Memory, migration and conflict – Journeys from the north of Ireland to Britain during the Troubles.

Dr Fearghus Roulston and Professor Graham Dawson (University of Brighton)

5:30 to 7pm, Wednesday 16th February 2022 (online)

Details about joining this online seminar will be emailed out the day before to all those registered.

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This paper will describe some of the initial findings of the Conflict, Memory and Migration project, an AHRC-funded oral history of migration from the north of Ireland to Britain from the 1960s through to the present day. The project, a collaboration between the University of Brighton, the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool, entailed the collection of some 80 interviews with people who left the north. Drawing on some of this extensive archive of material, we will ask what it suggests about the contested relationship between Britain and Northern Ireland. How do our interviewees understand and narrate the porous and pliable border between the two spaces? What do their memories tell us about the continued resonances and effects of the Troubles, the civil war that took place in the north from 1969 until 1998? And in terms of transnational memory, how do interviewees carry their memories of growing up in the north of Ireland with them to Britain, and how are they negotiated emotionally and politically in that new context? In addressing these questions, the paper argues for the importance of recognising the interconnections between the two places, especially in terms of the Troubles and Britain’s central role in that war, a role which is sometimes elided or concealed in British memory culture.

Fearghus Roulston is an oral historian, primarily of contemporary Ireland and Britain. He’s written about the punk scene in Northern Ireland during the Toubles, the politics of memory in the north, migration from the north of Ireland to Britain, and the history of social housing in Belfast. Broadly, he’s interested in the relationship of the past to the present; in subjectivity, memory and affect; in temporality and temporal relations; and in the politics of space and place.