RAI RESEARCH SEMINAR
SEMINAR SERIES AT THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE
Haddon in Ireland:
reconstructing the archive of the Irish Ethnographic Survey
Ciarán Walsh, Curator.ie and Maynooth University
Wednesday 8 April at 5.30 pm
This illustrated talk outlines a project to reconstruct the archive of the Irish Ethnographic Survey that was established by Haddon in 1891 under the umbrella of the British Ethnographic Survey. The Irish Survey was overshadowed by subsequent developments in Cambridge / Torres but, unlike the British Survey, it was active ‘in the field’ for almost a decade. The records of the Survey were dispersed over collections in Ireland and the UK where they have remained uncatalogued and largely overlooked for 120 years. Recent research has however, uncovered manuscripts, photographs and artifacts (the contents of Haddon’s Anthropometric Laboratory in Dublin for instance) that have the capacity to change our understanding of the early development of Anthropology in Ireland and the UK. More work needs to be done and the role played by the RAI in particular in the establishment by Haddon of the Survey and the Laboratory in Dublin needs to be examined.
|Location : Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
Ciarán Walsh was among the ‘top postgraduate researchers’ who received funding from the Irish Research Council last week. The award was announced at a ceremony which took place in Dublin as part of the Innovation Showcase. Walsh is one 0f 17 researchers who secured funding for a structured PhD Programme that is based on research in a business, not-for-profit, NGO or public sector organisation. The award, worth up to €96,0000, was one of 48 in total representing an investment of ‘€4.5 million in funding to enable some of Ireland’s top postgraduate researchers to work with leading companies around the country’ according to the Irish Research Council.
Professor Orla Feely, Chair of the Irish Research Council, highlighted ‘the benefits for companies of working with researchers and what can be achieved when industry and academia join forces to engage in cutting-edge research that is demand-led and enterprise oriented. Industry-academia partnerships have resulted in the development of products that impact on our day-to-day lives, such as internet search technology, cancer treatments, weather prediction software…the list is endless’
Walsh will be working on 4 year research project which looks at the development of ethnographic survey techniques in Ireland and incorporates the development of innovative interactive systems for multi-site archives and heritage sites. The project is being developed with Maynooth University (Graduate Studies Office and Anthropology Department) in partnership with Abarta Audio Guides. Abarta is run by Neil Jackman and Róisín Burke and is based in Clonmel. It’s an SME that specialises in developing interpretative apps for heritage sites and other applications.
This project builds on innovative research into the Irish ‘Headhunters’ carried out by Walsh in the context of an exhibition of ethnographic photography that was curated with Dáithí de Mórdha of Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir in 2012, in association with TCD and the OPW. This has already thrown new light on the role of Irish scientists/researchers in the development of both anthropology and social policy in the 1890s. This attracted the attention of Maynooth and Cambridge Universities but the involvement of Abarta Audio Guides as enterprise partners means that the project has been able to access significant funding and undertake further research. The project can now tackle really interesting aspects of placing publicly funded research into the public domain in an environment that is increasingly dominated by online systems and tablet devices.
The project kicks off in February 2015.
Ciarán Walsh / www.curator.ie has been notified by the Irish Research Council that the Employment Based Postgraduate Programme he proposed has been recommended for funding. The programme is being developed in partnership with Maynooth University (Graduate Studies Office and Anthropology) with Abarta Audio Guides of Clonmel as enterprise partners.
The decision of the Irish Research Council means that Ciarán Walsh will shortly be offered funding for a 4 year funded post-grad (PhD) research project which looks at ‘Haddon in Ireland’ and incorporates the development of innovative interactive systems for multi-site archives and heritage sites.
The project will commence in February 2015.
‘Táimse Im’ Chodladh,’ a short film produced by Ciarán Walsh nominated for TG4 Irish language award at the Fingal Film Festival
‘Taimse Im’ Chodladh’ or ‘I am Sleeping’ (2014) was Directed by London based Kerryman and artist Denis Buckley and produced by me for www.curator.ie. It has been nominated for the TG4 Irish language award at the Fingal Film Festival
I am very proud of ‘Táimse im’ Chodladh.’ Emigration is etched into heart and soul of West Kerry, it’s social fabric, landscape and its language. ‘Táimse Im’ Chodladh’ is a synthesis of all of that, realised by Denis Buckley, an artist who has experienced emigration for over thirty years. It was made in Kerry, using local talent and resources to achieve a perfectly compact vision or ‘fís.’
From the outset it was an article of faith that this film be made trí mheán na Gaelinne. The script was translated into Gaelainn or West Kerry Irish by Bríd Criomhthain and Bosco Ó Conchúir and recorded as a soundtrack in the Beehive Theatre, Dingle. Bríd Criomhthain, Naoise Mac Gearailt, Jeaicí Mac Gearailt and Nuala Nic Gearailt performed the parts.
More Information: http://www.curator.ie/?p=3259
31.08.2014: Ciarán Walsh participates in a 1 day wet plate collodion workshop with Monika Fabijanczyk
In the wet plate collodion process photographs are created on glass or metal plates. The plates are coated and sensitised, exposed in a wet plate camera (or any camera that has been adapted to take a plate glass negative) and processed while they are still wet. Everything has to be done within 15 minutes or so, moving from the darkroom to the camera and back. It is a slow process where everything is made by hand, from preparing the plates and light sensitive material, through to developing, fixing, and varnishing the photographs.
The collodion process produces a negative which, if exposed on a blackened glass plate (an Ambrotype) or a metal plate (a Tintype) is reversed, producing a one-off positive image. This technique creates stunning photographs, the combination of glass and metallic silver against a black background produces intriguing effects in terms of tone and texture.
The workshop was intensive and a little challenging according to Walsh. ”It’s 25 years since I have been in a darkroom but Monika took each of us through the process, calmly and efficiently. Large format (4×5 inches) cameras were used with artificial and natural light to take portrait and still life shots ranging from 7 to 50 second exposures, Some worked, some didn’t but the excitement of seeing an image develop in the darkroom was something I had forgotten all about and it was a tremendous surprise on the day. The complexity of the chemical processes and the speed required to ‘get’ the image before the plate dries or overdevelops really makes one reconsider the work done by Timothy O’Sullivan and other photographers during the American Civil War.”
For more information:www.monikafabijanczyk.com
A photograph of the Great Blasket Island in the 1930s taken by Thomas H. Mason of Dublin. L-R: Domhnall Mharas Eoghan Bháin Ó Conchuir and Pádraig ‘Ceaist’ Ó Catháin.
The definitive exhibition of photographs of life on the Blasket islands opens in St. John’s Theatre in Listowel on Saturday 9 August 2014.
‘An Island Portrait’ has been developed by The Great Blasket Centre and www.curator.ie to accompany the publication by Collins Press of a book of photographs of the Blasket Island. The text was written by Micheál de Mórdha (Director) and Dáithí de Mórdha (Archivist) and the photographs were edited by Ciarán Walsh of ww.curator.ie. The exhibition contains 50 photographs dating from 1892 onwards and it combines classic ‘outsider’ views of the islanders and their way of life with photographs from family albums. The ethnographic look is counterbalanced by personal and, at times, intimate glimpses of family life on the island.
Gearóid Cheaist Ó Catháin, the last child to live on the Great Blasket Island with Dáithí de Mórdha, The Great Blasket Centre, in front of a photograph of Gearóid with his Grandfather Maurice Mhuiris Ó Catháin, taken by Dan MacMonagle after the Island was evacuated in 1953.
Mark Maguire, Head of Anthropology NUI Maynooth, Ciarán Walsh , Nicola Reynolds, President of thr Anthropological Society NUIM and Steve Coleman, NUIM at the opening of the Headhunter exhibition in NUI Maynooth in October 2013.
A major research proposal prepared by Ciarán Walsh for the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) Employment Based Post-graduate Programme has been endorsed by the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) and now proceeds to the IRC for evaluation and adjudication. The proposal builds on the work that Walsh has been doing on the ‘Haddon in Ireland Project’ and involves a 4 year post-graduate research project supervised by Mark Maguire of NUIM in partnership with Abarta Audio Guides, a small heritage services company operated by Neil Jackman and Róisín Burke.
Neil Jackman of Abarta Audio Guides: http://abartaaudioguides.com/about-us
The ‘Haddon in Ireland’ research project brings together public research (NUI Maynooth), private sector innovation (Abarta Audio, Clonmel) and a researcher with a proven track record (Ciaran Walsh) to reopen and reexamine the history of human science in the British isles.
This project aims to explore the Irish Ethnographic Survey, an attempt to reveal the origins of the Irish ‘race’ undertaken by scientists from Ireland and the UK between 1891 and 1903. Among them was the famous AC Haddon. This was the beginning of ‘scientific’ Anthropology but it was overshadowed by subsequent developments in Cambridge. The records were ‘lost,’ dispersed over collections in Ireland and the UK where they have remained uncatalogued and largely overlooked for 120 years.
The primary aim to reconstruct that archive and place it in the public domain. The central question is how that can be achieved, given that the material is spread over a dozen institutions in 4 jurisdictions. We will look to the latest interactive technology for solutions.
We propose to create a transnational network that digitally links collections Dublin, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh and Belfast. We will develop interactive tools that will provide access to it and enhance the users experience of our anthropological heritage. The contemporary significance of this is enormous. The Survey’s attempts to trace the origins of the Irish people continues with the genetic study of populations.
This project will reconnect both and the transnational component will add enormously to the impact of the project on the public construction of Anthropological knowledge.
Ruairi and Chris meet after 40 years. Photo by Ciarán Walsh.
In June 2014 Chris Rodmell and Ciarán Walsh returned to Inis Meáin, the middle island of the Aran Islands, to meet some of the people Chris had filmed there in in 1973. Chris, a student in West Surrey College of Art and Design, had won an award of £250 from Thames Television to film life in an “enclosed community living on one of the remote islands off Ireland or Scotland.” He chose Inis Meáin. He spent three weeks on the island, filming with a 16mm Bolex and taking photographs with a medium format Mamiya on Kodak Ektachrome professional stock.
Peadar Mór, Ciaran Walsh and Muirís Mac Chonaola on Inis Meáin. Photo by Chris Rodmell.
Filming Peadar Mór at work weaving a basket. Photo by Chris Rodmell.
Green Light for TV series on photography in Ireland being developed by www.curator.ie & Sibéal Teo for TG4
The BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) has agreed to fund a six part series for television that will look at the lives of ordinary people in the West of Ireland as seen through the lens of six photographers.’Tríd an Lionsa (Through the Lens), The Unwritten History of Life in the West of Ireland 1880-1900′ is being developed by www.curator.ie and Sibéal Teo, Dingle in association with TG4.
This 6 part series will explore a rich archive of photographs taken in the late 19th century in Ireland and tell the story of the people on either side of that lens. This will be the first televised history of photography in Ireland that engages with the events and, most importantly, the people who feature in the national photographic archives of Ireland. The plate glass negative, the photographic slide and the album are the artifacts that tell the story of the ordinary people in the west of Ireland. The people on either side of the camera are the story.
Ciarán Walsh rewrites the history of anthropology at a conference organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute in the British Museum
Jocelyne Dudding, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge and Ciarán Walsh of www.curator.ie in the foyer of the British Museum in London.
It’s a big claim, but papers presented by Jocelyne Dudding and Ciarán Walsh at the Anthropology and Photography conference in the British Museum (May 2014) have challenged the chronology of the early development of British anthropology and Haddon’s role in it.
Dudding and Walsh have been working on the ‘Haddon In Ireland’ project for the past 6 months, focussing on photographic and manuscript collections that are held in Cambridge – in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), the Haddon Library and the University Library.
They presented preliminary finding of their research at a conference organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute and the British Museum. The research, part funded by the Heritage Council of Ireland, is part of a project that is attempting to reconstruct the archive of the Irish Ethnographic Survey of 1891-1903.
The photographic record of the the Survey, the photograph albums of Charles R. Browne, were published by www.curator.ie in 2012 as part of the the ‘Irish Headhunter’ project. The albums are held in TCD but there was no trace of any paperwork that could place them in context. The search moved to Cambridge and significant work has been done in the photographic collections of the MAA and the Haddon Papers in the Haddon and University Libraries there.
Preliminary findings suggest that the Survey, established by Haddon and Cunningham in TCD in 1891, played a much greater role in Haddon’s transition from Zoology to Anthropology than had previously been thought. The photographic record, correspondence and journal entries reveal a lot about Haddon’s role in the survey with significant implications for the history of the early development of anthropology.
These are being teased as the ‘Haddon in Ireland’ project continues with the re-construction of the archive of the Irish Ethnographic Survey.