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The Art, Conflict & Society thematic group at Ulster engages with legacies of division, politicised urban planning, and socio-economic deprivation that persist in post-conflict Northern Ireland (NI).

The research articulates unique multidisciplinary perspectives on complex issues and creates impact in four areas:

  • Among arts organisations, museums and publics nationally and internationally by enhancing understanding of the precarious nature of peace and reconciliation in a post–conflict society.
  • Among practitioners and institutions by advancing new forms of artistic expression in the representation of conflict.
  • Empathic understanding of victims’ and perpetrators experiences in post-conflict society.
  • Among communities affected by deprivation as a legacy of the conflict by influencing community regeneration and development

Socio-economic impact, environmental impact and knowledge-transfer within significantly disadvantaged communities in Belfast, leading to job creation, inward investment, urban regeneration and increased community capacity.

  • Research Context 

    The research carried out by Doherty, Wylie and Coyles from 2007 to 2018 engages with some of the so-called legacy issues following the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Issues such as unsolved murders, compensation and support for victims, housing policy and an agreed process of memorialisation, that were not resolved as part of the Agreement and continue to put pressure on the fragile peace in this post-conflict society.

    The research interrogates how processes of memorialisation are expressed within the public and private spheres.

    The research provides insights into how specific architecture and sites, associated with past acts of violence, surveillance and control, continue to resonate in collective memory and imagination and may undermine reconciliation processes.

    Doherty’s Ghost Story, 2007 (R1) single-screen video installation, forefronts the use of video and narrative fiction to explore the trauma triggered by revisiting sites where memories of violence continue to resonate. Ghost Story unfolds in several rural and urban locations accompanied by a voiceover that suggests the presence of a lingering residue of pain embedded within the landscape itself.

  • Sources To Corroborate 
    • Testimonial from Senior Curator of Art National Museums NI outlining the benefits from Doherty and Wylie’s work in enhancing understanding, and in shaping acquisition and curatorial policies regarding work relating to the conflict.
    • Testimonial from Metropolitan Museum of Art NY confirming Wylie acquisition and impact.
    • Testimonial from IMMA Curator: Collections outlining the impact on audience of Doherty’s work.
    • Testimonial from IMMA Senior Curator: Head of Collections describing National Importance of Doherty’s work as one of the most significant acquisitions to their Collection.
    • Testimonial from Curator, De Pont Museum outlining the value of Remains to the Collection and the impact on audience of Doherty’s work.
    • Testimonial from ex Maze prisoner outlining impact of Wylie’s work
    • Testimonial from Tate Curator outlining the impact of Maze and Watchtowers & confirmation of acquisition.
    • Testimonial from EastSide Partnership outlining the impact of Coyles’ research on communities affected by deprivation