Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Apart and a Part: Reading the Art of Susan MacWilliam in Context

In this thesis, I argue the work of Belfast-based artist Susan MacWilliam can be read meaningfully as part of the social, political and cultural context of Northern Ireland since 1969, the year in which the artist was born and also the start of the violent conflict commonly known as The Troubles. In 1998, when the Belfast Agreement (otherwise known as the Good Friday Agreement) was concluded, MacWilliam began working with themes of occult and paranormal practice and research, which has remained at the center of her practice to this day. Despite her claim not to produce politically-inflected art, my thesis examines the discourse and cultural production surrounding The Troubles and uncovers a matrix of trace thematics that permeates MacWilliam's work and recurs in a range of cultural forms and texts. Such recurrent themes include: death, grief, loss, and mourning; haunting and hauntedness; and questions of belief, truth and contested meanings.