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“Conflicting Stories: Ethnography and Narrative in Northern Ireland

Wright, Terence (2010) “Conflicting Stories: Ethnography and Narrative in Northern Ireland. In: Visual Research Conference, American Anthropological Association, New Orleans. na. [Conference contribution]

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URL: http://societyforvisualanthropology.org/?page_id=1317


The presentation examines and contextualizes practice-led research into the production of interactive heritage guides undertaken as part of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. The project developed two prototype pilot demonstrators providing interactive mobile guides to the Drogheda Viaduct (built in 1855) and the site of the Battle of the Boyne (1690). Based upon historical and ethnographic research with local inhabitants as well as the members of re-enactment groups, the overall aim of the productions is to enable visitors to historical sites to access multi-perspective, contested or contradictory accounts and conjecture: from widely different points of view.For this Visual Research Conference presentation, I shall examine specific ethnographic video interviews produced for the programmes. The clips concentrate on different approaches to reminiscing, including personal reminiscences, social memory and a diachronic method of relating to the past. The discussion considers how personal memory relates to cultural memory, how the ‘objects of memory’ can be drawn upon and how they can inspire narrativity. For example, the function of photographic-based images as memory aids, or as stimuli for reminiscing, is placed in the context of stories that can be constructed around the image. The presentation explores the wider theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects of the re-presentation of contested histories, identity, and heritage, and their contemporary political ramifications. In particular, it will assess the role and benefits of visualization and re-enactment in the formation of community identity and in fostering social cohesion. The presentation will be complemented by audiovisual excerpts from the productions.

Item Type:Conference contribution (Lecture)
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment
Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment > Belfast School of Art
Research Institutes and Groups:Art and Design Research Institute > Art, Conflict and Society
Art and Design Research Institute
ID Code:16966
Deposited By: Professor Terence Wright
Deposited On:02 Mar 2011 00:05
Last Modified:21 Jan 2015 11:03

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