Commemorating Partition and Civil Wars in Ireland, 2020-2023

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Hist, Anthrop, Philos & Politics

Abstract

This is an application for follow-on funding for impact and engagement to build upon the successful research network 'Northern Ireland's 2016: Approaching the contested commemoration of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme'.

It seeks to fill a void in exchanging academic knowledge with policy-makers in Northern Ireland who are struggling to implement the aspects of the Stormont House Agreement dealing with the legacy of the past. It will do so by drawing attention to the significance of the longer term causes of political and ethnic conflict dating from partition and the creation of Northern Ireland (1920-21).

It offers academics from a range of AHSS disciplines an opportunity to engage with policy makers, cultural and heritage institutions and voluntary organisations to address the most serious challenges facing commemoration in Northern Ireland during the Irish Decade of Centenaries:
- the partition of Ireland, establishing a devolved administration in Northern Ireland and an effectively independent state in the south (that would become a republic in 1949). Partition is seen by unionists as a quintessential state-building moment and remains central to much of unionist and especially loyalist identity in Northern Ireland, whereas to many nationalists and republicans it was the ultimate act of betrayal that left them at the mercy of a unionist majority government that denied them essential civil rights for over fifty years;
- sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between 1920 and 1922, including the expulsion of Catholic workers from the Belfast shipyards, the burning of Catholic businesses in Lisburn in 1920, and the sectarian killings of the McMahons and at Altnaveigh in 1922;
- the Irish Civil War (1922-1923) and the way in which efforts to prevent a split in the IRA involved a campaign to destabilise the new Northern Ireland government.
Commemorations of these events will be complicated by the coincidence of the fiftieth anniversary of the Troubles (from c.2018 onwards).

The project responds directly to three recent developments that have emerged since the original grant:
- 'The Stormont House Agreement (2014)': by highlighting the significance of events surrounding partition and the establishment of Northern Ireland in 1921 in fulfilling the SHA's remit of a producing 'a factual historical timeline and statistical analysis of the Troubles'.
- 'A Fresh Start' (November 2015): The SHA implementation plan that indicates clearly the difficulties being encountered in dealing with legacy issues.
- The Behaviours and Attitudes 'Ireland's Call' poll (October 2015) which highlighted a low level of public knowledge in Northern Ireland about the impact of key historical events from the period.

A seminar to the NI Assembly's Knowledge Exchange series will disseminate the outcomes to policy-makers in NI.
A podcasted public lecture series will seek to bridge the gap between the existing academic literature and the public awareness of it.
Two policy symposiums will offer academics from a wide range of AHSS disciplines (anthropology, education, English literature, geography, history, Irish studies, memory studies, politics) an opportunity to share their expertise with policy makers, cultural institutions and third sector groups concerned with organising commemorative events, and improving community relations in Northern Ireland and between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, including:
National Government: Northern Ireland Office, Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Anglo-Irish Division);
Devolved Government: Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister; Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure; Department of Education Northern Ireland;
Local Government: Belfast City Council;
Third sector: Community Relations Council, Healing Through Remembering, Co-operation Ireland, the Nerve Centre.

Planned Impact

The project envisages achieving impact with the following beneficiaries:
Policy makers concerned with with the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland: A written submission to the Stormont House Agreement's (SHA) Implementation and Reconciliation Group will contribute to fulfilling the SHA's remit of producing 'a factual historical timeline and statistical analysis of the Troubles'. This is a key aspect of 'The Past' section of the SHA and the project will highlight the enduring significance of partition and the establishment of Northern Ireland to political and cultural identity in Northern Ireland today. The impact of this will be strengthened further by the direct involvement in the project of partners central to the SHA - the Office of First and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), the Northern Ireland Office and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

General public: Public engagement with contested history through a free series of public lectures to be delivered by internationally-renowned experts, which will be advertised widely and subsequently made available free as podcasts on an accessible platform, will promote a wider public understanding of the period 1920-1923 in Ulster/Northern Ireland, in an effort to address a low level of public awareness in Northern Ireland about the impact of events from the period, c. 1912-1923.

Local authorities: Belfast City Council covers the areas which experienced some of the worst violence during 1920-1922. The Good Relations Unit will be tasked with organising events to commemorate that period. The involvement of the Good Relations Officer in the policy symposium will facilitate access to expertise on the history of the period and the process of commemoration that will inform such projects.

Devolved Government in Northern Ireland: A presentation in the NI Assembly's Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series and the involvement of the Departments of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Education (DENI) and OFMDFM in the policy symposiums will allow for an exchange of knowledge between the academics involved and the commemorative projects overseen by these departments including:
- the exhibitions etc run by organisations under the remit of DCAL (including the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, National Museums Northern Ireland and Libraries NI);
- implementation by OFMDFM of aspects of the SHA;
- the all-Ireland schools history competition (DENI).

National Government in the UK and Republic of Ireland: Through the medium of the 'History and Policy' paper and the presentation to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly the project aims to generate a greater awareness in Great Britain of the significance of partition and Irish independence, and the forthcoming centenaries of these events, as part of the wider impact of the First World War on the United Kingdom. British commemoration at present is focused solely on the years 1914-1918 and displays little awareness of the approaching centenary of the sundering of a vital part of the union, a debate that has added significance in the present context of growing support for Scottish independence.

Presentations to the Irish government's all-party and expert advisory committees on commemorations aim to ensure that the events in Ulster/Northern Ireland receive suitable consideration in the Irish government's decade of centenaries programme, in light of the weakness of Northern Irish representation on these bodies as at present constituted.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Academic Advisor to Military Service Pensions Collection Project, 2016- 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Advisor to the archivists in the Irish Department of Defence's Military Service Pensions Collection project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL http://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/military-service-pensions-collection-1...
 
Description Co-authored conversation article "Hundred years of votes for women - but they still remain on the fringes of Irish politics" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Article for "The Conversation"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://theconversation.com/hundred-years-of-votes-for-women-but-they-still-remain-on-the-fringes-of...
 
Description Conference on "Commemorating Partition and Civil Wars in Ireland, 2020-23: Civil Wars and their Legacy" Friday, 10 March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Commemorating Civil Wars
Ireland's Civil War, 2022-3 (1.30-3.00)
Dr Bill Kissane (LSE), 'State formation, contested legitimacy and civil war in independent Ireland 1922-23'.
Dr Gemma Clark (Exeter), 'The nature of communal violence in the Irish Civil war'
Contemporary Civil Wars (3.00-4.00)
Dr Tuomas Tepora (Helsink), 'The Finnish Civil War and its legacy, 1918'

Keynote address (4.15-5.30)
'Civil Wars: A History in Ideas' by Prof David Armitage (Harvard University)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Conference on 'Commemoration and conflict in Ireland, 1920-22', 12 June 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Matthew Lewis: 'Northern experiences of the Civil War's aftermath'


Dr Anne Dolan: 'Divisions after the Irish Civil War'

Dr Gavin Foster: 'Local and Family Memory of the Irish Civil War'

Prof. Richard Kearney (Boston College): 'Commemoration: Trauma and Recovery'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/IrishStudiesGateway/NewsandEvents/CommemorationandConflict/
 
Description Expert media commentary "Centenary of the Representation of the People Act (1918)", 6 Feb. 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview for BBC Northern Ireland 'Newsline' TV evening news
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Expert media commentary "Suffragettes in Crumlin Road Gaol", 6 Feb. 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview for BBC Radio Ulster's 'Good Morning Ulster'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lecture by David Rieff 'In praise of forgetting' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Organised in conjunction with Belfast International Arts Festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://belfastinternationalartsfestival.com/event/in-praise-of-forgetting/
 
Description Lecture by Marie Coleman on 'The Representation of the People Act (1918) and its impact on women in politics', City Hall Belfast, 8 Feb. 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 90 people attended
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Lecture by Marie Coleman, Lecture, "The impact of the end of the First World War on Ireland", 21 Nov. 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 70 people attended the wider conference on "Conflict, Polarisation and Partition" organised by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Community Relations Council
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.community-relations.org.uk/conflict-polarisation-and-partition
 
Description Organising and speaking at conference Suffrage and Society: Then and Now 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Conference to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, organised with and held in Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 6 Feb. 2018. 70 attended, 85% rated the event as 'excellent' and 15% as 'good'. Comments included: "Really good choice of speakers"; "All the speakers were most interesting, well informed and able to put their views across" "Well organised and very informative event. Great range of approach/context and topic".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/suffrage-and-society-then-and-now-reflections-representation-...
 
Description Podcast lecture series on historyhub.ie 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Series of lectures on "Commemorating Partition and Civil Wars in Ireland" hosted on historyhub.ie http://historyhub.ie/commemorating-partition-and-civil-wars-in-ireland-2020-23. Speakers: David Armitage, Tuomas Tepora, Bill Kissane, Gemma Clark, Anne Dolan, Matthew Lewis, Gavin Foster, Richard Kearney, Justin Stover. 7000+ downloads and streams as of January 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://historyhub.ie/commemorating-partition-and-civil-wars-in-ireland-2020-23
 
Description Talk by Marie Coleman on "Why the First World War Failed to End", 27 Oct. 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The event was part of the Belfast International Arts Festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://belfastinternationalartsfestival.com/event/first-world-war-failed-end/