Many thanks to those who took part in last week’s conference at the University of Manchester and for contributing to a very successful day of conversations and debate. The event attracted twenty three speakers and participants, including emerging and established academics in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Irish Studies, Drama and Performing Arts, and Screen Studies, alongside arts practitioners and activists. We really enjoyed meeting everyone and learning about their different projects, plans and perspectives.
As you know, we are thinking about ways of developing Common Ground as a research community that could support greater dialogue and collaboration between academic researchers and the people and communities who are the subject of research. Our key focus is on Northern Ireland and Ireland’s border counties and our plans are informed by two ideas: firstly, we that research matters, not only in the way it frames academic thinking, but also because it influences policy makers and shapes public opinion. Secondly, we recognise the interdependence between researchers and the communities who are the subject of research. We would be interested in exploring some of these interdependencies with a view to identifying opportunities for people to exchange ideas and knowledge, to shape, inform and develop research projects.
To this end, we are proposing a follow up workshop during the first week of November, where people are invited to share their own research project or interest, thinking and talking about it from the perspective of relationships or interdependencies between the research and the people and places that are being researched. We would also be interested in using the time to discuss ideas and themes for another conference for 2017. If you are interested in being part of these discussions, drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org.