A research group at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at QUB has spent a year organising public-academic engagements posing and interrogating new research questions relating to working class history, politics, culture, literature and music.
They’ve been asking …
- How has working-class life been created in Northern Ireland’s imagined and material worlds?
- Have the commonalities of class, across sectarian lines, been distorted, or indeed effaced, by the perennial focus on national division in NI politics? How can we move the debate forward and encourage more collaboration along creative lines?
- Can the sectarian rift be breached by fostering a better understanding between the two communities on this basis?
A full day of talks, topical debate, performance and song has now been arranged to open up discussion and consider the cross currents in British and Irish working class life on Friday 22 May in the Brian Friel Theatre (at the back of Queens Film Theatre).
The keynote speaker is Dr Lisa McKenzie (Department of Sociology, London School of Economics) who will explore some of the issues raised in her recent book Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.
Other speakers and participants include:
- Dr Donal Ó Drisceoil (School of History, University College Cork) addressing questions on labour and class history, in Ireland.
- Chris Burgess (Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, People’s History Museum Manchester) discussing the challenges surrounding the preservation of working class history.
- Dr Sean O’Connell (School of History and Anthropology, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor of Modern British Social History) presenting research on oral history and its nuances.
- Mike Morris (Co-Director of Merseyside Writing on the Wall, a community-based organisation which celebrates writing in all its forms) on ‘George Garrett: Seaman, Syndicalist and Scribe’.
- Professor Phil Scraton (School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast).
- Ciara Hickey (Curator and Gallery Manager, Belfast Exposed) speaking about the work of Belfast Exposed and showing a film currently on display at Belfast Exposed.
The research project leader is Prof Graham Walker (QUB School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy). [Last year, Slugger covered his lecture on the Tangled Histories and the historical narrative and timeline of the British Isles and Scotland’s place within the Union while noting that Irish partition and Ulster unionism had a major impact on Scotland.]
Graham’s vision is to “transcend the boundaries imposed by traditional, academic disciplinary categories, in order to effectively address research agendas on British and Irish working class life. In addition, the project aims to move the knowledge produced by universities into public spaces, where it can have most significant impact.”