Research Radar – Sadie Gilker

Sadie Gilker is a member of the GMM Project research team and a graduate of Concordia University with an MA in the Individualized Program. Their MA thesis title is: “Belfast’s Sites of Conflict and Structural Violence: An Exploration of the Transformation of Public Spaces through Theatre and Performance.” Earlier this year, they published the article “Standing on Trial: Convictions, the Crumlin Road Courthouse and the Role of Urban Development in Historical Sites of Violence” in Dealing with the Legacy of Conflict in Northern Ireland through engagement and Dialogue, a Journal by Glencree with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and Ulster University.

Who is your favourite academic?

Off the top of my head I would have to say it is the work of Peter Shirlow and Brendan Murtagh. Their book, Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City, (and like a million journal articles that they’ve written together) is such a great read. Not only are they able to synthesize complex ideas, but they also have interdisciplinary connections that I have been using a lot in my research.

What are you reading for work and/or for leisure these days?

This summer has been leisure city! A few of the books that I would recommend from my summer reading list are:

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore – Kim Fu
Freshwater – Akwaeke Emezi
The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin

I highly recommend taking an academic reading break to read for fun. It brightens up the dark corners of the room and puts things back into perspective.

What podcast do you recommend?

My all-time favourite podcast is “My Favourite Murder.” It’s an excellent murder-comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. If you think that murder-comedy sounds offensive… it’s not. Just listen to the podcast, and you’ll understand what they are doing. Or maybe it’s not for you. That’s ok too. This podcast has kept me entertained for years now. I genuinely look forward to Monday and Thursday when they release new episodes.

If you want more story-based/sci-fi podcast, then I recommend “Welcome to Night Vale.” This podcast has everything your heart didn’t even know it desired! It has:
-A glowing cloud that throws animal carcasses onto the town when it’s mad
-A vague, yet menacing government agency
-Killer librarians
-Khoshik – a cat that is suspending in the air
-And, of course, the faceless old woman who lives under your stairs!

The history of the town of Night Vale is told through the community radio station. It’s funny, poignant and has fantastic weather predictions.

What is your favourite archive or library?

Aesthetically, it has to be the library at Trinity. I love the high vaulted ceilings and the smell of the books.

For practical purposes, my favourite archive/library is the Linen Hall Library. The staff is super helpful and kind. I had the pleasure of using it to go through the theatre archives during my MA, and it was such a treat. The view is also nice. You can take a study break and grab a coffee on the main floor or look at their collection of historic posters in the stairwell. The Linen Hall Library is definitely going to be one of the first places I visit when I’m allowed to go back to Belfast.

What book or movie changed your life?

It wasn’t a book, but Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” and then “America” had such an effect on me the first time I read them in high school. I reread them often, and every time, something new appears that I didn’t notice before. I think Ginsberg is probably one of the best writers in the world. I love good gay, anti-capitalist writing.

Do you play music while you work?  If so, what?

I work in stages, and music is definitely necessary. When I am out brainstorming ideas, or looking for energy, then it’s going to be something along the lines of Touche Amore, Idles, or La Dispute. When I move into the writing stage I like to listen to lo-fi hip-hop beats because there are no words in it. Finally, when I’m editing I need complete silence. I like the chaotic to calm transition.

What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your career/degree?

Oh my god. Just ask for help. You’re not supposed to know it all. Chances are you’ll find out that most other people also have no idea what’s going on and you can flail through together.

What is your favourite way to de-stress?

I love love love love love love, and I cannot stress this enough love going on walks to de-stress. Also, high up on that list is riding my bike and going to a show (when those were allowed). Anything that gets the blood moving is a great way to get out of your head for a bit. But if I am feeling low energy, then simply embroidering for a few hours does the trick nicely.

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