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The Hublic Sphere Podcast

The Hublic Sphere, now in its second season, is a podcast series created and produced by early career researchers at the Trinity Long Room Hub in Trinity College Dublin. The title reflects our desire to further the mission of the Trinity Long Room Hub ("the Hub") in bringing aspects of our Arts and Humanities research in Trinity to the public in this new ‘Hublic’ space. The world around us has never been more complicated, and we believe the humanities should play a role in understanding it. We bring you interviews with academics, practitioners and activists, and discussions that help uncover new answers to urgent questions. Find out more about the Hublic Sphere team here

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The Trinity Long Room Hub is committed to supporting Trinity's Arts and Humanities research community, this podcast is part of its Public Humanities Programme.

Welcome to Season Two: ‘Connection’

This past year or so, it has, more than ever, been easy to feel disconnected. Amidst increasing media proliferation, globalisation and political division, we want to emphasise that which binds us together interpersonally, societally and globally. How do we foster connection under these circumstances? How can we reimagine what it means to be connected or make connections? Through the lenses of our diverse disciplines, we will dissect, explore and reconceive “connection.”

Episode Seven: Thursday 14th April 2022
Looking East, Looking West: Should we change how we talk about Eastern Europe?

By: Conor Brennan, Department of Germanic Studies

In the final episode of season two, Conor Brennan speaks to Dr Kasia Szymanska and Dr Karolina Watroba about the connections between Eastern and Western Europe. They discuss the Polish response to the invasion of Ukraine, and the concept of ‘Central Europe’ as a way of pushing back against the homogenisation of former Eastern Bloc countries. This includes the idea of a Central European literature, championed by prominent writers such as Milan Kundera and, more recently, Olga Tokarczuk. They consider what is distinctively Central European about these and other writers, and whether such concepts help or hinder mutual understanding from one edge of Europe to the other. They also discuss the various types of writing that encouraged an exoticised and homogenised view of the countries east of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

They talk about the differences in multilingualism between Poland and Ireland or the UK, from the privileging of some second languages over others to the westward flow of migration that has made the Anglosphere arguably more multilingual and multi-ethnic than the formerly diverse and vibrant territory of Poland. Finally, they consider whether the war in Ukraine might lead to a renewed engagement with and deeper understanding of the region.

Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speakers below
Dr Kasia Szymanska

Dr Kasia Szymanska is an assistant professor in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies at Trinity College Dublin. She was previously Junior Research Fellow in Modern Languages at University College, Oxford, and co-convenor of the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation research centre. Her research lies in comparative literature, translation, and multilingual writing — especially with reference to the East European context. Her work to date has appeared in, among others, PMLA, Contemporary Literature, Slavic and East European Journal, the volume Prismatic Translation and other books on the intersection between translation, literature, and politics. She was recently named the 2022 Martha Cheung Award winner for the best English article in Translation Studies by an early career scholar. Her current research projects include The Other Europe: Literature That Divided the Continent, examining fantasised representations of Eastern Europe during the Cold War, and the edited volume The Tender Translator: Olga Tokarczuk Across Languages. She was awarded the EST Translation Prize in 2015. 

Dr Karolina Watroba

Dr Karolina Watroba is a Research Fellow in Modern Languages at All Souls College, Oxford and a member of the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre (OCCT). She works on modern literature and film across eight European languages and beyond, with a focus on material in German, English, and Polish. Her work includes publications in New German Critique, Edinburgh German Yearbook, The Slavonic and East European Review and The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. Her first book, Mann’s Magic Mountain: World Literature and Closer Reading, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2022. It is the first study of Thomas Mann’s landmark German modernist novel Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain, 1924) that takes as its starting point the interest in Mann’s book shown by non-academic readers. Her literary non-fiction book Metamorphoses: In Search of Franz Kafka is in preparation with Profile Books for 2024 and will tell Kafka’s story from the perspective of his readers around the world, introducing this reader-oriented approach to a wider audience. Her awards include the Horst Frenz Prize in 2018 and the Presidential Master’s Prize in 2017, both from the American Comparative Literature Association. 

Episode Six: Tuesday 15th March 2022
Past, Present and Potential at the Museum of Childhood Ireland/Músaem Óige na hÉireann

By: Lorraine McEvoy, School of Histories and Humanities

In this episode, Lorraine McEvoy speaks to Majella McAllister (founder, head of Youth Voices Team) and Professor Mary O ’Dowd (head of History Team) about the Museum of Childhood Ireland (MOCI,, “Ireland’s first Island-wide / diaspora / global, social history Museum of Childhood.” The ultimate aim of the voluntary group behind the Museum is to establish a physical, interactive and community driven museum, which seeks to be research based, critically engaged and more than simply a repository of nostalgia. They aim to provide both a museum and a platform; connecting the history of childhood with the experiences of children today.

Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speakers below
Majella McAllister

Museum founder, Project Manager, and Youth/Child Voice lead at the Museum of Childhood Ireland, Majella’s background is in Education (English and History), Project Management, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. She recently completed further postgraduate studies at UCD. With extensive experience in Leadership, Event Management, Projects, and Exhibitions, she has also developed social media for the MOCI to over 33,000 followers, and built the museum’s core permanent collection of material objects of childhood culture. In 2020 her child mental health initiative, ‘Project 2020 Together, Le Chéile,’ an online worldwide platform for the voice of children during the Covid-19 pandemic, was launched with physical exhibitions in Ireland, USA, Italy, and Nepal. The project was shortlisted to the final six for an international award alongside leading international museums: the Glucksman, the Glazer, the Warhol, the Rijksmuseum and the National Gallery of Singapore. In 2021 she developed the ongoing ‘Our Town, Our Future’ online and in-person programme to integrate child and youth voices into the Heritage Council’s CTCHC Programme, aligning with Government TCF policy.  In 2022, together with Achill Island Tourism, she launched the MOCI’s Ireland / Diaspora project ‘Robert Henri and the Children of Achill Island 1913-28’. During 2021-22, she also developed for the MOCI, at the Innovation Academy UCD, a unique multifarious eco / sustainability initiative, ‘Kyle Na No’ uniting children, people within the Direct Provision system and Irish organic farmers. In founding the museum of childhood Ireland, Majella recognises that the team she has brought together is a team of extraordinarily special, dedicated people, all working together to ensure the success of a Museum of Childhood Ireland that adopts a wide-angle approach to childhood, both island-wide and international in scope. As there is no singular narrative that captures childhood experiences in Ireland, the MOCI presents an inclusive and holistic view of historical and contemporary childhood to inspire participation, critical reflection and stimulate important and timely conversations about childhood in all its complex forms. The MOCI challenges the outdated belief that “children should be seen and not heard.” All children should be seen and heard. 

Professor Mary O'Dowd

Professor Mary O'Dowd, Emeritus Professor of History at Queen's University Belfast, leads the History Team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland. Her research interests have focussed on gender and social history in early modern Ireland. She was a founding member of the Women's History Association of Ireland and served as president of the International Federation for Research in Women's History, 2000-2005. In 2010 she was elected an honorary member of the Federation's Board in recognition of her work for the Federation.  Professor O'Dowd has served on a number of public committees including the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.  She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and was elected to the office of Secretary of the Academy in March 2021.  Professor O'Dowd's most recent book is Marriage in Ireland, 1660-1925 published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 and co-authored with Maria Luddy. Her current research project is a history of old age in Ireland. 

Episode Five: Monday 14th February 2022
Measuring the Gap: The Gender Problem in Mathematics

By: Tom Hedley, Department of Germanic Studies.

This podcast episode, hosted by Tom Hedley marks an important centenary: 100 years ago, in 1922, the trailblazing modern mathematician, Emmy Noether, was finally given a paid lectureship at the University of Göttingen in Germany. Despite a formidable reputation in her field, Noether had been denied paid academic work due to her gender and her Jewish heritage. She is now rightly recognized as one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, but she never really saw the rewards of her brilliance in her lifetime.

To explore lingering problems in STEM and academia for women and the connections between mathematics and literature, art and culture , Tom interviews Professor June Barrow-Green, a historian of mathematics at the Open University, Iseult O’Rourke, a mathematics and French teacher at Loretto Balbriggan, an all-girls secondary school in County Dublin, and Mireia Martínez i Sellarès, a PhD candidate in mathematics at Utrecht University, who has worked with the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO).


Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speakers below
Professor June Barrow-Green

June Barrow-Green is a Professor of History of Mathematics at the Open University in the UK.
She is chair of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics and a member of the Council of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, having served as the Society’s President. She is also the Archive Curator for the IMU, and a Visiting Professor at the LSE. In 2021, Professor Barrow-Green was awarded the Royal Society Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal for her research in 19th and 20th century mathematics. Special interests include analysing the underrepresentation of women in historical narratives and in contemporary mathematics and decolonising the mathematical curriculum.

Iseult O’Rourke

Iseult O’Rourke is a full-time teacher of Mathematics and French at Loreto Balbriggan in County Dublin. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she studied mathematics and French, before progressing to a teacher training degree. She has also published research on the attitudes to mathematics in the classroom, with particular focus on female students.

Mireia Martínez

Mireia Martínez i Sellarès is a PhD candidate and lecturing assistant at Utrecht University at the Mathematical Institute in the Netherlands. A graduate of the University of Barcelona, she competed her MSc at Utrecht before turning to research in the history of mathematics for her PhD. She also worked at the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) in 2020.

Episode Four: Thursday 13th January 2022
How can we access the ancients today? Bringing Classics to the public sphere

By: Lisa Doyle, Department of Classics

In this episode Lisa Doyle talks to Helen Meany and Dr Bridget Martin about their exciting projects which ensure that Classics is becoming available to everyone: Access Classics (the UCD outreach programme) and ClassicsNow (the cultural festival taking place online and across Dublin). The discussion ranges from the opportunities offered by studying the ancient world to the importance of outreach work and diversifying the discipline. They reflect on the Irish literary and artistic tradition of engaging with and reimagining ancient texts, and how modern retellings ensure that these age-old stories remain timely, compelling and allow us to explore what it means to be human.

Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speakers below
Dr Bridget Martin

Dr Bridget Martin is a Teaching Fellow in the School of Classics, University College Dublin, where she teaches, for example, Ancient Greek language, outreach, and death and the afterlife in the ancient world. Bridget is the director of UCD Access Classics (, a second-level outreach programme that aims to encourage the uptake of Classics at second level, particularly in under-privileged schools and those which do not currently offer the subject, thereby promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within the subject. Access Classics conducts school visits and creates classroom resources, including videos, podcasts, games and an extensive Transition Year Unit on Classics.

Helen Meany

Helen Meany is an arts writer and independent arts consultant, working with a wide range of organisations. She is the Curator of ClassicsNow festival, which runs from 21-23 January 2022, in its second edition. As a theatre critic she covers Irish theatre for the Guardian, and has contributed to and Variety, among many other publications. She was Literature Advisor to the Arts Council from 2011-18; Editor of Irish Theatre Magazine 2005-11, leading its transition from print to an online journal; Curator of the Arts Council’s Critical Voices [] programme of public debate on culture and ideas, 2005-06. Previously she was an arts journalist and commissioning arts editor with the Irish Times. She was a judge of the Irish Theatre Awards for 2003

Episode Three: 9th December 2021
Creating Together: Before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Courtney Helen Grile

In this episode I spoke with Jenny Macdonald and Melody Chadamoyo about their work with the SoloSIRENs Collective based in Tallaght. The collective uses applied drama/theatre methods to generate dialogue and create pieces of theatre. We discussed how the collective worked together prior to the pandemic and talked about the transition into working solely in a Zoom setting: the implications around the work, challenges, insights, and how the relationships between participants, facilitators, and the work was altered.

Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speakers below
Melody Chadamoyo

Melody Chadamoyo is the CEO and Founder of Heart Passion Institute, author of Why self-love is the Key to True Love and creator of the Healing from Heartbreak course. She helps women who have been hurt, heal their past pain so they can have their ideal happy and thriving relationship with the man of their dreams.
Melody has discovered Feminine Elegance, “a way of being, a skill a woman develops as she discovers her strengths and influence in the world,”.   A woman who uses Feminine Elegance fully blooms when she surrenders to her divine nature, and feels the certainty of who she was created to be. She moves with the flow of confidence and belief in her ability while commanding respect in every aspect of her life.” Melody is a member of the SoloSirens Collective.

Jenny Macdonald

Jenny Macdonald is a theatremaker and facilitator. Recent projects and productions include "Cessair" with SoloSIRENs collective, Tallaght Community Arts and the Civic Theatre; “Creative Audiences” with Liz Roche Company and Dublin Dance Festival; “Falling” with SoloSIRENs collective as part of Abbey Theatre 5 x 5 and the SoloSIRENs Festival; “Wanted: Dead or Alive” with Smashing Barriers Drama Collective; and “ Can’t See the Wood for the Trees” with Doors to Elsewhere ensemble. Her solo show "Enthroned" (directed by Joe Salvatore) has been programmed in First Fortnight Festival, SoloSIRENs Festival and the New York International Fringe Festival. In 2019, she created SoloSIRENs, an ensemble of emerging and established theatre artists highlighting women’s voices and participatory theatre practices. She facilitates and designs workshops for physicians with Abbey Theatre Community and Education and the Royal College of Physicians. She is an Associate Artist with Tallaght Community Arts and in this capacity directs “Cultural Competencies”, a series of trainings and events to facilitate networking and best practice in participatory arts. She is a mentor to The Civic’s ensemble in residence, Freshly Ground Theatre. She teaches participatory theatre as a tutor on the New York University study abroad masters programme in community-engaged drama and as a guest lecturer for Trinity College, Dublin Drama Department and Central School of Speech and Drama. She is an alumnus of Dublin Theatre Festival's professional development programme, The Next Stage.

Episode Two: 15th Nov 2021
Can archaeology be ethical? Posthumanism and our connection to the past.

By: Eleanor Neil, Classics Department

This episode explores the issues of ethical archaeology in museums and political arenas with special guest Dr. Craig Cipolla of the Royal Ontario Museum. Craig and I discuss how these issues play out in cultural institutions and in the field. Through these discussions, we also explore the role that archaeology, as a whole, plays in how we connect, disconnect or reconnect to our past and the pasts of others.

Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speaker below
Dr. Craig Cipolla

Craig N. Cipolla received his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2003 and his M.A. in Historical Archaeology from the same in 2005. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Craig has held a lectureship at the University of Leicester where he was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the School of Archaeology. Today, Craig is the Vettoretto Curator of North American Archaeology at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM); Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto; and Director of the Mohegan Archaeological Field School.

Craig has published extensively on archaeological theory, material culture, the archaeology of colonialism, and indigenous collaborative archaeology. His latest book (published this year by Routledge) is a collaborative effort, written in concert with Rachel J. Crellin, Lindsay M. Montgomery, Oliver J.T. Harris, and Sophie V. Moore is entitled Archaeological Theory in Dialogue: Situating Relationality, Ontology, Posthumanism, and Indigenous Paradigms.

Episode One:
Narrating millennial disconnect with Lucy Sweeney Byrne

By: Orlaith Darling, School of English

In this first episode of season two, we discuss Lucy Sweeney Byrne’s debut short story collection, Paris Syndrome (2019), and widen the conversation to touch on how ‘Paris syndrome’ as a concept speaks to feelings of millennial disconnection in a globalised world, particularly for young women. We also widen the conversation, examining the parallels between autofiction and internet culture, and delve into the theme of connection as it pertains to public constructions the literary sphere. Lucy troubles the idea of ‘the canon’ as an unproblematic connective concept, explores what it means to be a ‘millennial’ Irish women writer amid a flourishing of writing by young Irish women, and sketches the importance of literary journals and magazines as a vehicle of connection between writers and readers. We finish by discussing some of the links between Lucy’s writing and her mother, Cathy Sweeney’s.

Read the show notes here

Learn more about our guest speakers below
Lucy Sweeney Byrne

Lucy is a writer from Greystones whose work has been published in Banshee, Stinging Fly, Grist, The Dublin Review and 3AM Magazine, as well as other publications. Her debut collection of stories, Paris Syndrome was Banshee Press’s inaugural publication in 2019, and a second edition has recently been released. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous Irish and international awards, including the Dalkey Emerging Writer Award, the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Butler Literary Award, the Kate O’Brien Award, and the John McGahern Annual Book Prize

The Hublic Sphere Team

Conor Brennan

Conor Brennan is a PhD candidate in the German Department at Trinity College Dublin and an early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. His research, funded by the Irish Research Council, compares aesthetic responses to the Anthropocene in the works of Christoph Ransmayr and Olga Tokarczuk. He has also written about Ransmayr and the Austrian novelist Valerie Fritsch for a special issue of Austrian Studies (forthcoming 2022), with a focus on gender in the Anthropocene. Conor holds a BA in English & German from TCD, where he was elected Scholar in 2014, and an MSt in German from the University of Oxford, where he was an Ertegun Scholar.

Orlaith Darling

Orlaith Darling is a PhD candidate in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin and an early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. Her research, funded by the Irish Research Council, focuses on representations of neoliberalism in contemporary Irish women’s short fiction, and she is more generally interested in the relationship between dominant social hegemonies and literature. She is a co-founder and editor of the Contemporary Irish Literature research network,  and her work has been published in Feminist Media Studies, Contemporary Women’s Writing, The Irish Studies Review, Critique, Alluvium and Estudios Irlandeses. She also has chapters forthcoming in Ageing Masculinites in Irish Literature and Visual Culture (2021), Written on the Body: Narrative (Re)constructions of Violence(s) (2021), and Austerity and Irish Women’s Writing and Culture (2022). She holds an MSc in Literature and Modernity: 1900 - present from the University of Edinburgh (2019), and a BA in English Literature and History from Trinity College Dublin (2018), where she was elected Scholar in 2016.

Lisa Doyle

Lisa Doyle is a PhD candidate in the Department of Classics at Trinity College Dublin and an early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. She holds a BA in Classical Civilisations and Modern Irish from Trinity College Dublin (2017) and an MSc in Classics from the University of Edinburgh (2019). As part of the 'Margins of Learning' project funded by the Provost’s PhD project awards, her doctoral research is concerned with ancient Greek scholarship, focusing on critical commentaries and texts which survive as scholia- scholarly notes found in the margins of manuscripts. As well as having forthcoming articles accepted for publication, her work has been featured at conferences such as Out of Bounds: An Exploration of Boundaries in a Crisis (Trinity Centre for Literary & Cultural Translation, 2021), What have the Ancients ever done for us? (co-organiser, 2021) and she will present at the International Conference on Etymological Theories and Practices (University of Thessaloniki, November 2021).  

Courtney Helen Grile

Courtney Helen Grile is a theatre artist and PhD candidate in the department of Drama at Trinity College Dublin, as well as an early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. Her research focuses on the intersection of applied drama and democracy, with a focus on deliberative democratic practices. She holds a BFA in Media & Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art & Design, an MFA in Theatre (emphasis in Theatre for Young Audiences) from the University of Central Florida. She has worked in the United States and Ireland as an administrator, adjunct instructor, teaching artist, performer, facilitator, and director. She recently had a chapter published in the anthology Theatre and Democracy: Building democracy in post-war and post-democratic contexts and has presented her research at conferences hosted by the International Federation for Theatre Research (2021), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (2019/2021), and the Political Science Association (2021). 

Tom Hedley

Tom Hedley is a PhD candidate in the Department of Germanic Studies at Trinity College Dublin and early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. A graduate of TCD (BA German and Mathematics) and the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (MA Literature, Art & Culture), Tom’s current research explores the changing understanding of space and spatiality in modern mathematics and German modernism (ca. 1890–1930), which is funded by the Irish Research Council. As of September 2021, he is the guest Junior Fellow at the Descartes Centre at Utrecht University, Netherlands, where he will work with other researchers and MA students in the history of mathematics research area. Tom has presented his research at several international forums, and recent publications include an article on Romanian-German writer Herta Müller and her use of mathematical ideas in relation to trauma narratives in Germanistik in Ireland 16 (2021) and a paper on autofictionality and the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland in Mark Cousins’ experimental film I am Belfast in Imaginaires 23 (2021).

Lorraine McEvoy

Lorraine McEvoy is a PhD candidate in the History Department at Trinity College Dublin and an early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. She also holds a BA (history and English literature) and an MPhil in International History from Trinity College Dublin. Her current research, which is funded by an Ussher Fellowship, explores initiatives for the recuperation of children in Europe in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, with a focus on recuperative holidays. These involved sending groups of children abroad for short periods of time in order to restore their mental and physical well-being. She is a member of the history team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland and her work has featured in conferences such as The Intellectual Lives of Children at the University of Oxford. 

Eleanor Neil

Eleanor Neil is a PhD candidate in the Classics Department at Trinity College Dublin and an early career researcher at the Trinity Long Room Hub. She also holds a BA in Ancient History and Archaeology and an MPhil in Public History and Cultural Heritage. Her research examines community archaeology in Cyprus, through three strands: in-person programming (open days, school tours, etc.), digital engagement (apps, websites, etc.) and multivocal narrative creation (the weaving together of narratives from diverse sources to create a more holistic understanding of a site, artefact or practice). She has received scholarship funds from the Leventis Foundation and has recently completed a residency at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, in Nicosia. She has also presented her work in a variety of forums, including the National Museum of Ireland’s Reimagining the Decade conference (2020); #pubarchMED Public Archaeology in the Mediterranean virtual conference (2021); and the Postgraduate Cypriot Archaeology Conference (2020), to which she has also had a paper accepted for 2021; as well as contributing a pre-recorded presentation for What Did the Ancients Ever Do For Us? online conference, for which she was also an organizer. She currently holds the position of contributing editor with the journal American Anthropologist and is a council member for the Royal Society of Antiquaries Ireland.

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