Muralling in Belfast: George Floyd and the International Wall

Luke Dunne Articles, Uncategorized

Smartphones and social media can transfigure a single, horrific event into something malleable and replayable. One might think the contemporary public (hyper)space would render more traditional forms of political communication obsolete. But grieving for George Floyd and with the victims of racism everywhere meant reconceiving that public space. Muralling – long the preferred form of self-representation for marginalised communities – constitutes one such reconception. 

Artists across the world have drawn their own meanings from the killing of George Floyd, and expressed their conclusions in their own ways. Sometimes, such meaning lies in a mural’s location: George Floyd’s face painted on a separation wall in the West Bank sends its own message. Sometimes it is the image’s content that forces us to focus on a particular aspect of Floyd’s death – his humanity, the visceral horror of the act, or the political structures that  facilitated it. 

The mural you see here on the ‘International Wall’ on the Falls Road in Belfast can be divided into three parts. In the first, you see the assailant Derek Chauvin, donning a MAGA hat, snarling at the viewer as he kneels on Floyd’s neck. Second, George Floyd’s face – enlarged, isolated – looks out of the canvas. His expression is indiscernible. His face does not express sadness, nor rage, nor fear. It is as though he is waiting for us to decide how we mourn him. He dominates the mural. Third, and perhaps most telling of all, three policemen stand aside. One covers his eyes, another his ears, another his mouth. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. 

The ‘International Wall’ is covered in an ever-shifting mosaic of Republican homages to foreign heroes and causes, from Palestinians, to Kurdish fighters, to the West Papuan independence movement. Placing the mural of George Floyd here places it at the centre of a contested narrative over antiracism and its relation to political conflict in Northern Ireland. Moreover, the role of a mural in itself has deep historic resonance as a way of representing the concerns of Unionist and Republican communities authentically. The sixth Contested Histories Occasional Paper covers the history of murals and muralling in Northern Irish cities in greater detail, and explains how murals have traced the contours of conflict and reconciliation since its foundation. 

The Republican and Unionist contestation has several dimensions, and though the emphasis is often placed on religion, the two communities are also divided by political ideology. Left-wing theory and activist practice are hugely influential in Republican circles, whereas most Unionists have adopted conservatism as a working ideological approach. That the former has pushed for more radical change to policing and race relations in general since Floyd’s death would inevitably expose that political divide.  

But besides this general division, Northern Ireland has its own distinct relationship with antiracism as a global movement. During the 1960s, the American Civil Rights movement for African American equality was an inspiration for Catholics in Northern Ireland, who consequently demanded equal rights in employment, housing and security. Many historic concerns of these two communities appear to align, most significant of which is a historic distrust of law enforcement. 

Claiming to reflect the historical legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland is a fraught and highly contested business. Republican activists and politicians were keen to emphasise ‘solidarity’ with the Black Lives Matter movement and, indeed, to draw the two struggles together. Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland, was explicit in this: “Whether in Ireland or the US, an injustice to one is an injustice to all. Racism must be eradicated” (via Twitter on June 2nd 2020). 

Not everyone accepts this characterisation. Kenny Donaldson, who chairs a group advocating for victims of the Troubles, said in aftermath of Floyd’s death: “Why are local people justifiably horrified by George’s murder not also horrified by the brutal actions of terrorists in Northern Ireland who often tortured their victims before stealing away their lives, and often within the glare of wider public view?” 

George Floyd’s death and the resurgent movement for racial equality has forced crises of self-consciousness across the Western world. How can a country learn to condemn unjust or oppressive episodes in its past? In an important sense, Northern Ireland is home to two divergent national imaginations. Whether gradual reconciliation can be reached over time remains an open question. In grief, latent divisions continue to peek through the cracks.

Image “George Floyd mural in Belfast” by Rossographer CC BY 2.0

We have learned “history that is not yet history”

“These are the times that try men's souls”

 “In the past year, we organised workshops with several groups, talking about the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990's. We learned about most of the background information for the showcased images by first participating in the workshop ourselves, and later, we were given insight into some further details on their context. Overall, the experience was as challenging and educational as it was entertaining.” I will start with the words of my student Matija, as I think that they are the best indicator of how successful we’ve been while teaching history that is not yet history.

It has been exactly two months since I last entered a classroom that was full of students. Since the school closed, we were obliged to adapt ourselves to this new situation. We reacted without any delay. 

In the same week, I received a call from the principal of the high school in which I am working who asked me to participate in the project “Learn from home” (“Uči doma“). My answer was “Inform me when we are starting.” A couple of days later, I was once more in my classroom, this time standing in front of the camera. My task was to prepare lessons for high school students, I chose to prepare lessons for the third and the fourth grade.

It was a bit difficult to analyse certain historical topics, without anyone there to ask questions or for explanations. To make a comment about something…anything. I had to change the approach and it was obvious for me what was needed. I needed to include my students somehow!

So, phase two started – ‘Let’s try to do some workshops online.’ It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. But, it was awesome! We connected ourselves through online platforms and started preparing workshops. One day I posted a question in one of our groups which said: “Are we doing the 90s?” 

Well, this is the answer -  Istorija za IV razred opšte gimnazije - Nestanak Jugoslavije (History for the 4th grade of general high school - The disappearance of Yugoslavia)

We decided to use the materials that were created in cooperation with EuroClio. So, all those projects I was involved in, including “Learning history that is not yet history” and EuroClio's cooperation with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in researching their archives, finally gained wider audience in my country – the most important audience, I would add! We have shown every fourth grader in Montenegro that we can discuss this sensitive period that many of them believed is not yet history. For the first time in history, we have discussed and presented this topic to hundred-thousands people, and this was broadcasted on the national Montenegro television in prime time. The reactions from the student, colleagues and parents were awesome. I would say that we have fulfilled our main task.

The material we have used the most while preparing this lesson was a War(s) in photos workshop. Pupils used visual sources to explain their perspective of the topic, they tried to elaborate how the common people were affected by the war, what was the role of soldiers and what was the role of politicians. I have to say that this wasn’t the first attempt to discuss these subjects with students in a classroom workshop in the past few months, but it was by far the best and most successful one. I was extremely happy and proud that we were able to promote this topic by using a multi perspective approach, not excluding any of the points of views and sides of the people that participated in the war.

Another student that contributed to this workshop, Mina, stated  “I have had an opportunity to be a part of this workshop more than once and every time it was a new experience. As the topic is quite a taboo, I found presenting the facts about the war fairly challenging. But, when you choose the fear of starting a controversial lecture over education, you compromise people's future abilities to understand and forgive each other. In my opinion, this workshop completely breaks the stereotype of this topic as something upsetting that creates divisions, it is a creative way to overcome the limitations and start to openly speak about a topic that is shaping the generations to come. With putting the effort, you can teach in a way that can be only  prosperous and never harmful or offensive.

As I wrote in a similar article a couple of weeks ago, “These are the times that try men's souls.” But these are also the times when we need to show our responsibility. And I think that this was one of the ways we have done it. I will conclude with the words of my student Anja, which wrote about her experience while doing this topic “As important as it is to shine light on the topic of wars of the 90s as a professor it might be even more important to be thoroughly involved in a serious subject such as this one as a student. I personally felt that it was my responsibility to establish the communication with the other peers because it was a crucial part to them understanding and sharing personal opinions and beliefs on this topic, which in the end I think I did well with the help of my friends.”


Written by Igor Radulović, history teacher from Podgorica, Montenegro. As a member of HIPMONT (History teachers association of Montenegro), Igor participated in the project “Learning history that is not history”, which won the Global Pluralism Award for 2019. He is also involved as a trainer in EuroClio's collaboration with the UN 's International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. 


WEBINAR In Europe Schools: A Unique Exchange Project for European Schools

Charlotte Pontifell Uncategorized

Do you want to join a transnational team of schools from across Europe developing interactive education kits about our recent history? 

In Europe Schools is a one of a kind European exchange project in which students film their recent history, and research and compare themes like democracy, human rights, privacy, difficult histories, climate change and migration. Schools from all over Europe will take part in this project and work on the same themes. All their short documentaries will be gathered in a playlist by VPRO, a Dutch public broadcaster.

Interested in having your school joining us on this exciting project? To learn more, attend our online presentation webinar on either 20 or 29 April at 5pm CEST:


Register for the April 20 Webinar here -> 

Register for the April 29 Webinar here -> 


During the webinar, one of the authors of the educational resources, Harri Beobide, will present the project in further detail. Harri will discuss the matching process, and will provide a further explanation of the Education Kits, as well as the learning outcomes and the final product made by the students. At the end of the Webinar, you will have the opportunity to sign up for a new round of school matches, starting in September this year!

Background & more information

In February 2019 Dutch Broadcasting Company VPRO and EuroClio joined forces and launched the In Europe Schools project, developing online educational resources on the Modern History of Europe, based on the VPRO documentary series In Europe – History Caught in the Act. The project offers a unique online exchange project between schools across Europe, with students working on different historical themes, conducting research and interviews as well as producing and editing their own short documentaries. Currently, the piloting phase of the project has come to an end, during which 50 schools across Europe have partnered up and exchanged their documentaries. The Education Kits that are currently available are Difficult History and Migration, with two new Kits in the making: Climate Change and Gender Equality. In addition to these Kits, tutorials help students to develop a variety of skills related to conducting research and interviews as well as documentary making: Research, Extended Research, Interviewing, Filming, and Editing. The documentaries are shared and uploaded to the In Europe Schools YouTube Channel, feel free to have a look beforehand!

From Tribunal to Classroom

First round of trainings with UN Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals completed

The UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) has partnered with EuroClio in delivering training to history teachers in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, North Macedonia and Kosovo.

With the prosecution work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) nearly completed, its successor body IRMCT, has turned its attention to the ways in which the Tribunal’s legacy can be used in educational settings. The partnership with EuroClio targets educational professionals who are faced with the challenges of teaching students about the recent violent history of the former Yugoslavia.

Facilitated by expert teacher trainers from the History Teachers’ Associations of Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia, along with individual teacher trainers from Bosnia-Hercegovina, the first round of trainings was completed in Pristina 1 February 2020. Previous editions of the workshop were held in Belgrade, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Skopje, with a second round commencing in Podgorica 22-23 February 2020.

A session introducing the archives of the Tribunal will also be held in connection with EuroClio’s Annual Conference in Belgrade.

As part of the training workshop, local history teachers are not only introduced to the archives of the ICTY, but also given guidance on how these sources can be used in their classrooms. Aided by the local teacher trainers, they are furthermore offered the opportunity to design their own learning materials with the available sources.

EuroClio is proud to work with the IRMCT in this important work, showing how the sources available from the transitional justice process can be used in a responsible way, instilling students with the critical thinking skills needed for tackling a recent and difficult past still very much felt in contemporary society across the former Yugoslavia.

We direct a particular mention and thanks to the facilitators Natasha Kostic, Emina Zivkovic, Igor Radulovic, Milos Vukanovic, Mire Mladenovski, Donika Xhemajli, Admir Ibricic, and Arna Daguda-Torlakovic, as well as Rada Pejic-Sremac and Anisa Suceska-Vekic from IRMCT.


For more information on the project or potential collaborations with EuroClio, please contact Andreas Holtberget at


Education for Sustainable Peace – Georg Arnhold Senior Fellow – Call for Applications

EuroClio Opportunities, Uncategorized

The Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research. Member of the Leibniz Association (GEI) is pleased to announce the Call for Applications for the 2021 Georg Arnhold Senior Fellow. The appointment, for the fellowship including a research stay of up to six months at the GEI, offers outstanding scholars and experienced practitioners in the field of peace education the opportunity to carry out work in the area of education for sustainable peace, preferably with a focus on educational media and transformation societies, and to discuss their project and findings with other scholars and practitioners at the annual international Summer Conference of the Georg Arnhold Program.

The application deadline is January 31, 2020. Further information and the application form are available at

Call for Papers for National History Educational Conference is the global and the local – glocal history

Veronika Budaiová Uncategorized

The theme for the XIV National History Educational Conference is the global and the local – glocal history. Whether to prioritize and foreground local, national and/or global perspectives in history education has for a long time been a discussion in history educational research. Global goals, such as the United Nations Human Rights Charter, includes ideals about understanding across and beyond cultural and geographical borders. Combining these perspectives is a challenging task for history education. It raises questions about students’ possibilities and limitations in regards to understanding what is close and what is far away. Thus, key issues for the conference will be in what ways local, national and global history may support or complicate history teaching? Other topics of interest are: How can ‘World history’ and more local history stimulate or hinder different understandings of the past? How does universal global ideals relate to local perspectives? Is Glocal history a theoretical and practical possibility or impossibility in schools? Is it reasonable to assume that different grades and stages require different glocal foci? In what ways can the Global citizenship concept of “thinking global; acting local” relate to history education?

Submissions from across the field of history education are welcome, although we encourage applications and papers that in one way or another discusses one or several questions relating to glocal history.

Keynote speakers for the conference are Prof. Keith Barton, Indiana University Bloomington, and Dr. Denise Bentrovato, University of Pretoria. Professor Barton and Dr. Bentrovato have studied local, national and global perspectives in teaching in countries such as Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Colombia, South Africa and New Zealand, and will present interesting glocal contrasts to stimulate further discussion during the conference.

Presentations in any of the Scandinavian languages or English are welcome. You are most welcome to submit your abstract of 200 – 300 words here. Please note that the deadline for submitting abstracts is February 9, 2020. Accepted papers should be submitted at least 14 days before the conference via this link. Presentations without papers will be given less time.

Would you like to host an Historiana Training at your National Event? – Fill in this Call for Interests

Alice Modena Opportunities, Uncategorized

This year, we have the possibility to give a series of Historiana trainings in EU Member States. These trainings will focus on practical tips and tricks about how to use the Historiana eLearning environment to create tailored eLearning Activities that promote historical thinking. The workshops can be adapted to your needs, using exemplar  material relating to any of the following topics:

  1. Ancient Rome and Greece;
  2. The Age of Discoveries;
  3. Napoleon and his Time;
  4. The Industrial Revolutions;
  5. European Renaissances;
  6. Reform and Counter Reforms.

We believe this would be a great opportunity for us to do something exclusive with our members. We have the opportunity to include a training on Historiana with one of our trainers in an event, conference or training that your Association organises between October 2019 and April 2020. Due to donor requirements, the trainings need to take place in a EU-country.

If you are interested to make use of this opportunity, please fill in this call for interests by the 31st of August. We have budget to cover travel and 1-night stay for the trainer for around 6 trainings. We will discuss the suggested options with our trainers mid-September and decide based on availability of the trainers. We will inform all interested members by 20 September.

The results of the call will be shared by the 20 September 2019.

Please insert here the full name of the member association in English

Will your national event be the Annual Conference of your association? A teacher training event? Another type of event? Please, describe briefly what the event will be about and what will be in the programme.

Webinar: Reading Visual History, Using Digitised History Sources to Promote Visual Literacy and Historical Thinking

EuroClio Project Updates, Uncategorized

In the final week of my residency at EuroClio, I delivered a webinar entitled Reading Visual History: Using Digitised History Sources to Promote Visual Literacy and Historical Thinking which was free for EuroClio members. The webinar took place on the afternoon of 13 May and was attended by participants tuning in from all over the world, some of whom were able to join us even whilst travelling home from work. We are excited about offering webinars more often as they are a convenient way to bring our membership together for professional development and discussion and this session formed a first step in this direction.

Visual Literacy

We began by discussing the importance of visual literacy and some general principles for analysing visual sources in the history classroom. According to Bristor and Drake, “visual literacy is a person's ability to understand, interpret and evaluate visual messages, and in turn to use visual language to communicate with others.” While we all have some level of visual literacy, it is important that students develop the skills to critically engage with visual sources in their daily lives and in order to improve their historical thinking skills. Visual literacy can aid the development of skills like using sources, contextualising, and taking historical perspectives. It can also spark student interest and provide an alternative way to increase substantive historical knowledge in what is often a text-heavy subject area. Some of the general principles for supporting students to enhance their visual literacy skills include:

  • Work from the surface to the depths
    • Begin with what stands out in an image and then ‘read’ in greater detail, asking questions of the image along the way. Consider how factors like position, colour, shape, symbols, etc. serve to attract the viewer’s attention and communicate messages.
  • Describe and interpret
    • Ensure students are making clear links between exactly what they see in the image and what they interpret this to mean. This helps to avoid false assumptions, encourages students to always justify their interpretations and assists them in identifying how ideas and messages are communicated in visual sources.
  • Consider different perspectives
    • There are three important categories of perspective to consider when working with historical visual sources: the perspective of the creator, the perspective of the contemporary viewer, and the perspective of the present-day viewer.
  • Using contextual knowledge and captions
    • Contextual knowledge from both your teaching and image captions can support students to make sense of the image and identify the perspectives above. In some cases, it can be useful to withhold these until later in the analysis process in order to encourage more open ‘reading’ or to demonstrate the importance of context.

Using Digital Sources and Online Activities

The second half of the session focused on the use of online learning activities to promote both visual literacy and historical thinking skills. The example activities presented showed how digital sources, coming from Europeana Collections and curated for educators on our own Historiana website, can be used in different ways in the classroom. They were created using the eLearning Activity Builder with a focus on the ‘Analysing’ and ‘Sorting’ tools.

An activity using the Posters from Communist China source collection promoted deep reading of propaganda posters in order to understand the type of society the Chinese Communist Party hoped to create. The image above is an example of one of these posters, and you can see it is a rich source of messages about the ideal Chinese Communist society. The second activity, using The Visual Front source collection of official WWI photography, asked students to analyse and evaluate the strategies used in this photography to make the lives of soldiers look appealing. In presenting these activities, we discussed the advantages of online learning activities and some possible ways to integrate this into the workflow of the classroom.


The webinar software allowed participants to share video and audio and therefore engage in real discussion throughout the session. This was a great way for us to connect and collaborate. EuroClio is keen to make webinars a regular feature for members so keep an eye out for information on upcoming sessions.


Bristor, Valerie J., Drake, Suzanne V. ‘Linking the Language Arts and Content Areas through Visual Technology.’ T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education) vol 22, no. 2.,

Bridget Martin, EuroClio