Award Winner Bios

2021 winner - Orla Egan

Orla Egan is the creator and curator of the Cork LGBT Archive and author of Queer Republic of Cork, Cork Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities 1970s-1990s (Onstream Publications 2016) and of the short play Leeside Lezzies.

She has a long history of LGBT activism and work in the community development, education, equality and social justice fields.


She created the Cork LGBT Archive to gather, preserve and share information about Cork’s rich history of LGBT activism and community formation.  The Cork LGBT Archive physical collection is in the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park.  

The digital collection can be found on and also on the Digital Repository of Ireland and on Europeana


The Cork LGBT History Exhibition has been displayed in various venues in Cork (including UCC), Belfast and Berlin.  

In 2019 she led a Cork LGBT History Walking Tour and in 2020 created the Cork LGBT Archive Interactive Walking Tour in conjunction with Cork Pride.


The Cork LGBT Archive received a Hidden Heritage Award from the Irish Heritage Council in 2016 and in 2019 won the inaugural community archives award from the Digital Repository of Ireland. The Cork LGBT Archive was shortlisted for the GALAS Digital Change Maker Award in 2020.  The Cork LGBT Archive is one of six Heritage Finalists in the Irish National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2021.


Orla Egan has been actively involved in the Cork LGBT community since the 1980s.  


Throughout the 1990s Orla Egan worked with the UCC Equality Committee and was Director of the HEA funded Higher Education Equality Unit, supporting and encouraging equality policies and practices in third level institutions throughout Ireland.  She was also involved with UCC Women’s Studies, was Co-ordinator of the Adult Education Diploma in Women’s Studies and Chair of the Adult Education Board of Women’s Studies.


Orla Egan is a triple graduate of UCC, with a BA in European Studies (1987), an MA in Women’s Studies (1992) and an MA in Digital Arts and Humanities (2014).


(Her PhD in Digital Arts and Humanities was interrupted by lack of funding for  fees for the final year!)

 See Orla's acceptance speech here:

2020 winner - Dr Naomi Masheti

Dr Naomi Masheti is a Psychologist and Program Coordinator at Cork Migrant Centre. She is a three-time graduate of UCC; she graduated with a BA in Applied Psychology in 2007, an MA in Forensic Psychology in 2008, and a PhD specialising in the Psychosocial Wellbeing of Sub-Saharan African Migrant Children in 2015.

Originally from Kenya, Dr Masheti has been living in Cork since 2001. As a direct result of her PhD, she developed a culturally sensitive training program for front line service providers which she has delivered in UCC (Psychology and BSW courses), UCD (Clinical Psychology program), the Good Shepherd Cork among others. She runs the Cork Migrant Centre, a Psychosocial wellbeing and Integration Hub at the Nano Nagle Plac,e Cork. Her work is conceptualized within a Culturally- informed Psychosocial model of health & Wellbeing used in humanitarian settings. The model is premised on Creation of a ‘safe place’ where migrant families including children and youth engage in psychosocial wellbeing and integration promoting activities targeting individual, social and cultural functioning. To this end, Naomi has engaged in partnerships with UCC (School of Psychology),

UCC societies such as Netsoc (UCC), Failte Refugees and has had immense support from the office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equality, UCC Alumni & Development, and The Glucksman Gallery in shaping her vision of bringing about transformative change to migrant communities through evidence-based interventions. Naomi was the recipient of UCC 2020 Athena SWAN Equality Award.

2019 winner - Mary Crilly

Mary Crilly is a founder member and Director of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork since 1983. A feminist activist, she has witnessed and been party to much of the change in Irish society and institutional responses to sexual violence. She is most noted for her tireless campaigning for policy and legislative change in the fields of sexual violence, sex trafficking, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and human rights. She is active at local, regional, national and international levels. Mary is the Irish expert on the European Observatory on Violence Against Women.

Athena SWAN

G01 EDI Unit,South Lodge,