1st May 2019 5:00pm-7:00pm

Grand Parade, G4.

Women in Northern Ireland Archives: The future of personal archives and unsettling memories in the Digital Age.

Laura Aguiar (Public Records Office, Belfast)

Women in the Archives is bringing forward female voices from the archives through a programme of exhibitions, events and community-based workshops across Northern Ireland in 2019 and 2020. The project uses women’s own voices to (1) show their evolving lives throughout Northern Ireland’s unsettling history; (2) challenge their absence in many historical accounts as well as (3) interrogate the future of personal archives in the Digital Age. In this seminar, Dr. Laura Aguiar explores some of the questions raised while curating the content for the exhibitions and engaging with community groups, including:


  • What memories are included and left out in women’s letters, diaries, books and scrapbooks?
  • What are the challenges of curating exhibitions based on archives dealing with a contested past and unsettling memories?
  • How can archives, exhibitions and community engagement programmes be combined to challenge limited views of women’s history?
  • How does the above combination contribute to Northern Ireland’s transition from conflict to peace? Can it really improve community relations?
  • What kind of history are we leaving to future generations as the art of letter-writing and diary-writing are slowly dying with the advent of digital technology?

Women in the Archives is one of the strands of Making the Future, a PEACE IV-funded project led by The Nerve Centre with partner institutions Public Record Office Northern Ireland (PRONI), Linen Hall Library and National Museums Northern Ireland.

Dr. Laura Aguiar is Community Engagement Developer and Creative Producer at Making the Future, Nerve Centre. She is a multimedia storyteller, with works including the documentary films ‘The Battery’ (2018) and ‘We Were There’ (2014) and the online interactives the Prisons Memory Archive and John Maynard Keynes: The Lives of a Mind. She is also founder and co-director of the Rathmullan Film Festival. Laura has also worked as a freelance journalist in Brazil and Sweden and has lectured at Queen’s University Belfast and University College Cork and holds a BA in Journalism (Fumec University), MA in Media and Communication (Stockholm University) and PhD in Film Studies (Queen’s University Belfast).