CFP Northern Ireland: 20 years of peace and reconciliation?
Call for Papers: “Northern Ireland: 20 years of peace and reconciliation?”
University of La Rochelle, 16 November 2018
Conference organised by the CRHIA (Research Centre for Atlantic and International History) of the University of La Rochelle, and
the ERIBIA-GREI (Research Group in Irish Studies) of the University of Caen
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, signed on 10th April 1998 by the British and Irish governments and most of the political parties in the province. The intervening years have borne witness to the difficulty in bringing the unionist and republican communities together and in dealing with the legacy of the conflict. The political situation has recently been further complicated by the inability of Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist party to restore power-sharing to Stormont. The resulting power vacuum could lead to revived tensions in the province, while Brexit, which is due to become effective on 31 December 2020, could have ‘a catastrophic effect on the peace process’. 
Brian Rowan, in his book on the conflict in Ireland ‘Unfinished Peace’, wrote that ‘the war and peace of this place has been, and is still, a long journey of learning’. There is a continual need for dialogue, for understanding and justice – and for reconciliation, for a ‘future that does not echo the past’. Paul Ricoeur, in his landmark work ‘Memory, History, Forgetting’, examined the relations between remembering and forgetting and how this interaction affects both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. This philosophical essay, together with the works of Halbwachs, who considered memory to be a social practice that is shaped by participation in social groups, provide examples of approaches that can help to build a framework for the analysis of the present-day situation in Northern Ireland, which in turn may lead us to an understanding of whether or not a peaceful, reconciled society can in fact emerge from the fractured memories of the past.
Transitioning toward this future Northern Ireland, if it is at all possible, will therefore require more than political summits and agreements. The role of culture and those who produce it will also be of primordial importance. One area in which culture can play a role is in providing sectarian-free spaces and relationships. New quarters, buildings and tourist attractions may play a significant role in a culture-led regeneration of Northern Ireland. The Titanic Quarter in Belfast, which is now home to the Titanic Museum and is fronted by Rowan Gillespie’s statue Titanica, representing hope and positivity, is just one example. The role of culture and Art may also be examined through experiences like the Theatre of Witness, the wo rk of playwrights such as Marie Jones and Owen McCafferty, the paintings of Colin Davidson and Rita Duffy, and the fiction work of Jennifer Johnston or Glenn Patterson, to give but a small number of examples.
 G. Moriarty, Brexit could have ‘catastrophic effect on peace process’, court told, Irish Times, October 4 2016.
2 B. Rowan, Unfinished Peace, Newtownards, Colourpoint Books, 2015, p. 14.
3 H. Morris, quoted in Unfinished Peace, B. Rowan, Colourpoint Books, 2015, p. 164-5.
4 P. Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, The University of Chicago Press, 2004 (Le Seuil, 2003).
5 M. Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, The University of Chicago Press, 1992.
6 L. McAtackney, “Remembering the Troubles: Community memorials, memory and identity in post-conflict Northern Ireland”, in Post Celtic Tiger Ireland: Exploring New Cultural Spaces, CSP, 2016.
Thus, the purpose of this 3rd day of conference will be to examine how Northern Irish culture reflects on and interprets this ‘unfinished peace’, and to study the different ways in which cultural productions can contribute toward the ongoing process of remembering/forgetting the conflict and creating spaces that may allow a new Northern Ireland to emerge.
Themes that could be examined include:
– Art and culture as a healing and reconciliation process
– Education (integrated schools, community cultural and social programmes)
– Media (new TV channels, radio stations, the press and blogs)
– Urban planning (monuments, districts, architecture)
– Tourist attractions and facilities (new places of interest, hotels, catering, gastronomy)
– Cultural events and venues (museums, theatres, cinema, festivals)
– Sports events
– Use of languages: English, Irish and Ulster-Scots
– Consequences of Brexit on cultural production, heritage and tourism in Northern Ireland
Proposals should be submitted before the 30 September 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com and should include:
– an abstract of 250-300 words
– the title of your talk
– a short biography of the author(s)
NB: Talks should be no longer than 20 minutes, or 30 minutes if you are using film extracts.
Accepted languages: English and French
Brigitte BASTIAT holds a PhD in Media and Communication Studies (University of Paris 8). She teaches English at the University of La Rochelle (France), is an associate member of the CRHIA EA 1163 (Research Centre for International Atlantic History), University of La Rochelle, member of SOFEIR (French Society for Irish Studies) and of EFACIS (European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies).
Frank HEALY, lecturer in English (CIEL), University of La Rochelle, CRHIA EA 1163 (Research Centre for Atlantic and International History), University of La Rochelle, member of SOFEIR (French Society for Irish studies) and EFACIS (European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies).
 P. Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, The University of Chicago Press, 2004 (Le Seuil, 2003).
Maître de Conférences – Civilisation britannique/ Études irlandaises
Secrétaire de la Société Française d’Etudes Irlandaises-SOFEIR
Directrice-adjointe du Département des Langues et Civilisations – Bureau AR 216
Université Toulouse 1 Capitole
2 rue du Doyen Marty
31042 Toulouse Cedex 9
 G. Moriarty, Brexit could have ‘catastrophic effect on peace process’, court told, Irish Times, October 4 2016
 B. Rowan, Unfinished Peace, Newtownards, Colourpoint Books, 2015, p. 14.
 H. Morris, quoted in Unfinished Peace, B. Rowan, Colourpoint Books, 2015, p. 164-5.
 M. Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, The University of Chicago Press, 1992.
 L. McAtackney, “Remembering the Troubles: Community memorials, memory and identity in post-conflict Northern Ireland”, in Post Celtic Tiger Ireland: Exploring New Cultural Spaces, CSP, 2016.