Conference Workshops for Friday 11 September 2015

The following workshops will run on Friday 11th September 2015 as part of the opening sessions of the 2015 Oral History Network of Ireland Conference, “Voicing Commemoration”.

Conference participants may choose to attend two workshops (one from session 1 and one from session 2), however places are limited and advance booking is required by emailing

We kindly request that you only reserve a space on a workshop if you are sure you will be able to attend. Please note: you MUST have completed your conference registration BEFORE booking a workshop place.

Please choose from the following options (details below):

Session 1 (10.30am): Workshop 1A OR Workshop 1B

Workshop 1A: Oral sources and personal testimony on the Irish Revolution (1913 – 1923), Dr Eve Morrison

Room B3124, Arts Block, TCD @ 10.30am

This workshop explores the richness and potential of the various collections of oral and personal testimony from combatants and activists who played an active part in the struggle for Irish independence. These accounts (including the Bureau of Military History, the Ernie O’Malley Notebook interviews, the Richard Mulcahy interviews, and the Laurence Marron and Father Louis O’Kane interviews) were collected for different reasons by various organisations and individuals from the 1930s-1970s. Not all of them resemble modern oral history interviews, but they are still essentially oral sources.

Most of the interviewees are from former members of the Irish Volunteers/Irish Republican Army, though smaller numbers of veterans from other separatist nationalist military organisations (Cumann na mBan, Fianna Éireann, Irish Citizen Army), Crown Forces, civilians and loyalists also gave testimonies. This workshop identifies and discusses the various collections, and highlights some of the methodological issues that arise for researchers consulting them.

Workshop 1B: Oral History ‘Perspectives’, Thérèse McIntyre

Room A6009, Arts Block, TCD @ 10.30am

As oral historians, we talk a great deal about issues such as ethics, best practice, how to conduct an interview, uses of technology and a myriad of other subjects that encompass the more practical side of oral history. One area that receives rather less attention, however, is that of the relationship between the interviewer/interviewee. This workshop takes the form of a panel discussion composed of pairings of an interviewer and their respective interviewee. The purpose is to create an open dialogue between the two in the aftermath of the interview process in order to examine the various perceptions each may have concerning oral history in practice. Topics such as expectation, preparation, and decision-making will be considered in what promises to be a unique exploration of the often short, but usually complex connection between the oral history practitioner and their participant(s).

Session 2 (1.30pm): Workshop 2A OR Workshop 2B

Workshop 2A: Through intersubjectivity: their feelings, our feelings and oral history “inter-views”, Prof Sean Field

Room B3124, Arts Block, TCD @ 1.30pm

This workshop has four overlapping aims: firstly, naming the wide range of feelings and emotional states that might be evoked in fieldwork encounters and oral history interviews. Secondly, ways to contain feelings expressed by interviewees especially memories that evoke painful losses, sadness and anger. Thirdly, we will discuss ways to contain and understand researchers’ emotions, in and after, interviews. Four, we focus on the primacy of intersubjectivity, recognition and misrecognition within fieldwork and interview dialogues.

Workshop 2B: Using and interpreting oral sources, Dr Maura Cronin

Room A6009, Arts Block, TCD @ 1.30pm

The interview over, it’s time to think how our narrator’s story enlightens our insights into the past. In this workshop, we use extracts from interviews carried out over the past decade at the Oral History Centre in Mary Immaculate College Limerick to discuss how words, intonation, omissions and personal perspectives (and our own reactions to them) can shape our historical understanding.