New Archiving Reproductive Health Collections Published17 October 2023
The Archiving Reproductive Health (ARH) project at the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), has published a new set of digital collections to mark International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September.
The collections include oral history interviews with helpline volunteers providing information about abortion in the 1990s, as well as extensive material from the Together for Yes campaign and the Northern Irish group Alliance for Choice Derry.
Photographs, videos, interview transcripts and research datasets are included in the newly published collections, which can be viewed on https://repository.dri.ie/
ARH Project Coordinator Clare Lanigan said:
‘We’re thrilled to make more digital collections from recent Irish history available for long term preservation and access. From this selection, The Women’s Information Network material is particularly fascinating. It includes oral history interviews with volunteers on the famous ‘WIN Helpline’, as well as internal documentation from the organisation’s heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. This material, freely available to all, provides a window into a time where activists defied the provisions of the Eighth Amendment to provide desperately needed information about abortion access in England.’
Researchers Cara Brophy-Browne and Susan Birmingham have written a blog about the interviews and their historical significance which can be read at https://dri.ie/news/practically-unspeakable-womens-information-network/
From the blog, Brophy-Browne and Birmingham commented:
‘Back rooms in old Dublin pubs, empty lecture halls, hotel lobbies, and museum cafes; these are the impromptu recording locations we found ourselves in in the early months of 2016. It was in these spaces that six women were interviewed for the very first time about their participation in an underground abortion access collective that functioned in Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s.’
Together for Yes, the main campaign for a Yes vote in the 2018 referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, amassed a huge amount of photos, videos and research materials during their work. A significant portion of that collection is made available today, including publicity material that recaptures the intense atmosphere that prevailed in the lead up to 25 May 2018.
Northern Ireland is represented by Alliance for Choice Derry, whose collection includes photos of actions taken at the Free Derry wall, zines and other creative outputs including videos made for TikTok – a first for the DRI!
Collections from Galway Together for Yes and Galway Pro-Choice, including images of vigils for the city resident Savita Halappanavar, and the full extent of ARH’s In Her Shoes collection, round out this fascinating and moving archival material.
Direct links to collections
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