GIST: Commemorating the Irish Famine: Memory and the Monument

When:5 Apr 2012, 6:15pm - 7:45pm
Venue:Room 327 Robert Webster Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Who:Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin


Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald is a Lecturer, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin

Recent years have seen many analyses of the historical ‘memory’ of war, slavery, and other traumatic social experiences of the 19th and 20th centuries. Crucially at stake is the means by which we make the past visible or knowable in the present—and this negotiation finds no more potent sphere than that of commemoration. The 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine in the 1990s was widely commemorated throughout the world, including Australia. With close to one hundred permanent monuments constructed worldwide in only twenty years, the resurrection of a perceived shared ‘memory’ of the Famine is, however, the product of attempts to inscribe new socio-cultural values onto a catastrophic history whose deep imprint on Ireland and its diapora resists simple signification.

Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald is a Lecturer in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin. Her research interests include public art, memory and monumentality, with a special focus on the visual culture of migration. Currently completing her book Remembering the Famine, her work has been supported by the Humanities Institute of Ireland, Mellon- Mays Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Irish Academy and the US-Ireland Alliance.

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