Soldiers, Soup and Sandy Row: Challenging a fixed mindset…

The anecdotal examples given here are intended to act as blunt signifiers, and can hopefully trigger a much broader conversation on identity and growth mindsets – concepts that are very much intertwined and blurred together, positively, across the community already The American psychologist Carol Dweck is renowned for her research on mindset theories, and her work is widely referred to in the education sector. The general idea is that people who welcome challenging situations, who embrace their mistakes and value …

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Considering Grace: An invitation to listen

Considering Grace: An invitation to listen by Allan LEONARD for Shared Future News 5 November 2019 Considering Grace, by Gladys Ganiel and Jamie Yohanis, is a new book that explores how Presbyterians responded to the Troubles, through a series of narratives from 120 people who tell their stories of how they coped with trauma and tests of their faith. The book was launched with a set of readings and short presentations at Assembly Buildings, Belfast, to an audience of several …

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Church leaders dragged heels in late 1980s over gov appeal to improve community relations #20YearRule

SENIOR CLERICS appear to have been less than enthusiastic in the late 1980s when asked by government to consider the more fulsome involvement of church denominations in improving community relations. “Pressures on the church leaders’ diaries” were blamed for not finding “an opportunity to discuss the issue of the churches’ future role in community relations activities in depth” after months of delay.

Forgive for the sake of the future?

Forgive for the sake of the future? A lecture by Duncan Morrow by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 29 September 2015 As part of the Community Relations Week programme, a former Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council, Dr Duncan Morrow, gave a lecture that explored how unresolved trauma affects the legacy for future generations. Sitting in the same chairs as the elected representatives occupy in the chamber at Down District Council, Dr Morrow told the audience that he …

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Knitting together: CRC annual conference

As Chair of the Communication Relations Council, Peter Osborne, welcomed delegates to their annual policy and practice conference at Stormont Hotel, Belfast, he explained the event theme, “One Place — Many People”: “All of us in this room are a minority of some sort; we are all minorities in this place we call home.” Mr Osborne added that it will be relationships between us that will dismantle bigotry and sectarianism. But that ordinary people in Northern Ireland are suffering from …

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Slices of Belfast: A tour of Sandy Row

As part of a work group, I went on a Sandy Row Tour, discovering the history and character of this neighbourhood. We began at the well-known mural site at the entrance to Linfield Gardens — a large example of a re-imaging project. The UFF “Welcome to Sandy Row” has been replaced with a more permanent, metal affixed, “Let ambition fire thy mind” homage to King William. Standing at Boyne Bridge, we learned that this was where the Belfast riots of …

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Shirlow on the gap between slowly shifting attitudes and political positions

Peter Shirlow has to deal with politicians and so cannot afford to sound completely exasperated or polemical. Informed  by his detailed work in the communities  he discusses the perceived gap between public attitudes and the starker political  positions in the Belfast Telegraph, in the light of the recent LucidTalk poll commissioned by the paper. I would only add that the gap between slowly shifting attitudes and the political choices available is not necessarily a contradiction. People vote for a bottom line because they …

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The prevailing wisdom of A Love Divided

Based on a true story, “A Love Divided” chronicles the aftermath of a mixed marriage in Co. Wexford, Ireland, where Protestant-raised Sheila refuses to send her children to a local Catholic school. She flees with her two young girls, leaving her husband Sean confused and frustrated. “A Love Divided” was shown at Culturlann, as part of the Belfast Film Festival and organised in collaboration with Pieces of the Past oral history project. Sheila signed the Ne Temere contract, which obligated …

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See that #fleg in Enniskillen? Well, now you don’t…

Now relax… The St George’s flag still flies over Enniskillen Castle as a reference to two former British regiments raised in the town’s defence in 1689. Can’t say I’d ever noticed before, but apparently there’s a row brewing over it’s removal from a leaflet for the G8 Summit… Here’s the council’s reasoning… “The design team gave long and detailed consideration to the content and design of the leaflet. In relation to any decision around the inclusion of flags, the design …

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For Everyone – the main points from Alliance’s blueprint for a shared and better future

Like their last election Manifesto, the Alliance Party’s “blueprint for an Executive strategy to build a shared and better future” [PDF of Executive Summary] is not a skinny tome. So far I’ve got about a third of the way through the seventy or so pages. While I read the rest,  here’s a synopsis of some of the key points in the “For Everyone” blueprint for you to ponder and comment on. David Ford’s introduction: [Building a shared society] won’t be …

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Martina Anderson reprises her Unionist Outreach role

Previously Ms. Anderson had a less than successful outing as Unionist Outreach Officer (or successful dependent on what one feels SF were trying to achieve). On this occasion she was present at cross-a border “reconciliation” event held in the Gateway Hotel in Co. Donegal. Around 140 young people were attending the dinner on Saturday night as part of a year-long cross-border, cross-community project involved various youth and community groups coming together to explore the joint sacrifice of the Irish and …

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New peace wall for Londonderry and thoughts on divided communities

Derry City Council last week approved planning permission for a new peace wall. From the Belfast Telegraph: The 170-metre long fence at the playing fields at Lisnagelvin in Londonderry will be erected as soon as possible. A litany of incidents at the interface, including sectarian abuse, stone throwing, attacks on the police, underage drinking and the lighting of fires have been recorded since last September. This peace line seems to have been requested and endorsed by all the relevant community …

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