The peace process in Northern Ireland and recent Anglo-Irish
rapprochement has spurred fresh interest in new approaches to Irish
history that venture beyond the traditional confines of nationalism. In a
series of books, public lectures, essays and broadcasts over the last 20
years, Roy Foster has offered a distinctive perspective on the development
of Irish history and identity, rejecting the idea of the uniqueness of
Irish nationalism and showing how Irish and British culture and history
have developed in dialogue with each other. Challenging inherited
perceptions of Anglo-Irish exchanges, he has enhanced the quality of media
representations and public discussion of Irish history, and improved
public understanding of our shared past (and future).
Multiple, reinforcing impacts where Kelly and Ó Ciardha's research has been repeatedly utilised to
develop the cultural presentation of Derry legacies in museums and events. Public policy impact
exist in the authors' roles as historical advisors to Donegal County Council's €1m commemoration
of the Flight of the Earls (1607-2007) and Derry City Council's winning of UK City of Culture (2013),
which utilised the Ulster Plantation as an historical base. Their research changed professional
practice among museum officials and teachers, and enhanced popular historical knowledge
through outreach and media. It impacted creative practice via programme content and the
economy via tourism.
Unit members Hope historians have enhanced public understanding of modern
Irish cultural and political history. Principally, this was achieved
through the extensive media exposure of biographical monographs published
by Bryce Evans and Sonja Tiernan. Tiernan and Evans gained thorough
research exposure through several prominent arteries of the national
broadcast and print media in the Republic of Ireland and Britain.
Collectively, this impacted awareness of Irish women's labour, political
and economic history, both regionally and nationally. Research was cited
in current affairs discussion, public discussion, and media reviews by
journalists and commentators. Research provoked public comment through
national radio phone-ins, blog coverage, and reviews. Research also
impacted amongst `hard to reach' groups, particularly women and the gay
community. Moreover, the press coverage of works by Kelly and O'allaghan
significantly impacted on the policy-making and culture-informed public in
Ireland, as discussed below.
This case study demonstrates the social, economic and cultural impact of
research carried out by members of the Irish and Celtic Studies Research
Institute into the history of the Irish language in Belfast in the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This research has revealed the extent of Irish language activity in
Belfast in the 19th century, focussing on the one hand on
Gaelic revivalism and antiquarianism and on the other on the history of an
Irish-speaking community who migrated to this urban area from Omeath, Co.
Louth. Our research into the Irish language in an urbanised and
industrialised setting has been adopted and utilised by the Irish speaking
community in Belfast, by Irish language organisations, by the media and by
the tourist industry.
This case study demonstrates how our research has impacted on the wider
community, in particular by tracing its dissemination in the key areas of
broadcasting, cultural heritage and tourism initiatives. As an indication
of the reach and significance of this impact, it is shown inter alia
that a television documentary describing the findings of our research
achieved very significant viewing figures (over 100,000 on its first
showing); a permanent exhibition illustrating the history of native Irish
speakers in Belfast has become a major tourist attraction in an
economically disadvantaged area of Belfast; a cross-community cultural
heritage project on this urban gaeltacht was funded by Belfast City
Council and a specially commissioned drama was produced by Aisling Ghéar
Theatre. Furthermore, a transportable exhibition on the Irish language in
Belfast formed part of the centenary celebrations of Belfast City Hall and
went on tour to the United States as part of an investment drive by the
West Belfast Economic Forum.
Ó Ciardha's underpinning research had a major impact on creative practice
in the form of `Wolfland', a flag-ship, two-part Irish-language
documentary considering Irish relations with the wolf. His research on
outlaws fundamentally shaped the content and presentation of the films. He
provided the historical, literary, folkloric background to Ireland's
instinctive fascination with the wolf, a sense matched by viewing figures.
Ó Ciardha's research for the documentary produced an original re-telling
of the English/British re-conquest of Ireland through the character and
place of the wolf. He was researcher, conceptualiser, advisor and
In 2011-12, Campbell engaged in a range of media activities and public
talks to enable the effective sharing of his research on second-generation
Irish musicians in England. These activities disseminated new insights to
the public, increasing understanding of the experience and expressive
cultures of England's Irish, and informing public debates on this topic.
The activities comprised three strands:
i. Articles and interviews in the UK and Irish media generating public
responses and awards;
ii. Public talks increasing public understanding and generating public
iii. Series Advisor role on TV documentary series generating public
responses and informing public debates.
Impact is evidenced through reach of dissemination, as well as audience
comments, letters, online posts, blogs, social media, and awards.
Diarmaid MacCulloch's lifelong research in Church History led to the
momentous undertaking of a
one-volume History of Christianity (2009). Reviewers agreed that
it was not merely a masterly
presentation of an immense amount of data but also broke new ground in its
novel take on the
historical narrative of this religion. This work alerted BBC producers who
contracted MacCulloch for
a series of six one-hour-long episodes. The series was screened twice on
BBC4 in November and
December 2009, on BBC2 in January 2010 and on BBC4 again at Easter 2010.
subsequently issued on DVD in European and US formats. Discussions of the
work in the media
and extensive viewer feedback testify to its impact on the cultural life
in the UK and internationally.
Released viewer figures for the TV series and sales figures for the DVD
are indicative of the impact
MacCulloch's work has had on economic prosperity.
The 2013 Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in Durham was a major cultural
event in the North East, receiving national media attention. It was
sponsored and publicised by numerous public, cultural and business bodies,
and it brought educational benefits to schools, stimulation to artistic
workshops and economic benefits through the promotion of tourism. Richard
Gameson's research expertise was central to the design of the
exhibition, to the interpretative themes adopted in its educational
outreach and public presentation, and to the selection and borrowing of
many of the exhibits.
This case study describes the reception and impact of Patrick Crotty's Penguin
Book of Irish Poetry (2010), an unprecedentedly capacious anthology
drawn from many languages and seventeen centuries of poetic composition in
Ireland. The anthology presents poems in modern English and Scots
alongside verse translations from Middle English, Old French, Old, Middle,
Classical and Modern Irish, Latin and Old Norse. Many of the book's
specially commissioned translations are by internationally renowned poets.
The study considers responses to the anthology terms of its high sales,
wide range of reviews, coverage by news media, and engendering of public
The History Department's Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture
(CSCC) employed its research expertise in religious history to improve the
understanding and sustainability of historic churches and cathedrals.
These together form England's largest single 'estate' of built heritage
with over 11 million visitors each year. From 2008 the Centre developed an
extensive programme of national partnerships, which have led to
significant and wide-reaching impact:
(i) creating new aids to help visitors engage with sacred sites
(ii) encouraging tourism and enhancing access to these national and
international heritage sites for people from all cultural and faith
(iii) delivering professional development activities for clergy, lay
leaders, church architects, diocesan staff, heritage staff and volunteers