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Cherishing the Humanities: Trinity's Arts and Humanities Inspiring Generations

Each year, the Trinity Long Room Hub hosts 50 of Trinity’s most outstanding PhD students and early career researchers from across the Arts and Humanities. We are committed to showing how their research provides unique perspectives on societal challenges.

Bowen Wang| From Ut pictura poesis to Intermediality: Mina Loy, E. E. Cummings, and Djuna Barnes as Modernist Painter-Poets |

My research specifically examines the figure of modernist painter-poets, i.e., Mina Loy, E. E. Cummings, and Djuna Barnes, who worked as both poets and visual artists in the early twentieth-century Anglo-American context. It focuses on how this intermedial artisthood is constructed and how their word and image are interwoven between different media, disciplines, and cultures. Adroit in experimental poetry and avant-garde art, those painter-poets engaged in a range of sociocultural movements – Loy with Futurism and Dada, Cummings with Cubism and Fauvism, Barnes with Decadence and Surrealism – all thriving not only in the literary but also the artistic realm.

From the lens of intermediality, the dual identity of painter-poet enables us to reconsider the traditional poetic form and its linear way of reading/seeing. Specially, it raises new questions concerning the materiality of language, the texture of picture, and a series of cultural, aesthetic, and ideological indeterminacies between reading and spectatorship. As such, this interdisciplinary project will not treat a poem or a painting merely as an instrumental reference to or a thematic or technical lending force from each other. It will, instead, pay attention to the verbal-visual complex of their modernist experiments through the intermedial construction of a fluid, multifarious artisthood as painter-poet.

Image credits (from left to right):
Mina Loy, Self-Portrait (1905). Pencil on paper, The Last Lunar Beadeker, ed. Roger L Conover.
E. E. Cummings, Self-Portrait (1958). Oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, Washington.
Djuna Barnes, Self-Portrait (1901). Ink on paper, University of Maryland Libraries, Maryland.

Olivia Frehill| School of Histories and Humanities | Women, Work and Welfare in Dublin, c. 1890- 1940 | |

Dublin, at the beginning of the twentieth century, was a city transitioning from industrial to service employment. While sizeable proportions of the overall female workforce in paid employment remained in areas such as domestic service, laundering or factory work, new areas were emerging with rising numbers becoming clerks or shopworkers. The professions were slowly opening to women for those of a select class background with workers on the fringes of professional status like teachers comprising significant numbers too. As was occurring in other global cities, women workers moved from rural areas to the city, albeit to a more limited extent in Dublin than elsewhere, owing to its poorer employment opportunities.

My poster question prompts the viewer to think about what this changing world of work meant for the individual and what it revealed about the wider city. Developments in female work arose from a confluence of factors. These included new workplaces, wartime expediencies, changing technologies like typewriters and sewing machines, new emphases in the training, education and skills instilled in women and new legislative developments. Yet we must clearly not overstate a narrative of change and progress for women either. Often lower pay, antiquated, enduring negative cultural attitudes to women workers, exploitative work conditions and temporary work were continuing features of the world of work for female employees.

Therefore, this question reveals a complex, multi-layered story of both blemishes and limited advances with much contemporary relevance. Thinking about this issue, compels us to consider the differing value ascribed to different categories of women’s work and workers, the values being inculcated in women through the work and training they did, the effect of technological change in justifying lower pay and devaluing their skills and the persistence of ingrained attitudes regarding women’s role and place. Profound changes are occurring in the present moment regarding the world of work, as we navigate a post pandemic environment, the development of AI and a continuing devaluation of certain types of work, often commonly allocated to women. It is therefore fitting that we reflect on the longer-term story of the changes in women’s work.

Image sources:
Image 1: Courtesy of National Library of Ireland.   Thomas H. Mason & Sons photographers, (c. 1890 -1910) Photo Title: ‘Irish Training School of Domestic Economy’.
Image 2: Courtesy of Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland.  A.H. Turner of Fox photographers, 1948. Photo Title: ‘Interior View across the Cask Records Office’.

Lisa Doyle| School of Histories and Humanities | Margins of Learning: Exploring the Scholia on Apollonius' 'Argonautica'| |

As part of the project ‘Margins of Learning: Exploring the Scholia on Apollonius’ Argonautica’, I am examining Greek scholia: explanatory notes and comments that survive in the margins of Medieval manuscripts. Scholia have long been overlooked and undervalued. In fact, they contain a wealth of information relating to ancient knowledge and learning, and attest to the cultural influence wielded by scholars.

I focus on a corpus of scholia that comment on the only epic poem to survive from the Hellenistic period, the Argonautica. It was composed by Apollonius of Rhodes, a scholar-poet working at the Library of Alexandria. Furthermore, my research is concerned with the intersection of poetry and scholarship, as the commentaries produced by ancient scholars informed and influenced the composition of poetic works throughout antiquity.

Since the ancient Greeks did not observe the same disciplinary distinctions that we do today, scholia offer us insight into the ways scholarship was conceived in the ancient world and they preserve scholarly interpretations and principles which remained pertinent across centuries. Ultimately, they are not just a window into the intellectual tradition but a crucial component of it. My goal is to find meaning in these fragmentary notes and to bring them back from the margins of scholarship.

Manuscript details (Image of manuscript has been altered):

MS Gr. Z. 454 (=822), 22v. Venezia, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.
Identifier: CSTOR.240.10164VE0049_Gr_Z_0454_00822ARM0000484

Available at:

Kathryn Murphy| School of Classics | Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!' Animals and Spectacle Management in the Roman Empire | |

The Romans produced and attended staged hunts (venationes) for various reasons, not all of which were motivated by the prospect of seeing bloodshed. For many spectators the venationes were a chance to see novel, exotic species, or perhaps familiar animals in numbers and contexts never seen before. They were a chance to see animals respond to different stimuli, to observe how they behaved under the specific conditions of the arena, and watch how they engaged with other performers. In essence, the venationes provided opportunities to see Nature on display and to re-imagine what kind of ‘beings’ animals were to the Romans. By implication, the performing roles of animals inside the arena were not static. Rather, what the evidence suggests, and what this study aims to demonstrate, is that the Romans cast animals in a variety of roles that were informed by shifting cultural, social, political, and empirical experiences with, and attitudes towards, the natural world. This poster aims to capture the complexity of this casting process, and encourage the viewer to question what value(s) they assign animals under the human gaze.

Featured species:

The five featured species (elephant, bear, bull, leopard, lion) were some of the most prominent animals to appear in the staged hunts in Rome. The elephant - largest in the arena and in the poster - was the first animal to be exploited for entertainment in Rome and therefore holds an important place in the history of wild beast displays.The bear and bull are placed in opposition to one another to signify the popularity of bear vs. bull combats in the early empire. Similarly, leopards and lions were commonly hunted together, often in large numbers. 

Eleanor Neil| Classics Department Classics| Multivocality and Inclusion: Evaluating Community Archaeology | |

In this poster, I pose the question: archaeology of a community, or community archaeology? The difference is not always clear, and the answers to who owns the past are rarely as simple as who has power, access, or ownership. How we choose to engage with the past and with its varied stakeholders is at the heart of my research.

The votive figurines and statues, depicted on the poster are from Agia Irini, excavated in 1929. It is in the northern part of Cyprus and has been occupied by a de facto Turkish government since 1974, complicating more modern re-examinations of the material. While not one of the case studies specifically examined in my thesis, this assemblage raises questions about archaeology, communities (past and present), and their interactions.

Community archaeology, as a practice, is broad and flexible, refering to a wide range of practices: including, but not limited to, outreach activities and open days; archaeological projects conducted in the public eye, but with decision-making still lying with the archaeologist; or a project where community members retain control over all aspects of design, planning, publishing and display; or any combination or variation thereof.

Using Cyprus as my main case study, my thesis examines three strands of community archaeology: in-person outreach programs, digital creations (websites, apps, maps, etc.) and multivocal narrative creation (distinct narratives woven together to generate more complete representations of sites or landscapes). These three strands, allow a consideration of practice through which views (which are sometimes in opposition to each other) can come together in service of research and meaningful knowledge exchange.

Chaomei Chen| School of Creative Arts| Restaging the Ghosts of Revolution in the Postrevolutionary Chinese Theatre: Utopia, Trauma, Amnesia.| |

Why are the specters of revolution constantly haunting the stage? Theatrical reenactments of history resemble a mirror hall charged with the social, cultural, and political specificities of the “here and now” and longing for a different future. Departing from the worldwide postrevolutionary phenomena investigated by scholars such as Jacques Derrida, Arif Dirlik, Wang Hui, and Dai Jinhua across an intercultural spectrum, this project argues that the postrevolutionary Chinese theatre both reveals and betrays the postrevolutionary syndrome of “depoliticized politics”. These symptoms manifest themselves as a “farewell-to-revolution” tendency to shroud the utopian revolutionary ideal in the theatrical representations of trauma and amnesia. I will further explore this theatrical “depoliticized” trajectory in restaged revolutionary memories within the context of Chinese society’s “compressed modernities”, ranging from a postmodernist paradox of communist utopia to a displacement of the political subject by the ethical one to cultural amnesia and its resistance in identity crisis. Finally, I attempt to restructure the way how theatre could challenge existing methods to reimagine the scholarly paradigms of other territories in face of a globalized postrevolutionary world.

Nandini Gupta| The Wandering Minstrels of Hope: Tracing the Role of Women’s Grassroots Peacebuilding in Kashmir and Northern Ireland| Irish School of Ecumenics

The global international agendas have generated awareness regarding women's participation in peace-making and have also raised the question of “why women matter in peace?”. But by neglecting marginalized women and overlooking their indigenous ways of peacebuilding, it has maintained its hegemonic grip on an elusive question of “which women matter in peacebuilding?” and neglected the particular ways in which women at the grassroots approach peacebuilding. The question “which” foregrounds some important deliberations on the aspect of power relations regarding representational discourse in the domain of peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping. My research aims to investigate these embedded power relationships by situating the struggle of these women in the larger framework of feminist peacebuilding and will traverse through their distinctive manoeuvrings of making peace at the grassroots level through sticks and stones. This poster is also an attempt to capture the voices of such women who bring out the spirit of fearlessness in the face of death and willingly choose to build bridges in pursuing their goal of equality and inclusiveness in conflict-ridden societies.

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