Would I Lie to ALL of You?

Fancy watching an online version of the popular BBC Show, but with a local slant? As part of the Being Human Festival 2020, the ContactVIRT project at Queen’s University will be hosting their own version of the show involving two groups comprising “Catholics” and “Protestants” in Northern Ireland who will play the game in virtual reality (VR). One team reads a story while members of the opposite team quiz them and decide whether the story is true or a lie. …

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Does Queen’s need an academic specialist in unionism?

Dr Marie Coleman provides a response to a recent call to create a Queen’s professorship to study unionism and its contribution to Northern Ireland. Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday (9 November 2020), the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mr Stephen Aiken, encouraged Queen’s University to establish a new academic post ‘to study unionism and its contribution to Northern Ireland’, in the context of the approaching centenary of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland. This suggestion appears not …

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ESRC Virtual Festival – Museum without Walls: Access for All…

Equal access to cultural venues such as museums, heritage centres and arts galleries for people with disabilities has been declared a human right, and is being addressed across the world as venues endeavour to ensure equal access for visitors with varying abilities. A three-year research project at Queen’s, in collaboration with Titanic Belfast and Royal National Institute of Blind People is investigating innovative access options for the blind and partially sighted (BPS), using new technologies within diverse museum environments. I …

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ESRC Virtual Festival – Creating a label to help us make more sustainable food choices…

Recent years have been a remarkable increase in interest in our environment. TV programmes such as The Blue Planet and Planet Earth have been credited as increasing our awareness of the environment and even changing our behaviour. From cutting back on meat consumption to ditching single-use plastics, many of us have changed our lifestyles. While there are many ways in which our behaviour affects the environment, the production and consumption of food and drink has a strong impact. Some estimates …

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ESRC Virtual Festival – Kids in the Kitchen: Now we’re cookin’

Childhood obesity has reached global epidemic rates and can have a detrimental impact on a child’s physical and mental wellbeing, with both dietary behaviours and physical activity levels being implicated in its rise. We have highlighted the importance of children and adolescents learning cooking skills for diet quality and cooking can be used as one method for changing children’s food behaviours. From a physical perspective, children may not be developing their motor skills (coordination of their muscle movements) at a …

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Peace and Conflict: Understanding out World – New Podcast Series from Queen’s…

A new podcast series has been launched by Queen’s University that looks at conflict and peace-building around the world, from Afghanistan to Ireland, Colombia to South Africa and the Middle East. Academics from Queen’s University share their experiences and reflections on how societies can transition from conflict to peace and how the traumatic political legacies of conflict can endure and continue to shape political discourse today. Drawing from a range of expertise, Queen’s academics discuss such issues as how factors …

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Queen’s to host virtual conference on sensing divisions in human societies…

The School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, and the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University will host a virtual conference exploring human divisions in society on 21-22 May. This free conference aims to investigate the nature of troubling and persistent divisions in human societies that often keep societies from producing stable governance. Some societies which will be explored are Northern Ireland, Australia, Austria, Cyprus, Greece, India and Nigeria to name but …

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Free event: Queen’s Policy Engagement Post-Brexit Clinic on 4 February 2020…

 Join us for what will be the first post-Brexit Clinic here at Queen’s Policy Engagement.  The UK’s request to extend the Brexit deadline to 31 January 2020 was agreed back in 2019 and Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal recently became law after it received royal assent from the Queen, having gone through all the required stages in Parliament. As things stand, the 1st February 2020 will mark the first day of the transition period for the UK and the beginning of a very …

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Brexit, Citizens’ Assemblies and the future of Democracy in the UK

The Brexit process has put the UK’s democratic system under great strain, pitting competing democratic visions against each other and exposing weaknesses in each. Join Queen’s Policy Engagement for our first event of 2020 with Dr Alan Renwick from the UCL Constitution Unit where he will examine those weaknesses and consider possible ways of addressing them. Could the 2016 referendum have been designed differently to create a less polarised process? How could the grievances with current politics that the referendum …

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GE2019: Post-Election Analysis and Implications for Brexit…

Free Event: Tuesday 17 December at 12.30pm Bell Lecture Theatre, Main Campus, Queen’s University Belfast  Why not come along for some post-election dissection with a side of Brexit analysis thrown in! Boris Johnson’s call for a general election was finally heard, and as we all know by now, UK voters are off to the polls on the 12th December for what commentators are calling the most important election in a generation! Join us at Queen’s University on the 17th December …

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Sex work and the law: The implementation of the Nordic Model in N. Ireland…

By Dr Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill In September, The Department of Justice released a report assessing the impact of the change in law regarding sex work in Northern Ireland, with some surprising results. The law around sex work had been changed in 2015 to what is known as the Sex Purchase Law, or The Nordic Model, which criminalises the purchasing, but not the selling of sex. Supporters of this law suggest that by only penalising the buyers of sex, there will …

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Climate breakdown: The time to act is now…

Images of intense storms, heavy flooding and devastating droughts increasingly feature in mainstream and social media. Extreme weather events are indicative of large-scale, long-term shifts in our planet’s average temperatures and weather patterns associated with climate change. We humans affect the earth’s temperature and climate by adding vast amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), cutting down rainforests and farming livestock. In 2019, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2, the most …

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Getting creative with health…

Creativity is a fundamental part of human nature, and the use of the arts to improve health and wellbeing is not a new idea. Yet we still tend to think of the arts as the remit of the talented few with most of us giving up artistic pursuits as we leave school and get older. Unlike other behaviours that can be beneficial to our health, such as exercise, a varied diet and social support, we don’t think of creative engagement …

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Free event – Rejections, Defections and Elections…

Over the past three years, Brexit has been the gift that just keeps on giving. There are those who want to rip it open and get stuck right into it, while there are others who are halfway to the shops with the receipt in hand. Since our last Brexit Clinic at Queen’s in March, Theresa May’s Brexit deal was once again rejected by Parliament, an extension until 31 October was agreed and May’s subsequent negotiations with Labour on a way …

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Free Event: History in the Making – The Ulster Museum and the ‘Troubles and Beyond’…

On Good Friday 2018, the Ulster Museum opened its doors, and its collections, to a new commemorative exhibition entitled ‘The Troubles and Beyond’. Displayed across hundreds of objects and images, the gallery documents social, political, and cultural changes in Northern Ireland from the civil rights era to today’s post-conflict society. The ‘Troubles’ affected almost everyone who lived in Northern Ireland and many others from further afield. Inevitably the interpretation of this period of our history is contested in terms of …

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Free event – Imagine: The UK’s Future Relationship with the EU…

The date for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union draws ever closer. EU leaders have previously agreed the political declaration that sets out the broad aspirations for the kind of relationship the UK and the EU envisage having after Brexit. But what will this so-called ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership actually look like? And how will it, and more immediately UK withdrawal from the EU, impact on the many areas of collaboration that have been built up over 45 years of …

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Future Ireland / Uniting our Shared Island by Professor Colin Harvey…

The discussion of Irish unity is gaining momentum; Brexit has altered the nature of this conversation, as more people now reflect on the constitutional future.  The debate is already happening, and has been ongoing for some time. That does not mean Irish unity is any closer; it simply suggests a willingness to contemplate this option and to think through the implications. Work by, for example, Claire Mitchell, Andrée Murphy, Paul Gosling, Fintan O’Toole, David McWilliams, Mark Daly, Richard Humphreys, and …

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ESRC Festival of Social Science: from business to Brexit and migration to the menopause

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science in Northern Ireland is back for another year and runs from 3-10 November. Organised jointly by the three universities in Northern Ireland – The Open University, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University – this festival aims to open up leading research to new audiences, bringing social science into the public domain, and showing how it influences our social, economic and political lives both now and in the future. This year’s programme …

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The Future of Referendums: What Role Should They Play and How Should They Be Conducted?

Referendums are now established as part of the UK’s political landscape.  They are widely seen as necessary before some fundamental constitutional changes are made.  Politicians will continue from time to time to find it useful to manage conflicts by proposing to put certain decisions to the people. Yet, despite their importance, there has been little concerted thinking recently about how referendums should be conducted.  Two inquiries conducted in the 1990s – by the Nairne Commission and the Committee on Standards …

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Article 50 one year one – where are we now?

Boats with EU, UK flags sailing in opposite directions

It’s almost a year since Theresa May triggered Article 50 and the past year has been a veritable rollercoaster of ups and downs in the Brexit negotiation process – admittedly more ups than downs! But where exactly are we in the process and what are the implications for Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland? Will the next phase of the negotiations culminate in Downing Street’s end goal of a “a smooth and orderly Brexit?” Join the Queen’s on Brexit …

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