Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Epic Museum breaks Irish stereotypes

Taruka Srivastava, Epic Museum breaks Irish stereotypes with ‘This Is Not Us’ campaign, The Drum, 19 July 2022

Epic The Irish Emigration Museum is addressing the misconceptions people have about Irish people to try and break down stereotypes in the ‘This Is Not Us’ campaign

As per Google trends, the most common assumptions about Irish people are that they like fighting, drinking, potatoes and holding grudges. The campaign has used a computer-generated interface (CGI) to create the imaginary character ‘Paddy McFlaherty’ based entirely on these perceptions.

Piranha Bar’s studio of artists used software and 3D technology to give Paddy clammy pale skin, scars and bruises, greasy hair, bloody bandages and a sweat-stained T-shirt. The museum highlights how instead Irish people are poets, designers, leaders and changemakers, and how their music, literature, culture, sport, food and dance attract millions of people.

Out-of-home (OOH) branding has been used on buses featuring the character and 6 digital sheets have been placed in high footfall and tourist locations.

Patrick Greene, chief executive officer and museum director of Epic, said: “‘This Is Not Us’ is a challenge for the world to assess their assumptions about the Irish and evolve their perceptions beyond stereotypes. As an experience that prides itself on delivering an authentic and true understanding of Ireland and its people, this is what we aim to do.”

Dillon McKenna, associate creative director at The Public House, added: “It beggars belief that in 2022 suggested search terms about the Irish still skew so negatively. We know the opposite to be true of Irish people at home and abroad. It’s our hope that this campaign creates an attitudinal shift and sheds a positive light on the image of Irishness globally.”

Richard Chaney, Piranha Bar’s creative director, said: “Every now and then a project comes along that allows us as a studio to push the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of realism in character development. Led by the data we embraced every negative cliché, no matter how much they offended our mostly Irish artists. Of course there was a lot of craic to be had along the way, but the serious business of imagining, designing, building, texturing and grooming Paddy meant getting forensic with every granular pore, capillary and follicle in order to create a character that was eerily believable.”


Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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