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Laurence McKeown attended St Malachy’s College in Belfast and St Olcan’s Secondary School in Randalstown Co Antrim. He gained O Levels at Antrim Technical College. In 1976 aged nineteen he was imprisoned in the H Blocks (the Maze and Long Kesh Prison). From 1976-1981 he participated in the Blanket Protest by Republican prisoners and in 1981 was on Hunger Strike for seventy days. During these protest years he participated in discussions and informal sharing of learning among fellow Republicans. In 1982 Laurence helped build the Republican Prisoners’ education programme using the ideas of Paulo Freire. He also studied Social Science Te...chnology Education and Women’s Studies courses with The Open University from 1984 and graduated with an honours degree in 1992. Arising from his study of ‘The Changing Experience of Women’ course he worked with his tutor and a fellow student to organise through the prison education department a programme of evening classes on Women’s Studies. Approximately two hundred Republican prisoners took part in these classes between 1987 and 1989. While in prison Laurence co-edited with Brian Campbell and Felim O’Hagan the book Nor Meekly Serve My Time: The H-Block Struggle 1976-1981 published in 1984. Laurence was released in 1992 and worked as Project Officer for Coiste Na n-Iarchimí until 2007. He studied a Postgraduate course ‘Doing Prison Research’ with The Open University and gained a Postgraduate Diploma in 1995. He studied for his PhD at Queen’s University Belfast from 1993-1998. His PhD thesis titled ‘Unrepentant Fenian Bastards: The Social Construction of an Irish Republican Prisoner Community’ was published in 2001 as Out of Time: Irish Republican Prisoners Long Kesh 1972-2000. At the time of the interview in 2011 Laurence was working as a playwright and filmmaker. Laurence interviewed his former tutor Joanna McMinn for the Time to think archive.
Metadata describing this person
Gender: Male
Affiliation: Republican
Project person ID: 020_S
Interviewee role: studied in prison, 1984-1992
Location where studied: H Blocks The Maze and Long Kesh