AHRC funded 2011-13
Principal Investigator: Dr Fearghal McGarry (History)
Co-Investigator: 2011-12 - Professor Des Bell (Professor Emeritus in Film Studies)
Research Assistant: 2012-13 Dr Jennie Carlsten (Film Studies)
External collaboration with: TG4, Belfast Film Festival, Belfast Exposed, DoubleBand Productions, Teaching Divided Histories
[Phase 1] This knowledge transfer project involves an interdisciplinary collaboration between a historian and a documentary film team around the making and exhibition of a feature length documentary film. The academic team (historian Dr Fearghal McGarry and film studies specialist Professor Desmond Bell) will work with an independent film and television company (Glass Machine Productions), broadcaster (TG4) and a regional film festival (Belfast Film Festival) and gallery (Belfast Exposed) to produce and exhibit a feature length documentary film. The film is based on the published research of Dr McGarry (Frank Ryan (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2010) and explores the life of republican activist and International Brigade volunteer, Frank Ryan (1902-1944).
The project involves a series of festival screenings and workshop discussions, with website support, to accompany the television broadcast of the completed film. Through this multimedia strategy we aim to maximise the knowledge transfer impact of McGarry's research in the specific context of post-conflict Northern Ireland.
While our film seeks to be attentive to the latest historical research on Ryan and Ireland during the Second World War, it draws upon the imaginative resources of the creative documentary to encourage an interrogation of history in a society where historical narrative is often divisive. It explores a human story of tragic proportions with a mass audience for whom the story has a continuing resonance in the context of the current political dispensation in Northern Ireland. The project seeks to elaborate a model of good interdisciplinary practice to guide future collaborations between historians, film makers, broadcasters and their audience.
We invite you to visit our website http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/frankryan where we have provided a range of historical resources including interpretative essays, archival sources, recorded debates and further information about our project including details of forthcoming screenings and conferences. This website is intended to allow viewers of our film to find out more about the story of Frank Ryan and to make their own assessments of the wider historical issues that our film engages with.
The second phase of this knowledge-transfer project builds on Fearghal’s collaboration with Des Bell in 2011-12 in filming the life of Frank Ryan, to further explore the potential of documentary film to facilitate historical understanding. The current project facilitates the pre-production of a second feature-length documentary film, Lost Revolution: the Abbey Theatre and 1916, which will be developed in partnership with DoubleBand Productions. Fearghal and his research assistant, Dr Jenny Carlsten, will collaborate with the Nerve Centre’s EU-funded cross-border educational initiative, ‘Teaching Divided Histories’, to provide curriculum materials for secondary education. They will also organise an international conference on film and public history to be held in conjunction with the Foyle Film Festival, as part of the Derry-Londonderry City of Culture 2013 programme.