Out of the Box


Out of the Box is linking Dubliners from across the city with The National Archives of Ireland to support them on a personal research journey. From Uncles who fought in 1916, to the history of a local pub and its inhabitants, Out of the Box is facilitating ten participants living in Dublin to research a person of local or family interest, their family tree, the origins of their surname, the history of their home, their street or a building of local or personal interest. All the while, also encouraging the individual researchers to bring contemporary records to the Archives in order to build a social and historical picture of themselves, their family and their community.

Out of the Box is utilising the expert knowledge and experience of the team in The National Archives to support the participants on their research journeys. Through regular one-on-one meetings, they are guiding the researchers through the myriad resources available to them within The National Archives itself as well as other organisations such as The National Library, Dublin City Archives, and the General Register Office etc.

Through the development process of the project, we have spoken to people from across the city including Ballymun, Ballyfermot, Irishtown, Sandymount and the North Inner City. The curiosity and enthusiasm to discover their personal or local history is astounding, regardless of the age or background of the individuals. We also discovered that many people are unaware of the work done by The National Archives and the services they offer to the public free of charge, including a professional Genealogy Service.

Each participant’s journey will be captured on camera by documentary filmmaker Wissame Cherfi. The mini documentaries which will be released online in 2017 will chart the progression of genealogical and local history research as experienced by budding researchers with the support of The National Archives.

Out of the Box is seeking to raise awareness of what The National Archives has to offer the general public by linking in with the five other National Neighbourhood projects and inviting their community groups and artists to visit the Archives for a tour of the building and a show-and-tell of a small but incredible selection of highlights from their holdings, including the original State copy of the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, and the Good Friday Agreement, along with Architects plans for the refurbishment of the GPO in 1915 – which didn’t last very long due to the 1916 Rising! The privilege to see these documents up close has been a very special experience for all present so far. The sheer amazement at the opportunity to see such historically important documents has been a highlight of the project.



Kathy from Irishtown wants to discover the history of former female owners of the local pub where she grew up, and now owns and runs.

Maria from Ballymun is keen to discover more about her Uncle who fought in Boland’s Mill alongside De Valera in 1916.

Margaret from Ballyfermot is beginning to research her family tree.

Mary from Ballyfermot has done extensive genealogy research for both her and her husband’s family, and now needs some help to follow certain family members going back through the generations.

Muirne from Sandymount is intrigued to chart the use and history of a local building which currently houses the only Sikh Temple in Ireland, but was once a cinema and a theatre.

Samantha from the North Inner City wants to learn about her family tree with a specific interest in the origins of her surname.

Victoria from Poppintree is eager to discover whether a family story about having a Chinese ancestor is true



Wissame Cherfi

Wissame is a French-Algerian filmmaker based in Dublin. He came to prominence with his first short film ‘We Are Dublin’, which won the St. Patrick’s Special Prize at the “I LOVE MY CITY” Showcase in 2013. It was also shortlisted for ‘Best Short Documentary’ at the Underground Film Festival 2013. In January 2015, he was commissioned by First Fortnight to co-direct with Aidan Kelly the short documentary ‘No More Secrets’ that focused on street art and mental health issues. This documentary was screened at the IFI Dublin and in cinemas all over Ireland. In November 2015, he directed Stephen James Smith’s visual poem ‘Dublin You Are’ for Dublin 2020. This short film went viral and currently has almost 300,000 views shared between YouTube and Facebook. In 2016, he worked as an assistant director on the film ‘Europe, She Loves’. Wissame is currently working on a short documentary series called ‘Fear No More’, about refugees who have settled in Ireland in the last three decades, and his first feature-length project ‘No Way Back’, a part-documentary, part-animation that tells the story of a teenage Syrian refugee who swam for 7 hours across the Aegean Sea to get to freedom. This film is currently in pre-production in association with Birdtree Productions (FR) and Avions Films (GR).

Robert Ickis Mirolo

Rob is a freelance illustrator, animator and designer working and living in Dublin but also sort of working and living in Germany. He is the left lobe of a ten year old boy and the right lobe of a fifteen year old girl, trapped in the body of a cat wearing a human suit. Her work can be mostly seen on concert posters, album covers, digital publications, scraps of loose paper and within the pages of trendy magazines. He can also be found approaching big jobs, small jobs, personal jobs, editorial jobs, commercial jobs or amorphous and metaphysical jobs with care, determination and love.

One Strong Arm

One Strong Arm is a letterpress print studio based in the heart of Dublin city. We create contemporary typography-led work using traditional methods. The studio’s output usually involves our ever-growing collection of antique wood and metal type, but on occasion it will also include some more modern techniques and processes.

Cesca Saunders

Cesca is a visual artist, illustrator and animator from Dublin. She has a BA (Hons) in Visual Media – Animation from Ballyfermot College in Dublin and a background in fine art media.

Liing Heaney

Liing Heaney (1iing) is a new media artist based in Dublin, Ireland. She received her joint BA from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in Fine Art Media & Visual Culture in 2015. Since graduating, she has been making work influenced by natural systems, cybernetics, alternative geography and feedback loops. Her work engages with a range of media such as electronics, game engines, installation and 3D animations.

Joy Ní Dhomhnaill

Joy is a painter living and working in Dublin. She studied Illustration at BCFE and Animation in the Irish School of Animation. Joy taught Art for the City of Dublin VEC and YSB.Joy’s art career began at the tender age of 12 when one of her pieces was exhibited in the Huge Lane Gallery as part of a local exhibition and sold for the exorbitant amount of £20.00.  It was her mother Betty Byrne who was very passionate about the arts and was an avid amateur artist herself that encouraged her to paint.Joy has shown her work at exhibitions in ‘The Copper House’, ‘The Chocolate Factory’, White Lady Art and Jam Art Factory Galleries.Joy was the cover artist for Eva Gore-Booth: Collected Poems and also Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland. Most recently her illustration of Brendan Behan was featured in Modern Ireland in 100 artworks.

Ida Mitrani

Ida is a Turkish born French artist living in Dublin, Ireland since 1997.Mitrani’s practice is mainly based on drawing. The act of deconstruction, processing and construction is a key element in her work. It is also a process of excavation of the memory. She tries to develop a poetic vision of the world, where she gives existence to the subjective world of the unseen. Inspired by memories,the concept of cultural identity and distorted experiences, Mitrani also methodically collect images from National Geographic while creating scenes with motifs referring to the Botanical world, Nano world, anatomy and microbiology which blends reality and absurdity. The fragility of the paper, the undulating lines drawn in pencil and the repetition of the patterns allow her to compose drawings that give a feeling of disquiet and inaccessibility.

Hollie Leddy Flood

Hollie is an illustrator and graphic designer with experience in photography, video, 2D animation, in web design and 3D animation. She has been published in both web and print platforms by numerous independent and well-established publications.



Project Advisory Group

Mitzi D’Alton – Project Manager, Out of the Box
Iseult Byrne – Project Director, Dublin’s Culture Connects
Tom Quinlan –Keeper, National Archives of Ireland
Louise Kennedy – Archivist, National Archives of Ireland

The National Archives of Ireland

The National Archives of Ireland occupy a key position in the cultural and intellectual life of the nation, the National Archives holds the records of the modern Irish State which document its historical evolution and the creation of our national identity.

In keeping with their Mission Statement, they secure the preservation of records relating to Ireland which warrant preservation as archives and ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for public access to these archives.

The NAI holdings relate to all parts of Ireland and have enormous research potential as they provide essential primary source material for people seeking to understand the political, economic and social forces which have shaped our nation. The records also permit the study of Government policy and encourage greater use of our archival heritage by the general public.

Dublin City Arts Office

The City Arts Office assists artists and communities to enhance their contributions to and experiences within the arts. The City Arts Office is part of Dublin City Council’s Culture Recreation Amenity and Community Department. The City Arts Office works in partnership with other Dublin City Council sections, and in particular with those concerned with arts and cultural programming and provision. It holds a specialised remit to practice the arts, participate in the arts, develop audiences for the arts, and work with other City Sections to maximise opportunity for the public to engage in the arts, and particularly to improve access to the arts



Out of the Box is working with individuals and community groups from each of the five administrative areas of Dublin. As part of ‘Out of the Box’, The National Archives of Ireland is facilitating people from across the entire Dublin City Council region to work on research projects.