“Conflicting Stories: Ethnography and Narrative in Northern Ireland

Terence Wright

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    The presentation examines and contextualizes practice-led research into the production of interactive heritage guides undertaken as part of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. The project developed two prototype pilot demonstrators providing interactive mobile guides to the Drogheda Viaduct (built in 1855) and the site of the Battle of the Boyne (1690). Based upon historical and ethnographic research with local inhabitants as well as the members of re-enactment groups, the overall aim of the productions is to enable visitors to historical sites to access multi-perspective, contested or contradictory accounts and conjecture: from widely different points of view.For this Visual Research Conference presentation, I shall examine specific ethnographic video interviews produced for the programmes. The clips concentrate on different approaches to reminiscing, including personal reminiscences, social memory and a diachronic method of relating to the past. The discussion considers how personal memory relates to cultural memory, how the ‘objects of memory’ can be drawn upon and how they can inspire narrativity. For example, the function of photographic-based images as memory aids, or as stimuli for reminiscing, is placed in the context of stories that can be constructed around the image. The presentation explores the wider theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects of the re-presentation of contested histories, identity, and heritage, and their contemporary political ramifications. In particular, it will assess the role and benefits of visualization and re-enactment in the formation of community identity and in fostering social cohesion. The presentation will be complemented by audiovisual excerpts from the productions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
    PublisherSociety for Visual Anthropology
    Number of pages0
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Nov 2010
    EventVisual Research Conference, American Anthropological Association - New Orleans
    Duration: 11 Nov 2010 → …


    ConferenceVisual Research Conference, American Anthropological Association
    Period11/11/10 → …


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