The project ‘1916: Home: 2016’ juxtaposes the centenary year of Easter Rising with the 20th anniversary of the closing of the Republic of Ireland’s last Magdalene Laundry through two academic conferences and an international programme of artistic events.

Taking the Proclamation’s claim to ‘cherish all children of the nation equally’ as its starting point, ‘1916: Home: 2016’ draws attention to the collision of these two anniversaries in order to interrogate the homes we have made, the homes we hid and the homes that we are yet to imagine and build for 2016 and beyond.

Join us for a two-part conference on this project to be presented at:
National University of Ireland, Galway (7-8 October 2016)
University College, Dublin (27-28 October 2016)

KEYNOTES include:
Mike Cronin (Boston College)
Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University)
Kathleen Gough (University of Vermont)
Cahal McLaughlin (Queen’s University, Belfast)
With performance keynote by Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A.

These conferences will interrogate the tension between the ideals of citizenship and inclusion underpinning the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the events of Easter Rising, and the failure to realise them in practice in the States that resulted, on the island of Ireland.

The Magdalene Laundries were only one set of institutions in a larger church and state-run network also including industrial and reformatory schools, Mother and Baby Homes and orphanages, which academic research and recent state inquiries, including the Ryan and McAleese Reports, have demonstrated intensified their operation post-independence. ‘1916: Home: 2016’ draws attention to this intensification and asks participants and audience members to interrogate what ‘home’ means now and for the future of the Irish nation?
We will not only interrogate these ideas, but consider the internationally located artistic projects that have been devised and staged in response to our initial call.

“The living can be disbelieved, dismissed, but the dead do not lie. We turn in death from witness to evidence, and this evidence is indelible, because it is mute.” Anne Enright

The conferences will aim to address the following themes, including but not limited to:

  • The role of the arts in response to institutional histories, hidden/marginalized histories in Ireland (North and South) and diaspora- perspectives from communities, individuals and political bodies
  • Religion and the state
  • Voices and bodies of resistance
  • Stories of elision and omission
  • Complicity and the bystander
  • Prostitution, sex work and the regulation of female sexuality
  • Adoption and child trafficking
  • Global Magdalene histories
  • Traveller histories
  • Class and economics
  • Family, diaspora and emigration
  • Power and violence
  • Disability and exclusion
  • Ireland and shame
  • Post-independence ‘othering’
  • Silence and invisibility
  • Legitimacy and illegitimacy
  • Space, buildings, and physical infrastructures
  • Contemporary perspectives on institutional systems including the direct provision accommodation system for asylum seekers
  • Resilience and transformation
  • Post-trauma and healing
  • Legacies

‘1916: Home: 2016’ ultimately seeks to give a platform to the unknown heroes and the everyday battles reflective of social experience in Ireland from the early twentieth century on. We hope to facilitate space for reflection on key institutions within Irish society post-independence which contributed to the cultivation of Ireland’s highly institutionalized population, while considering the contexts of poverty, class, and gender politics that drove the formation of these histories. We will consider how the ideals of the Proclamation were not faithfully or successfully followed through for many parts of the population. By doing this, we hope to interrogate ‘Irishness’ in its many shades of grey, celebrating citizens that were sidelined to the shadows of national dialogue and consciousness.

Proposals: Proposals for 20-minute papers that respond to the areas of enquiry suggested above (250 words max), along with institutional affliliation and a brief bio (max 150 words), should be sent to 1916home2016@gmail.com  by 1 June 2016. You should also specify WHICH conference meeting you are available for, or whether you are available to attend EITHER. For further inquiries, please contact: 1916home2016@gmail.com.

Organisers: Miriam Haughton & Charlotte McIvor (NUI Galway)
Emilie Pine & Mary McAuliffe (UCD)

These conferences are supported through UCD’s 1916 Decade of Centenaries programme, the Irish Memory Studies Network at UCD, Women’s Studies at UCD, NUI Galway’s ‘A Nation Rising’ programme, NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies.

See www.irishmemorystudies.com for details of this and other memory projects in 2016.