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Centre for the Study of Conflict
School of History, Philosophy and Politics,
Faculty of Humanities, University of Ulster

Centre Background

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The Centre for the Study of Conflict operated from 1977 to 2000

Contents of this page

Recent Developments in the Centre



The Centre for the Study of Conflict was a research centre based in the University of Ulster between 1977 and 2000. The Centre was founded in 1977 as an inter-disciplinary research unit within the University. Its central aim was to carry out research on the conflict in Ireland, to encourage the growth of an academic community involved in conflict research, and to support this process through seminars, publications, visiting scholars and liaison with other institutions.

It carried out a wide range of studies with a concentration on practical issues to do with institutional and community structures and change. In the last few years research reports were published on: parades and marches, segregation, mixed marriages, ethnic minorities, the role of the churches in the conflict, employment and unemployment differentials, cross-border relations, and the cultural curriculum of the schools. The most recent work of the Centre included a range of studies on issues including: mediation, politics in a divided society, peace education, the role of women in conflict, policy evaluation, educational attainment, parental opinion, the role of district councils in community relations, and policing a divided society.

The Centre was staffed by fixed-term researchers, a director (Professor Seamus Dunn), an associate director and a secretary. In addition, a large number of the academic staff of the University were associated with the Centre conducting funded research projects under its auspices. The Centre received core funding from the University but the greater part of its income was derived from research grants from government, charitable foundations and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). During the last few years the Centre attracted funding for a number of projects. These projects covered a range of research topics including: alienation, ethnic minorities, values in education, Education for Mutual Understanding and conflict resolution. Full details of completed Centre projects can be found from the main menu.

As an important complement to the conduct of research the Centre was anxious to ensure that the results of its studies had an impact on the community at all levels, including the relevant government departments, other academics, the media and the wider population. The completion of each project within the Centre was therefore accompanied by the publication of a research report. In the last few years the list of Centre research reports (which can be found from the main menu) grew significantly. In addition to these reports the Centre also published an Occasional Paper series. Another way in which the Centre encouraged the dissemination of information about the Northern Ireland conflict was by promoting a programme of seminars and visiting speakers - including academics, politicians, diplomats, civil servants, journalists, churchmen and trade unionists, from home and abroad. In the last few years the Centre welcomed visitors from: Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda and the United States of America. In addition the staff of the Centre, and associated colleagues, accepted invitations to speak about their work and visited and lectured in many countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

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Recent Developments in the Centre

There were a number of important developments and activities in the Centre over the last two to three years. Between 1977 and 1994 the Centre was a wholly independent research centre within the University of Ulster. During 1994 the faculty and departmental structure of the University underwent major reorganisation. As part of this process all the research centres of the University became part of the new faculty structure. The Centre, from its original position outside the faculty structure, was incorporated into the Faculty of Humanities and was closely associated with the school of History, Philosophy and Politics. While the management of the Centre remained with the Director, this change did mean that the Centre was able to draw on the resources of the Faculty. It remained, however, a priority of the Centre to incorporate expertise from across a wide range of disciplines in its research projects.

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