Museums, Empire and Northern Irish identity: some histories and responses to colonialism and Empire

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Based on autoethnographic interviews conducted during the pandemic, this paper examines what‘colonialism’ and ‘British Empire’ mean to people living in Northern Ireland today. It considers whether their perspectives on, and experiences of, local conflict, have a bearing on their relationships with objects in museums that were collected globally during the colonial period; and on questions surrounding the items’ interpretation, display, and potential repatriation. The driver behind this research is to examine whether, and if so how, histories of binary division in the six counties connect with narratives of ‘othering’ of, and identification with - or perhaps ‘us-ing’ of global objects and their originating communities. The intentions are to contribute to explorations of the themes of colonialism and empire in museums, in ways that are inclusive of diverse identities in Northern Ireland in the present; and to the understanding of whether contemporary relationships with ‘colonial objects’ transcend community divides.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 09 Apr 2022
EventIreland, Museums, Empire, Colonialism Conerence 2022 - Ulster Museum and Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 08 Apr 202209 Apr 2022


ConferenceIreland, Museums, Empire, Colonialism Conerence 2022
Abbreviated titleIMEC 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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