Bad Bridget Podcast
The new podcast from Queen's University Belfast & University of Ulster telling the untold stories of generations of Irish women who saw their American Dream become a nightmare.
Released December 2020.
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this project led by Leanne McCormick (Ulster University) and Elaine Farrell (Queen’s University Belfast) focuses on the sexually deviant woman, the bad mother and the criminal Irish woman in Boston, New York and Toronto.
The project seeks to explore how and in what ways Irish women were sexually deviant. We consider women’s roles in the sale of sex, including as sex workers and brothel-keepers. We question to what extent and in what ways immigrants failed to live up to the image of the good Irish mother.
Were Irish women migrants involved in illegal practices of abortion and infanticide to the same extent as their counterparts in Ireland? How did a perceived lack of familial support networks impact Irish women’s actions? What determined a ‘bad’ mother?
Photo/Image Credit: New York Public Library
Original Music for the podcast was composed, performed and produced by Dr Franziska Schroeder and Music MA student Ms Catriona Gribben.
Dr Schroeder is a Reader in Music at the School of Arts English and Languages where she teaches music performance and music improvisation.
Catriona is an Irish Trad musician, composer and improviser.
Musical collaboration during lockdown
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the two musicians completely changed their approach to producing the music.
Whereas they would have usually sat together in one space, improvising, discussing and composing the music in a face to face fashion, the restrictions and lockdowns meant that this working process had to be altered.
The music was made in what the two women refer to as a "distributed, layered composing process”:
Catriona would record a musical idea/motif on her guitar or accordion at home, and then email/Dropbox it to Franziska who would listen to the track, and record over it with her saxophone, recording Catriona’s original track plus her improvised saxophones lines.
Franziska would then send this newly layered sound track (with two musical lines now) back to Catriona who would, again, either layer something on top or continue a different musical idea.
This 'back and forth' composing became a lot of fun, where the two women were eagerly waiting for each other’s musical ideas to which they could then respond in their own time and in their own homes (Franziska indeed recorded in her small but nicely resonant bathroom in Belfast!).
Please note that a lot of music was produced in that way, inspired by the stories of the Bad Bridget, but evidently not everything could go into the final podcast.
The two women intend to re-visit all the musical materials produced (some going back to September 2020),and there may be an entirely stand-alone “Bad Bridget Music” album emerging from the inspiration provided by the incredible stories narrated by Dr Elaine Farrell and Dr Leanne McCormick!
Watch this space!