AbstractMy creative practice project takes the form of an exegesis and a historical novel. Its aim is to provide insights into the use of Irish employment agencies by Irish women, before they left Ireland during the period 1948 to 1954. The project is guided by the following research question:
Research in many fields writes of Irish women as a homogeneous group with limited power to influence their individual destinies. To what extent were Irish women in the period 1948 to 1954 taking action to determine their own economic and social outcomes?
Through the creative practice involved in writing a work of historical fiction and the critical practice involved in writing an exegesis, this project considers whether the use of employment agencies by Irish women to find work and accommodation in Britain suggests a measure of self-empowerment (by taking action), and resistance to hegemony.
The exegesis, Fallen Angels: The Proclamation’s Lost Warriors, is used to illuminate some of the issues surrounding hegemonic power structures in Ireland from 1948 to 1954. It considers the extent of power held by female Irish emigrants during that period and the homogenisation of their abilities and experiences, as revealed in various official discourses and literatures. In my use of the term ‘homogenisation’ I mean that, to date, I have found that there is a perspective that assumes all Irish female emigrants had similar experiences, hopes, and access to resources, prior to leaving Ireland. The work of three eminent scholars, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (2010), Hayden White (2014), and Michel de Certeau (1984) is employed to explore the connections between: creative and critical practice, scholarship on Irish female emigration, and Irish history relevant to the period of interest to the project, to write a story set in the past.
To this end, the creative work, The Filing Cabinet and the Suitcase uses the literary genre of historical fiction to evoke the lived experiences of women working in Dublin and Belfast as domestic servants, office staff in an employment agency, and staff in the Irish civil service.
Through my research, I was able to confirm that there is a lacuna in literatures relating to the use of Irish employment agencies by Irish female emigrants. The outcomes of my project, as they help to contribute to filling that lacuna, form my original contribution to knowledge.
|Date of Award||2019|
|Supervisor||Jordan Williams (Supervisor) & Jen Webb (Supervisor)|