Reflecting on a decade of War and Revolution in Ireland 1912-1923: Historians and Public History

by julesmcdee

“There has been a turn away from war and the memory boom has been part of it; what we are seeing are reflections of ordinary people about what war is. The memory boom brings feeling into history, especially family history.”

I came across this article above that was very useful in developing my concept and goals for this project. A conference took place  over the summer to discuss the next decade of commemorations in Ireland.

The discussion, organized by Universities Ireland, revolved mainly around the topic of how we must go about commemorating the centenaries. We are commemorating a time we did not experience, so it is difficult to honor those who fought and died without ‘glorifying’ the war itself. They are sensitive subjects that need to be dealt with in a way that is relevant and engaging.

“He(Prof Diarmaid Ferriter of University College Dublin) also spoke of wanting to see a focus on source material, so that people could learn more about history through the lenses of those who lived through those times: “Looking at a history from below,” as he put it.”

As my concept is to use source material(archived photography) as a way of educating the user, the above point re-enforced the relevance of that. The use of photography allows the user to see those who lived through the times. While they are accessing historical facts, every individual feels a different emotion when they look at an image. We make up a different story to ourselves by what we see. We ask ourselves questions to try and piece the image together, who are the people? what did they do? what did they go through? what were their thoughts?