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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Roisín Higgins did her PhD at the University of St Andrews and has lectured at universities in Ireland, England and Scotland. She has been at Teesside since 2013. She is the Research Lead for History.

Roisín’s work focuses on social and cultural history with particular interest in the politics of historical memory.  Her book, Transforming 1916: meaning, memory and the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising, won the prestigious ACIS James S. Donnelly Sr Prize for the best book in History and Social Science. Roisín was involved in many aspects of the Centenary of the Easter Rising, including acting as historical consultant on the ‘Commemoration’ zone of the permanent exhibition GPO: Witness History. During 2016 she was invited to deliver keynote lectures in Australia, America and Europe, as well as to give numerous public lectures in Ireland and Britain.

Roisín is leader of the public history project Dear Mrs Pennyman, funded by the Heritage Lottery. Inspired by letters found in Ormesby Hall in Middlesbrough, the project is carrying out research into the lives of women who wrote to Mary Pennyman in her capacity as Secretary of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Widows and Orphans Fund. Volunteer researchers have found stories of women’s hardship and resilience in the years after the First World War.

Roisín was one of the curators for National Treasures, a public history project run in association with RTÉ, the National Museum of Ireland and the Irish Broadcasting Authority. A television series was broadcast in Spring 2018 to coincide with the National Treasures exhibition at the Museum of Folklife, Castlebar.

Roisín was a founding Director of the Irish Association of Professional Historians. She is currently on the Advisory Board of the IAPH and the British Association of Irish Studies.

Summary of Research Interests

Roisín's current research project is ‘Sensing Conflict: Memory and the Senses in Northern Ireland’s Troubles’. This is a social history told through sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The history of the Troubles has largely been written as a sequential narrative which attempts to explain the breakdown in civil society at the end of the 1960s. ‘Sensing Conflict’ offers a new methodological approach that disrupts the predominant political historiography and is keenly attuned to the politics of corporeality and to the neglected archive of bodily sensation. The core aim of this research is to bring together two realms often kept distinct: the cognitive and the sensory. It opens up a new way of understanding how people in Northern Ireland interpreted their experiences during the Troubles and how class, gender, religion and conflict permeated the sensory areas of their lives.


PhD and Research Opportunities

Roisín welcomes potential PhD enquiries from students interested in the social and cultural history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ireland and Britain. Projects on memory and commemoration are particularly welcome.

Current PhD supervisions:

Victoria Bailey,  'Petal – A Novel Exploring Realisations, Perceptions, and Prejudices of Single Mothers Exemplified Over Four Generations of a Maternal Line' (second supervisor).

Seán Donnelly, ‘Imperial Discourses and Cumann na nGaedheal in the 1920s’

Timothy Ellis, ‘Visual Culture and State Formation in Ireland, 1922-39’.

Peter McElhinney, 'Recovery of Ulster’s Gaelic Material Heritage as a Resource for Contemporary Cultural Expression', AHRC Heritage Consortium. (second supervisor).

Julia Routh, 'North East Photographic Archives: how important is community engagement to their future preservation as a cultural resource?'

External positions

Advisory Board member, Irish Association of Professional Historians

Mar 2018 → …

External Examiner, Liverpool Hope University

1 Jan 201831 Dec 2022

External Assessor, Irish Research Council

1 Nov 2016 → …

Director, Irish Association of Professional Historians

1 Jul 201328 Feb 2018

Advisory Board Member, British Association of Irish Studies

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Roisin Higgins is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Ireland Social Sciences
present Social Sciences
national consciousness Social Sciences
politics Social Sciences
history Social Sciences
anniversary Social Sciences
testimony Social Sciences
witness Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2015 2019

Research Output 2011 2019

'Racy of the Soil': Young Ireland and the Cultural Production of Nationhood

Higgins, R., 2019, Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Stynen, A. (ed.). Brill Academic Publishers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

Curators of Memory: Women and the Centenary of the Easter Rising

Higgins, R., 2 Dec 2018, (Accepted/In press) Women and the Decade of Centenaries. Indiana University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

national consciousness

Commemoration and the Irish Revolution

Higgins, R., Oct 2017, Atlas of the Irish Revolution. Crowley, J., O'Drisceoil, D., Murphy, M. & Borganovo, J. (eds.). Cork University Press, p. 848-856 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

Open Access

'The Irish Republic was Proclaimed by Poster': the politics of commemorating the Easter Rising

Higgins, R., 2 Mar 2016, Remembering 1916: The Easter Rising, the Somme and the Politics of Memory in Ireland. p. -

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch


Press / Media

Links to the Past: Pioneers of Ulster Golf

Roisin Higgins


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media