Early Career Researcher Poster Showcase

Each year, the Trinity Long Room Hub hosts up to 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.

Early Career Researcher Poster Showcase 2023

Alex Day ECR Poster 2023Alexandra Day | School of Histories and Humanities | Soviet International Law and the Show Trials, 1917 – 1927 | alday@tcd.ie

"Long live the people who create a new law in their courts, which are boiling and fermenting like a new wine: a just law for all, a just law of the great fraternity and equality of the working man!" - Anatoli Lunacharskii, 1917 

In the wake of the revolutionary upheaval of 1917, the possibilities for change seemed endless. Reverberations of the transformation in Russia were felt all across the globe. The question of where, and how, the flame would spread was on the minds of many. Surprisingly, for the Russian revolutionaries, there was no better tool for this task than the law. Law offered a shared language for activists across Europe, and a direct link to historic revolutionary moments. The question of law became all the more pressing when the new state was shaken by brutal civil war. Law as a tool of state security became paramount. From this point on, the potential for law to transform was shadowed by its potential to repress. 

This project examines how international law was instrumentalised in the early years of the Soviet experiment. In particular, the task of balancing international revolutionary ambitions with the interests of the Soviet state is crucial for this project. In the legal sphere, there was a genuine plurality of opinions on where the Soviet project could go next. The theorists of the 1920s were determined to expand international law beyond the embassy, to truly reach the people it claimed to serve. Signing treaties with communist parties to aid in their projects, the use of international trials, and the provision of legal aid to activists across Europe were all experiments which emerged as a result of international legal thinking. However, the role of international law as a mediator between the rulers of the states continuously tempered these attempts. 

This poster reflects the challenges of using old vocabularies and concepts for new challenges. How has Russia fit (or not fit) into an international legal order throughout history? Could law and revolution ever mix? Could the scales be tipped towards the masses? These questions are as vital for social change today as they were in the 1920s. 

Sources: The forces of peace are invincible - N.A. Dolgorukov & B.E. Efimov (1949) 


Claire Poynton Smith ECR Poster 2023 Claire Poynton-Smith| School of English | Tracking the language of sanctity across transitional English: an analysis of expressions of lust and chastity in English texts c.950-c.1300  | poyntonc@tcd.ie 

Does thinking about sex automatically make us sinful? Did medieval writers portray saints as thinking about sex? How have the words we use to talk about virtue and vice changed as English has evolved? 

My research applies digital approaches to the study of medieval English, focusing on texts dealing with sainthood, vice, and virtue. My thesis seeks to consider how recorded expressions of lust and chastity evolve over 350 years of vernacular English texts, and the image you see on the poster—from the margins of a fourteenth-century manuscript of the Roman de la Rose—is an irreverent nod to these themes, depicting a nun gathering fruit from a tree. The poster also shows two real examples of searches for word-families I am interested in across collections of transcribed texts from the early medieval period, with the upper half showing results for lust in the phase of the language traditionally called Old English (which still looks/sounds very “Germanic” and unfamiliar to modern speakers) and the lower half showing results for chastity in the phase of the language after the Norman Conquest, which is traditionally called Middle English and shows more influences from French and Latin.

We have a new world of information at our fingertips due to technological advances, and what would have once required a painstaking, hugely time-consuming manual consultation of piles of physical manuscripts and editions can (in some ways) be activated at the push of a button: the next challenge is knowing what to do with this new power. My thesis takes an innovative approach by combining methods from corpus linguistics to more traditional literary qualitative analysis of texts traditionally marked as either Old or Middle English, and I am excited by the opportunities that are available to us now that we can apply new computational tools to studying medieval conceptual vocabularies. I believe that this opens a window into fresh perspectives on medieval texts, and the digital methods I use facilitate mapping, pinpointing, and interrogating thematic expression innovatively and at a scope previously impossible. 

Sources: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Fr. 25526, f. 106v. Manuscript digitised here: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6000369q  


Elena Valli ECR Poster 2023Elena Valli| School of English |Religious Meditation and Historical Witness in the Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, Anthony Hecht, and Geoffrey Hill | Vallie@tcd.ie 

How do we respond to episodes of violence around us? While we feel a sense of empathy with those who suffer when we hear about their misfortunes on the news, for example, we are likely to be more responsive to their pain when we witness it directly. Sensible experience tends to make a deeper impression on people, to the point of determining their future reactions. 

A similar principle informs the Spiritual Exercises, a set of meditative techniques designed by Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century to help believers experience abstract religious concepts or religious figures through the physical senses and in realistic detail, by direct interaction within an imagined scene. 

These instructions for witnessing the unseen and the non-experienced were revisited in Western poetry after World War II, a time which traditionally coincides with the end of the modernist movement in literature. Three poets in particular, Anthony Hecht, Elizabeth Bishop, and Geoffrey Hill, transformed these meditative exercises into poetic techniques to answer one of the main questions of post-war literature: while it is fundamentally a duty to remember history, how can it be translated into words ethically, faithfully, and with respect to those who have been impacted by it? 

In their poems, these writers turn words into windows, allowing themselves and their readers to peer into the past, and inviting the eye to look beyond the surface into the concrete details of real lives. One is encouraged to witness and be alert to the colours, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes of the scene described, as a distant and yet present spectator. By doing this, the suffering of others is not appropriated, and yet it is understood more meaningfully and directly than as an abstract idea. 

Through meditation, overall, these poets overcome the influence of their literary heirs and find their poetic voice in the effort of recording the historical and realistic dimensions of experience, against abstraction. At the same time, they question some of the religious values behind meditation by juxtaposing real victims with the symbolic sacrifices originally contemplated in the Ignatian tradition. 

Sources: "A casualty on a stretcher being attended to at a regimental aid post - 3rd Division in Caen area, 10 July 1944", London Imperial War Museum, B 6829. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205206015  


Ellen Orchard ECR Poster 2023

Ellen Orchard | School of English | The Child in Irish Poetry: From Yeats to the Present | orcharde@tcd.ie 

My research examines constructions of childhood in modern Irish poetry. It spotlights the hurt and endangered child in the work of eight poets, who write in or about twentieth-century Ireland. By reading the varied presence of the child in Irish poetry in light of its historical, social and political contexts, this project foregrounds hidden histories of women and children, thereby nuancing critical debates surrounding the roles of nation and gender in identity formation, the presence of the child in Irish institutional history and the way that social class informs literary constructions of Irish childhoods. 

While this poster speaks to my whole project, it most closely relates to my second chapter, which reads Austin Clarke and Paula Meehan’s poetry about childhoods in Dublin's North inner-city. For example, the line of poetry featured on this poster, ‘write her down, before she blurs’ is taken from Meehan’s sonnet ‘Her Dignity: A Restoration’, about an old woman reflecting on her girlhood. It ends: 

You, who write the histories,

write her in, write her up, write her down, before she blurs,

an image disturbed in a scurrying bowl, that the brute

erosions of a State helmed by liars, helmed by crooks,

might not yet rob memory of her abiding grace.

There is an urgency here to writing this childhood in particular, as if to neglect it would mean this woman’s disappearance. This is because historically it might, this poem a response to 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin’s Tenement Museum; Meehan writes childhoods that are often overlooked in literature. Meehan’s poem reminds us that while children have always existed, childhood is itself an historical construct, determined by its cultural contexts and not merely the biological age of a ‘child’. For example, some children are less sheltered than others, forced to grow up quickly and adopt ‘adult’ responsibility from an early age. What can poetry teach us about the failures of the State in protecting its most vulnerable, and how can poetry preserve those childhoods so often excluded from national narratives? 


Image: "Two Boys on a Street of Dublin, 1967", Photo by Rudolf Dietrich/Ulstein Bild, Getty Images 

Poem: Paula Meehan, "Her Dignity: A Restoration", in "Museum" (Dublin: Dublin City Council Culture Company, 2019). 


Rita Zhu ECR Poster 2023

Honghui Rita Zhu | School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences| Multilingualism and Language Policy in Transnational Universities  | hozhu@tcd.ie |

This poster showcases the transnational context that is the focus of my PhD project. The depiction of the globe with the word "We" represents students from diverse backgrounds studying in China, contributing their insights on multilingual ideology. Conversely, the globe below, marked with "you," signifies the study-abroad trend among Chinese students, which flourished in the 2010s. 

Within my PhD thesis, I examine language practices, language management, and language ideology in transnational classrooms that encompass both Chinese and non-Chinese students and instructors, resulting in a multilingual and multicultural environment. While English serves as the medium of instruction in some transnational universities based in China, it is important to note that a significant portion of the student body primarily speaks Putonghua and various regional Chinese languages. 

In this context, language management plays a crucial role in reconciling language ideologies among multiple stakeholders, including local and central governments, university authorities, students and their parents, and instructors. The aim is to foster harmony in language practices within these seemingly multilingual yet unquestionably multicultural classrooms. 

Furthermore, this poster aligns with the original sentiment of the phrase "We are here because you were there," emphasising the dominance of English in a globalised world. Additionally, my thesis explores related concepts such as neoliberalism and liberal nationalism. 


Manuscript credit: Book title with the same line by Ian Sanjay Patel Published by Verso 2021, in which this author cited these words from the writer Ambalavaner Sivanandan, born in the British colony of Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka), who migrated to Britain in 1953.


Huayu Yang ECR Poster 2023

Huayu Yang| School of Creative Arts | Playing with the Real: Postdramatic Dramaturgies of Dead Centre  | yanghu@tcd.ie |

My project examines the dramaturgies of the Dublin-based theatre company Dead Centre, founded in 2011 by artistic directors Bush Moukarzel and Ben Kidd, from a post-dramatic perspective. Departing from their experimental configuration of dramaturgical elements such as text, body, scenography, sound, and space, I will explore how they subvert, play, and negotiate with the literary dramatic traditions of plot-driven fictive cosmos and the dominance of play text, how they probe, unsettle, and challenge the boundaries of theatre, as well as how they reflect on theatre’s unique yet porous mediality in relation to the contemporary context and the Irish theatre scene. 

The photograph used in my poster captures a scene from Dead Centre’s 2015 show Chekhov’s First Play. The actors, dressed in canvas white as characters from Chekhov’s unfinished, untitled first play commonly known as Platonov after its protagonist, sit together at a long dining table. With transfixed stillness, they stare at the “moon”, a wrecking ball that has just crashed the setting of the play and has been set on fire by two of them. Among these figures sits an audience member, dressed in red, a “real” person, who is directed live by the director’s voice in their headphones to play the central character Platonov. In the ruins of drama occurs a new theatre, which entails new relationships between the real and the theatrical, the stage and the auditorium. And it is also in the ruins of drama, where theatre’s past meets its future, that my project is situated. 

Source: Image: Chekhov’s First Play © Adrian Bulboaca and Dead Centre 


Neha Tetali ECR Poster 2023

Neha Tetali | School of Religion, Theology and Peace Studies | How can Postcolonial Feminism reimagine Feminist Foreign Policy? The Case of India | tetalin@tcd.ie

What is a ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’? Officially adopted by Sweden in 2014, a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) seeks to implement a gender-sensitive agenda in foreign policy. The principle is to ensure women’s participation in global politics and sustainable peace, with the idea that women’s empowerment will positively impact national and international security. This was the first time that any nation had explicitly labelled its foreign policy feminist. Today Canada, Luxembourg, France, Mexico, Spain, Libya and Germany are some of the countries that have officially adopted an FFP. Through my research, I try to unpack what this policy really means, but from a ‘postcolonial feminist’ perspective. Postcolonial Feminist Theory argues that FFPs are drafted by the Global North (developed, high-income nations), and practiced by them on the Global South (low-income, culturally marginalised nations). There is a gap in incorporating local knowledge, and lack of analysis of how coloniality and race shape foreign policy today. This furthers the domination of Western liberal notions of equality, peace and justice, ignoring postcolonial feminist voices when creating and implementing Feminist Foreign Policies. Using a case study of India, I ask: What would FFP look like, when reimagined through Postcolonial Feminism? 

The core of my poster is the picture of Indian women puppets. By showing locally handmade women puppets standing mutely, I want to raise the point of representation for the sake of inclusion, without actually giving a real voice and being puppeteered by larger interests. And thereby the question—how feminist are foreign policies? Does ‘feminist’ in FFP mean a certain brand of liberal feminism, or can ‘feminist’ mean intersectional, postcolonial feminism? 

The puppets are Indian village women, and my poster also asks if their voices are being heard at all or if any part of foreign policy can ever be theirs. And most importantly—are subaltern postcolonial women destined to be puppets? 

Source: Photo by Swastik Arora on Unsplash 


Nemo Castelli ECR Poster 2023

Nemo Castelli, S.J. |School of Religion, Theology and Peace Studies | Sacred Secularity: an investigation on Raimon Panikkar's response to secularization process in Chile | castelln@tcd.ie|

Since the beginning of civilizations, human beings have experienced that the divine or nature could destroy the world; the novelty of Modernity is the awareness that human beings themselves can bring about this end. 

We live in a great paradox. Modern science and technology with all their prodigies, the practices of political emancipation, social transformation and recognition of rights, and production through the global market... have given greater power to human beings. However, it has not given greater freedom or fullness to them. Everything that humans come to subdue ends up being alien to them. Disposable! Something happens with modern rationality – abstract, objectifying, monocultural, with pretensions to universality – that makes everything an object of domination and ends up behaving like a tyrant. Its advance has left an uninhabitable world in its wake. Ecologically unsustainable, increasingly unequal, humanly alienating and superficial, and constantly threatened by violence: classism, racism, neocolonialism, extractivist capitalism, patriarchy and violence against women, xenophobia, sacrificial religions, democracies or 'technocracies' in crisis, etc. 

We are like a fly in a jar, which tries to fly and hits the glass it cannot see. 

To find the way out towards a fuller life for every creature and culture we need more than rationality – in whatever form – but also more than liberating practices. Recognizing that we cannot do without the contribution of science, we need a profound transformation of our knowledge and our way of participating in reality by exploring an a-dual intuition. It is the cosmotheandric intuition that makes us aware of the mutual inhabitation of the three dimensions: the material world, human consciousness and the divine (the non-finite, that "something more" that does not show itself to consciousness as an object). This reveals that the core of reality is not fixed and isolated things, but constitutive and dynamic relations, namely, love. 

Reality is cosmotheandric, it is a cosmic, conscious and divine symphony and we participate in that vital rhythm of reality. Everything is intrinsically interconnected. What happens to one happens to all. This sacredness of secularity is revealed to the heart that has opened "the three eyes of the human being": the eye of the bodily senses (aesthesis), the eye of consciousness (noesis)... and the eye of contemplation (mystika). Only in this way can we become aware of the relationship that is reality as a whole. It is this awareness that makes any other interpretation of reality possible; and that leads to responsibility and action through ethical, political and spiritual commitments grounded in the deepest core of our humanness.


Samantha Sink ECR Poster 2023

Samantha Sink |School of Histories and Humanities |Materials & Theoretical Practices of Geography in the Hellenistic World | sinks@tcd.ie

We use geography constantly. Anytime we use Google Maps to navigate somewhere, geography is involved. For the ancient Greeks, geography was anchored to sailing. The ancient Greeks were seafarers and navigating the ancient world was important for communication, trade, and exploration. 

One scholar, Eratosthenes (c. 250 BC), changed how the Greeks explored their world by deviating from the standard methodology from that of physical, firsthand observations of exploration to that of theoretical practices. He used records from sailors and surveyors to write a book on geography, which included 400 place names spanning from Africa, Greece, Central Asia, the Baltics, and all the way to India. From those 400 places, Eratosthenes recorded over 90 distances. He himself never traveled to these far-reaching places; thus, Eratosthenes changed the way the Greeks explored and thought about their world by implementing mathematical techniques on the landscape. 

My poster signifies that concepts and thoughts about ancient geography were changed by Eratosthenes, a mathematician and geographer, who calculated the circumference of the earth. Eratosthenes changed the Ptolemaic empire by anchoring mathematics as a common language and by defining the physical world for the imperial and intellectual elite within the wider Hellenistic world. 

My poster also encourages contemporary scholars to make a U-turn in their line of reasoning and approaches regarding the study of ancient geography and the study of how the Greeks explored their world. Many focus on determining Eratosthenes’ exact measurement of distance, and finding imperial, political ties to his life’s work. 

My project diverges from this route and studies the connectivity of mathematics, ancient geography, and theoretical practices in the Hellenistic world. The methodology of this project is rooted in interdisciplinary approaches; my research combines textual sources, ancient Greek mathematics, and the politics of the Hellenistic world with archaeological evidence and the study of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 

Often the concepts and ways in which current scholars have approached ancient geography seem linear, thus, this project aims to provide another angle and a unique perspective about the study of ancient geography, the Greeks that explored it, and their theoretical practices. 

Sources: Sailboat photo by Bobby Stevenson on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/3AEJ6imbQTo 

Eratosthenes photo by Lu, Donna. “Ancient Greek Method for Finding Prime Numbers Just Got an Upgrade.” New Scientist, May 16, 2019. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2201901-ancient-greek-method-for-finding-prime-numbers-just-got-an-upgrade/. 

U-turn photo by Jim Wilson on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/5QvsD0AaXPk  


Scotty McQueen ECR Poster 2023

Scotty McQueen | School of Creative Arts |Alternate-Reality Lifestyles: Deconstructing Conspiracy Theories & The Apocalypse | smqueen@tcd.ie

Once the domain of extremism and eschatology, today, apocalypticism and conspiracism are entrenched, not only in popular culture, but in the very Zeitgeist. This project employs creative-practice methodologies to explore the vast gap between surface and substance in digitally perpetuated alternate-reality narratives; from conspiracy theories/fantasies to hypothetical apocalypse survivalism. As digital platforms enable the spread of conspiracy and counterfactual narratives, the lines between imaginary apocalypses (zombies/robots) and actual crises (pandemic/algorithmic) have become increasingly blurred in the popular imagination. Despite the fact that zombies and sentient autonomous robots are not real, the potential for a zombie or A.I. apocalypse is becoming increasingly hyperreal. This project investigates how, in an era marked by apocalyptic concerns and digital disinformation, alternate-reality scenarios might be ethically leveraged for educational purposes. 

The terms “LARP” (Live-Action-Role-Play), “cosplay” (costume-play), and “ARG” (Alternate-Reality Game) all arise from organized games and environments including Renaissance festivals, historical reenactments, costume conventions, and interactive promotional campaigns. Today, such terms are being used to describe – among other things – hate-speech trolls, heavily armed insurgents, and religious or political extremists, despite the fact that the origins and definitions of the terms are antithetical to the all-too-real contexts and consequences of the activities being described. I propose the term “alternate-reality lifestyle” to better capture both sincere (good faith) and manipulative (bad faith) gamification of real-world situations and events. 

Throughout this dissertation, I explore the darker themes implicit within conspiracy culture and the apocalyptic imaginary as it pertains to those deemed less-than-human, mapping how these themes may be deconstructed and reconstructed in order to guide ethical and data-supported narratives. I reflect on my mini-webseries entitled "The (Un)Conspiracy Manifesto" which builds on ‘the poetics of debunking,’ proposed by the Wu Ming Foundation and endorsed by Henry Jenkins in 2018. I further reflect on my webseries entitled "The Art of the Apocalypse: From A.I. to Zombie," in which I engage with alternate-reality apocalypse survivalism in order to gamify apocalypticism toward socially productive ends. Rather than challenge counterfactual narratives with facts or logic, through these projects, I experimented with the appropriation of conspiracist/survivalist aesthetics in order to subvert the premises of conspiracist and post-apocalyptic narratives. 

Source: Appropriated image for non-commercial educational and editorial use. Vintage travel poster for New Zealand created by Martin Read (circa 1930s) featuring Mt. Cook in the background.


Sophie McGurk ECR Poster 2023

Sophie McGurk | School of Histories and Humanities | Killing the Father: 'Cultural Fathers' and Paternal Influence in Hibernian Philhellenism  | smcgurk@tcd.ie

My project explores the idea of Irish ‘cultural fathers’ in contemporary classicism and how the tensions present in Hibernian Philhellenism between the late 19th century and the 21st century manifest in the lives, works and relationships of several prominent figures. My central figure is Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) – poet, dramatist, and classical scholar. I consider Wilde’s relation to two further key characters. The first, J. P. Mahaffy (1839-1919), Wilde’s Tutor at Trinity College Dublin, and with whom Wilde had a close personal relationship. The second figure is Colm Tóibín (1955-), one of Ireland’s prime contemporary authors and critics, who follows Wilde across the canon. By ‘paternal influence’ here, I mean primarily a joint cultural and pedagogical influence over education, beliefs, artistic style, and social perspective. 

My poster immediately challenges the viewer to consider the reality of paternal authority– be it biological or cultural. When creating my poster, I wanted to employ a scene from Greek myth that would, not only ground the project in the ‘classical’ but, immediately speak to the power dynamic present in ‘paternal’ relationships. Kronos (Saturn), a father who eats his children and is eventually overthrown by his son, Zeus, appeared as an obvious paradigm. As my project deals with classical reception, I decided to select an image that did not originate from classical antiquity. Not only that, I chose this work because of its visual narrative. It does not relegate the famous myth to one violent, specific part. Instead, Cupid looks to be thinking the quote that is overlain and we are reminded that Kronos (Saturn) is a figure who will eventually be defeated, and whose influence will ultimately be rejected. My case studies are also not literal fathers and sons – neither is Cupid a son of Kronos, thus creating another parallel. The quote, once remarked by Oscar Wilde to his friend, William Rothenstein, ties in with the particular of my project – both the overarching exploration and my primary case study. As well as that, Oscar Wilde, as an Irish figure, highlights the Irish context of the project. 

Sources: 'Saturn Clipping the Wings of Cupid', Ivan Akimov (1802) 


Stephen Huws ECR Poster 2023

Stephen Huws | School of Religion, Theology, and Peace Studies | The Virgin Mary in the Lucan Corpus: Biblical Reception in Dublin’s stained glass 1850-1931 | huwss@tcd.ie

Do we need to read the Bible to understand art? My project explores the text and image relationship between the Bible and stained glass, analysing biblical stories of the Virgin Mary and stained-glass windows which depict them. I argue that a closer engagement with the biblical text will enhance our understanding of biblical artworks and that by looking at these artworks we can find new avenues into understanding the biblical text and the figures described within. In this way, stained glass becomes a useful lens through which to read the Bible, and the two mutually shed light on one another. 

My poster shows an image of a nineteenth-century Bible from Marsh’s Library, opened to the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. Here is narrated the story of the angel Gabriel coming to Mary with the news that she will give birth to Jesus, known as the Annunciation. Within the lenses of the glasses, you can see a stained-glass window of the Annunciation. Below the right lens, the text of the Annunciation begins. 

The windows looked at in this project cover the period from the mid-nineteenth century Gothic Revival (before which extremely little survives), up until 1931, the death of Harry Clarke, one of Ireland’s greatest stained glass artists. This period encompasses a number of important shifts which are reflected in the imagery: the Catholic Church rose from poverty to wealth and prominence; a number of significant Irish artists began and finished their careers; and conflict over independence resulted in the partition of the island. 

We also learn about how the Virgin Mary was understood and received in different confessions in this time period through the artistic choices made for these windows, which constituted part of the fabric of the buildings where adherents worshipped. Mary is both a fruitful and highly revealing subject for the purpose of this study, given both the prolific depictions of her in Christian art and the diverse choices made in portraying her, which allow us insight into understandings of the Bible and faith of artists, patrons and congregations. 


Ursula Quill ECR Poster 2023

Ursula Quill | School of Law |Citizen-led Constitutional Reform: Assessing the Promise of Deliberative Democracy  | nichoilu@tcd.ie

Can Citizens’ Assemblies bridge the gap between citizens and elected representatives? Do they strengthen the legitimacy of policies which they influence? What is the role of such Assemblies in initiating constitutional reform? Are these Assemblies a way of involving citizens become more actively in our democracy? And can these Assemblies help politicians become more attuned with the views of those they represent? 

During 2016-2017 a Citizens’ Assembly took place comprising 99 randomly selected members and an independent Chair. Following a series of meetings deliberating on the issue of abortion in the Constitution, the Assembly recommended the Constitution be amended by referendum and significantly, 64 per cent of its Members recommended that the termination of pregnancy without restriction should be lawful. 

My thesis uses the Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution as a case study to develop a theory of the role of deliberative mini-publics in Irish referendums. I am examining the impact of the Citizens’ Assembly on politicians and other key actors in the lead up to the referendum which took place in May 2018 which removed the constitutional ban on abortion and permitted the Oireachtas to legislate for the regulation of termination of pregnancy. 

Drawing on interviews with members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, I explore how the Assembly provided a framework for legislators leading up to the referendum. The thesis engages with the international literature on deliberative systems and analyses how Irish political culture connects different deliberative spheres, including citizen mini-publics and legislative committees. 

This poster draws on the imagery of the Constitution of Ireland, Dublin Castle and the Citizens’ Assembly. It takes the Irish and English text ‘ón bpobal’ and ‘from the people’ from Article 6 of the Constitution which enshrines the fundamental nature of popular sovereignty in the Irish constitutional order. The gold harp and dark blue are inspired by the cover of the Constitution. The archway in Dublin Castle is reminiscent of the Castle’s courtyard where the referendum results were announced in May 2015 and May 2018. The image inside the arch shows a vote of citizens at the Citizens’ Assembly which recommended that a referendum be put to the people. 

Ursula Quill is a PhD candidate in the Law School under the supervision of Professor Rachael Walsh and supported by the Provost’s PhD Award. 

Source: Maxwells: https://involve.org.uk/resources/blog/opinion/citizens-assembly-behind-irish-abortion-referendum


Yingjun Wei ECR Poster 2023

Yingjun Wei | School of Creative Arts | Restaging The Vagina Monologues in Chinese Feminist Theatres  | weiyi@tcd.ie

How can theatre help us understand the relationship between performance and gender identity? This is the question central to my PhD project and one that my poster prompts the viewers to reflect on. My research examines Chinese feminist theatres since the early twenty-first century. One major line of my research inquiry is the Chinese restaging of The Vagina Monologues (TVM), a radical feminist play written and performed by North American artist/activist Eve Ensler. I ask how the vagina, femininity and gender identities have been represented on Chinese feminist stages, how these concepts have been challenged and reshaped in various ways during the process of restaging, and how these representations are informed by the changing landscape of Chinese feminism from the early 2000's to date.  

It is from this line of my research that I developed this poster. Inspired by previous theatre posters of TVM which had creatively availed of familiar references of ‘the vagina’, such as a kiwi, a rose, a lip, or red thread through a needle, my initial idea was to create a vagina-shaped opening in a red stage curtain. I also pictured the poster in the style of a feminist artist Cecilia Vicuña whose textile arts feature mainly red threads. Similar red woven fabrics have also frequently appeared in a few Chinese TVM productions, giving specific texture, colour, and materiality to menstruation, vaginal pain, gendered violence and feminist resistance. 

With these ideas in mind, I typed in a few keywords as a prompt in DALL-E 2, an AI image generator, yet it told me – “It looks like this request may not follow our content policy.” I realised it might have been the explicit term “vagina”, so I replaced it with “thin almond-shaped opening” while thinking I might have added another trope to the already huge repertoire of vagina-related metaphors. My second try which reads “red theatre curtain with an almond-shaped opening in the style of Cecilia Vicuña with audience seating in foreground” worked well. This imagery invites viewers to contemplate the relationship between the audience, the stage, and the performance of gender within feminist theatre.