Collecting the 'Now'
Saturday 3 March: Biographies
Briony Widdis is a PhD candidate : 'Engaging the Past' Research Group, at Ulster University. She is the former curator of Ethnography (Africa, Pacific and Americas) at National Museums Scotland from 1994-1999, the heritage officer at Belfast City Council from 1999-2004 and assistant director at the Northern Ireland Museums Council from 2004-2012.
Now undertaking a PhD at Ulster University entitled Opening Boxes: Collections and Colonialism in Northern Ireland, her undergraduate and Masters degrees were in Anthropology and Museum and Gallery Studies. Her work has included curation of ethnographic exhibitions, strategic development, reporting on museum learning programmes, delivering cultural diversity projects, co-ordinating heritage conferences, developing partnerships, and assessing and evaluating museum and arts grants.
Brenda Malone, historian and museum professional, has worked for the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) since 2000. Particular areas of interest include the development of the idea of ‘nation’ and how this is collected and portrayed in National Museums, and object / collection interpretation. She has studied in detail the museum’s Historical, Military and Easter Week Collections, co-curating Soldiers and Chiefs – The Irish at War at Home and Abroad from 1550 to the Present Day (2006), 1913 Lockout – Impact and Aftermath (2013), Recovered Voices: Stories of the Irish at War 1914-1915 (2014), and the 1916 Centenary Exhibition at Collins Barracks – Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising. She has also curated Irish Folklife collections at the NMI.
Kasandra O’Connell is head of the IFI Irish Film Archive, Ireland’s national moving image collection, since 2000. She previously worked in conservation at the National Museum of Ireland and for Eneclann. She has a postgraduate qualification in Archival Science, an M.A. in Museum Studies and is currently undertaking PhD research in moving image preservation and policy at DCU. Kasandra represents the Irish government at the EU’s Audio-Visual Expert Group and chairs an Advisory Group for the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, working to implement the European Union recommendations for moving image heritage preservation. She is currently finalising the findings of a survey of moving image collections in the State, the first of its kind in this country. She has written about digital preservation and moving image archiving for a number of publications including Film Ireland, History Ireland, Journal of the Society of Archivists and International Journal of Film Preservation, and has contributed to a number of television and radio programmes on the subject. Her focus in recent years has been devising and implementing the IFI Irish Film Archive’s Digital Preservation and Access Strategy, developing the IFI Player and undertaking large scale preservation and digitisation project such as the recent Irish adverts conservation project.
Dr. Audrey Whitty has been keeper of the Art and Industrial Division (Decorative Arts, Design and History), National Museum of Ireland (NMI) since January 2015. She is responsible for all collections, exhibitions, and leading the curatorial department and team on the Collins Barracks site of the National Museum. Since 2015 she has project-managed and opened several exhibitions at Collins Barracks, including the acclaimed Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising exhibition. During 2013 and 2014 Audrey was curator of European and Asian Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, New York where she was responsible for an extensive collection in what is widely regarded as the greatest glass museum in the world. From 2001 to 2013 she was curator of Ceramics, Glass and Asian collections, Art and Industrial Division, National Museum of Ireland. In 2009 she became the first Irish woman to be elected to the International Academy of Ceramics based in Geneva.
Dr Dea Birkett, a former circus artiste, is Ringmaster of Circus250 – the Ireland and UK-wide celebration of 250 years of circus in 2018. Dea lives in Mayo and London.She is unique in spanning the museum and circus sector. Dea is also creative director of Kids in Museums, the UK-wide organisation working with museums, galleries and heritage sites to make them more welcoming of children and families – in particular those who have never visited before. Dea has led delivering Takeover Day – the biggest museum initiative with young people in the UK.
Dea is also an award-winning writer and journalist, author of seven books including Off the Beaten Track. Three Centuries of Women Travellers (with the National Portrait Gallery). She is a regular commentator for the BBC. She is creative director of Many Rivers Films, a BAFTA-winning film company. Dea is also co-director of TextWorkshop, working with museums on their messages.
Owain Rhys Community Engagement and Participation Manager, National Museum Wales
Charles Duggan Heritage Officer, Dublin City Council;
Dr Linda King is lecturer in Design and Visual Culture and Co-Programme Chair of the BA (Hons) in Visual Communication Design, Faculty of Film, Art and Creative Technologies, The Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) Dún Laoghaire;
Dr Karen Logan Project Curator, National Museums Northern Ireland;
Aalia Kamal is responsible for the qualitative component of Dublin’s Culture Connects Cultural Audit and Map project. She has a background in policy and social research, with a particular focus on the built environment, museums and the arts. Her policy work includes the Art Fund (the UK national art charity) and the UK National Audit Office where she scrutinised central government policy on behalf of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. She has also analysed the built and urban environment using GIS and spatial analysis techniques for central and local government. She holds a BA in History of Art from University of Bristol and an MSc in Advanced Architectural Studies at University College London. As a qualified painting restorer, Aalia has worked for museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and Fitzwilliam Museum as part of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge.
Finbarr Whooley Director of Content, Museum of London