Crisis, Commemoration and Dress: Designing Memory of the Revolutionary Period in Ireland.
Royal College of Art, London
Supervisor: Dr Sarah Cheang
This project will analyse the role of Irish men's dress as part of the current commemoration of the Revolutionary Period in Ireland. The research is situated in the Decade of Centenaries (2013 - 2023), commemorating the Home Rule Crisis (1913-1914), the Easter Rising (1916), the Conscription Crisis (1918), the War of Independence (1919-1920), the Civil War (1922-1923), and the First World War (1914-1918). I will focus on three main categories of commemoration in Ireland; these are performance (theatre, performing arts and digital media), exhibitions (museum and gallery exhibitions) and remembrance (remembrance ceremonies and reconstructions).By focussing my research on the materiality of dress I aim to reveal subtle changes in the social and cultural meaning of men’s dress as part of the process of commemoration and as a site of memory of the human experience of the Revolutionary Period. Men’s dress is of particular significance as the image of men and the male body, in the narrative of the Revolutionary Period, are central to the visual culture of commemoration. However a hyper-masculine interpretation of this period of Irish history is synonymous with its commemoration, as individuals such as Padraig Pearce, Michael Collins, and Roger Casement have been, and continue to be, highlighted as canons of Irish masculinity, as surviving imagery of the Revolutionary Period continues to place the male body at the centre of remembrance (Horne, 2013).Objects of dress and contemporary interpretations of dress will contribute to understanding the changing commemorative strategy in Ireland and shifting attitudes towards gender and nationhood. Discourse around gender and conflict and altering representations of nationhood will also be analysed by focussing on the materiality of dress. This project is an interdisciplinary exploration of dress, memory, conflict and crisis as part of the commemoration of the events of the Revolutionary Period in Ireland today.