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Identities in Transformation News


The Identities in Transformation theme is a major new research focus for the Trinity Long Room Hub and our nine partner Schools and the Library. The theme is also one of the university’s 19 strategic multi-disciplinary research areas. These are research fields in which TCD has a critical mass of world-class researchers, and which have the scale, resources and ability to address important research challenges with considerable social, cultural and economic impact. The theme was launched by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in April 2013.


Identities, both on the level of the individual and the collective, are formed and develop in complex processes that negotiate attitudes, values and behaviours, and shape our social and cultural practices. Identity debates are occurring through reflection on the decade of commemoration and the wider re-evaluation of Irishness, and also in the context of massively changing migratory patterns in both Ireland and Europe.  These transformations are embedded within the context of greater global interconnectedness, but con-currently greater individualisation and associated notions of risk and uncertainty.

Cultural memory, how it is constituted and contested, plays a central role in the formation of such identities. The complex and shifting dynamic between memory and identity becomes particularly relevant in times of crisis, disruption, and rapid change, such as what we are currently experiencing.

This research field undertakes a multi-facetted investigation of how the negotiation of identity is linked to processes of transformation on the level of history and culture. It is an investigation which allows deeper insight into the dynamics between social and political change, shifts in cultural memory, cultural and artistic practices, and human agency.


Currently over 70 researchers and their postgraduate research students across 10 of the 24 Schools in Trinity College  are actively involved in this research theme.  They represent and bring together fields as varied as History, Classics, Art History, Music, Drama and Film Studies, English and Irish Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Philosophy, Health Sciences, Theology, Peace Studies, Gender Studies, Sociology, Psychology and Neuroscience.

Steering Committee

A Steering Committee  has been established to oversee the research theme and guide the development and delivery of new research projects and activities related to the theme over  the course of its duration:

 Prof Juergen Barkhoff (Chair), Head of School of Languagues, Literatures and Cultural Studies and Theme Convenor

Prof Cornelius Casey, Confederal School of Religions, Theology and Ecumenics

Prof Daniel Faas , School of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Prof Joan Lalor, School of Nursing and Midwifery
Prof Kathleen McTiernan, School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences
Prof Elaine Moriarty, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Prof Ciaran O’Neill, School of Histories and Humanities
Prof David O’Shaughnessy, School of English

Prof Christine Poulter, School of Drama, Film and Music
Prof Clemens Ruthner, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies


Last updated 8 March 2016 (Email).