Monthly Archives: June 2023

Leica Camera

I think I always had a wish for a Leica Camera. Leica in particular has something about it that says precision and quality. It is a thing that keeps working even when it gets old. In my mind it has a value as an object that a Canon camera, for example, does not. It is a nice possession.

So, I finally got around to it and bought one. I am looking forward to getting it all kitted out with a suitable travel bag and taking some nice photos and getting them printed.

Taking photos is a simple pleasure, now an old activity, something I remember my Grandfather doing. Now, when something is happening lots of people take out their phones and watch the unfolding scene from behind their screens. There is a social conformism in that particular interaction that is almost zombie-like. If you go to a school sports day you will see this. If you are enjoying some buskers on the street you will see this. By buying a Leica I think I am trying to say no to all of that. Taking a photo with the Leica is more deliberate than habitual. I am hoping it will make that act of taking a photo more thoughtful. I do recall Art School classes about picture making, framing, seeing, lighting, deciding, etc. That contrasts with a selfie moment and snap, snap, snap and then sharing on Insta and whatsapp. Yes, it is great that that is so instant and shareable but Camera Phones trivialise the thought of taking a photo. I do have about a million photos on my iPhone but I am hoping that I might take one good one with the Leica. If I don’t ever get that photo, the good one, I will at least enjoy the Leica as a jewelled piece of sculpture.

Yes, a litlle bit fake, a new camera designed to look like an old camera – but nice

NWU: absent from the place where it was expected to be found

A University positioned in Derry and Letterkenny would have an adjacent population of over 200,000 people. A city that size might reasonably expect to host a University of 20,000 students. There is a natural economic zone around the Derry Letterkenny region. Derry and Letterkenny are almost like twin cities.

The North West of Ireland is a region that is difficult to politically locate because in different jurisdictions the North West is defined differently. The North West of Ireland referred to here is the North West corner of Ireland. This area has historically been under invested and troubled for various reasons. But it has great potential to grow. Growth, built in part, by the sense of homeplace that is particular to the residents of Derry and Donegal. That sense of homeplace is a strong force that may help drive the creation of the missing NWU. “For your hearts are like your mountains and down below decks we were lying”. There are of course economic arguments as well.

The NWU is an obvious but troublesome concept. There are already institutions and relationships in place. There is some misfortune and injustice in all of that. The NWU needs to draw support from both jurisdictions, the UK and Ireland in the first instance and financial support from a third place – Europe and/or America. Students should be able to study and pay fees in Euro or Sterling depending on what best suits their background funder. 

NWU has proximity to two Hospitals and that might give rise to Medical Studies as a particular area. Computing is studied to high levels in both places, Magee has significant history in Humanities and the Arts and Letterkenny has particular expertise in Design. There are excellent Business Schools in both institutions. 

Magee College/Ulster University and Letterkenny IT/ATU Letterkenny are just 30km from each other. Those 30kms cross the border between the UK and Europe – which makes it feel further in political terms. The border has prevented the natural growth, conglomeration and synergy between Derry and Donegal. In Northern Ireland, Derry, loved so well, has been consistently under invested. In the Republic of Ireland, Donegal, pride of all, under invested also. As separate entities the under investment has been bad enough but the combined effect has stifled regional development. In a sense the NWU is a union of two weak entities. In another sense it is precisely such a union that will be driven to succeed. Born of necessity.