MOLI) joined as the first city followed by Trieste, Budapest, Vilnius, Marseille, Berlin, San Sebastian (now replaced with the Galician city Lugo), Copenhagen, Istanbul, Cluj, Leeuwarden, Eleusis, Oulu, Lisbon and Derry/Donegal.
In 2021, it was decided that the cities where the book was written – Trieste, Zurich, Paris – along with Dublin would provide four milestone meeting points across the 2 year project for the 18 partner consortium to gather and review the project’s progress. In early 2022, the European Commission’s Creative Europe Fund awarded the project €1.72m.
ARTS OVER BORDERS is the Lead Artistic Partner for ULYSSES European Odyssey.
ARTS OVER BORDERS is the City partner for episode XVIII of ULYSSES European Odyssey.
In Derry the greeting on the street for Hello from one person to another is the word ‘Yes.’ The last seven words of Ulysses end with repeating this affirmative (‘…yes I said yes I will Yes.’) and so to end in Derry is an affirmative gesture, whilst we also bring Derry’s natural hinterland of north Donegal into the YES Festival. The final chapter of Ulysses and thqxe Odyssey are focused on female characters, Penelope and Molly. Derry is a city historically centred around a female workforce, it was once the centre of shirt manufacture; at the time of the publication of Ulysses, around 40 shirt factories operated in Derry and the vast majority of the workforce (and the breadwinners in most homes) were women. A surprise closing location for a surprise closing episode. Joyce writes of ‘Yes’ as ‘the end of all resistance’. Joyce wrote this episode in mid-1921, the time of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.