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Wake | Program

Here’s the full Wake program! Although this is currently provisional, and is likely to change a bit as we get closer to the event. The whole thing will be locked down by 1st April.

Sunday 28th April

7pm | Registration and drinks | Duke of York

Come to the back room of the Duke anytime from 7pm to meet fellow Wakers, grab a drink and relax after all your travel. There’ll plenty of time to make new friends, register and get any questions you have about the event answered.

Monday 29th April

9:30am | Sound and vision-scapes | green room

Before everything kicks off, get mentally prepared for the day with some ambient music and abstract visuals. Jonny McEwan is an artist and musician who has created a variety of incredible digital works. Pop in, grab a coffee and listen as Jonny lays down specially created soundscapes to compliment his moving images. This is something that you can drop in and out of

10:30am | god of the gap | peter rollins | main room

In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal introduced the term ‘God shaped hole’ to describe a fundamental sense of lack that defines the existential predicament of human beings. Whether this is manifest subjectively (in a person’s experience) or objectively (in their symptoms), the religious orientation can be described as aimed at ridding us of this experience. Some religions view this lack as an illusion to be dissipated, while others see it as a real gap to be filled. Positions which are alive and well in various secular guises. In this talk Peter will argue that Pascal did name something fundamental in his expression ‘God shaped hole’ (something with significance beyond the merely human), and that a religionless conversion involves radically confronting this hole, affirming it, and finding a place within it.

11:30 | break

12pm | No Satisfaction | todd mcgowan | main room

We tend to think of conversion in terms of knowledge. We see the light, become enlightened, and thus begin to think differently. But my contention is that conversion involves not a shift in our knowledge but a transformation of how we satisfy ourselves. More specifically, it occurs at the moments when we recognize that we already have what we were pursuing. It is this recognition that makes a shift in our mode of satisfaction possible and that can facilitate as assertion of our freedom.

1pm | Lunch

2:30pm | Walking tour | Leaving from the black box

Join Adam for a tour of Belfast’s incredible street art. This is also a great way to get to know the area and learn where all the best bars, coffee shops and restaurants are.

4:30pm | adam’s moment of wonder | green room

A Little sprinkle of surrealist magic

5pm | dinner

There are loads of great places to eat in the area, from cheap and tasty, to the super fancy. We’ll be offering you lots of suggestions.

7pm | Born Again | A conversation with Peter Rollins, Jamieson Webster and Todd McGowan | The Dark Horse

Peter Rollins will be joined by Jamieson Webster and Todd McGowan to talk about desire, transformation and religion without religion. Webster is a NY based psychoanalyst who has written for Artforum, Apology, Cabinet, the Guardian, Playboy, Spike Art Quarterly, the New York Review of Books and the New York Times. She’s the author of numerous books, her most recent being Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis and is currently working on The Cambridge Introduction to Lacan. McGowan teaches theory and film at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Capitalism and Desire, Enjoying What We Don’t Have, The Fictional Christopher Nolan and other works. 

9pm | Hot Donkey | Paul Currie | main room

An Edinburgh Fringe favourite, we are thrilled that Paul Currie is bringing Hot Donkey to Wake. Hot Donkey is Currie’s most personal show to date, as it examines letting go of our obsessions with icons and brands. It looks at our fascination with rule breakers, and those who question social structure, while we remain scared of breaking rules and questioning the world ourselves. It asks that we take iconic artists as inspiration, but only that, as we must ultimately follow our own heart and gut, to create new art and new culture. Hot Donkey was is a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014-2017 and was previously nominated for Best New Show at Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 and 2017. And, if that's not enough, he is the winner of Comedian's Choice - best show 2018.

Tuesday 30th April

9:30am | Sound and vision-scapes | green room

Join Jonny for another chilled out morning of music and visuals.

10:30am | mapping pyrotheology | peter rollins | main room

In this talk Peter will be looking at what Pyrotheology is, and how it can lead to transformation in our lives. He’ll be digging deep into what it means to undergo the death of God objectively, subjectively and unconsciously, before exploring what is born in the aftermath of this event.

11:30 | Break

12pm | conversion disorder | jamieson webster | Main room

Conversion disorder names a condition in which our bodies manifest a symptom (such as blindness, fatigue, or paralysis) that cannot be explained in medical terms. In psychoanalysis, the symptom can be thought of as a prophet in the wilderness of our psychic lives, naming a fundamental deadlock in our lives, that calls for a radical change. The analyst listens to this communication and helps us bear witness to this message and respond to it. Those with ears to hear discover a desire to change the way we desire, to disorder and reorder our lives. In this talk Webster will explore the shifting meanings of conversion and reflect upon how we listen to the complex speech of our body. 

1pm | Lunch

2:30pm | workshops

There will be an opportunity to choose from two workshops, one more intellectual and the other more experiential. We’ll likely keep these a secret until the event so that there are a few surprises.

4:30pm | adam’s moment of wonder | green room

More magic just before dinner

5pm | dinner

Again, this is a chance to sample so of the incredible food that Belfast has to offer. Grab some friends, or sneak off for some alone time.

7pm | Sign From God | Elliott Morgan | tbc

Elliott Morgan is a comedian, writer, and self-described Internet sensation, who began his journey as part of the original cast of SourceFed, one of the most successful YouTube channels ever. He has now joined with three other comedians to create The Valleyfolk. Valleyfolk is dedicated to the very serious aim of bringing laughter, friendship, and insanity to the masses. It is a multi-platform comedy production company that utilizes the support of an absolutely wonderful, insanely devoted audience to create podcasts, shows, comedy specials, sketches, and so much more. This evening Elliott will be performing a one-man show exploring his religious past, his escape from Florida and his realization that he might not be as smart as he looks.

9pm | Music night | main room


Wednesday 1st May

9:30am | Sound and vision-scapes | green room

Another chill out session.

10:30am | Talk | Peter Rollins | main room


11:30 break

12pm | Everything I learned About the Bible, I learned From Prostitutes | Barry Taylor | main room

1pm lunch

2:30pm | workshops

This is a chance to walk around the forest that so inspired Lewis. There might even be a few surprises along the way

3:30pm | Break

4pm | talk | main room


5pm | dinner

You’ll be back in the city just in time to grab some food before the evenings festivities.

7pm | The Fundamentalists Live | green room

Join Peter and Elliott for a live podcast recording of The Fundamentalists. They’ll be offering up a concise, clear and comedic conversation concerning conversion.

8pm | The Pigeon and Plum Cabaret |The Black Box

Join the venerable Pigeon and Plum for an evening of luscious librations and dastardly deeds of dexterity and daring. Slip into your finest steam punk and Victorian garb of top hats and feather boas and step back in time for a glimpse of the future of cabaret and enjoy a Cabaret that has wowed the crowds since 2005.

thursday 2nd may

9:30am | bus to The Vault | Meet at st anne’s cathedral

For the last day, we’ll be heading to The Vault, at underground artist collective with around 100 creatives working on all kinds of exciting projects.

10:30am | Q and Qing of the A in the Q | Peter Rollins | the vault

This is a chance to put Peter on the spot. If you’ve had any burning questions about pyrotheology, nows the chance to ask.

11:30 | break

12pm | workshops | the vault

There will be a chance to see round The Vault and engage in some hands-on workshops lead by some of the creatives who work there.

1:00pm | lunch

2:30pm | adam’s moment of wonder | the vault

More magic moments to help revive us before the afternoon session.

3:00pm | roundtable | speakers | the vault

The various speakers at Wake will all get to sit down together, work out their points of agreement and hash out their disagreements. Everyone will also be offering a take away. A piece of wisdom or anti-wisdom that might help you think about ways in which you can put the ideas you’ve heard into action.

5pm | dinner and Party

We’ll all be eating and drinking together at The Vault. This one’s on us.

9pm | pub crawl | various

Wake always ends with a pub crawl, lead by our fearless drinker, Adam. There will be music, there will be dancing, there will be fun, and there might be a few tears.