The Interview: A Tool for Peace-Building

The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning Project started out with a proposal to create a heritage archive of one hundred interviews on the peace process and to produce a short narrative history of the process of conflict resolution. However, this soon developed into a much more complex hybrid programme of work, in particular, to see how it might provide important and constructive opportunities to disseminate oral history and social research skills through a number of agencies in the border region.

By stimulating community level interest and by constructing practical and self-sustaining programmes to preserve the experiences and voices of ordinary men and women who have lived through troubled times, an important and instructive national and international tool may be developed and passed on. These projects and their methods will speak across the generations, to supplement, modify and correct history seen only or substantially as high politics.

A key reason for success in securing funding was the ability to demonstrate that the project could deal with organisations and individuals across a spectrum of enmity and antipathy, from former Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland and former Ministers of Justice in the Republic of Ireland, to paramilitaries of various hues and affiliations, victims, and those who were simply onlookers.

September 2012 saw the conclusion of a three-part oral history training programme. Participants in the training programme included staff and students from the project’s three institutional associates (QMUL, TCD and DkIT) as well as a diverse range of border citizens. In line with core objectives the project sought out people from both main communities in Northern Ireland and from both sides of the border, including representatives from nationalist and unionist political parties, religious communities, fraternal associations, higher education, frontline and law enforcement services, community associations, youth services, local history networks and students of history, law and sociology from Trinity College Dublin and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

The project is now drawing to an end, and a Closing Event will be held on Thursday 5th December at 4.30pm in The MAC, Belfast. This will also include the launch of two new publications by the project, Out of Adversity and Oral History: A Training Manual for Beginners.

The event title: The Interview: A Tool for Peace-Building

Guest Speaker: Mr Jim Fitzpatrick, Broadcaster and Journalist.

Time: 4.30 pm

Date: Thursday 5th December

Venue: The MAC, St Anne’s Square, Belfast.

You can find out more about The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning Project at

Peace Process Invitation to Closing Event