When Silence Falls: Exploring bodily and literary memory in the Waterford Laundry

Saturday, October 22, 2016 

 
All images © Waterford Memories Project
with thanks to John Loftus Creative

When Silence Falls:

Exploring bodily and literary memory in the Waterford Laundry

 

This event was funded by the Irish Research Council

When Silence Falls: Exploring bodily and literary memory in the Waterford Laundry is a one-day, multidisciplinary event recognising the history and memory of the Laundries and Industrial Schools in the South-East of Ireland.  

 

The venue of the College Street campus of WIT for this event is of central import.  The campus is significant in modern Irish history; it is the former site of a convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd of Angers; the St. Mary’s Good Shepherd Laundry; and St. Dominick's Industrial School for Girls.

When Silence Falls: Exploring bodily and literary memory in the Waterford Laundry was a one-day, multidisciplinary event recognising the history and memory of the Laundries and Industrial Schools in the South-East of Ireland. The event proposed an exploration of the memory of the Magdalene institutions through a site-specific, practice-based approach.

The event incorporated a live art durational performance and audio/visual installations in the Chapel and surrounding rooms of the Waterford Institute of Technology’s College Street campus, contextualised by academic talks about the Laundries. The venue of the College Street campus of WIT is of significant import in modern Irish history; it is the former site of a convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd of Angers; the St. Mary’s Good Shepherd Laundry; and St. Dominick's Industrial School. These latter two institutions were part of what Smith calls an “architecture of containment” which enabled the Irish State to “confine aberrant citizens, rendering invisible women and children who fell foul of society’s moral proscriptions” (Smith, 2009, p.46). Oral histories and archival research conducted as part of the on-going Waterford Memories Project informed the live art and audio/visual installations and were aired as part of the event.

The one-day event was held on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.  Throughout the day, the audience was invited to listen to the recorded histories of the women who have contributed their stories, attend short talks on the history of containment, view the documentary film In Loving Memories (Audrey Rosseau, Canada), experience live performance (curated by Áine Phillips) and visual art installation (multiple artists). 

 

The events were categorised according to three themes:

1.    Professional talks 

2.    Audio/visual presentations

3.    Site-specific, live art durational performance  

© 2015 The Waterford Memories Project

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