On this website you will find work and conversations from a network of academics, arts practitioners, curators and policy makers who came together to discuss how we might better understand the impact of violent societies on the human body. Our aim was to promote (and provoke) new thinking around how we record, write and represent the social history of violence, with specific attention paid to the conflict known as The Troubles.

The network was funded by an AHRC Networking Grant in 2022-3.

Small logos: AHRC, Teesside, Queens, Maynooth.

The Network

We are a network of academics, arts practitioners and policy makers who met over a series of five events in 2022-23.

Prof Roisín Higgins, Maynooth University (Principal Investigator)

Roisín Higgins is a Professor of History at Maynooth University. 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. He 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.

Prof Cahal McLaughlin, Queen’s University Belfast (Co-Investigator)

Cahal McLaughlin is Chair of Film Studies at Queen’s University Belfast and director of the Prisons Memory Archive (www.prisonsmemoryarchive.com). As a documentary filmmaker and writer, he has engaged with methods of how we might address the legacy of conflicted pasts in ways that acknowledge the vulnerability of our memories and the contested nature of our narratives.  His films and writings can be accessed at www.cahalmclaughlin.com.

Links to members

Films conversations



We are putting together an edited collection of work under the editorial committee of Prof Graham Dawson (Emeritus, University of Brighton), Prof Roisín Higgins (Maynooth University) and Prof Cahal McLaughlin (Queens University Belfast).

– Creative output

The creative output and legacy of the Network are being overseen by a committee whose members are:

James Craig (Architecture, Newcastle University), Sally Blackburn-Daniels (Centre for Culture and Creativity, Teesside University), Roisín Higgins (History, Maynooth University), Maireád McClean (Artist and Film-maker), Paula McFetridge (Director, Kabosh Theatre Company) and Cahal McLaughlin (Film, Queens University Belfast).

Sensing the Troubles


Sensing the Troubles is a research project undertaken by Roisín Higgins which was funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2021-2.

Roisín’s aim is to write a different history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland: one that reflects the everydayness of living within a conflict. The focus is sensory history because it is through the senses that we meet with and make meaning of the world around us. The work illuminates the complex ways in which lives are touched by violence. Research, which included interview with individuals and groups, provides glimpses of lives lived against a background of persistent, often low-level tension.

Contact Roisín

(use the form from the website)

Writing about Sensing the Troubles

Memory fragments

Links and further reading.

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Sensing the Troubles website: www.sensingthetroubles.com