The Animals of Funningdale Woods

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


Three illustrations produced for the Vacuum, a satirical magazine published by Northern Irish arts collective Factotum. The illustrations accompany an article written by John Higgins, retelling the signing of 1973's Sunningdale Agreement, an attempt to end the troubles in Northern Ireland and restore a devolved parliament, and its collapse through the Ulster Workers' Council strike in 1974. The article is written for a pre-school audience, with accompanying illustrations depicting Northern Irish citizens as Pygmy Shrews (a mammal native to Ireland) and depicting the violence of the Troubles in a way suitable for all-ages.

From Factotum's press release:
Not since 1986 and the stunning coincidence of the marriage of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson and the 13th Commonwealth games has the need for commemorative publications been so keenly felt as today. Many will have witnessed with their own eyes the NI100 pavilion at Belfast City Hall and even seen the robot spiders constructing it. All across Northern Ireland citizens will have met Pete the Pygmy Shrew, beloved mascot of this anniversary year. And, of course, many will have taken part themselves in any number of community projects from the epic Carpet of Ulster to the anniversary parade itself. But even the most ardent follower of this year of celebration will have missed many events. And, as time passes even the most vivid experience may fade from view.

Factotum is a publisher based in Belfast. We publish a free newspaper called The Vacuum. In 2021 it is 100 years since the foundation of Northern Ireland. There have been a number of events to mark this significant anniversary but, until now, no commemorative publication to record them.

That's where the NI100 Vacuum comes in. With its comprehensive and authoritative account of the year's proceedings you'll feel like you've seen the things you missed and need never forget the events you saw first hand. Including exclusive access to the planning of the festival we take you behind the scenes of the first discussions of the creative team. Why a Pygmy Shrew? Is that a missile in the anniversary logo? Who commissioned that opera on a ferry? All will be revealed. Lavishly illustrated, with this publication you will be able to study the many surprising parade floats recorded for posterity. Is that giant sausage roll what the artists intended? See the original plans. What do very old people look like? We have a photograph of someone as old as 100, that's right, as old as Northern Ireland itself.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBelfast
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2021
EventFactotum: Launch of the Vacuum NI 100 Commemorative Edition - Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Nov 20214 Nov 2021


  • Northern Ireland Centenary
  • Northern Ireland
  • Sunningdale Agreement
  • Ulster Workers' Council
  • satire
  • The Troubles
  • political cartooning
  • illustration


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