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New Project in Collaboration with Trinity Long Room Hub to Explore Trinity’s Colonial Past

19 February 2021 – The Trinity Long Room Hub’s Deputy Director, Dr Ciaran O’Neill will spearhead a new project to explore Trinity’s connections to empire.

Under the direction of Dr Ciaran O’Neill, Deputy Director of the Hub, and Dr Patrick Walsh, also of Trinity’s School of Histories and Humanities, a 24-month postdoctoral fellowship will examine and reflect upon Trinity’s colonial legacies through scholarly research and engagement with public audiences. Slavery, statues, curriculum development, museum and library collections and how Trinity presents its history to the public in the future will all be under the spotlight.

Recent conversations brought to a public audience by the Trinity Long Room Hub through the Global Irish Network have formed part of a conversation about Trinity College Dublin’s history, and have helped  lead to the University undertaking a historical examination of its links to and role in empire.

The Global Irish Network discussion in November 2020 opened-up conversations on Irish universities and their imperial legacies, with talks from Professors Finola O’Kane-Crimmins and Hussein Omar (UCD), Dr Dónal Hassett (UCC) and Dr Ciaran O’Neill (TCD). Chaired by Professor Eve Patten, Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, the online event highlighted the depth of links between universities and colonial inheritances in Ireland and other former colonies of the British empire.

Commenting on Trinity’s Colonial Legacies Project, Professor Patten emphasised the power of public engagement in opening up new possibilities for research and inspiring action. “I want to commend our Deputy Director Ciaran O’Neill for his commitment to building on the momentum of these early conversations and leading what will be an extraordinary undertaking for Trinity College, marking a new period in its history and reflecting on some uncomfortable but necessary truths.”

Dr Ciaran O’Neill said: “We are really excited about the Trinity’s Colonial Legacies project. It gives us an opportunity to have a critical conversation about Trinity’s multiple connections to empire. Ideally that would take place in an open and transparent process that is as inclusive as possible. We are a University community and debating ideas, legacies, and identities is a key part of what we do.”
The project team will be supported by an advisory board chaired by Professor Mary McAleese, Chancellor of the University of Dublin and former President of Ireland.

Ciaran O’Neill is Ussher Assistant Professor in Nineteenth Century History at Trinity College Dublin and Deputy Director of Trinity Long Room Hub. A co-founder of Trinity’s M.Phil in Public History and Cultural Heritage, he is (with Finola O’Kane Crimmins) editor of the forthcoming Ireland, Slavery and the Caribbean; Interdisciplinary Perspectives (MUP, 2021). His new research project, With Prof Karly Kehoe, is focused on Irish, British and Canadian links to the Eastern Caribbean.

Trinity's Colonial Legacies Project is now seeking applications for the position of postdoctoral fellow and the closing date for application is Friday, 19th March 2021. Further details can be found here.


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