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Friday 24 August 2018, 3.00 – 4.00pm, Lecture Room, IMMA.

Speaking Nearby: Art, Commemoration and Dispossession

In the context of Heritage Week at IMMA and links to the IMMA Collection, Niamh Ann Kelly launches her new book, Imaging the Great Irish Famine: Representing Dispossession in Visual Culture (2018, I.B. Tauris). The book discusses the impacts of illustrations, art-works, monuments, exhibitions, museum and heritage sites, as well as lesser heralded memory sites on the landscape of Ireland, on the historiography of the mid-nineteenth-century Irish Famine.

Analysing a range of international commemorative visual culture from the time of the Great Irish Famine up to the early-twenty-first century, the book indicates that such depictions of historical humanitarian disasters in exhibitions, news reports and other memorial cultures  have also framed how we read the harrowing images  associated with current experiences of dispossession, that appear across visual news and social media.

Comprising a Reading, Talk and Drinks Reception – this Launch explores the means by which commemorative visual culture might, to borrow Trinh T. Minh-ha’s phrase, ‘speak nearby’ experiences that are difficult to recount. Addressing the viewer’s role in representations of displacement, Niamh Ann Kelly shares excerpts from her new book, focusing on research, projects and exhibitions by artists and curators that account for, and even facilitate a secondary witnessing to, this socially and culturally seismic aspect of Ireland’s past and its reach across geographies of modern history and contemporary society.

Colin Graham, Professor and Head, Maynooth University Department of English, presents a short response to formally launch Kelly’s new publication at IMMA. A drinks receptions concludes proceedings. Programmed in partnership with I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.


About the Speakers

Niamh Ann Kelly was born in Galway and is a lecturer in Contemporary Visual Culture at the Dublin School of Creative Arts, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. She studied at BA and MA levels at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and has a PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. She has published widely on her ongoing research interests of contemporary art, the history of art and commemorative visual cultures of monuments, museums and heritage practices. Last year she published Ultimate Witnesses: The Visual Culture of Death, Burial and Mourning in Famine Ireland as part of the Famine Folio Series published by Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum in Connecticut, USA. See further details here

Colin Graham studied at Queen’s University Belfast and Bristol University. He was Postdoctoral Fellow in Irish Studies at Queen’s, Senior Lecturer in English at University of Huddersfield, and Reader in English at Queen’s University Belfast. Colin’s monographs include ‘Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography’ which won the Michael J. Durkan/ACIS Prize in 2014 and was Observer Photography Book of the Month for July 2013. He is also the author of ‘Deconstructing Ireland’ (2001) and ‘Ideologies of Epic (1998), and has co-edited three books of essays. He has been co-editor of ‘The Irish Review’ since 2004. He writes for ‘Source’ magazine on photography. Colin has published academic articles in journals including ‘Cultural Studies’, ‘Journal of Gender Studies’, ‘Third Text’, ‘Visual Culture in Britain’, ‘Irish Studies Review’ and ‘Irish University Review’.  See further details here

About the Book
Imaging the Great Irish Famine: Representing Dispossession in Visual Culture (Series: International Library of Visual Culture) I.B. Tauris (Publisher)30 May 2018 by Niamh Ann Kelly (Author)

This book examines a wide range of visual culture commemorative of the mid-nineteenth-century Great Irish Famine. Kelly’s analysis of memorial images, objects and locations from that period until the early twenty-first century shows how artefacts of historical trauma can affect understandings both of the past and of enforced migrations as an ongoing form of political violence. This interdisciplinary study will be of interest to students and researchers of museum and heritage studies, material culture, Irish history, histories of art and contemporary visual cultures representing dispossession.

The Visual Culture list at I.B.Tauris publishes fine critical writing and cutting-edge scholarship on the subjects, objects, media and environments of Visual Culture. This encompasses world cinema and television, contemporary art and photography, cultural and media theory, fashion, design and popular culture. This list aims to generate resources for and to engage with scholars, students, practitioners and dedicated followers of these ever-developing arts. I.B. Tauris in an imprint of Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.

About National Heritage Week
Various Locations, Saturday 19th August – Sunday 27th August 2017
National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and its aim is to build awareness and education about our heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation. National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days. The main aim of European Heritage Days are to promote awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage and to promote Europe’s common cultural heritage. Every year millions of Europeans visit historical monuments and sites throughout Europe on European Heritage Days. See further details here.