The Medals All 'Round Research Initiative

Kurt Taroff (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

Abstract

The Medals All Round Research Initiative (MARRI), led by Dr. Kurt Taroff (QUB) and Dr. Brenda Winter-Palmer (QUB, retired) in collaboration with Philip Crawford, Head of Creative Learning at the Lyric Theatre Belfast, was a research project conducted as part of the AHRC funded Living Legacies, 1914-18 First World War Engagement Centre, based at QUB. The Lyric and QUB sought local community groups from under-represented sectors of Northern Irish life to explore cultural memory and knowledge concerning the centenary of World War I, and worked to help these groups research their own community and family histories relating to the war, and ultimately channel their experiences revisiting the war into artistic response.

The process began with a group of former QUB students being brought to each of the groups to perform an excerpted version of Dr. Winter-Palmer’s play The Medal in the Drawer. With the play as inspiration and a starting point, the groups, with the help of a facilitator, began to explore their own ideas and knowledge of the War as we remember it in Northern Ireland. On 29 February 2016, the project culminated at the Lyric Theatre with a presentation of the performances, plays and films that have emerged from these interactions. Three of the groups involved presented their work in the form of an on-stage performance, devised and performed by the group itself, two presented films they made, and finally, the participants from the Hydebank Wood College (an educational facility for incarcerated young offenders) wrote a play that was performed by students from the Lyric Theatre’s Drama Studio. The event presented both a remarkable opportunity to reflect on the way the First World War resonates in contemporary memory here in Northern Ireland, and offered groups from varying backgrounds to meet and compare the different ways their communities experience the legacies of the war, as well as a chance to compare their experiences in the research and creative processes.

Ultimately, MARRI was a highly successful exercise in both cross-community cooperation as well as co-produced research.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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