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Musicking for peacebuilding

Musicking for peacebuilding
Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
28 November 2019

The state-of-the-art acoustic facility, the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast, was a most appropriate meeting place for a two-day symposium that explored the roles of music, from activist resistance to a hopeful tool for reconciliation from conflict. The event was organised by the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace at Queen’s University.

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The role and responsibilities of media in divided societies. Discuss.

The role and responsibilities of media in divided societies. Discuss.
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
8 November 2019

A two-day international conference examined the role that media plays in divided societies and in creating more peaceful and stable communities. Organised by the Social Change Initiative in partnership with Conciliation Resources and the University of Edinburgh’s Political Settlements Research Programme, the event was attended by journalists from South Africa, Colombia, Myanmar, Rwanda, Turkey, the Middle East, the Balkans, Kashmir, Somalia, Syria, Nepal, and Northern Ireland.

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Considering Grace: An invitation to listen

Dr William HENRY (Moderator, Presbyterian Church in Ireland), Jamie YOHANIS, and Gladys GANIEL. Book launch: Considering Grace: Presbyterians and the Troubles. Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Belfast, Northern Ireland. (c) Michael COOPER @mcooperpics

Considering Grace: An invitation to listen
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
5 November 2019

Considering Grace, by Gladys Ganiels and Jamie Yohanis, is a new book that explores how Presbyterians responded to the Troubles, through a series of narratives from 120 people who tell their stories of how they coped with trauma and tests of their faith. The book was launched with a set of readings and short presentations at Assembly Buildings, Belfast, to an audience of several dozens.

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Lost Lives: Beauty from sorrow

Lost Lives: Beauty from sorrow
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
1 October 2019

At Queen’s Film Theatre, Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt welcomed guests to a preview screening of Lost Lives, inspired by the acclaimed book of the same name, one which Lavery described as a monumental achievement: “Lost Lives was always at my side when I was making documentaries.” In the film, they sought to do justice to the book. This included ensuring that every person named in the book appeared in the film.

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The role of media in conflict: A Féile discussion

The role of media in conflict: A Féile discussion
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
8 August 2019

Hosted by Féile an Phobail, the campaign group Time for Truth organised an event to examine the role of the media in conflict and to listen to the account of those journalists in the front line who helped shape and influence the narrative. The panellists were Amanda Ferguson (journalist), Sean Murray (film director), Trevor Birney (film producer), and Barry McCaffery (journalist).

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Shared housing and integrated education: Building good community relations

Shared housing and integrated education: Building good community relations
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
7 August 2019

A panel discussion on how shared housing projects and the integrated education movement are contributing towards good community relations was held at St Mary’s College, Belfast, as part of the Feile Festival. The panellists were Deborah Howe (Equality Commission), Christine Davis (Housing Executive), Grainne Mullin (Radius Housing), and Jill Caskey (Integrated Education Fund). The event was chaired by Gerry McConville.

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For Northern Ireland: Parity of esteem and reconciliation

For Northern Ireland: Parity of esteem and reconciliation
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
1 August 2019

As part of the 31st annual Féile festival, Jim Gibney (a member of the Féile Debates and Discussions Committee) welcomed the audience of a couple dozen attendees of a panel discussion on what parity of esteem, reconciliation, and mutual respect means from those who are pro-Union. The panellists were Professor Peter Shirlow (Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool), Dr James Wilson (Initiative for Civic Space), Alison Grundle (Initiative for Civic Space), and Terry Wright (a civic unionist commentator).

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Photography Projects

Post-Agreement identity narratives: A photographic essay

The 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement gives legal recognition to the coexisting and overlapping national citizenships in Northern Ireland, entitling those born in the jurisdiction to be British, Irish, or both. The devolved administration codifies the traditional political identities of “Unionist” and “Nationalist”, as well as an opportunity for “Others”. The accord has also pledged greater protections for human rights and a development of equality for all.

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Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?

Is ethical journalism possible in a contested place?
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
27 May 2019

At a public lecture event hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, at Queen’s University, Professor Steven Youngblood (Director, Center for Global Peace Journalism, Park University, Missouri) discussed the ethics of journalism in a contested place like Northern Ireland. Youngblood also spoke at Ulster University and held separate workshop sessions, all supported by the US Embassy.

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“Understanding irrationality to save the human race”: Lord John ALDERDICE

“Understanding irrationality to save the human race”: Lord John ALDERDICE
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
15 May 2019

The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast hosted a spring conference in honour of the 10th anniversary of the awarding of an honorary degree to President Daisaku Ikeda (President, Soka Gakkai International (SGI)). The evening before the day conference was marked by the unveiling of a commemorative peace bench in the university’s quadrangle garden, as well as a peace tree in Botanic Gardens. With a welcome by Professor Hastings Donnan and introduction by Professor Richard English, Lord John Alderdice delivered a keynote speech in the Great Hall: “Respect and Understanding: Civil Paths to Peace”.

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Doing our part: Dealing with bonfires

Doing our part: Dealing with bonfires
by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News
9 May 2019

Greater Shankill Alternatives, which is part of a co-ordinating initiative on restorative justice across Northern Ireland, hosted a workshop session that explored various aspects of the tradition of bonfires and the organisation’s approaches of engagement with groups who construct these structures for annual celebrations. The event was supported by Belfast City Council and its DiverseCity good relations programme.

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Art in Trouble: Expressing Shankill’s story through creative participation

Art in Trouble: Expressing Shankill’s story through creative participation
by Allan LEONARD
28 March 2019

Billed as part of the Imagine! Festival, the Spectrum Centre hosted a European Arts Education Platform session, “Art in Trouble”, on how the people of the Shankill neighbourhood of Belfast have told their stories more recently, through a variety of participatory art. David Boyd (Beat Carnival) welcomed the approximately ten visiting delegations from Europe, and he put tonight’s event in the context of asking how any artistic intervention affects social life and social change.