Former broadcaster and current editor of The Friend Ian Kirk-Smith shared insights from his career in the media on Friday night at a public lecture at The King’s Hospital School in Dublin, as Quakers gathered for Ireland Yearly Meeting.
Ian Kirk-Smith drew on his diverse experiences across anthropological fieldwork, writing, radio production and film directing to deliver his lecture, ‘On principle, not consequence’, exploring the importance of the phrase in Quaker history and the challenges he faced as a broadcaster. His experience of film-making during years of conflict in Belfast enabled him to recognise that of God in extraordinary individuals leading ordinary lives. He also highlighted times when he had to make difficult editorial decisions as a journalist.
Ian has been a member of the Religious Society of Friends for twenty-five years. He became editor of The Friend, the weekly Quaker magazine, in 2010. His career includes working for BBC Northern Ireland as a producer, making programmes for television and radio and between 1992 and 1997 he was responsible for all music and arts programming in Northern Ireland. Ian has also been a staff journalist with the Belfast Telegraph and he undertook anthropological work in west Africa in the late 1970s.
Among his films for BBC Northern Ireland were The Bonfire, And Many Children Came and Division or Diversity. The Bonfire explored life on a north Belfast loyalist estate in the months before the 11/07 bonfire night. In And Many Children Came Ian documented a year of a Camphill Community – a centre providing opportunities for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs to live, learn and work together with others in an atmosphere of mutual respect and equality. Division or Diversity focused on racism in Northern Ireland.