Royal Irish Academy opens local history research fund for the final year of the Decade of Centenaries Programme
The Royal Irish Academy are pleased to open the Decade of Centenaries Bursary scheme once
again, as part of the commemorative programme for the final year of the Decade of Centenaries,
supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
This year, the scheme is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Éamon Phoenix, Historian and Head of
Lifelong Learning at Stranmillis University College in Belfast, who was a valued member of the
Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations, which supported and encouraged the
development of this scheme.
The Decade of Centenaries bursary scheme was established to encourage and support new local
research and local history studies in meaningful examination of local, regional, and national events
during the Struggle for Independence and Civil War period.
This scheme acknowledges the important role that local historians often have in communities, as
informed and trusted researchers whether, amateur or professional.
Fourteen bursaries were awarded last year and it is hoped that a similar number will be funded in
2023 to encourage new local history studies, furthering fields of research relating to the Struggle for
Independence and the Civil War period within their communities.
Understanding the varying financial requirements of projects, applications will be invited for amounts
ranging from €1,000 to €10,000.
Minister Martin said:
I would like to sincerely thank the Royal Irish Academy for their ambition, enthusiasm, and expertise in
delivering the Decade of Centenaries Bursary Scheme for a second year, in partnership with my Department.
This is a really important initiative which highlights the wealth of original research and scholarship in the field of local history studies. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of historians in helping their communities to explore the impact and legacy of significant historical events locally, grounded in the evidence of primary archival sources.
This year’s scheme is dedicated to Dr Éamon Phoenix, who was a greatly regarded historian and member of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. Dr Phoenix was particularly noted for his
thoughtful work with local communities, which was so important in encouraging the inclusive remembrance of complex and sensitive events. I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished work of the bursary recipients, which will be freely publicly available, in keeping with the inclusive and accessible ethos of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.’
Dr Maurice Manning, Chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary
Commemorations, added: It is wonderfully appropriate that this imaginative and generous new scheme of bursaries should be dedicated to the memory of the late Dr Éamon Phoenix. Éamon will be remembered as a historian of the highest integrity who made a lasting contribution to the history of Northern Ireland. He was a superb communicator, trusted by both communities in Northern Ireland for his fairness and scholarly empathy, and in particular, for his tireless support for local history societies and emerging historians. His enthusiasm and insights were of critical importance in shaping the development of the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme.
Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy, reflected:
‘The Academy is delighted to be partnering with the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media on this bursary scheme again this year. We were encouraged by the quality and range of projects funded last year under the scheme allowing local historians and independent scholars to bring to life the vibrant history of their areas during one of the most pivotal periods in our nation’s development’.
Applications for the 2023 Scheme will open on Wednesday, 15 February.
For further information and scheme guidelines, please visit *here* where you will also find a list of suggested research themes to assist applicants.
The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 5 April 2023 at 5.30 pm.
Suggested themes for the Decade of Centenaries Bursaries:
• New research to explore local legacies, personalities, places, events, and themes that
have particular significance within communities, parishes and counties;
• New research to explore the fates of the minority communities on both sides of the
border following Partition.
• New research to explore the contribution and experiences of women during this
period, e.g. women’s participation in political, military, professional and domestic roles;
• New research exploring Ireland and the Wider World, including local connections,
emigration, and the role of the Irish Diaspora in the events that occurred during this
period, Ireland’s admission into the League of Nations and Ireland’s membership of the
International Labour Organisation.
• New research exploring a changing society during this period, focusing on social history;
popular social, cultural, and civic movements; the Irish language; creative thinking and the
arts; sport; and innovation.
• New research exploring nationhood, identity, and State-Building – the establishment of a
new Irish Free State and the challenges faced by the emerging Irish State.
• New research exploring how the events of this period have been remembered and
commemorated within families, communities and parishes over the past century – how
the process of commemoration has evolved.
• New comparative research exploring the Irish period and associated themes in an
• New research exploring ‘Emotions, experiences, and expectations’ – what was felt and what
was hoped for through revolution, civil war, and beyond.
• ‘History and commemoration revisited’ – new research reflecting on the Decade of
Centenaries – its impact and legacy.
• New research exploring ‘The process of rebuilding a nation’ – reflections on healing,
repairing, and re-building following the Civil War