Irish research collaborators net €3m for the humanities

Posted: 25 April, 2019

Three Irish researchers will participate in transnational research projects aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of public spaces in Europe, the Irish Research Council announced today.

The three research projects, involving Irish principal investigators Aileen Dillane (University of Limerick), Bernadette Quinn (Technological University Dublin), and Ailbhe Kenny (Mary Immaculate College), will each receive €1m from a joint research programme coordinated by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA).

The research projects are:


  • Aileen Dillane (University of Limerick) will work on ‘FESTIVERSITIES’, mapping the ways in which cultural diversities are constructed, performed, and consumed within European music festivals contexts. The comparative dimension of the project aims to identify best practice and counter inequality, misrepresentation, and social exclusion in public spaces.


  • Bernadette Quinn (Technological University Dublin) is part of the ‘FESTSPACE’ project, which will explore how festivals and events enable or restrict access to, and use of, public spaces, including the extent to which they might effectively host interactions and exchanges between people from different cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and socio-demographic backgrounds. This project is interested in how the design and operation of urban festivals and events might help to dismantle existing divisions.


  • Ailbhe Kenny (Mary Immaculate College) is involved with the project ‘NITE’, which will focus on eight European cities and will aim to develop an understanding of experiences in public spaces at night and how this can inform current and future debates, policies and practices.


These projects are just three of 20 underway across Europe under the theme ‘Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe’. A founding member of the HERA network, the Irish Research Council is the handling agency for the programme which will invest €20 million in the 20 research teams. The Irish researchers’ participation is funded by the Irish Research Council.

Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan T.D. said: “Developing close ties with our European counterparts is extremely important – now more than ever, and it is fantastic to see Irish researchers collaborating as part of transnational research teams. With the theme of ‘Public Spaces’, I look forward to the research outcomes of the programme and seeing how we can understand and interact with our own public spaces better – making them more inclusive for all cultures and ethnicities.”

Also commenting today, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “We are delighted for our researchers to be part of this transnational funding opportunity with HERA.

“Collaboration with researchers from across the continent will add greatly to the depth of understanding and knowledge and the overall research output, as well as it being a fantastic opportunity for them to network with peers in similar fields in Europe.

“We are committed to funding excellent research across all disciplines at the Council and being part of the HERA network is an important part of this, as we commit to the development of collaborative and transnational humanities research across Europe.”

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