17 Jan 2022

DkIT to work with Canadian university as part of international fellowship award

DkIT to work with Canadian university as part of international fellowship award

Dr Heather Sparling who will work on the fellowship with Dr Daithi Kearney from the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT

Dr Daithí Kearney from the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT and Professor Heather Sparling from Cape Breton University Nova Scotia have been awarded a D'Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship by the Ireland Canada Universities Federation.

The programme enables leading Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers to connect online, in a curriculum of activity designed to nurture and develop strong and fruitful collaborations which will enrich both countries.

The Fellowship is named after the Carlingford-born journalist and politician Thomas D’Arcy McGee who is revered as a father of the Canadian Confederation, with the award particularly welcomed given the local links to McGee and the rich musical and linguistic heritage of the region that DkIT seeks to serve.

The main public lecture delivered by Professor Sparling will take place on Wednesday the 10th of March at 3pm and is entitled: ‘Death Culture, Vernacular Memorialization, and Disaster Songs of Atlantic Canada’.

This talk provides an overview of more than a decade of research on disaster songs of Atlantic Canada, including interviews with more than two dozen songwriters.

Dr Heather Sparling is the Canada Research Chair in Musical Traditions and a Professor of Ethnomusicology at Cape Breton University. She researches Gaelic song in Nova Scotia, vernacular dance in Cape Breton, and disaster songs of Atlantic Canada.

Kearney is a director of the Oriel Traditional Orchestra and choir in St Brigid’s Church, Dunleer, and his recordings include the critically acclaimed A Louth Lilt with Co. Louth accordion player Dr Adèle Commins.

Follow up events of the fellowship will engage postgraduate students, established researchers and the wider Irish traditional music community. For more information on the planned activities at DkIT or to register to attend the events, please contact

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