John Hume Archive on CAIN

CAIN has recently received funding from the Reconciliation Fund to compile a new web resource of speeches, statements, and articles by John Hume during his political career (1964 to 2004).

The work on this project began with a donation of source materials that Sean Farren had collected during the research on his book: Farren, Sean. (Ed.) (2017). John Hume: In his own words. The Chair wrote a Foreword for the book.

The new project was funded (in December 2019) by the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dublin. The on-going work on this project is being carried out by Martin Melaugh. The initial working project page can be viewed here.

Launch BBC Troubles Archive

On 8 November 2019, the Chair worked with the BBC Rewind team to launch on the Magee Campus the  Ten Chapters Of The Northern Ireland Troubles’. The Ten Chapters, produced by the BBC Rewind editorial and technology team, is an online, multi-media series of episodes covering the conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1950s to the 1990s. As part of the launch a workshop was run with 14-22 year olds from the City.

The Ten Chapters of the Northern Ireland Troubles can be accessed here.

The BBC project came about as a result of discussions with the INCORE/CAIN project teams at Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast, and as part of the tripartite agreement between the BBC and the academic institutions. The CAIN team identified ten broad themes which the BBC’s Rewind team researched then curated and compiled videos and imagery from BBC News NI’s newly-digitised archive. Where appropriate, stills and video from other broadcasters have been incorporated. Designed primarily for those aged 14 and older, the resource can be used in addition to academic resources. It was created independently by the BBC in line with its editorial guidelines and was reviewed for historical accuracy by INCORE/Ulster University academics.

Civil Rights Movement 50th

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.

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Organising committee of the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Festival

Paper: Victim and Survivor Issues

cvsni-logoMore locally, Professor Hamber recently was able to make some very direct suggestions around victim policy at the “Building the Future: Victim and Survivor Issues in Context. Review of the Victims and Survivors Strategy 2009-2019 Conference hosted by the Commission for Victims and Survivors, Titanic Belfast, 9-10 March 2016. Professor Hamber presented a paper on the victim issues and stumbling blocks in the dealing with the past process. The paper argues that

1.We cannot build the future if we do not have a common vision for the future;
2.We cannot build the future if we do not truly understand the past;
3.We cannot build the future without a holistic and collaborative approach; and
4.We cannot build a future without dealing with dominant masculine cultures.

If you would like to read the paper it can be downloaded here.

Pictured at the Commission for Victims and Survivors Conference to review the Victims Strategy are Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Commissioner Judith Thompson and First Minster Arlene Foster (Credit: VCS website. Press Eye - Northern Ireland -9th March 2016)
Pictured at the Commission for Victims and Survivors Conference to review the Victims Strategy are Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Commissioner Judith Thompson and First Minster Arlene Foster (Credit: VCS website. Press Eye – Northern Ireland -9th March 2016)

Article: Archives and Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland

Professor Hamber with Gráinne Kelly recently produced a new and important article:

2-coverThrough the prism of Northern Ireland, this article explores the function of existing and proposed archives within societies emerging from conflict, and highlights their potential in adding complexity to understanding conflict and challenging dominant narratives. The article outlines how, despite progress since the Northern Ireland peace accord in 1998, efforts to deal with the past and human rights violations have been piecemeal and politically contested. In the absence of a comprehensive approach to the past, testimony gathering, initiated ‘unofficially’ at a community level, has provided opportunities for individuals’ experiences of the conflict to be documented and acknowledged. The recent Stormont House Agreement (2014) seeks to establish an Oral History Archive as a central repository for individuals to ‘share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles’. The article discusses the challenges in developing this ‘official’ archive, and the problem of reconciling competing historical narratives of the past. This is contrasted against the growth in bottom-up ‘storytelling’ or testimony work. The article argues for supplementing the official process with wider testimony gathering processes directed by and located within community contexts. It is argued that the deliberate juxtaposition of contrasting horizontal or inter-community narratives held by different local parties may allow for the emergence of a more complex and inclusive narrative of the past, rather than attempts to impose a shared vertical narrative, which is subject to either further contestation or uncomfortable compromise.

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Importantly this article was part of a special edition of the Journal of Human Rights Practice focused on the issue of archives and their role in transitional justice processes. Gráinne Kelly, Brandon Hamber and colleagues from swisspeaceElisabeth BaumgartnerBriony Jonesand Ingrid Oliveira, were the guest editors of the journal. The journal special issue was timely as it meant that several high level academics and practitioners were able to distribute their research on the topic of archives focusing on a range of places: Northern Ireland, Kosovo, South Africa, Canada, etc.

The paper can be downloaded here for those with academic access, or alternative email Professor Hamber for a copy.

Lecture in Dublin

irish_association_logoOn returning from Washington DC, Professor Hamber spoke on 12 September 2015 at the Irish Association for Economic, Cultural and Social Relations, Stephen’s Green-Hibernian Club in Dublin on the topic of “Transforming Societies After Political Violence”. The lecture focused on the challenges of building peace in societies emerging from conflict and emphasised the importance of creating context-driven approaches to political and social trauma. The lecture also focused on how dealing with the past remains a key aspect of the Northern Ireland peace process that still needs to be grappled with.