Our local work in Northern Ireland's divided society
Much of our core work has focused on Northern Ireland's divided society, and the relationships between our local communities
Research for the Extending School Links project was carried out between 1988 and 1990. It builds on the Inter-School Links Project (Centre for the Study of Conflict, 1988), which sought to encourage innovative approaches towards cross-religious contacts between schools. This later project consolidated and further disseminated the approaches developed in the first project, and set out to develop systems of evaluation for inter-community work of this kind.
This innovative three-year project was designed to embed community relations objectives within initial teacher education in Ulster University teacher education programmes. The project aimed to: 1) strengthen the capacity and commitment of the school to community relations objectives by embedding these in its aims, policies, structure and practices; 2) identify the core skills, knowledge, values, competencies and dispositions essential for effective practice in the field of community relations/citizenship, and, incorporate these in such a way as to enhance the Post-Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) programmes at primary and secondary levels; 3) initiate a 3-year programme of activities that would become integrated, and sustained within, the long-term provision of the school in order to prepare teachers for working in a deeply divided society; and 4) enhance awareness of community relations issues and practice through the education system in N. Ireland so that young people develop the skills, knowledge and values to act for a more peaceful and just society.
This multi-discipline study used GPS tracking technology to examine the movements of school students. Through this data, researchers were able to examine the extent to which shared spaces truly exist in Northern Ireland. The project also produced valuable insights into cross-community contact between young people across Northern Ireland's cultural divide.