2 – Engaging young people with conflict through the narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland

Thursday 3 December 2015, 17.30 – 19.00, Room 802, 20 Bedford Way, UCL Institute of Education, London

‘Engaging young people with conflict through the narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland’ – Lesley Emerson, Queen’s University Belfast

In this seminar, Lesley Emerson, of Queen’s University Belfast presents her recent paper, “Engaging young people with conflict through the narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland.” This will be done as an interactive workshop. The aim of this paper is to discuss findings from an impact evaluation of a curriculum programme designed to engage young people directly with ‘conflict’ though the narratives of former ‘paramilitary’ combatants in Northern Ireland. The programme seeks to develop within young people an understanding of the nature, reality and complexity of conflict and transition to peace. In particular it seeks to engender a sense of ‘political generosity’, that is a confidence in young people in their own political/cultural identity alongside a respect for the rights of others to hold alternative political views. The research suggests that foregrounding the nature of conflict and the processes of conflict transformation in the curriculum, through the narratives of those who were directly involved in conflict (arguably the most contentious ‘voices’), has a positive impact on young people. Further it suggests that addressing the nature of conflict through first-hand accounts assist young people in making sense of their current socio-political context, thereby challenging their previous stereotypical and prejudiced views of the ‘other’ community.

Lesley Emerson is a lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast. She is interested in research which seeks to make a difference in children and young people’s lives, particularly in the context of their school experience. Her research interests fall into two themes:

  • Citizenship education, human rights education, and political education – with a focus on transitional or conflict affected societies and, in particular, the role of former combatants in education for citizenship
  • Children’s rights – with a focus on children’s rights in education, children’s participation rights and participatory research methods.

Her research projects focus primarily on the substantive issues associated with these themes. In addition, she collaborates with colleagues who wish to apply a children’s rights-based approach to researching their own substantive areas.

Links:
Emerson (2012) Conflict Transition and Political Generosity

Engaging young people with conflict through the narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland (presentation)

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the ‘prison to peace: learning from the experience of political ex-prisoners’ educational programme

From Prison to Peace: Learning from the experience of political ex-prisoners

Please register for free at our Eventbrite site

For more information please contact Dr Pherali (T.Pherali@ioe.ac.uk)

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