Congratulations to Dr Ciara Breathnach (Department of History), who has received funding from the Irish Research Council for a 1916-themed symposium and exhibition.

The 1917 death of eminent republican Thomas Ashe was a key event of the revolutionary period. While on hunger strike, Ashe’s death following force-feeding fuelled an international debate about the practice. To mark the centenary, the organising committee propose to convene a symposium on Hunger Striking in October 2016, and design a high-profile exhibition in collaboration with Kilmainham Gaol, Kerry County Museum and Kerry County Library Services, which will be exhibited throughout 2017.

Public perspectives on hunger strike history focus pre-dominantly on a small, but historically significant, number of male figures (e.g. Terence MacSwiney and Bobby Sands). Hunger striking is also considered as peculiarly Irish. As part of its educational aims, the symposium and exhibition examines both Britain and Ireland, encouraging greater appreciation of the transnational nature of food refusal, the inter-connectedness of different hunger strikes and the experiences and motivations of female hunger strikers. It explores female suffragette and republican hunger strikers, as well as the medical ethical issues raised by their protests.

Knowledge exchange and public engagement are core values of this Irish Research Council-funded project, which fosters inter-institutional, inter-sectoral and international collaboration The event will be co-ordinated by Principal Investigator, Dr Ciara Breathnach and draws together the expertise of an international organising committee Dr Ian Miller (UU); Laura McAtackney (Aahrus University); Niall Bergin (Kilmainham Gaol); Helen O’Carroll (Kerry County Museum); Michael Lynch and Tommy O’Connor (Kerry County Archives and Library Services).