Queer Visibility, Media Industries and Production Cultures: An Irish Case Study. Dr. Páraic Kerrigan (UCD)
This presentation traces the turbulent history and dynamics of queer visibility in the Irish media to explore the processes by which a regionally based media system shaped queer identities within a highly conservative and religious population.
The story of Irish gay liberation is not one of oppression to liberation, but one of a shifting power dynamic between LGBT+ communities and media institutions. This presentation traces the turbulent history and dynamics of queer visibility in the Irish media to explore the processes by which a regionally based media system shaped queer identities within a highly conservative and religious population. It details the emergence of an LGBT+ rights movement in Ireland and charts how this burgeoning movement utilised the media for the liberatory potential of advancing LGBT+ rights. Marginalised groups have often pursued forms of public media visibility, guided by the idea that it provided a platform from which to increase awareness around social justice and marginalisation. This Irish context challenges this liberatory potential of queer visibility and argues that it should be understood in terms of a shifting power dynamic that is regulated, transformed and entangled in a tug-of-war between gay civil rights movements and broader media systems. The hopeful, positive outcomes of queer visibility envisaged by the Irish LGBT+ movement was challenged by mainstream media institutions such as RTÉ, who exploited LGBT+ identities for economic purposes; which, coupled with the eruption of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, disrupted the mainstreaming goals of queer visibility. Within this theoretical framework, this presentation will explore how varying Irish gay civil rights groups influenced the types of queer media images that manifested within mainstream media institutions and within alternative media economies. Further, it will argue that the changing social, cultural, economic and legal context of the historical period saw the framing of queer visibility transition from current affairs to narrativized, fictionalised representations. The presentation uncovers the longstanding relationship between LGBT organising and Irish media industries, which eventually would lead to the successful marriage equality referendum in 2015.
Dr Páraic Kerrigan is a Teaching Fellow with the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin. His research pertains to the dynamics of diversity in the media industry and its production cultures, specifically centred around Ireland’s LGBT community. This research forms the foundation for his first book, Queer Visibility, Media Industries and Production Cultures: An Irish Case Study (Routledge 2020). He has also published a number of articles on media work and workers in the creative industry, Information Science and metadata and has written about how social media technologies have responded to contemporary identity politics. He has also been recently awarded a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland research grant, titled “Auditing for Diversity in Irish Screen Production” with Dr. Anne O’Brien and Dr. Susan Liddy.
Tuesday 18 February 2020, 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon
Film & Screen Media Auditorium, Kane Building B10B (Basement)
All welcome to attend.