X-PO Rinnamona Research Group

2008

An archival exhibition that amended an influential account of rural life in North Clare.

Publications from the anthropological strand of the Harvard Irish Mission (1930 – 1936) remain influential in Irish social science. An archival exhibition at X-PO provided an opportunity for the families and relatives whose lives were observed, to ’speak back’ and correct the anthropological accounts.

Academic, Anne Byrne, (NUI Galway) was given a gift of the original field diaries used as source material for The Irish Countryman (1937, 1968) by Conrad Arensberg, and Family and Community in Ireland (1940, 1968, 2001), Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball. Both books remain influential and are considered ‘classic’ scientific texts. Aware of sensitivities about the representation of some families, Anne made contact with some of the successors. Anne, Mary Moroney, Sean Roche, John Ruane and Francis Whelan read through the diaries correcting and amending errors. Some of the group were already active at X-PO. They asked Deirdre to collaborate with them in re-presenting their amendments through an archival installation of previously unpublished photographs, objects, recordings, and paintings in the X-PO.

Papers by Dr. Anne Byrne and Dr. Deirdre O’Mahony on the project HERE

An interview with some group members for a recent public project at X-PO, Folk Radio by artist Tom Flanagan can be heard HERE.