about the project

This web site is a map of journeys and conversations with Irish women activists. Choose a path -- there are many ways to navigate this site, which is ever-growing and constantly changing:         

  • preview the documentary videos         
  • read the complete transcripts with all the women interviewed (presented with audio and video clips from the interviews)         
  • search for topics referenced in the interviews         
  • visit the links section to find related sites and resources         
  • You can also find thanks to all the people who have helped make this project possible.

Background -- This site is the result of a video documentary project I began in Ireland in 1998. The project, initially called "Mary, Mary, a Documentary about Women, Ireland and Change," started as a series of documentary shorts about women in Ireland. I interviewed over 100 Irish women (in their homes, their offices, on the street, on audiotape, on videotape) about women, Ireland, and change. At the same time, I asked myself hundreds of questions (about documentary, about activism). Traditional film/video documentaries leave so much to be desired -- what happens to the bits that are left out? The more I interviewed Irish women, the less I wanted to throw away. I felt the need to document in a different way -- to provide a space where nothing is lost: an archive, a wild garden, a place to dig, plant ideas, follow paths. I think of all of the women interviewed as activists, makers of change, each in her own way. Is being a leader in a political party more or less political than being a mother, caring for a neighbor? Is making a documentary an effective tool for social change? Along my way, the links between women's lives -- the way in which women inspire women to keep fighting for change -- became evident and amazing.

For up to date info about Slí na mBan and the video series, see the project news page or email me.

--Melissa Thompson, last updated July 12, 2006