Deirdre Canavan (KCL) - 2021-22 Students

“How terrifying it was not to be numb.” Claiming trauma, glimpsing optimism: women’s cultural production and understandings of reality in post-conflict Northern Ireland

Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, art and literature by women from Northern Ireland have become increasingly experimental in form. This research project will examine women’s contemporary cultural production and how it challenges accepted ideas of truth and reality in the post-conflict society. I will investigate the ways women’s art and literature allow for an honest engagement with Northern Ireland’s emotional economies after the conflict, and how residual trauma plays out in the lives of its citizens when experiences outside the dominant machismo of the conflict are always already relegated to the past.

This project offers a two-pronged approach. Firstly, to examine how the use of experimental methods in women’s cultural production cultivates the space to question our understandings of truth and reality after the ‘Troubles’, and how this allows for excluded experiences and narratives to be platformed. Secondly, to challenge the temporality of these narratives and the notion of a ‘post-Troubles’ society more broadly.

Primary supervisor: Dr George Legg, KCL
Secondary supervisor: Dr Jane Elliott, KCL

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