Project seeks to record 'local histories' of the peace process

Hundreds of untold stories about the peace process are just waiting to be recorded.

That is the view of a group of leading academics currently undertaking a €1.1 million oral history project supported by the EU's PEACE III programme. As part of the Peace Process, Layers of Meaning project, experts will provide training and instruction to individuals and communities to help them to accurately record their accounts and recollections for future generations.

The training will be offered to community and voluntary groups in the Louth  area and along the border region. The project aims to establish a critical mass of people capable of initiating, costing and completing oral history projects within their communities, organisations or workplaces.

Project Co-Director, Dr Anna Bryson explained

"Anyone who has lived through the challenging and difficult years of the conflict and through attempts to resolve it has important memories. What we want to pass on are the skills accurately to record these accounts, and thus to recover a deeper and truer understanding of critical events that affected individuals, communities and almost every part of ordinary life.

Building on several years experience of similar projects, we are acutely aware of the sensitivity of what we are doing. Ethics, legality, confidentiality, security and, above all, respect for interviewees are at the heart of our work."

The oral history training programme will take the form of a series of workshops and seminars at Queen Mary, University of London, and at Dundalk Institute of Technology. An information evening will be held at Dundalk Institute of Technology on 23rd November 2011. Participants are invited from trade unions, sporting, cultural, religious, historical and fraternal groups, and those involved in community work.

This training forms part of a wider project that has already begun to collect and archive one hundred heritage interviews with key peacemakers. These include senior political figures, victims and survivors, civil servants, community and religious leaders, people in business and others involved in various attempts at conciliation over the last forty years or so.

The project has established a substantial online directory (LOMOND) drawing together interviews relating to the Peace Process. The LOMOND directory was launched by the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers at a reception at Stormont earlier this year. It provides access to much of the valuable work that has gone before and is intended as a first port of call for citizens, academics, policy-makers, journalists and anyone with an interest in the conflict and its resolution.

For more information please contact John Davison at ASITIS Consulting on 02890438677 or 07795360154 or jdavison@asitisconsulting.com