Developing Applied Heritage as a tool for peace‐building in Ireland

Diversity Challenges has been working with Kalmar läns museum and Bridging Ages to adapt the applied heritage method “Time Travel” to the needs of dealing with the past conflict in an about Northern Ireland. Diversity Challenges has led a story‐telling project “Green and Blue across the thin line” on the stories of former police officers and their families and how the conflict impacted on them. In this project Diversity Challenges has partnered the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Foundation and the Irish Section of the International Police Association whose members are former Irish Police officers “Garda”. This project has collected over 40 stories from both sides of the border. The stories and the ethical process used to collect the stories can be found on the web page www.green‐and‐blue.org.

To develop the work we took the ethics of both applied heritage and Green and Blue and worked on a scenario for a Time Travel event. The scenario is based on the stories from Green and Blue.

Our goal was to have a dialogue about the past and how to build a new future. In the landscape we wanted to have a sense of place and look at the participants and who is missing of them. In the training we discussed how to carry our research; ethics, respect and how to handle the conflict. In the educational part we trained the peers and shared stories from different perspectives.

The scenario developed was “How the troubles came to our village” in 1972. This was early on in the conflict and saw the highest level of violence.
The scenario was of a local community running a local community festival. A common event with a
community committee composed of local people from differing community and religious backgrounds.
The planning meeting of the festival is interrupted by the news that there has been a
shooting and two local people have been killed one protestant and one catholic. This news then
impacted on the role play.

Prior to the event we discussed the process and developed the scenario with participants developing their characters. This process was very important and critical. The feedback from the participants was positive and they all saw that applied heritage is an important new tool in the reconciliation process. This is a community development approach and is suited to the needs in Ireland dealing with contested past which is still impacting on the present.

Diversity Challenges has established an accredited training course “Time Travel Historic Environmental Education” with Open College Network.

Diversity Challenges now plans to work with our partners in Ireland to process applied heritage and a Bridging Ages Ireland.

Will Glenning
Coordinator, Diversity Challanges