Mark Maguire, Ciarán Walsh , Nicola Reynolds and Steve Coleman

Mark Maguire, Head of Anthropology NUI Maynooth, Ciarán Walsh , Nicola Reynolds, President of thr Anthropological Society NUIM and Steve Coleman, NUIM at the opening of the Headhunter exhibition in NUI Maynooth in October 2013.

A major research proposal prepared by Ciarán Walsh for the Irish Research Council’s (IRC) Employment Based Post-graduate Programme has been endorsed by the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM)  and now proceeds to the IRC for evaluation and adjudication. The proposal builds on the work that Walsh has been doing on the ‘Haddon in Ireland Project’ and involves a 4 year post-graduate research project supervised by Mark Maguire of NUIM in partnership with Abarta Audio Guides, a small heritage services company operated by Neil Jackman and Róisín Burke.

Neil Jackman of Abarta Audio Guides:

The ‘Haddon in Ireland’ research project brings together public research (NUI Maynooth), private sector innovation (Abarta Audio, Clonmel) and a researcher with a proven track record (Ciaran Walsh) to reopen and reexamine the history of human science in the British isles.

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This project aims to explore the Irish Ethnographic Survey, an attempt to reveal the origins of the Irish ‘race’ undertaken by scientists from Ireland and the UK between 1891 and 1903. Among them was the famous AC Haddon. This was the beginning of ‘scientific’ Anthropology but it was overshadowed by subsequent developments in Cambridge. The records were ‘lost,’ dispersed over collections in Ireland and the UK where they have remained uncatalogued and largely overlooked for 120 years.

The primary aim to reconstruct that archive and place it in the public domain. The central question is how that can be achieved, given that the material is spread over a dozen institutions in 4 jurisdictions. We will look to the latest interactive technology for solutions.

We propose to create a transnational network that digitally links collections Dublin, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh and Belfast. We will develop interactive tools that will provide access to it and enhance the users experience of our anthropological heritage. The contemporary significance of this is enormous. The Survey’s attempts to trace the origins of the Irish people continues with the genetic study of populations.

This project will reconnect both and the transnational component will add enormously to the impact of the project on the public construction of Anthropological knowledge.