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In The Open | Evelyn O’Malley

Evelyn O’Malley is from Booterstown, Co. Dublin, Ireland. She now researches and teaches drama at the University of Exeter. She is currently working on projects looking at performing weathering, eco-Shakespeare outdoors, and Irish abortion travel and the sea.

The Irish Sea at once carries, closes, covers, conceals, contains, sloshes, sickens, soothes, and separates, as it transports bodies from one island in the archipelago to another. After the UK Abortion Act came into effect in 1968, as, slowly, access to safe and legal procedures became possible in Britain, the most common route to an abortion for Irish women with means would have been a ferry from Dublin to Liverpool or Holyhead. This piece considers the ethical political possibilities might arise from thinking with the sea about women’s journeys to exercise their reproductive rights. What might nonhuman witnesses reveal about Irish abortion journeys? The sound recording is created in collaboration with a growing group of women who have added their voices to the project and with the Irish Sea, via records of weather reports, cancelled ferry crossings, and ships logs.
A growing group of women are continuing to add their voices to this accumulative work in progress, which seeks to alleviate the burden of representation from the individual abortion traveler as a conduit of experience.

The Irish Sea separates the island of Ireland from Great Britain. It is both radioactive and biodiverse, and hosts daily ferry crossings between the islands (except when the weather is bad).