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Evaluating the Role of Storytelling in Peace-Building

22 September 2010

An international workshop - jointly organised by INCORE and the Irish Peace Centres - exploring the art of storytelling as a peace-building tool begins today.

The three-day event will be attended by international researchers, practitioners and evaluators from across the world.

The workshop is the first step in an ongoing project, ‘The Evaluation of Storytelling as Peacebuilding’, being managed by Dr Kenneth Bush, INCORE, Paddy Logue, Irish Peace Centres and Maureen Hetherington from local peace-building centre, The Junction.

It is being supported by the PEACE III Programme of the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Dr Bush, who is based at INCORE’s centre in the University’s Magee campus in Londonderry, described the workshop as “breaking new ground.”

“The nature of the challenge being addressed underscores the necessity for collaboration between universities, practitioners, community groups, policy makers and funders. It is being driven by the knowledge that storytelling initiatives can have both negative and positive impacts.

“We have a responsibility to systematically examine and understand how they work, so that we can do more of the right things, and fewer of the wrong things. Evaluation is the Rosetta stone for understanding the link between this type of work and its impacts. It will contribute to the University of Ulster’s significant reputation in Peace and Conflict Studies.

“Drawing on cases from Northern Ireland, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East, the workshop seeks to develop a tool for the effective evaluation of storytelling as a peace-building mechanism.”    
The event, which is by invitation only, will be opened by Shaun Henry, Director of the Managing Authority of SEUPB at the White Horse Hotel in Derry today.

Notes for editors
INCORE (International Conflict Research Institute) is a joint University of Ulster and United Nations University project. It aims to address the causes and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland and internationally while also promoting conflict resolution management and peace-building strategies.

The Irish Peace Centres project is delivered by a consortium of peace-building organisations which seek to cultivate and sustain positive relationships at a local level across the region and across traditional sectarian divides.

The Junction is a community relations resource and peace-building centre established through a partnership between community relations organisations throughout north western Northern Ireland.

Based in Derry, the centre serves as a gathering place for individuals, community groups and international visitors. It is a focal point for peace-building activities and works to enhance effective networking among practitioners.