Provost Patrick Prendergast has tweeted out a list of over 180 names of people who have been nominated to be memorialised in sculpture in the Long Room in Trinity’s Old Library.
The list contains women such as poet Maya Angelou, writer Emily Brontë, mathematician Ada Lovelace, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and Irish Republican Constance Georgine Markievicz.
A change.org petition, which now has over 280 signatures, was launched by members of the committee of the Dublin University Computer Science Society (DUCSS), proposing Ada Lovelace. The petition states that Lovelace “is argued to be the first ever computer programmer, being the first to describe how code could be created to allow for a machine to handle instructions”.
Despite the provost’s request that nominees should be deceased and women, the list of nominations also includes social critic Christopher Hitchens and radio and television presenter Gay Byrne.
The commissioning of a new sculpture will follow the criteria established for previous commissions in the 20th century, which states that those memorialised must be deceased and a scholar, although not necessarily from Trinity.
The provost has stated that the nominations will be considered “by a committee chaired by myself that will include both the registrar and the librarian, and other members of the college community”.
Currently, there are 40 marble busts in the Long Room, all of which are of men. Included in the collection are busts of Edmund Burke, Aristotle, Isaac Newton and Jonathan Swift.
The provost introduced the idea of adding sculptures of women saying that “Trinity’s public spaces should be more representative of our diversity”.
The collection of marble busts in Trinity’s Old Library began in 1743 when Trinity commissioned 14 busts of prominent scholars and philosophers from the sculptor Peter Scheemakers.