A new oral history and visual art exhibition, focused on memories and stories associated with Grattan Street Medical Centre, will be launched by broadcaster and journalist, Joe O’Shea on Thursday 6th February 6pm at a unique event at St. Peter’s on North Main Street in Cork. The ‘Grattan Street Stories: Memory of Place’ project is a unique community health, oral history and visual art collaboration between the Community Work Department and Social Inclusion Cork Kerry Community Healthcare HSE, the Cork Folklore Project and artist, Dr Edith O’Regan-Cosgrave.
Over the last twelve months, the Cork Folklore Project has worked in conjunction with the HSE on the use of oral history, the recording of memory and testimony, in a health setting in Cork. Having previously successfully collaborated on an oral history of the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gurranabraher, it was decided to invest in a two year part-time pilot project that would see the positive work of oral history and memory collection, concentrated on specific health based sites in the city. Under the new programme, in early 2019, Kieran Murphy, a native of Cork city, was appointed as Cork Folklore Project’s Community Oral History Outreach Officer. The first strand of the project saw research and engagement with the staff of Grattan Street Medical Centre, to capture both a sense of the past and also the changing nature of the site. The project also saw the involvement of the visual artist, Dr Edith O’Regan-Cosgrave. Twelve months later, a substantial collection of digital audio recordings has been made with staff, former patients and locals, who were able to narrate the history and role of Grattan Street Medical Centre and the community it served. For Kieran Murphy, the work underlines the value of recording memory and human stories:
‘The success of the project demonstrates how opening up a space to enable people to tell their stories, focused on a specific site, can result in a much deeper understanding for the broader community. I have been struck with how much it meant to interviewees to be given the chance to place their own personal memories and testimony on record. It has been a very powerful and positive experience.’
A unique exhibition has now been created by Dr Edith O’Regan-Cosgrave, which has drawn on short quotes and memories from the recordings undertaken, and will be launched at the event on 6th February and will then be open to the public until 28th February. The launch will feature a unique ‘listening event’ where segments from the audio recordings will be played to showcase the stories and experiences as told by the people themselves. The event will take place at St. Peter’s on North Main Street, on Thursday 6th February, beginning at 6.00pm and all are welcome.