Prof Roisin Higgins



Rhetoric House


Roisín Higgins did her degree and PhD at the University of St Andrews and has taught at universities in England, Ireland and Scotland. Her research focuses on the dynamic relationship between past and present, and the ways in which individuals and societies remember and commemorate difficult and contested histories.

Roisín’s current work concerns embodied memories of conflict. Her project, ‘Sensing the Troubles: Living through Conflict in Northern Ireland’, was funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2021-2. By focusing on sensory histories, the work illuminates the complex ways in which lives are touched by violence. Research, which included interviews with individuals and groups, provides glimpses of lives lived against a background of persistent, often low-level tension.

In 2022-3, Roisín received an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Networking Grant for ‘Towards a Sociosomatic History of the Troubles’ as Principal Investigator. With Prof Cahal McLaughlin (Filmmaking, Queen’s University) and Kabosh Theatre Company (Belfast) the network ran five events in Ireland and England investigating the impact of social systems on the body. The events brought together academics, policy makers, and arts practitioners to articulate and represent memories of life during, and emerging from, conflict.

Roisín’s previous research on commemoration of the Easter Rising resulted in the book Transforming 1916: meaning, memory and the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising which won the ACIS James Donnelly Sr Prize (2013) for History and Social Science. She was the expert consultant on the Commemoration Gallery of the permanent exhibition in Dublin’s GPO Museum which won both the best Cultural Experience (for over 100,000 visitors) at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards and the European Museum Academy Luigi Micheletti Award in 2017.

Roisín has extensive experience of working with community groups and with a range of cultural institutions - including the National Library of Ireland, the National Trust and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art - to create public history projects and exhibitions. Her media experience includes print, online, radio and television, including RTÉ’s popular four-part television show National Treasures.

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