Call for history of Ireland’s Institutions to be taught in schools

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Academics at University of Galway have called for the history of Ireland’s Institutions to be taught in post-primary schools.

The call has been made ahead of a conference on Saturday 15 October organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the University.

The one-day event, titled Teaching the Dark History of Ireland’s Institutions: Engaging Educators and Policymakers, will take place on Saturday from 10.30am to 4pm.

Focusing on why this history should be taught in schools and how it may be implemented for students in Transition Year, the conference will draw upon lesson plans designed and implemented in schools over the past two years.

It was created as part of a project which aims to create different educational strategies to ensure that the history of Ireland’s institutions is not forgotten.

It is led by Mary Harney, and supervised by Judit Villena, both PhD candidates at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, in conjunction with LLM graduates and has been active since 2019.

Shauna Joyce, a recent graduate of the LLM in International Human Rights Law at University of Galway and co-organiser of the project, said: “As a new generation of Irish citizens, we believe that it is incumbent on us to take up the mantle from those older survivors to ensure that past abuses are not only remembered, but to ensure that through education they are not repeated.”

The teaching of the history of institutions was a recommendation made by the report of the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum.

The conference is hosted in partnership with a cross-sectional group of academics, activists and teachers from the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at University of Galway and Waterford Institute of Technology.

Speakers and topics

Dr Philomena Mullen, Trinity College Dublin, Association of Mixed Race Irish – The exclusion of the mixed race child from the narrative of the institutions

Noelle Brown, actor, playwright, survivor – Theatre as a Platform for Change

Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, University of Galway – Teaching the History of Ireland’s Institutions: From the Foundling Institutions to the Mother and Baby Institutions

To register for the conference, click here.