9 May 2021
By Elaine Murphy
It’s called exploringSHUA.com (Socialeconomic History of Urban Areas) and documents the turbulent history of Cork’s iconic English Market
A new interactive website by a University College Cork (UCC) student recalls the storied history of Cork’s iconic English Market. Exploring SHUA (Socioeconomic History of Urban Areas) – exploringSHUA.com – was developed by UCC student Daniella Traynor to find a way to use deep mapping, data visualisations and various other digital tools to create a way to explore socioeconomic history of culturally rich urban areas.
Her first area of interest is the English Market (here) – an institution that Daniella says “survived revolution and war, fire and famine, depression and boom, changing tastes and intensifying competition, as well as a rapidly changing socioeconomic, food and retail environment.”
Through archival video footage, maps, documents and other primary sources, the site acts as a guide through the tumultuous history of the English Market from the early 20th century to the modern day, via redevelopment, fatal fire, and the socioeconomic pressures that prevailed over decades.
The site looks at both the English Market’s wider place in Cork culture, while focusing on the detail of the history of individual traders, changing customer tastes, and the ebb and flow of the various stalls found in the market through the years.
Daniella said the renowned centrepiece of the city was an obvious choice to showcase her method for using deep maps to explore socioeconomic history in a new engaging way.
“The English Market immediately came to mind to show the possibilities of the method because of its incredible story, rich history and phenomenal people. It’s always one of the first places I take people who visit me in Cork. I wanted to be able to produce a digital artefact that could go beyond its academic application and give anyone and everyone the opportunity to explore some of The English Markets wonderful story, online,” she said.
“The project allowed me to learn a huge amount, not only about the tools and technologies involved in deep mapping, but about The English Market itself. The history and story of the Market are captivating, it’s gone through an incredible journey. Learning about how the Market evolved into the Market we know and love today was a fascinating experience.
“Something that was really surprising was that until the project launched, there was no publicly available map of the current internal layout of the Market nor any comparative maps of the changes in the Market through the years. Huge thanks to Cork City Council for being so helpful throughout the process and allowing me to bring the project to life. I was so grateful for the opportunity to learn so much about Cork’s culinary palace, it’s given me a whole new dimension of appreciation for the Market,” Daniella said.
She added that her course in Digital Humanities & IT at UCC made it possible for her to combine her passion for computing and programming with her interest in society and history.
“Throughout my studies, with the support of the incredible DH department, I’ve had the space to explore every corner of my academic interests. Digital Humanities provided an opportunity to learn everything from data curation, eLiterature and digital tools and methodologies to systems and software, programming, computing in society and multimedia. I hope to use my qualifications to pursue a career in humaine technology. Specifically, to promote and preserve local and national communities, using a digital approach,” she said.