Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison

Aisling O'Beirn, Martin Krenn

Research output: Book/ReportBook

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Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze PrisonMartin Krenn & Aisling O’Beirn (eds.)2019 marked the twentieth anniversary of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which kick-started the current peace process in Northern Ireland. In the wake of this history, the book Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison explores untold and lesser-known narratives about this conflict through an engagement with the legacies of the former Northern Irish high security prison Long Kesh / Maze. In the context ofRestaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison, the artists Martin Krenn and Aisling O’Beirn initiated a collaborative social sculpture by working with a broad range of people who were affected by the prison in different ways. The artists, in researching the former prison, focus particularly on archaeologist Laura McAtackney’s concept of the "distributed self" from her key text on the prison, An Archaeology of the Troubles (McAtackney, 2014: 244–65). Dialogues with her regarding her research and this project also opened up contacts with a range of people with first hand experience of the prison. These interlocutors include republican and loyalist ex-prisoners, ex-prison staff, and former visitors, each of whom provides new insights into the human experience of a high-security prison. The fully illustrated volume shows photographs of prison art, smuggled prison artefacts as well as prison issue objects. Many of the featured artefacts and objects have not been seen before as they are in private hands. Each image in the publication is accompanied by a testimony from their maker or custodian. These photographs also document previously unseen, newly made, objects crafted by the 50+ Group, a group of women who regularly visited Long Kesh prisoners and were themselves active in republican politics. The archaeologist Laura McAtackney and art theorist Suzana Milevska contribute texts contextualizing this photo project in the fields of contemporary art and archaeology. While the focus ofRestaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison is on a legacy issue relating to the conflict in the North of Ireland the book will be of particular interest to anyone concerned with questions addressing contentious cultural heritage, as the project reveals how creative methods can be found to work with affected communities to address difficult topics, sites, and materials. The publication is unique in that it brings together a range of disciplines such as contemporary dialogical art, photography, art theory, archaeology, anthropology and cultural heritage studies to address this difficult issue on a human level. Martin Krenn and Aisling O’Beirn are artists working in the field of socially engaged art. O’Beirn is based in Belfast and teaches at Ulster University; Krenn lives in Vienna and teaches at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison. With contributions by Martin Krenn & Aisling O’Beirn, Laura McAtackney, Suzana Milevska & Peter Mutschler and the project participants Simon Bridge, Phil Holland, David Stitt, The 50+Group under the umbrella of Tar Anall, the Eileen Hickey Irish Republican History Museum, the Roddy McCorley Society Museum, the Andy Tyrie Interpretative Centre, as well as a number of contributors who prefer to remain anonymous. Design by Keith Connolly, Tonic Design, Belfast Edited by Martin Krenn & Aisling O’BeirnEnglish170 x 225 mm256 pagesTwo paper stocks Full color throughoutSewn in sectionsISBN 978-3-9818635-6-7 Published by K. Verlag This publication ensues from the research project TRACES – Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts. From Intervention to Co-production, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No 693857. Ulster University is a partner in the TRACES project. The publication also received funding from the Art and Design Research Unit at Ulster University. April 2019
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherK. Verlag
Number of pages226
ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-3-9818635-6-7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


  • Long Kesh
  • Contentious Cultural Heritage

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  • Research Output

    Dialogical Art and Productive Failure: Interview with Aisling O' Beirn in Dialogical Interventions

    O'Beirn, A., 1 Feb 2019, Dialogical Interventions : Art in the Social Realm . Krenn, M. (ed.). Angewandte ed. Vienna, Austria: De Gruyter, Vol. Book Series of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. p. 90 - 97 8 p. (Book Series of the University of Applied Arts Vienna).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Open Access
  • Dispersed Presence Transforming Long Kesh/Maze

    O'Beirn, A. & Krenn, M., 17 Jan 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • 'Transforming Long Kesh/Maze' in Contentious Objects/Ashamed Subjects

    O'Beirn, A. & Krenn, M., 18 Jan 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

    Open Access
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