Real Scars and Imaginary Healings: staging Derry-Londonderry in the Year of Culture.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Having been designated as the inaugural UK City of Culture for 2013, Derry-Londonderry staged a significant number of large-scale outdoor events over the course of that year. These events had multiple purposes and functions, including contributing to economic regeneration and re-imaging the city, repairing the damage of the decades of violent conflict in Northern Ireland generally and economic under-investment in the city in particular. Focusing on the use of the former military base at Ebrington as a cultural and performance venue, this paper explores the relationships between the different publics of its past and present. The re-developed site itself is materially marked by its various historical uses (palimpsests), while at the same time specific redevelopments have created gaps (scars) that silence this history. The argument is that the site hosted multiple performances that articulated conflicting discourses while at the same time making material an environment through which peace might be experienced.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2014
EventInternational Federation for Theatre Research Conference - University of Warwick
Duration: 28 Jul 2014 → …


ConferenceInternational Federation for Theatre Research Conference
Period28/07/14 → …

Bibliographical note

Reference text: Augé, Marc, ‘Non-places’, Architecturally Speaking: Practices of Art, Architecture and the Everyday, ed Alan Read (London: Routledge, 2000): 7-12.
Benjamin, Walter, Charles Baudelaire: A lyric poet in the era of high capitalism, Trans. Harry Zohn (NY: Verso, 1997).
DeCerteau, Michel, ‘Walking in the City’, The Certeau Reader, ed. Graham Ward (London: Blackwell, 2000): 101-19.
Culture Company (n.d.) Background to UK City of Culture [online]. Available: Accessed 18/07/2014
Davis, J. (2001), 'Commentary: Tourism Research and Social Theory – Expanding the Focus.‘ Tourism Geographies 3(2): 125-34
DCMS (2009) 'The race is on to find UK's first ‘City of Culture’ for 2013.' [media release]. Available: Accessed 06/07/2014
Derry City Council [n.d.] City of Culture [online]. Available: Accessed 18/07/2014
Dwyer, O. J. (2004) 'Symbolic accretion and commemoration.'Social & Cultural Geography, 5(3): 419-35
Environment and Heritage Service: Built Heritage (2003) Ebrington Barracks Conservation: Conservation Statement on the Heritage Value of Ebrington Barracks. Belfast: EHSNI
Foucault, Michel, ‘Of Other Spaces’, Heterotopia and The City: Public Space in a Post Civil Society, eds Lieven De Cauter and Michiel Dehaene (London: Routledge, 2008): 13-30.
Gaffikin, Frank and Mike Morrissey, eds, City Visions: imagining place, enfranchising people (London: Pluto Press, 1999).
Dehaene, Michiel and Lieven De Cauter, ‘The Space of Play: towards a general theory of heterotopia’, Heterotopia and The City: Public Space in a Post Civil Society, eds Lieven De Cauter and Michiel Dehaene (London: Routledge, 2008): 87-102.
Hoelscher, S. and Alderman, D.H. (2004) 'Memory and place: geographies of a critical relationship.' Social & Cultural Geography, 5(3): 347-355
Lynch, Kevin, The Image of the City (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1960).
Makeham, Paul, ‘Performing the City’, Theatre Research International 30.2 (2005): 150-60.
Maguire, Tom, Making Theatre in Northern Ireland: Through and Beyond the Troubles (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2006).
Massey, Doreen, For Space (Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications, 2005).
Mitchell, K. (2003) 'Monuments, Memorials, and The Politics of Memory.' Urban Geography 24(5): 442–459.
Neill, William J.V., ‘Lipstick on the gorilla? Conflict management, urban development and image making in Belfast’, Reimaging the Pariah City: Urban Development in Belfast and Detroit, eds William J.V. Neill, Diane S. Fitzsimons and Brendan Murtagh (Aldershot: Avebury, 1995): 50-76.
Nora, P. (1989) Between memory and history: les lieux de mémoire, Representations 26: 7–25.
Raban, Jonathan, Soft City (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1974).
Vulliamy, E. (2013) 'How Derry's year as UK city of culture reawakened the voice of idealism.' The Observer, Sunday 29 December 2013 [online]. Available: Accessed 15/07/2014


  • performance
  • peace-building
  • Derry
  • Londonderry
  • Northern Ireland
  • UK City of Culture


Dive into the research topics of 'Real Scars and Imaginary Healings: staging Derry-Londonderry in the Year of Culture.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this