Education Minister John O’Dowd Addresses #euroclio2016AC

On 21 March, the Minister of Education of the Northern Ireland Executive addressed the 23rd EuroClio Annual Conference “Reimagining Remembrance”. The Minister welcomed local and international delegates of the conference on behalf of the Northern Ireland Executive:

I am delighted that EuroClio chose Belfast as the venue for this year’s conference. The theme is particularly relevant for schools in the North this year, given that the spring and summer of 2016 will see two important events being commemorated locally, the Easter Rising and the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Both events have shaped cultural and political attitudes here and I am sure delegates will have much to share on how we encourage all our young people to appreciate the historical and contemporary significance of the events that took place one hundred years ago.

During his speech Minister O’Dowd also mentioned efforts of his department to reform curricula and provide new educational resources in Northern Ireland: “I commissioned the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment to prepare a ‘1916 Mutual Understanding’ programme for schools. This is now available and will provide teachers with curricular support and materials to enable them to explore the history and legacy of the events we are marking this year.” O’Dowd stressed that in order to implement the curricula, “we have to rely on the professionalism of our teachers.”

The Ministry of Education has launched a campaign titled “Education Works” to help parents get involved in their children’s education.

Watch the speech below:

Keynote Speaker Tony Gallagher: “Engage More Critically with World Outside Classroom” #euroclio2016AC

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Tony Gallagher, Professor of Education delivered a keynote speech at the 23rd EuroClio Annual Conference “Reimagining Remembrance” currently taking place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. During his presentation (available for download in .pdf below), Mr. Gallagher discussed the role of education systems in a divided society, while presenting the case of Northern Ireland. He stressed that history education should “engage more critically and effectively with what is taught outside the classroom.”

Local and global issues exist in parallel and not enough connections are being made.

In his speech, Mr. Gallagher posed some very important questions that history education nowadays encounter like “Should minorities be entitled to institutional recognition?” and “Is pursuit of tolerance a core goal?” Furthermore, he discussed the differences, features and (dis)advantages of separate versus common schools. Subsequently, he described the development of history and citizenship education in Northern Ireland.

His overall conclusion was threefold: we should support the engagement of difficult issues, promote critical learning communities, and we should learn from other contexts, while developing our own solutions.


Day 1 and 2: “What History Emerges From a Decade of Centenaries?” #euroclio2016AC

On Saturday 19 March, the 23rd EuroClio Annual Conference “Reimagining Remembrance” started in Belfast, Northern Ireland. That first afternoon at the Welcoming Ceremony, opening statements were made by EuroClio President Marjan de Groot-Reuvekamp, Director Jonathan Even-Zohar, Alan McCully, Senior Lecturer in Education at Ulster University, and Robert Heslip, Culture and Heritage Officer of the Belfast City Council. Afterwards, Carmel Callagher, Registrar General of the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI), presented a SWOT-analysis on the history of education in Northern Ireland. During the evening, an icebreaking session was held, where all participants had the opportunity to meet the delegates while enjoying a warm buffet with snacks. The venue of the opening day was the Lanyon Building at Queen’s University.

The central question and theme of the second day, Sunday 20 March, of the conference was “What History Emerges From a Decade of Centenaries?” At the Ulster Museum, the participants were welcomed by Paddy Gilmore, Director of Learning and Partnership, and Fiona Baird, Learning Officer of the National Museums Northern Ireland/Ulster Museum. Bob Stradling, Editor-in-Chief of Historiana and Steven Stegers, EuroClio Programme Director, presented the Historiana progress. Afterwards, Eamon Phoenix, Senior Lecturer in History of Stranmillis College, discussed the question “How have commemorations sustained tensions?”, followed by historian Philip Orr, presenting the question “What does 1916 mean for 2016 and beyond?” with discussants Alan McCully and Joke van der Leeuw-Roord (Special Advisor to EuroClio).

The second part of the morning session had room for two discussions. First, a discussion panel consisting of various museum educators, artist and civil society representatives was chaired by Martin Melarkey, Nerve Centre Director. The panel touched upon the following questions: How to bridge the gap what should be remembers? How do museums, civil society and artists deal with the past and present? Second, a view of the Nerve Centre Short Movies was shown, afterwards discussed by William Blair, the Head of Human History of the National Museums of Northern Ireland/Ulster Museum and Paula McFetridge, an artist, at the Kabosh Theatre.

After the lunch break, the conference departed from the Ulster Museum for a thematic tour around the Belfast murals in parallel groups, led by local historians. The guided tour was the end of the programme and Sunday and the participants enjoyed a free evening afterwards.

For more information and updates, follow our Conference Blog!

23rd Annual Conference Kicks Off: “Belfast is a Place of Diversity, Not of Dichotomy.”

On Saturday, March 19, EuroClio President Marjan de Groot-Reuvekamp opened the 23rd EuroClio Annual Conference “Reimagining Remembrance: Dealing with the Legacy of a Violent Past in History and Heritage Education” currently being held in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Opening statements were also delivered by Director Jonathan Even-Zohar, Senior Lecturer in Education at Ulster University Alan McCully and Culture and Heritage Officer of the Belfast City Council Robert Heslip.

Belfast is a place of diversity, not of dichotomy.

—Robert Heslip, Culture and Heritage Officer, Belfast City Council

The conference will continue through Thursday March 24. During the conference, keynotes, workshops, on-site learning and school visits focus on the roles, impact and challenges of the decade’s historical and contemporary importance and to reflect on remembering and commemorating the difficult past presents particular challenges in the reconciliation process for governments, civil society and history educators.

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23rd EuroClio Annual Conference: Reimagining Remembrance


Share your insights, views, pictures, and videos of the conference! Join the discussion at #euroclio2016AC.
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Dealing with the Legacy of a Violent Past in History and Heritage Education

Societies which have experienced conflict and reached a peace accord have difficulty in moving from "negative" to "positive" peace. Often remembering and commemorating the difficult past presents particular challenges in the reconciliation process for governments, civil society and history educators. Northern Ireland is no exception to this.

This conference will take place close to Easter, 2016. In the spring and summer of that year two important events are being commemorated locally, the Easter Rising and the first day of the Battle of the Somme, both of which, subsequently, have helped shape cultural and political attitudes in Northern Ireland.

These occasions can be exclusive and therefore cause community tensions but there is also the potential to re-examine their significance from a wider range of perspectives including the present and, thereby, re-imagine the contribution this deeper understanding might make to building a transformative peace. Participants attending the conference would have the opportunity to engage with the on-going debate within civil society as to how best these events might be handled, to experience educational initiatives to help young people better understand the Decade's historical and contemporary importance and to reflect on how similar events are remembered in their own countries.

The conference aims to explore the question of “How to teach controversial history in a responsible manner” through a highly (inter)active and engaging programme with workshops, dialogue tables, open spaces, on-site study visits, public debate and reflective and interactive panels. The conference will provide a platform of intercultural exchange in which the participants will actively learn, share best practices and network. These and more questions on the environment of the history educator in 21st century will be the points to peer-learn on 6 full course days at a Unique International Conference.

Extra Information

AimsExpected Outcomes

  • To engage in a Europe-wide debate on the experience of Northern Ireland civil society as to how sensitive events should be remembered.
  • To compare and contrast the experiences of Northern Ireland as well as other countries across Europe and beyond on teaching sensitive history in a divided society and adopting different approaches in applying the historical process to sensitive events from the past.
  • To share educational initiatives which help young people better understand the 1912-22 decade’s historical and contemporary importance and to reflect on how similar events are remembered in their own countries.
  • To exchange innovative tools, methods and professional knowledge with all other Educators in Europe to aid teaching locally and in their own countries.
  • To develop a common understanding of innovative and responsible history education as a bridge foreducation for reconciliation, peace education, intercultural education and human rights education.
  • To disseminate and explore implementation of innovative history teaching resources and guidelines produced by national, international, NGO’s and intergovernmental organisations.
  • To transform the shared experiences of integrated and cross-border history education in diverse societies into tangible guidelines for European educators and policy-makers.
  • To explore the role of local (educational) authorities in bridging cultural/historical viewpoints in divided societies taking the example of the city of Belfast.
  • To strengthen synergies between EuroClio and history educators in Northern Ireland in order to establish and build the capacity of History Teachers’ Association of Northern Ireland.

History, Heritage and Citizenship Educators are encouraged to take part in this unique International Training Course, as it aims to achieve for individuals the following outcomes:

  • Increased participation and dialogue in European Community of History Educators.
  • Raised awareness of cultures and identities through field trips, and reflection on the teaching of history across Europe.
  • Access to new partnerships, including schools, local, regional, national and international educational authorities and institutes in different fields and sectors.
  • Recognition of developed competences in history education through lifelong learning in the international context.
  • Access to innovative history education tools from across Europe with a focus on education for peace.
  • Improved English-language competence through facilitated and engaged dialogues.
  • Understanding the challenges related to dealing with public commemoration in divided societies.
  • Conference report for wider dissemination, including educational resources, and academic papers.

Belfast Calling! #euroclio2016AC

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The 23rd edition of the EuroClio Annual Conference is just four days away! The conference will realize its ambition of reaching out to more than 170 educators from more than 30 different countries all over the world throughout different days at the conference. Below you can find the conference booklet, which will guide you through interesting and varied themes, speakers, lectures, workshops and cultural and on-site learning programmes.

Keep informed by following the live updates from the conference via the hashtag #euroclio2016AC and at the project page.