Religious Spaces in Transition/ Donatus Mooney Study Day - 14 May 2021

Niamh NicGhabhann's picture

Dear all,

Please find below details of a forthcoming research event on 14 May 2021 which may be of interest. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance via this link:

This is a collaboration between the University of Limerick-based Religious Spaces in Transition project (funded via the Irish Research Council New Foundations grant and the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation, University College Dublin.


Please do share with any friends, colleagues, or students who may be interested,

All the best,

Niamh NicGhabhann (University of Limerick)

About this Event

Religious Spaces in Transition/ Donatus Mooney Day  

14 May 2021   

1pm – 6pm, via Zoom


 Introduction: 1pm-1.20pm Prof John McCafferty, UCD

1.20 – 1.30: Niamh NicGhabhann (UL): overview of project and programme  


Religious architecture in transition


1.30 – 1.50 Jordi Mallarch Parés (Future of Religious Heritage): ‘A Future for Religious Heritage’  

Jordi Mallarach Parés is the Executive Officer at Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) a non-faith, non-for-profit European network with members in over 35 countries. FRH is a proud member of the European Commission Expert Group on Cultural Heritage, the Reflection Group ‘EU and Cultural Heritage’, the European Heritage Alliance 3.3. and the Climate Heritage Network. The network is currently conducting the awareness-raising campaign "Jump for Heritage". Before joining FRH, Jordi carried out project management and policy analysis roles in several European and international networks.   


1.50 – 2.10 Dr Sophie Cooper (University of Leicester): ‘Urban Religious Practice in the Irish Diaspora’  

Dr Sophie Cooper is currently a Teaching Fellow in Irish History at the University of Leicester. She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2017. Sophie’s work focuses on the multigenerational Irish community identity in Ireland and its diasporas, particularly the role of women and girls in shaping ideas of belonging. She has published in Social History on Irish women’s networks and material culture. Her first monograph, Forging Identities in an Irish World: Melbourne and Chicago, 1840–1922, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press.  


2.10 - 2.30: John McLaughlin (University College Cork and John McLaughlin Architects): '"Christ has no body but yours” - interventions in St Teresa's Church, Clarendon St., Dublin'

John McLaughlin is a practicing architect and senior lecturer in architectural design in University College Cork. He curated the Irish Pavilions at the Venice Architecture Biennales in 2012 and 2014. He exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016. He co-edited the book Infrastructure and the Architectures of Modernity in Ireland 1916-2016. He won the Emerging Practice Award from the RIAI in 2015 and the Arthur Gibney Prize from the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2019.

2.30-2.40: Q&A  


2.40-3pm: Coffee break


Perspectives on religious architecture 


3.00 – 3.20: Dr Lisa Godson (National College of Art and Design): ‘Missionary Architecture in mid-Century Nigeria: Programme, Collaboration and Exchange’  

Lisa Godson is Programme Leader of the MA Design History and Material Culture, NCAD and Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. Her co-edited books include Modern Religious Architecture in Germany, Ireland and Beyond (2019); Uniform: Clothing and Discipline in the Modern World (2019); Making 1916: Visual and Material Culture of the Easter Rising (2015); The Secret Lives of Objects (2016). Her monograph How the Crowd Felt: Public Ritual, Memory and Space in the Irish Free State is forthcoming from Cork University Press. She is also a member of the Architectural Heritage Working Group for Dublin City Council's new Strategic Heritage Plan.


3.20 – 3.40: Prof Kathleen James Chakraborty (University College Dublin): ‘Modern Religious Architecture in Germany, Ireland and Beyond’  

Kathleen James-Chakraborty is Professor of Art History at University College Dublin. She has also taught at the University of California Berkeley and the Yale School of Architecture. Her books include Architecture since 1400 (Minnesota, 2014) and Modernism as Memory: Building Identity in the Federal Republic of Germany (Minnesota, 2018). In the 2021-22 academic year she will be an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.   

Q&A 3.40 - 3.50 


3.50 - 4.00 (Coffee break)  


New frameworks for researching religious architecture 

4.00 – 4.20: Dr Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi, UCD: ‘Deploying affective mode in Analysing Mission Hospitals.’  

Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin, where they are working on a project concerning ‘Gender Equality in the Built Environment Profession’. Previously, Sara was a Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2019-20) and an Irish Research Council doctoral scholar at UCD. Their first monograph, Emotion, Mission, Architecture: Building Hospitals in Persia and British India, 1865-1914, will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2021. They are also editing a special section for the journal, Emotions: History, Culture, Society for 2022, titled, ‘Between the Local and the Global: Exploring Architecture and Emotions through Space and Place’. 


4.20 – 4.55: Prof Katherine O’Donnell (UCD) and Chris Hamill (Queens' University Belfast) presenting on the Open Heart City project 

Chris Hamill is an architect and current PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast. His current research focuses on the architectural, spatial and urban history of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, and utilises novel digital techniques and methods in order to investigate and disseminate these often-elided sites.

Katherine O’Donnell is Associate Professor, History of Ideas, UCD School of Philosophy, University College Dublin. She is a member of Justice for Magdalenes Research, their book Ireland and the Magdalenes: A Campaign for Justice is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. She has published widely in the history of gender and the Irish Enlightenment.


Open Heart City aims to facilitate the emergence of a shared vision for the site of the last Magdalene Laundry to close in Ireland, in 1996, at Seán McDermott Street in Dublin. Open Heart City is a volunteer-led response to the events of September 2018, when Dublin City Councillors, often with great emotion, backed a motion not to sell the 2-acre former Magdalene Laundry site on Seán McDermott Street to a Japanese budget hotel chain. The Councillors overwhelmingly recognised that to take the site out of public ownership would be to lose the opportunity to create an internationally recognised Site of Conscience at the heart of Ireland’s capital city and in an area that has suffered much economic hardship and social marginalisation since the foundation of the Irish State in 1922. The project is a collaboration between the Open Heart City Collective and CoLab, drawn together by the Centre for Ethics in Public Life at University College Dublin. The project is assisted by M.Arch. students from UCD School of Architecture & Queen’s University Belfast School of Architecture and LL.M. students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The Atlas of Lost Rooms project, created through the Open Heart City Collective, explores the use of digital methods in the public dissemination of Ireland’s Magdalene history, through a virtual reconstruction of the now derelict Sean MacDermott St Laundry in Dublin. Much of the written record of Ireland’s Magdalene institutions still resides in the archives of the various religious orders involved in the operation of these sites, and these orders have historically been reluctant to allow access to researchers.

The Atlas of Lost Rooms project seeks to circumvent this obstacle by focusing on, and combining, two key strands of evidence still available to researchers; the remains of the sites themselves; and the testimonies of former Magdalene women (collected as part of the Magdalene Oral History Project in 2013). In so doing, the reconstruction of the site becomes animated with the testimonies of the women who laboured and suffered within its walls, whilst at the same time, these testimonies are spatialised, made tangible and related to the architecture of the Laundry, with the intention of enhancing public engagement with this often overlooked aspect of Ireland’s recent past.


4.55 – 5.10 (coffee break)  


5.10 – 5.45: Introduction of the Material and Cultural Heritages of Ireland (MCHRI) research network and roundtable discussion with Dr Richard Butler (MIC), Dr Sarah Roddy (Maynooth), Dr Caroline McGee (TCD), and Dr Niamh NicGhabhann (UL) chaired by Dr Amanullah de Sondy,  Head of Department & Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam, UCC.  

5.45 – 6pm: Q&A   

Post-event zoom social – 6-7pm