Telling the Story of the Troubles: Prison Handicrafts and Heritage Construction with Dr. Erin Hinson

Live Online Event (Zoom) • Monday 29th November, 7.00pm (UK Time)

Please note that you will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the event.

‘Dealing with the past’ is the catch-all phrase used in Northern Ireland to describe any attempt to address the intergenerational trauma and legacy of the Troubles. Throughout the post-Agreement era, but even more so in the last decade, we’ve seen attempts to deal with the past emerge through the creation of both stakeholder-driven and community-driven heritage projects.

Heritage is a process whereby events, objects, narratives of the past are selected for contemporary cultural, social, political, and economic purposes. Within this decade, we’ve seen a significant rise in Troubles-related tourism as well as an increase in community groups deciding to address this history. These two processes have created an industry of heritage projects across the province. In many, if not all, of these spaces prison handicrafts play a central role in ‘telling the story’ of the conflict.

In this talk Dr. Erin Hinson will distinguish between the goals, aims, and outcomes of stakeholder-driven and community-driven heritage projects. Using the display of prison-made handicrafts as an entry point, Dr. Hinson will further explore the complex web of history, identity, memory, and heritage discourses present in these spaces. Objects have power because we give them meaning, and objects on display in these spaces are imbued with layered meanings that are being used to ‘deal with the past’ in a way that is specific to the goals of each organization. We can understand a lot about the role of heritage in contemporary community building and memory processes through using this lens.