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Current Research Projects in Peace Studies

Scholars in our School's discipline of Peace Studies engage in a number of internationally-renowned research projects. Often, such research projects receive funding from a number of well-respected awards and grants. Explore this page to discover some of our ongoing research projects and the impacts they make in academy and society.

Explore our current projects by clicking on their name in the drop-down menu.


• Problematising Resilience: Risk, Resistance and Palestinian Youth ‘Coping’ Under Occupation

Sitting at the intersection between STEM and a range of social science disciplines, (including sociology, politics and anthropology), this research funded by the Wellcome Trust, critiques understandings of ‘Resilience’ and ‘Risk’ from a Palestinian youth perspective.

Those growing up in Palestine must transition from adolescence to adulthood whilst negotiating the everyday difficulties associated with an entrenched and expanding apparatus of occupation. By moving beyond the favoured quantitative analysis of ‘resilience’, the work seeks to gain a deeper and more critical understanding of the usefulness of the terminology, ‘risk’, ‘resilience’ and ‘resistance’ from the perspective of Palestinian youth.

Availing of firsthand qualitative research with Palestinian youth as active research participants, the work will shed light on strategies of ‘coping’ that are often sanitised in more rigid quantitative research frameworks.

TCIN Seed Funding, Wellcome Trust.

Principal Investigator: Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne

• The ‘Forgotten Victims’: Violent Displacement in the Northern Ireland Conflict

The conflict in and around Northern Ireland spanned a period of 30 years (1968 - 1998) and claimed the lives of over 3,500 people across the sectarian divide. The impact of the conflict was far reaching with some suggesting that almost 1 in 3 people were affected indirectly.

Since the onset of a peace process, one that remains unfinished, issues pertaining to the legacy of the conflict and how best to address the needs of victims and survivors, have dominated academic and practitioner discourse. Despite much by way of blue sky thinking, there has been an inability to implement a programme that addresses the diverse needs of those who were impacted. Within the myriad options for dealing with the past there is little to no mention of those who were violently displaced as a result of the onset of the conflict itself. In fact, the issue is almost completely absent from scholarly analysis of the ‘troubles’.

This project, ongoing since 2016, seeks to recover the narratives of these forgotten victims who were displaced, giving them a platform in the debates around dealing with Northern Ireland's past. It is a direct response to existing academic projects that overlook this aspect of victimhood in favour of more procedural based, fiscal responses to conflict transformation. Through a mix of creative methodologies (including semi-structured interviews, artistic representations of displacement, and documentary film) the research engages with both those who were victims and those who were victim makers, when it comes to better understanding the longterm impact of violent displacement.

Funded by: Independent Social Research Foundation, Flexible Grants for Small Groups (ISF4)

Principal Investigator: Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne

• Irish Research Council/Marie Curie Co-fund/CAROLINE

Dong-Jin Kim has received an Irish Research Council/Marie Curie Co-fund/CAROLINE. His research project is entitled 'Comparative Studies on the Peace Processes in Northern Ireland and Korea: Toward Strategic Peacebuilding'. The research is carried out in partnership with Corrymeela, Northern Ireland and runs from 2017 to 2020.

The aim of this research is to assess and compare the impact of peacebuilding activities in Northern Ireland and in the Korean peninsula, and to identify fragile and durable conditions of the peace processes from the perspective of strategic peacebuilding.

Principal Investigator: Dr Dong-Jin Kim.

• Horizon 2020: PERICLES: Policy recommendation and improved communication tools for law enforcement and security agencies preventing violent radicalisation (2017 - 2020)

Project's overall aim is to develop a comprehensive approach to prevent and counter violent radicalisation and extremism. To meet its aims, PERICLES considers violent right-wing as well as religious ideologies. A special focus is being set on the risks connected with digital violent propaganda.

The PERICLES project will deliver advanced and validated counter-propaganda techniques that are target-group-specific. Furthermore, the cooperation between relevant authorities who have been working against violent radicalisation or support the process of de-radicalisation will be enhanced through the use of the project outputs. The comprehensive PERICLES prevention strategy will therefore largely address law enforcement agencies (LEAs) but will also find use by prisons and social workers, teachers and even relatives of affected people.

The project is funded by Horizon 2020 it was awarded 3 million Euro. Prof Gillian Wylie, also from the Irish School of Ecumenics, is the gender adviser for the project and Dr Brendan Marsh joined the ISE in 2017 as post-doctoral researcher for the project.

Principal Investigator: Dr Maja Halilovic-Pastuovic.

• GATED: Segregated education in post-conflict Bosnia and the possibilities of future conflicts in Europe (2016-2019)

The specific aim of the GATED Project investigates if segregated education in post-conflict societies causes the radicalisation of youth and increases the possibilities of future conflicts. GATED project presents an interdisciplinary investigation of segregated education in Bosnia with particular focus on the phenomenon of 'two schools under one roof' (TSUOR) that currently operates in the country.

TSUOR describes schools in Bosnia that are organised around the ethnic segregation of children. Children from different ethnic groups, namely Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs, attend classes in the same building but are physically separated into different classrooms and are taught different curricula by teachers from their own ethnic and religious group. GATED project is funded by the European Commission under Marie Sklowdowska Curie Global Fellowship.

Principal Investigator: Dr Maja Halilovic-Pastuovic.

• Women Religious: Witness seminars - remembering the conflict in and about Northern Ireland (2015-ongoing)

Women Religious: Witness Seminars focus on witness testimony. Witness testimony has a vital role in contributing to the academic integrity required for a comprehensive understanding of the years of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. Women's voices have until recently been missing from the discourse, and only recently have community-based projects begun to remedy this via witness and archiving projects within cultural communities.

This project works by convening, filming and archiving witness statements from women of faith, and initially, from female members of Catholic religious orders who lived and worked within and across various contexts in the years of violent conflict and subsequent transition. As such Witness Seminars complement and enrich academic data and archives by drawing on the indispensable knowledge of those who were actively involved with pastoral, community or educational activities within and between communities, often alongside those living in areas affected by violence - personally and structurally.

The research project is led by Dr Dianne Kirby (Dept of History, Ulster Univ.) and Prof. Lisa Isherwood (Institute for Theological Partnerships, University of Winchester), in collaboration with Dr Geraldine Smyth, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer, (Media, Film and Journalism, Ulster University).

Principal Investigator: Dr Geraldine Smyth.

• Social needs, mental health and lifetime opportunities of Belfast youth (2011-ongoing)

Growing up on an Interface: Findings and Implications for the Social Needs, Mental Health and Lifetime Opportunities of Belfast Youth Project is sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and OFM/DF. Working alongside colleagues at the Kroc Institute (Notre Dame University, USA), Dr Brendan Browne was responsible for collecting qualitative data from at risk children and young people living in the greater Belfast area.

Dissemination of the research to date includes; a policy report titled 'Growing Up On an Interface - Findings and Implications for the Social Needs, Mental Health and Lifetime Opportunities of Belfast Youth', publication of several high impact journal articles including 'Associations between mothers' experience with the troubles in Northern Ireland and mothers' and children's psychological functioning: the moderating role of social identity' and Social Identity and Youth Aggressive and Delinquent Behaviors in a Context of Political Violence and a book forthcoming (2017) entitled 'Young People, Risk and Social Justice in a Transitional Society: the Case of Northern Ireland', of which Dr Browne is a co-author.