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Project Title:Reconciling Life and Work - Experiences of Equity, Diversity & Interdependence
Contact:Karin Eyben
Duncan Morrow
Derrick Wilson
Address:School of Social and Community Sciences
University of Ulster
BT52 1SA
Telephone:01265 324550/324620
Fax:01265 324904


The development, support and documentation of practical and sustainable models of managing diverse and equitable relationships for a number of different sectors (cultures of learning) in Northern Ireland. The active promotion of these models with relevant European counterparts.

Our previous research indicates that the most significant factor obstructing the emergence of strategic approaches to supporting and developing equitable and diverse relationships in Northern Ireland is the absence of developed models of practice appropriate to different sectors of the community. The over-riding obstacle is the absence of answers to the question of 'how' to apply the principles of diversity, equity and interdependence to real circumstances in different organisational contexts: companies, local government, churches, community groups, trade unions, media agencies and so on.

Although the principles remain consistent throughout, the actual form that their application might take is entirely dependent on context. What is appropriate to a large company may well be inappropriate to a training scheme, a voluntary or public sector group or for small and vulnerable community groups. By embarking on an empirically based experiment on the practical feasibility and difficulties involved in different contexts, we would begin to fill this gap in the current literature. It is our belief that this kind of information could be of immediate relevance for policy makers, organisations in all sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, community relations practitioners, management committees and academics.

Working together with volunteer partners in the public and private sectors as well as with voluntary groups, we intend to devise, deliver, monitor, revise, support and analyse a series of appropriate interventions to support the principles of equity, diversity and interdependence central to living in a divided society like Northern Ireland. We also intend to identify whether any outcomes from these interventions are transferable to the wider European context through active relationships between our Northern Irish partners and their European counterparts.

This will be done through a rigorous and agreed process of:

1. Examining Policy Statements and/or Philosophy of the organisations to match current statements against these agreed statements.

2. Actively considering the Procedures and Structures by which the day to day work is organised, regulated and supervised.

3. Regular recording and analysis of the day to day Working Practices, Programme and Relationships within the agency and how they are developed.

4. Developing Agreed Practices which review, overhaul and develop current policies, procedures and working practices to assist the acknowledgement of equity, diversity and interdependence.

5. Identifying the existence of European Counterparts and analysing firstly, the nature of relationships and whether these are based on equity, diversity and interdependence, and secondly, whether these principles are actively promoted within these European organisations.

6. Recording whether the processes undertaken by the NI organisations impact on their Relationships with their European counterparts and on the Internal Structures of these European groups.

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