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Cultural Peace Work in “Post­conflict” Northern Ireland

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  • SSHRC IDG awarded 2021: This project seeks to investigate how are the people who live in the many still-segregated communities of Northern Ireland encountering and performing peace and trust, and outside of the state­sponsored approach to peacebuilding, in what other ways are peaceful relations fostered? The two­year pilot project seeks to address these questions by examining the overlooked archives of cultural peace work in contemporary Northern Ireland. Cultural peace work refers to the active role of creative cultural production, such as literature, in peacebuilding. The project will examine a range of literary forms, including poetry, theatre and memoir, and initiatives, such as the Belfast Writer’s Group in order to understand how ordinary humans instead of state, politicians, or institutions generate peace. The guiding theoretical frame is the concept of ‘people’s peace praxis’ (Saikia and Haines 2019). Three approaches will be taken to gather and examine this cultural peace work from the start of the Troubles, 1968, to the present: 1) close reading of textual narratives; 2) archival study (digital and in person) of the Divided Society project and the Northern Ireland Community Archive; and 3) analysis of the literary initiatives within The Theatre Peacebuilding Academy and the Nerve Centre in Derry/Londonderry.

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    ©️Harrington, Louise. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2027.