Linen Hall Library celebrates Northern Ireland women with new exhibition and archive website

The Linen Hall Library is celebrating the powerful and important contribution of women to Northern Ireland society and their roles and attitudes from 1965, through the Troubles to the present day, with the launch of a community-driven heritage project entitled ‘extraORDINARYwomen’.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 12:15 pm
Children's author Amelia Kai, keynote speaker QUB virologist Dr Lindsay Broadbent and diversity champion, Orla McKeating
Children's author Amelia Kai, keynote speaker QUB virologist Dr Lindsay Broadbent and diversity champion, Orla McKeating

Two years in the making, the project it retells the experience of NI women who have emerged through an extremely dark chapter in our recent history. It also charts the emergence of new movers, shakers, story tellers, change makers, influencers and activists.

This major undertaking will see approximately 50,000 pages and images from the Linen Hall Library’s most significant collections/archives including the NI Political Collection, LGBTQ+ Archive, Literary Archives, Travellers’ Collection and the Theatre and Performing Arts Archive, digitised, conserved and made globally accessible.

In addition, thousands of new items including oral histories, testimonies, stories, posters, scripts, articles and artefacts donated by contemporaneous extraORDINARYwomen are being added to the collection – all to be made available on a new content platform extraordinarywomenni.com going live on November 8 and supported by an exhibition.

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Among the many contributors are Monica McWilliams, Ann Patterson, Brid Ruddy, Ruth Taillon, Lynda Walker, Anna Lo, Judith Gillespie, Geraldine Finucane and Arlene Foster.

Julie Andrews, Linen Hall Library, said: “With women all around the world stepping into their power and standing in their strength and stories, there has never been a more relevant time to celebrate local women and give fuller expression to the important role they have played in shaping NI’s modern history. To the hundreds who have taken part, we salute you.

*The Linen Hall Library will host a special in-person and online celebration on Monday, November 8. The public can attend the live streamed event at https://vimeo.com/event/1409353. The keynote speaker is Dr Lindsay Broadbent, a virology researcher at Queen’s University Belfast whose extraordinary journey during the pandemic saw her catapulted into the role of expert media commentator on Covid-19 keeping the public and local, national and international journalists informed.