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Belfast celebrates the humanities - Queen's University Belfast hub

By Dr Franziska Schroeder, senior lecturer in the School of Arts, English and Languages

In this post, the Being Human team have been asking for the low-down on Queen's University Belfast hub 'Belfast celebrates the humanities' – and the answers don’t disappoint! Find out about the exciting activities taking place in Belfast during the festival and the great research behind them.

What inspired you to act as a 'hub' and do a series of activities for Being Human 2017?

In terms of a political (post conflict) landscape we felt that we would be ideally positioned to be a 'hub' in Northern Ireland, showcasing impactful humanities research. As Queen’s University Belfast had never been a Being Human 'hub' we were also inspired to apply.

How does your programme respond to our ‘lost and found’ theme?

We carefully crafted all of our impact activities around this year’s theme. Our events deal with topics as wide ranging as hearing loss, memory loss, and lost and found stories derived from living in conflict situations. We also tackle how arts and humanities research can aid the building of a more inclusive and peaceful post-conflict society, especially through relocating the ‘lost’ voices and visions of LGBTQ people in Northern Ireland’s social and political narratives.

Can you tell us about a few highlights from your programme? What are you most excited about and what can people look forward to?

As an organiser of Queen’s University Belfast’s hub I am excited about all of our events and I can’t really favour one event over the other! One of the great events we have is 'Queer visions of peace' which challenges us to work towards a more inclusive and peaceful post-conflict society, which seems more important now than ever. We also have a fantastic event called 'Storytelling from conflict' where the public can hear stories about the Troubles in Northern Ireland from the Prisons Memory Archive.

I think what we have managed to achieve is a diverse programme which caters for all kinds of audiences, young and old, families and the general public. We have events including talks, hands-on workshops and exhibitions and all showcase our amazing university researchers.


What will people in Belfast get out of coming to these events? What will Queen’s University Belfast get out of hosting them?

I would hope that people will come to find out about the incredibly diverse research that is going on within Queen’s. I would like the public to get involved in the hands-on events as well as listen to our expert talks. As a university, building such outreach and showcase events is highly important as all of our researchers have long-standing links with local community partners. The hub is a way of bringing these links to the fore and to showcase to the public the kind of research that we do, which often is not easily heard beyond our immediate research environment.


What do you think the legacy of your hub will be?

The main hope is strengthened links with our local partners. Also, the fact that we will have a fantastic humanities and arts research showcase should inspire a new cohort to take on the challenge of becoming the next generation of humanities thinkers.


Finally, what is the most unexpected thing that you have discovered about research in your university, or about your local area, in the course of organising your hub programme?

Actually, the fact that so many researchers came forward in the first place and wanted to be involved was already incredible. Secondly, for me, hearing about other people’s research, their community involvement and their impact has been unbelievably humbling and I am proud that I have managed to bring together such a strong team of researchers and community partners.