Talk by Dr Anne Byrne
Objects and Subjects: How Ancestor Stories Find Us

Wednesday April 11, 2018, 6pm

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The Douglas Hyde Gallery is pleased to share details of this upcoming talk by sociologist Dr Anne Byrne, titled Objects and Subjects: How Ancestor Stories Find Us. Senior Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology in National University of Ireland, Galway, Dr Byrne has an enduring interest in the obscure and everyday stories, individual and community biographies of early 20th century Ireland as held in objects and artefacts. 

Dr Byrne has been invited to share her research in the context of the exhibition The Artist's Eye: Liliane Lijn. Lijn's film Look a DollMy Mother's Story (1998 - 2000) is currently on show in Gallery 2. The work, which dates from a relatively recent stage in the artist's career, has its roots in a limited edition self-published book by the artist, Her Mother’s Voice (1996 – 1998). Following a disturbing dream, Lijn began to interview her mother, who endured persecution and forced migration as a result of the anti-Semitism and violence of Europe in the years leading up to World War II, and whose escape to America brought a painful loss of identity and sense of self. Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story continues the project of generational dialogue through filmed interviews with her mother, who was then experiencing the early stages of dementia, cut with photomontage and archival footage.

As always, admission is free and all are welcome. No booking necessary. 


Dr Anne Byrne is a sociologist with a creative interest in narrative, biography, art and visuality. She has published on women in Irish society, feminist research methodologies and pedagogies, gender, identity, inequality, singleness, stigma, rural development and on the historiography of anthropological research in rural Ireland in the 1930s. Interested in obscure lives, subjectivities and identities, her current research, Narratives of Ireland, concerns community and individual biographies and stories as held in everyday artifacts, letters, diaries, paintings and archives in early to mid twentieth century Ireland. Some examples of written work include:

Byrne, A. 2018. Autobiography, Chocolate Creams and Letterpress Printing in Virginia Woolf Bulletin , 57 (1): 24-31.
Byrne, Anne. 2016. The Galway Art Gallery Collection and Roger Fry’s The Pond  (1921) in Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society  68, 181-216.
Byrne, A and Byrne, C. 2017. Family Stories and Secret Keepers: Who is Maíre Bastable? in Ciara Boylan, Sarahanne Buckley and Pat Dolan (eds) Family Histories of the Irish Revolution. Four Courts Press: Dublin, 49-68.
Byrne, A. 2017. ‘Epistolary research relations: correspondences in anthropological research - Arensberg, Kimball and the Harvard-Irish Survey 1930-1936’ in O’Giollain, D. (ed), Irish Ethnologies, Notre Dame UP: USA, 58-87.
‘A Passion for Books: The early letters of Nancy Nolan to Leonard Woolf (1943-1944)’ in Virginia Woolf Miscellany , No 86, Fall 2014/Winter 2015, pp32-34, Southern Connecticut State University, USA.


Image: 'Cloak and Combs', courtesy of Dr Anne Byrne.