Alison is currently producing a social and cultural history of ‘mixed marriage’, or ‘love across the divide’, in modern Ireland; this research is funded by her UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. Prior to taking up this position, Alison was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow working on the literary and cultural depictions of ‘love across the divide’ during the Northern Troubles in Ireland.

This work on love and the Northern Troubles informs Alison’s second monograph, in which she argues that such texts form part of a long history of depicting Ireland’s difficult relationship with Britain as a frustrated and dangerous romance between lovers from ‘opposing sides’. After the Partition of the island, and again in the latter decades of the twentieth century, as the euphemistically named ‘Troubles’ escalated in violence and terror, these types of stories became increasingly common.

Looking at a range of poems, novels, plays, films and TV programmes, this book asks why the trope is so prevalent; how we might understand it; and why no one has taken these love stories seriously before now. As we approach the centenary of Partition and the prospect of a return to a post-Brexit hard border, these questions are more timely and urgent than ever. Learn more here.

In conjunction with BBC NI, Alison has put together a short series of programmes using archival footage on four novels about forbidden love. Have a look here

From 2018-2020, this research received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 797433.