Arts and Culture


London Reception 2024

Photos by Steve Bates

May 15, 2024.  The US-Ireland Alliance held a reception at the Bloomsbury Hotel in London, bringing together Mitchell Scholars, artists, journalists, and friends of the program.  Alliance President Trina Vargo provided an update on the decision to pause the future selection of Mitchell Scholars.  She also spoke about the Alliance’s continuing programs, including Mitchell alumni activities, the annual Oscar Wilde Awards and the cycle tour on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The reception was held in the Bloomsbury’s Heaney Library and Trina noted the presence of Catherine Heaney in the room named for her late father, Seamus Heaney.  Catherine was instrumental in kicking off what has become a regular visit for Mitchell Scholars to Heaney’s HomePlace in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland.  (Beginning in September, a Mitchell Scholar will study Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast).  

Mitchell Scholars in attendance were Kyle Berlin, Sarah Bufkin, Matt Cortland, Deirdre Mask, Michael Solis, Geoff Swenson, and Cath Thompson. 

Sara Cantillon, now a Professor in Glasgow, attended.  She previously served as the Director of Equality Studies at University College Dublin and could impressively rattle off the names of several Mitchell Scholars who studied with her years ago.

Henrietta Norton, the step-daughter of Mo Mowlam attended.  Trina noted that Mo Mowlam, the late Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Trina was crucial to the achievement of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.  Hen is currently working on a documentary about her step-mother.

Also present were Ryan Tubridy, presenter of The Ryan Tubridy Show on Virgin Radio UK; Emmy Award-winning director Dearbhla Walsh, who is currently working the tv series Bad Sisters; Anne Morrison, former head of BAFTA and Chair of Escape Studios; director Jamie Donoughue, who has been directing episodes of Doctor Who; producers Kieran Breen, Siobhan Flynn and Fintan Maguire; and BBC’s Sean Coughlan and Megan Specia of the New York Times.