Ulster University partnered with Build Up and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building to host the fifth international Build Peace Conference on 29-31 October 2018. The conference brought together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from across the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding and conflict transformation.
The Chair helped organise a showcase event to highlight the work of Ulster staff in the important area of peace and technology. The event took place on 31 October and was entitled “Division. Data. Design. Debate”. This highly interactive session worked with the audience to solve the problems with Ulster University research teams relating to Wellbeing & Data, Societal Division, Social Media & Political Discourse, and Arts & Conflict. The session also included inputs from Ulster MSc and PhD researchers tackling subjects such as the use of memes in conflict, Twitter and its role in conflict, and Alt-right discourses on social media.
Ulster University partnered with Build Up and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building to host the fifth international Build Peace Conference on 29-31 October 2018. The conference brought together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from across the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding and conflict transformation. As part of the conference, Dr Coyles and Brandon Hamber arranged a tour for participants of “Hidden Barriers” in Belfast which is linked with ongoing research in this area. The tour focused on Ligoniel focusing on social division linked to architecture and design. To read more about “hidden barriers” research click here.
As part of the BuildPeace Conference that Ulster University hosted the Chair arranged for a special lecture to take place on the Magee Campus on 26 October 2018. The lecture was delivered by Helena Puig Larrauri, Co-founder & Director at Build Up, and was entitled “Digital Technology, War and Peace: Three provocations”. The lectures considers whether digital technology is creating the conditions for more polarisation, discord and (eventually) violence. Or do digital technologies offer new and exciting ways to connect, find common ground and build peace? Drawing on practical experiences of local peacebuilders around the world, the lecture explores the way digital technology interacts with the dynamics that drive war and peace.
On 24 October 2018 the Chair hosted , with the Evens Foundation, a lecture by Bart Brandsma, a leading expert on dealing with the fall-out of polarisation. Brandsma argued that “us versus them” comes in many forms such as EU versus UK, Muslim versus non-Muslim, believers versus non-believers, left versus right, man versus woman, teachers versus parents… the list is endless. Brandsma argued that underneath we can see a universal pattern – and a dynamic of polarisation that we urgently need to understand.
Many see the 5th of October 1968 as the beginning of the contemporary conflict in and about Northern Ireland, the day when the so-called second civil rights march took place in Derry. In 2018 the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Festival took place with events held across the city. The Chair hosted the organising committee and friends of the festival for a dinner at the Magee Campus on 7 October. It was a fitting occasion to mark this important moment in history, and to thank the committee for their work in organising the festival. To acknowledge contemporary rights issues the dinner also included inputs from the Chief Executive, Adrienne Darragh, from the Hibiscus Initiative working on contemporary slavery and trafficking issues, as well as Kay Glynn from Birnberg Peirce who worked on the Hillborough Inquest and are currently working on Grenfell inquest.
On 5 October 2018, The Chair was invited to the “5th Social Forum” (hosted by Bake Bidea) in the Basque Country. This civil society structure aims to engage the wider society in the peace process and it took place in Pamplona. The title of the conference was the “Right to know the truth: mechanisms for the recognition and reparation of the victims of the conflict” and The Chair gave the keynote address followed by discussion with the wider public.
The event was covered in a range of newspapers provoking a range of different reactions:
On 2 October 2018 the Chair hosted a public lecture on the Magee Campus by Dr Chris Dolan, Honorary Professor at Ulster University and Director of the Refugee Law Project. The lecture was entitled “Spheres of Harm: An Exploration of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence against Men”. The lecture focused on conflict-related sexual violence against men, and highlighted some of the major practical, conceptual and disciplinary challenges to dominant models for addressing sexual violence. Dr Dolan proposed an alternative approach to thinking about sexual violence in conflict which has a major impact on enhancing progressive models of gender justice.