Dr. Clíona O’Carroll (Department of Folklore) has received an IRC New Foundations grant
Clíona O’Carroll, Research Director with the Cork Folklore Project and Lecturer with Béaloideas/Folklore and Ethnology, UCC, has received an IRC New Foundations grant for the project ‘Oral Testimony, Infectious Disease and Vaccination’. The STEAM award, which supports innovations in the communication of science and knowledge, is supporting the Cork Folklore Project’s investigation into the value of oral history in health research and public health initiatives, in this case in the area of experiences of infectious diseases and vaccination.
This project will use the cultural heritage online archival database and exhibition platform
Omeka to create a pilot dissemination website where narratives of infectious diseases such as measles and polio can be shared in compelling oral or textual testimony. This testimony will be accompanied by text transcriptions, images, links to the interview metadata in the Cork Folklore Project’s collection catalogue, and text/audio narratives by immunologist Dr. Elizabeth Brint (Pathology, University College Cork), contextualizing the diseases in question in terms of their short and long-term effects on health, and the history and implications of vaccine implementation. The database will be designed for use by the public, by the Cork Folklore Project, and by public health educators.
Changes brought about by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic foreground the relevance and the potential applications of this project, and it dovetails significantly with the Cork Folklore Project’s ongoing ‘Chronicles of COVID-19’ collection project, where accounts of everyday experience of the current pandemic include recall of testimony regarding past epidemics and experience of infectious diseases.