School of Law

Dr Anna Bryson, BA PhD (Trinity College Dublin)


Research Fellow

Telephone: 00353 +1 8963192
Room Number: Trinity College, Dublin


Anna Bryson joined Queen Mary University of London, in January 2004 as a Research Fellow on the penal history project (directed by Professor Seán McConville). This phase of the research, for the fourth and fifth volumes in the series, dealt with Irish political prisoners from the 1920 foundation of the Northern Ireland state until the Good Friday Agreement and its immediate aftermath, circa 2000. The research, which examined penal thought, policy and administration in a variety of shifting political and social contexts, drew on archives, official papers and special collections in the three states involved - Northern Ireland, the Irish Free State/Republic and Britain. Dr Bryson was responsible for setting up and conducting the bulk of 160 lengthy interviews in Ireland, Britain, North America and Australia. Interviewees ranged from former Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland and former Ministers of Justice to ex-prisoners of various hues and affiliations. She has since advised both statutory and private organisations on the setting up of large-scale oral history projects. Her publications encompass oral history methodology, researching divided societies, prison diaries, biography and criminology.

In collaboration with Professor Seán McConville, Anna Bryson in September 2010 embarked on The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning project. For the duration of this project (2010-2013) Dr Bryson holds a joint-appointment as Research Lecturer at the Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College Dublin.



  • Anna Bryson and Guy Beiner, 'Listening to the Past and Talking to Each Other: Problems and Possibilities Facing Oral History in Ireland' (2003) 30 Irish Economic and Social History
  • Anna Bryson, ‘Whatever You Say, Say Nothing: Researching Memory and Identity in Mid-Ulster, 1945-1969’ (2007) 35, 2 Oral History
  • Anna Bryson (ed) The Insider: The Belfast Prison Diaries of Eamonn Boyce 1956-1962, The Lilliput Press, Dublin, 2007
    The introduction to these diaries sets the context in the history of the IRA in the 1950s, British penal history and the genre of prison diaries.
  • Anna Bryson, No Coward Soul: A Biography of Thekla Beere, IPA, Dublin, 2009
    In spite of her double-minority status (as a Protestant and a woman) Thekla Beere (1901-1991) reached the top of the Irish Civil Service. Beere was invited in her retirement to chair the National Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Seán McConville & Anna Bryson, ‘‘Observations on Criminal Justice in Accession States: Greece and Ireland’, in Maria Galanou (ed.), Essays in Honour of Professor C.D. Spinellis, Athens, N. Sakkoulas, 2010
  • Anna Bryson and Seán McConville, The Routledge Guide to Interviewing: Oral History, Social Enquiry & Investigation, Routledge, London, 2013.