Institutions and Ireland: Medicine, Health, and Welfare (TCD, 5 February)

Call for Participation

Institutions and Ireland: Medicine, Health, and Welfare

5 February 2016

Trinity Long Room Hub for Arts and Humanities Research Institute, TCD

Keynote Speaker: Dr Rhona Mahony, Master, National Maternity Hospital

In the wake of a collapse of trust in key organisations over the past twenty years, Irish institutions have frequently been described by politicians, academics, regulatory bodies, and the media as being in a state of crisis. Scrutiny of institutions has increased dramatically, with numerous inquiries focusing on Magdalene Laundries, mother and baby homes, and industrial schools as well as financial, media, and political institutions. Historically, the challenges faced by institutions of health and medicine in the maintenance of public welfare can be seen as paradigmatic of broader issues. At a time of radical change in academic institutions, which have often struggled to develop structures for interdisciplinary research or to engage fully with the public, this workshop will facilitate analysis of Irish society’s relationships with the institutions of medicine, health, and welfare by reframing the debates surrounding them. How are these institutions defined in such debates and what part do they play in shaping the discourse surrounding them? From digging in archives to working in laboratories to collecting field data, what combinations of methods can help us best understand their impact upon Ireland as well as Ireland’s role in shaping institutional practice? What are the ethical challenges involved in conducting such research?

Medicine, Health, and Welfare is the first in a series of three day-long workshops exploring the continuously evolving relationships between Irish society and institutions. The aim of these workshops is a cross-institutional, multidisciplinary convergence of AHSS and STEM research fields to examine the role of Irish institutions in making Ireland. We aim to incorporate the perspective of both academics and practitioners as part of a developing conversation which will examine institutions that have proved formative in the development of Irish society and culture. The workshops are a joint initiative between Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Galway, The Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork, University College Dublin, and the University of Limerick.

The series aims to address conceptual concerns around institutions that stretch back several centuries and across multiple disciplinary boundaries. Contributions for the opening workshop are welcome in, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • the relationship between church and state in the areas of medicine, health, and welfare
  • class, gender, migration, and medical care
  • narratives of silencing and challenging
  • representation, creativity, and mental health
  • ethics, policies, and sources
  • the spaces and architecture of medical institutions

We seek 150-word abstracts, in English or Irish, from researchers working in the fields of medicine, history, politics, architecture, literary history and criticism, law, and other related disciplines for 10-minute papers pertaining to the theme. We particularly encourage contributions from postgraduates and early career researchers. Sessions will comprise four papers, followed by a 30-minute discussion between panellists and other participants. Abstracts for poster displays are also welcome. All abstracts should be accompanied by a short biography of research interests and sent to by 8 January 2016.

Future workshops in the series will address themes including governance, law, culture, and education. For more information on the Institutions and Ireland series, please see our website: