extraORDINARYwomen: Supporting Communities (1965-today)

extraORDINARYwomen is a groundbreaking collections-based community driven heritage project of engagement, creativity and skills development. This project will digitally preserve and make accessible unique materials in our archives about women and collect new stories relating to issues affecting women of all generations in Northern Ireland. It will highlight activism, change, influencing and the experience of ‘ordinary’ women during the ‘extraordinary normality’ of the time. Examining roles and attitudes in Northern Ireland during a momentous period of recent history, the project focuses on women supporting and raising each other up!

Utilising culturally and historically significant collections – including political, literary, theatre, Traveller and LGBTQ+ archives – this project will illuminate and celebrate the lived experience of women. It will drive inspiring community engagement programmes, develop skills and creativity, curate exhibitions, and capture oral reminiscence, and responses to contemporary issues affecting women of all generations in Northern Ireland.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come:

Images used in video:

1. Women’s Place is Everywhere poster [Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement] Held in NI Political Collection.
2. Betty Williams of The Peace People poster. Held in NI Political Collection.
3. Northern Ireland Abortion Law Reform Association campaign poster. Held in NI Political Collection.
4. Belfast Gay Liberation Society at QUB poster. Held in NI Political Collection.
5. ‘Tea in a China Cup’ by Christina Reid, programme for world premiere at Lyric Theatre. Held in Theatre Arch


ExtraOrdinaryWomen blog image







Read the extraORDINARYwomen blogs to hear stories about recent women’s history in Northern Ireland – the challenges, the achievements, all inspired by the collections held at the Linen Hall Library.

Click here to read the blog.


Join us for extraORDINARYwomen Public Programmes

Introducing the extraORDINARYwomen Public Programme, your opportunity to help us make history and boost the presence of women within our collections for future generations. Through an array of FREE creative workshops, Living Library talks, and exhibitions we want your help to record the stories, successes and struggles of women in our communities since 1965. You will work with leading artists and archivists, and talk to some of the prominent women in Northern Ireland who have shaped our recent history. Plus you will have plenty of opportunity to preserve your own voice, experiences and creativity in our permanent collection.

(Images in video from the collection include: Poster of Northern Exposure from the Theatre and Performing Arts Archive at the Linen Hall Library, Courtesy of Kabosh Theatre Company.)


The project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation Fund (Ireland), and The Foyle Foundation.

Heritage Lottery Fund logo Depart of Foreign Affairs and Trade logo



Tríona White Hamilton, Project Manager; t.whitehamilton@linenhall.com
Contact Tríona for project management queries

Rachel Brady, Curator; r.brady@linenhall.com
Contact Rachel for details about upcoming exhibitions and archive/ artefact loans

Alistair Gordon, Senior Archive Assistant; a.gordon@linenhall.com
Contact Alistair about donations to the collection

Kate Grimshaw, Archive Assistant; k.grimshaw@linenhall.com

Colum Mc Grath, Archive Assistant; c.mcgrath@linenhall.com

Ciaran Mc Quillan, Education and Outreach Officer; c.mcquillan@linenhall.com
Contact Ciaran about public programme of events and oral histories