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Ulster University has confirmed that its highly regarded CAIN archive will be retained as a live and curated archive, made possible by support from Initiatives of Change. The funding follows a consultation in 2019 and comprehensive efforts by the University and the CAIN team to secure the long-term future of the archive.

The funding will directly support a significant modernisation of the site, including the introduction of cutting-edge archival content management systems not available when the CAIN site was first pioneering online archives, over two decades ago. The University is also making funds available to invest in the technology that will enhance the experience for all those who use the popular platform.

Freely available on-line since March 1997, the CAIN website is a unique academic and civic resource containing a large archive of materials and information related to the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland, with new materials added on a regular basis.

The enhancements will ensure the long-term sustainability of CAIN by reducing the cost and complexity of maintaining the archive and making it possible for more academics to get involved in the curation of relevant and engaging materials.

Announcing the funding, Professor Paul Seawright, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences said:

“This generous donation not only secures the live nature of the CAIN archive, but makes possible its future expansion, enabling us to overhaul the archive in ways that will benefit both the academics who contribute to it and the many thousands of visitors to the site.

CAIN entirely reflects University’s continued teaching and research leadership in the field of peace and conflict studies and will be integral to our new Graduate Academy for Peace and Social Justice, which we are introducing this Spring.

This investment is a historic opportunity to incorporate a range of new digital technologies that have emerged over the past two decades, and to reach new audiences. It is our ambition that CAIN will be a fascinating and lively online space for young people and educators wanting to connect with and understand the past.  We look forward to continuing to record so many of the important, more hidden histories of our past that are critical to understanding who we are today.

We appreciate the input and support of the many individuals and organisations who contributed to our consultation and who continue to work with us in securing the sustained investment to ensure CAIN remains a trusted, influential and current resource long into the future.”

Ulster University’s Graduate Academy for Peace and Social Justice will be an interdisciplinary hub delivering a suite of degree programmes and civic spaces promoting change-leadership, social justice, human rights, community development and peacebuilding through inclusive and collaborative learning and research. Students from the new Graduate Academy will have the opportunity to play their part in the re-development of the CAIN archive.

Alec McRitchie, a member of the Initiatives of Change Committee in Ireland added:

“The CAIN archive is a unique historical record of an important period in Anglo-Irish relations. It includes stories of people addressing the legacy of history such as those of Protestant and English people who attended cross-community Bible study meetings at Clonard Monastery in Belfast, recorded on CAIN by Trinity scholar and surgeon, the late Dr Roddy Evans. The archive has important educational benefits for this, and future generations and we are pleased to play our part in enabling it to be maintained as a live archive.”

The Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund - a sustained supporter of the work of CAIN - is also making possible the completion of the CAIN Chronology of the Conflict through recent project funding.

The University’s related work of ARK and INCORE remains central to its leadership in peace and conflict resolution, locally and on the world stage.  INCORE, based at the University’s Magee campus, alongside the Hume-O’Neill Chair in Peace continues to attract global dignitaries and international delegations, and engage in a wide range of research influencing policy and practice.