Memory and Empathy in Northern Ireland’s Post-Conflict Museums and Memorial Sites

Supervisors: Dr Paul Bagguley (University of Leeds)
Professor Peter Jackson (University of Sheffield)

Project Summary
This project investigates the role that museums and memorial sites in Northern Ireland play in shaping relationships between post-conflict communities in Belfast and Derry. In doing so it aims to unite a disparate literature on empathy, and explore the limits of this in relation to difficult memories.

Research Questions:
• How are memories of the Troubles in Northern Ireland currently being negotiated in contemporary museums and memory spaces, and how do these differ across the sectors?
• What role does conflict play in the museum and memorial experience in Northern Ireland?
• How is empathy fashioned, and limited by the experience of these formal and informal sites?

In light of this project’s focus on memory and relationships to the past this project will employ a mixed methodology including interviews with people living around Belfast’s ‘interfaces’, and and ethnographic observation of visitor interactions at the proposed museums and memorial sites.