Orla Egan is a Queer Archival Activist. She has been actively involved in the Cork LGBT Community since the 1980s. She established the Cork LGBT Archive to preserve, store, share and display information in relation to the rich history of the LGBT community in Cork.
Orla Egan the author of Queer Republic of Cork, Cork’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities 1970s-1990s, published by Onstream Publishers in 2016.
Orla Egan developed the Cork LGBT Archive Exhibition which has been on display in a variety of locations including Camden Palace Community Arts Centre, St. Peter’s Cork, Cork City Hall, Belfast City Hall, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, St. John’s College Cork, Gay Project Cork and LINC.
The Cork LGBT Archive was awarded a Hidden Heritage Award from the Irish Heritage Council in 2016. In 2019 the Cork LGBT Archive won the inaugural Community Archive Award from the Digital Repository of Ireland.
Orla Egan has also been involved in the LINC Drama Group and was involved in writing and performing in the play Ordinary Love, which was performed in the Cork Arts Theatre in March and May 2014. Orla Egan has also written a short play Leeside Lezzies that was performed by the LINC Drama Group as part of the Cork Outing the Past Festival in 2019.
Orla Egan completed the MA in Digital Arts and Humanities in 2014, the MA in Women’s Studies in 1992 and a BA in European Studies in 1987. Over the years she has taught in UCC in Women’s Studies, DAH and Applied Social Studies. She was involved in the development and delivery of courses in Women’s Studies in UCC, including Co-ordinating the Diploma in Women’s Studies, Chairing the Adult Education Board of Women’s Studies and teaching on the MA in Women’s Studies. She established and co-ordinated a National Women’s Studies network in the 1990s.
She worked as Director of the Higher Education Equality Unit (HEEU) from 1992-2000. She edited a series of books on equality issues in higher education in Ireland.
She previously worked in the Cork Women’s Place and The Other Place LGBT Resource Centre, both in the early 1990s. Orla Egan was one of the organisers of the first ever lesbian and gay float in a Patrick’s Day Parade in Cork in 1992, partly in response to the banning of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organisation from marching in Patrick’s Day Parades in New York and Boston.
She was a member of the Irish Equality Authority’s Advisory Committee on Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals, which led to the publication of their report on Implementing Equality for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals.
Orla Egan has worked in various community organisations over the years and also worked as a community development consultant, providing research, training and project support to a wide range of community, voluntary and statutory agencies