Nursing the ‘Troubles’: Remembering Northern Ireland’s Past through Unique, Uniting & Undisclosed Narratives
Mitchell Institute PhD student Megan Kelly explores why oral history should and could be used to talk about Northern Ireland’s past with fresh perspective.
As academics we habitually focus on finishing work and fall short of enjoying the task at hand. When I was approached to write this piece therefore, I thought this the perfect opportunity to have an academic M.O.T. I was determined to make the most of this chance to showcase the purpose behind my research and its importance.
In preparation, I had read previous submissions to Writing the ‘Troubles’ and these were a welcome reminder of the fundamental reasons as to why we need to talk about the past and how we can use oral histories to do so. It was also a reminder that it is important to move beyond the orange and green dichotomy that is prevalent in Northern Ireland. Each piece offers a unique perspective on reviewing narratives about the past in a forward-thinking way. With that in mind, I will briefly explore why oral history should and could be used to talk about Northern Ireland’s past with fresh perspective and showcase how the study of acute nursing during the ‘Troubles’ can help widen that often restricting conversation and help us move forward.
Remembering Northern Ireland’s Past in a Welcoming Way
As we know, there is no agreed policy in Northern Ireland on how to move forward from the events of the past. This means that we as a community need to look in unique places to help us understand a range of narratives that will capture the diversity of a contested past and in turn help us move toward a more inclusive future. Oral histories can be particularly useful in post conflict societies like Northern Ireland where communities remain reluctant or confused as to how to progress beyond the past.
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Article originally appeared on Writing the Troubles blog.