Trinity HistoryCon showcases the hidden history behind movie magic

Filmmakers, writers and historians gathered in Trinity College Dublin to celebrate their shared love of history at the inaugural Trinity HistoryCon on Friday, November 30th, 2018.

Like the Jedi, academics can help us see otherwise invisible connections in the world, according to the organisers of the conference and comic con, which celebrated the intersection of the study of history with popular media. Featuring costume competitions, historical demonstrations, lively talks and short presentations (some delivered in period attire) by historians and entertainment professionals, the event provided a Comic-Con experience while at the same time showcasing the best in historical research.

Katheryn Lambe from the Dressing History panel.

“Trinity HistoryCon is aimed at those who share a love of history, as well as those who are curious. We aim to inspire new adventures into learning and rekindle old flames. Bringing together some of the brightest scholars and leading entertainment professionals to discuss a shared love of history, we are keen to dissolve the perceived barriers between academia, the entertainment industry and the public. The truth is that history and popular culture are deeply entwined — the popular media we engage is often inspired by historical events and people and academic research can help uncover the stories behind the characters we love,” said Dawn A. Seymour Klos, PhD candidate with Trinity’s School of Histories and Humanities, and one of the organisers of the event.

The programme of events included:

  • An opportunity for participants show off their style at the Time Travellers Ball Costume Competition.
  • Demonstrations featuring Dublinia’s Vikings; ancient and medieval looms under the guidance of Dolores Kearney (UCD Experimental Textile Archaeology Group), a showcase of medieval knight armoury (Trinity graduate Gordon Carroll, War of the Roses Federation) and insights on the protection of heritage sites in Ireland by the Friends of Medieval Dublin.
  • Research presentations from leading academics on topics ranging from Viking warrior women (Catrine Jarman, University of Bristol); to ancient Mayan influences on The Hunger Games (Sydnie Bianchi, University of Southern Mississippi) and how popular culture and heritage have intertwined to create the amazing Game of Thrones Tapestry (Alex Chell, Trinity ).
  • Discussions on how the entertainment industry translates historical research into movie magic and fantasy fiction featured Tomm Moore, Academy Award nominee and co-founder of Cartoon Saloon; Eimer Ní Mhaoldomnaigh, costume designer for The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Becoming Jane, Little Women, and Michael Collins; Siobhán Parkinson, author and former Laureate na nÓg; and Ruth Griffin, fashion historian and blogger.
Gordon Carroll and Robert Le Roux

“A twelve-year-old watching Star Wars for the first time may not grasp the layers of history embedded within the saga. She may not comprehend medieval asceticism or monastic life but she will retain how Master Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi lived closed off from the galaxy, seeking a fulfilled life through communing with the Force. The truth is: academics, like the Jedi, help others see otherwise invisible connections in the world, ‘the Force’. Academic rigour brings to light causes, correlations, and questions in our history, our culture, our environment, and ourselves,” Dawn A. Seymour Klos added.

Trinity HistoryCon was organised by a group of PhD students (Dawn A. Seymour Klos, School of Histories and Humanities; Emer Emily Neenan, School of Education and Daryl Hendley Rooney, School of Histories and Humanities) in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and with the support of the Trinity College Dublin Association & Trust.

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