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Commemorating abuse: gender politics and making space



Recent cultural explorations of Ireland’s history of institutional abuse have focussed on buildings as ways of creating a commemorative space for this history. Brokentalkers’ The Blue Boy (2011), Anu Productions’ Laundry (2011), and Evelyn Glynn’s Breaking the Rule of Silence (2011) all insist on the visibility and presence of these institutions within towns and communities.

All three works foreground the necessary role of active spectatorship in commemorating this traumatic past, and in ensuring it never happens again. This active spectatorship stands in contrast to the patterns of agnosia and amnesia which maintained the system for so long.

This lecture discusses the ways in which culture plays a much-needed role in the commemoration of abuse trauma. Yet culture cannot stand alone and the lecture subsequently calls for a state-led official history of Ireland’s institutional past which addresses the class and gender-based operation of these institutions in a holistic system of incarceration.

Series edited by: Emilie Pine
General Editor: P.J. Mathews
Scholarcast original theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey. 
Recording, audio editing, photography and development by: John Matthews & Vincent Hoban at UCD IT Services, Media Services.

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