“To set the darkness echoing” – By Maeve O’Dowd

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This morning we arrived for our first day of class at Cardiff University, with professor Angela Graham. Originally from Belfast, she was able to relate to our travels in addition to our studies. Her presentation began with a brief history of Wales and its language, as well as some of the documentaries she has been a part of. Her work is large scale and has been aired on large channels such as S4C in Wales.

Not only was her personal career impressive, but the way in which she approached a random group of American students was something I had never experienced with my professors back home. She began by reading us a beautiful poem by Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, that ends with the following line:

“…I rhyme To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.”

Heaney is referring to how he rhymes, and creates poetry in order to get something out of life, out of “the darkness.” It is a beautiful quote about having a passion in life that stirs up the unknown or darkness, making it echo back. She had us all write down what we wish to do that, to us, will set the darkness echoing in our own lives. This was an unexpected wish and one that I have been attempting to finalize during my trip and studies at Michigan State University. She encouraged us to act upon passion; a concept that can get lost during the technicalities of schooling and in the large world of mass media.

I felt refreshed by her class. She had a calm, supportive presence that encouraged all of us to feel as though we could share our ideas with her. Angela Graham is a very accomplished women in the field of communications and was a wonderful professor for the day. While her work is admirable so is her spirit and ability to make a group of media students pause and remember why we study what we do.

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