Events | IMA Event

Museums, Empire and Northern Irish Identity

12 February | 12:00 - 12:30

Irish Museums Association

Event Address


The Irish Museums Association (IMA), in its role as a project partner, has invited Dr Briony Widdis to introduce her research project ‘Museums, Empire and Northern Irish Identity’. The purpose of this collaborative seminar will be to discuss the future of “ethnographic” collections as legacies of empire in Ireland, with a view to building future interdisciplinary research networks. 

This seminar comes at the start of a two-year research project in Queen’s University Belfast (2021-2022), focusing on the neglected importance of the legacies of empire for cultural identities in Northern Ireland and the role of museums in these debates. It will highlight collections that have been subject to limited research and collaboration and will include discussion across Ireland around decolonisation activism and its impact on museums. In addition to the IMA, partners include National Museums NI, the Northern Ireland Museums Council and the Centre for the Study for Historic Irish Houses and Estates at the University of Maynooth.

In this session, the purpose of which is to work with museums from the outset of the research, Dr Widdis will present the background to this project and share some of the aims of this investigation. This session will be of interest to museum professionals and academic researchers.


This research project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) via the Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership. A museum anthropologist by background, Dr Widdis recently completed her PhD, ‘Colonial Objects in Northern Ireland’ at Ulster University. She is a former Assistant Director of the Northern Ireland Museums Council, Heritage Officer at Belfast City Council and Curator of Ethnography (Africa, Pacific and Americas) at National Museums Scotland.