The Secret of Kells: Ireland’s European Identity in Feature Animation
Abstract: The release of Brendan and the Secret of Kells marks a significant moment in the development of Irish animation. By placing it in its historical context, and considering the aesthetic results of its cooperative production processes, this paper shall investigate the effects of such processes on representations of Irishness in animation. Finally it will also question if these representations of identity can be read as being simultaneously Irish and European, thereby forming an effective cinema of resistance to dominant commercial, Anglophonic forms, or if an authorial approach drawn from multi-national sources ultimately dissolves into a non-specified and empty cinema of distraction and spectacle.
Biographical Statement: Thomas Walsh has a Diploma in Animation Production from Ballyfermot Senior College and a PhD from Loughborough. Previously, he worked as a special effects artist for Screen Animation Ireland and Walt Disney Feature Animation. He contributed an article on special effects animation to Paul Wells’ book Fundamentals of Animation and has given papers at the “Borders and Borderlands in Contemporary Culture” conference at Dundalk Institute of Technology, “Ireland and the Atlantic: Intercultural Contact and Conflict” conference (National University of Ireland), EFACIS International conference (Gothenburg University), John Grace Memorial Conference (Nottingham) and Popular Culture Association Conference (San Francisco). He is currently a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Animation degree course at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in the UK.