Grangegorman Histories ‘Trigger warnings: Exhibiting Sensitive Materials’

“It is no accident that we are holding this on World Mental Health Day,” Philip Cohen, Chair of #GrangegormanHistories, set the tone for a profound day of recent discussions on 10th of October at the Royal Irish Academy. This impactful seminar aptly named ‘Trigger Warnings: Exhibiting Sensitive Materials’ also formed part of this year’s Dublin Festival of History. 

One week on we are still reflecting on the seminar which explored the complexities of ‘Buildings with a Complicated History’ and ‘Highly Charged Objects’ and emphasised the importance of approaching sensitive matters with empathy and sensitivity.  

Throughout the day, speakers and attendees alike engaged in thought-provoking conversations, gaining a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in curating sensitive exhibitions. One of the key takeaways was the importance of making these spaces safe for viewership without sanitising these difficult histories. It was recognised that these exhibitions play a huge part in helping to remove shame from mental illness, giving a voice to the voiceless and not just the institutions.  

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the exceptional panellists and all the engaged attendees who brought this event to life and enriched our understanding of this crucial topic.  We would hope to continue this critical conversation through the ongoing work of Grangegorman Histories.