'Re-staging the Object: A participatory exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison’ Workshop

Aisling O'Beirn, Martin Krenn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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This workshop was conducted as part of the cross disciplinary conference Uncovering Material Knowledge, Queen’s University Belfast organised by Dr. Leonie Hannan, Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century History, School of History, Anthropology, Politics and Philosophy, Queen’s University, Belfast. The conference was supported by Queen’s University Belfast, ‘Past & Present’ and the ‘Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry’. The conference ‘included scholars from the arts, humanities and social sciences to participate in a discussion about the development, experience and construction of material knowledge in the past. Contributions came from a wide range of historical eras, from the ancient through to the modern. This conference sought to break with the age-old separation of hand and mind and uncover examples of material and embodied knowledge across a broad range of periods, geographical locations, spaces and places’. The workshop conducted by O’Beirn, grows from 'Transforming Long Kesh/Maze' - a project led by artist-researchers, Aisling O'Beirn and Martin Krenn, that asks how perceptions of this Northern Irish prison might be transformed, with a view to positively engaging with the knotty realities of the recent past. Through collaboration and dialogue with ex-prisoners, former visitors and prison staff, the project uses an experimental methodology involving the re-staging of prison-made artefacts, re-appropriation of material methods and re-tellings of stories through object-making. The result is a social sculpture comprised of image, object and text and this will form the basis for discussion in this session. Workshop participants were introduced to Krenn & O’Beirn’s methodology and then worked with a set of postcards of artefacts and testimonies, for creating associations between the material and other artefacts, which were produced as part of the project. Participants will employed some associative domino techniques devised and developed by Nora Landkammer and Karin Schneider (TRACES workpackage "education and stakeholder involvement" from the “Institute of Art Education” at the ZhdK), for using the cards to interrogate the material nature of this contested heritage. In devising their "Memory-Domino for contentious cultural heritage" methods, Landkammer & Schneider draw on the work of Andrea Hubin from Kunsthalle Wien.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUncovering Material Knowledge’ conference
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Aisling O’Beirn is an artist and researcher at the Belfast School of Art. Her current sculptural work is concerned with exploring space as a physical structure and a political entity by making and animating forms relating to observed and theoretical structures being studied by contemporary astronomers and physicists. It is an extension of previous work on the politics of place, but still rooted in uncovering tensions between disparate forms of official and unofficial information.

tensions between disparate forms of official and unofficial information.
Martin Krenn is an artist, artistic researcher and curator. He teaches at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. Krenn graduated in Electronic Music at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, in 1996 and holds an M.A. (Mag. art.) from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, since 1997.


  • Material Culture
  • Long Kesh Maze Contentious Cultural Heritage


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