Dear Colleagues, the organising committee of the Irish History Students’ Association, Annual Conference for Galway 2016 are pleased to announce that in addition to the prizes being offered by the IHSA, the Galway organising committee have secured additional external sponsorship from Cambridge Scholars Publishing for two additional, once-off, prizes for 2016.
Students are sometimes asked to think about which figure from history they would most like to invite to a dinner party. Dr. Margaret Ó hÓgartaigh, nee Whelan, has to be up there with the absolute best. A native of Killaloe, Co. Clare, Margaret first came to Galway in 1985, where she threw herself into An Cumann Staire, serving in a multitude of offices, including chair of the IHSA. She was also quite an astute businesswoman, boosting sales of the Cumann’s Journal Stair with a free pint of Guinness! But there was also a serious and earnest side to Margaret. She was tireless in her research, even working on her latest book while she was unwell. She helped open new avenues of historical research into areas which this prize hopes to broadly emulate for a new generation of scholars to take up her mantle. With her intrepid zeal for life and for her work and family, we are proud to be associated with and to be able to offer this prize in her memory.
The prize will be awarded to the best paper in any one (or multiple) category listed on the following sheet. They will be independently judged PRIOR to being given, which means that all interested parties must pre-submit their paper (or latest working draft), no later than the 19th January 2016, i.e. one calendar month before the conference.
Further details are listed below on each particular prize. The adjudicator’s decision is final and no discussion whatsoever will be entered into. Prizes will be awarded at the Conference Dinner (Harbour Hotel, Galway, 20 February, 8pm). All entrants must attend the conference AND deliver their papers. Failure to attend and/or speak is grounds for disqualification.
Period which the papers/posters/AV/artefact presentations deal with must deal with one or more aspects of the History of Medicine and Society, though some leeway is allowed. General areas to be considered include, but are not limited to:
Gender and/or Sex
Society and/or Religion
Sport & Athletics
History of the IHSA/IUHSA/Student Historical Societies
All interested papers must be pre-submitted (or the latest working draft), no later than the 19th January, i.e. one calendar month before the conference.
Once submitted that is the paper which will be judged. No further submissions/alterations will be allowed.
Any supporting documentation (such as an audio-visual or image based element) must be submitted also.
Course: PhD History (currently Post-Doctoral work in NUI Galway)
Areas of Interest: Poverty, Welfare, Charity, Medicine, Health, Urban, Religion.
Thesis Title: ‘Begging and alms-giving in urban Ireland, 1815-1850’
Past IHSA Paper titles:
IHSA 2014 (MIC): ‘“The silent endurance of these poor creatures”: perceived virtue in the silent suffering of the poor in nineteenth-century Ireland’
IHSA 2013 (QUB): ‘The Church of Ireland parish and beggars’ badges in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries’
IHSA 2012 (NUIG): ‘“Surely this monstrous inconvenience is not of an insurmountable nature”: the suppression of street begging in early nineteenth-century Dublin’
IHSA 2011 (UCC): ‘The Cork Street Fever Hospital, Dublin and pre-Famine fever epidemics’
Was 2015 your first IHSA Conference?
No, I attended the 2015 conference as a spectator, but was collecting a prize from 2014.
What attracted you to the IHSA Conferences?
My first IHSA conference to attend was in 2011. For me, the IHSA conference has always been an opportunity to present a research paper in an environment that is not too intimidating for early-career scholars. I presented at each of the 2011-14 conferences and always found them incredibly rewarding experiences.
What attracted you to the IHSA Conferences? As a young academic, I felt the need to start attending academic conferences and have my voice heard. This was naturally coupled with the support of my friends and colleagues at NUIG.
Best memory of the conferences? Giving my first academic paper at a great IHSA in Galway 2012.
What are you looking forward to most about Galway 2016? I won’t be involved in the academic aspect when the Galway conference rolls round, so I’m looking forward to sitting back and listening and meeting people there!
Do you remember that song from the 1965, ‘California Dreamin [on a Winter’s Day]’, by The Mama’s & The Papas? It was a great hit at the time and has shown true resilience over the intervening decades. As a matter of fact I had started to write this entry in a very different fashion and he lyric entered my head and I had to listen to it….and then the entire timbre of the article changed before my eyes! Anyway I digress, but seriously, please take a listen to some great 60’s counter-culture! California Dreamin. I have a link and although tentative, I think its relevant.
As a PhD student (final year, thank the gods!), take it from me; money does not fall from the sky like autumnal leaves. Even as the aforementioned song describes “All the leaves are brown/And the Sky is grey”, one must marvel at the metaphorical sight of all those fivers and tenners slowly spiralling down to form a blanket on the ground. Wouldn’t it be a great thing, if the simple things in life were, if not free, then at least valued and funded appropriately?
As a conference organiser seeking funding, I can tell you money does most definitely not fall in such a fashion! But yet again at CAO time we have a talking head pop up to tell us about this great knowledge economy we have here and how our third level institutions are so well funded, etc, etc. We as anyone in academia knows, they’re not. I heard from a colleague a few years back that a leading Irish Third Level department had to sell some of their PHOTOCOPIERS to make ends meet after a budgetary shortfall.
The Royal Irish Academy (hat tip for kudos), have come out with a sensible position/advice paper aimed toward central government and perhaps as a broader conversation starter also in the Irish Third Level sector regarding not just the perennially raw topic of funding, but also the more pressing topic of student funding. We all remember the terrible hardship caused in 2012/2013/2014 by the disastrous SUSI website for online grants “processing.” Part-time (and personally I have MASSIVE issues with that misleading and pejorative term) students are being persecuted by the Irish education system and successive administrations for not being good little drones and entering into courses in the desire full-time fashion with other Secondary School graduates.
Grants are being withheld from people who, lets face it here, are trying to better themselves. Professor Mary Daly succinctly presents the case of the
“…bank official working full-time on €25,000 a year is being charged fees to study in the evenings, while the child of the bank’s CEO is entitled to the free fees scheme to study during the day?”
Now in ‘post-crisis’ Ireland (another massive bone of contention btw), with everything rising but the dead, students are faced with increased accommodation costs, not only in Dublin, but also throughout the country as a whole. So people will just commute from home or a cheaper place to live? Also on the rise is petrol/diesel, parking, public transportation fares. Fees are also continually and incrementally rising, with increases being used to offset declining central government funding. Those claiming that grants are quite generous are living in cloud cuckoo land; wages rose during the Great War also, but inflation effectively destroyed those paltry increases! Free Education, isn’t, basically.
There’s a massive disconnect between what the government want (and not just this one wither, in case I’m accused of Fine Gael/Labour bashing…though Ruairí Quinn, the former ‘Hypocrite-in-Chief’, did their credibility few favours) and what they’re willing to invest in. Perhaps as the RIA suggests a new model of student support should be entered into? I’m not blind to the needs of universities or IT’s to investment and upgrading of facilities and infrastructure, but something has to give here; many have an aging (and expensive) building stock, which were expanded during the 1960’s and 70’s and need modernising. And its probably going to be parents and students who will have to give in. A model which is used at the national and international level might be worth considering; a bond issue. If colleges were to issue a long term bond, which would accrue with profits generated over a thirty year period, it might provide for some financial stability and guaranteed income. Some profits from these campus based start-ups and spin-offs we hear so much about, could be channelled into this area, etc.
As a conclusion, we as a Third Level community must acknowledge that the system is at present not effective. it is creaking along and certainly not operating at the peak efficiency, which is desired. Unfortunately, one must wait and see are there any in the sector, especially the national parliament, who posses the ability to engineer and herald such dramatic and much needed change.