Centre wins £140k bid to undertake PEACE IV Impact Evaluation

Centre members Dr Danielle Blaylock, Dr Laura Taylor, Professor Rhiannon Turner, and Dr Stephanie Burns have successfully bid for funding from the PEACE IV European Special Body / Department for the Economy to undertake an Impact Evaluation of the PEACE IV Programme on Children and Young People. Dr Burns will be the postdoctoral reesarcher on the project, which will start in December 2017 and continue until 2022 (November 2017).

Prof. Rhiannon Turner publishes on Islamophobia in the wake of terrorism

The shootings at the Canadian Parliament on October 22, 2014 received international coverage and fueled concerns about terrorism and growing Islamoprejudice. In the wake of this event, an international team of researchers, led by Becky Choma at Ryerson University, Canada, and co-authored by Professor Rhiannon Turner, Professor Gordon Hodson, and Arvat Jagayat, undertook two studies (n=215, n=492) investigated objective temporal distance, right-wing ideology, and intergroup emotions as predictors of prejudice, outgroup trust, and the restriction of civil liberties. Objective temporal distance from the shootings was also examined as a moderator of the relations between ideology and intergroup emotions with intergroup attitudes. Results showed that greater endorsement of right-wing ideologies, higher intergroup anxiety, or higher intergroup disgust were associated with greater prejudice and lower outgroup trust. Of particular note, participants who completed the survey further from (vs. closer to) the event reported more positive intergroup attitudes and were less likely to endorse restricting civil liberties. Objective temporal distance also moderated some of the associations between intergroup emotions with intergroup attitudes.. The research was accepted for publication in the journal Personality and Individaul Differences (November 2017).

Congratulations, Dr Karolina Urbanska!

Congratulations to Karolina Urbanska, who successfully undertook her PhD viva on 19th October 2017. Karolina, who was supervised by former Centre member Dr Sam Pehrson (now at St Andrews), Professor Rhiannon Turner and Dr Laura Taylor, and who undertake her PhD on the legitimacy of authority in Northern Ireland and Malaysia, passed with minor corrections. Karolina was a valued member of the Centre, founding and organising our weekly journal club, and playing a lead role in the organisation of various events and conferences. Karolina has now moved to France to undertake a postdoctoral position (October 2017).

Dr Danielle Blaylock joins the Centre

We are delighted to welcome Dr Danielle Blaylock, who joined the Centre as a Lecturer in Applied Social Psychology in October 2017. Dr Blaylock, a social psychologist originally from Maine, US, undertook her PhD with Professor Mike Hogg at Claremont Graduate University in California. She first visited Northern Ireland in 2005 during her PhD working at the Institute for Conflict Research in Belfast, before returning to Northern Ireland in 2009. She is not new to Queen's University Belfast, having been a research fellow in the Centre for Shared Education since 2012, working with Professor Joanne Hughes on a 5 year study of intergroup contact in Northern Ireland schools. Prior to that she was a research fellow in the Institute for Irish Studies, working with Dr Dominic Bryan. Dr Blaylock has hit the ground running since her arrival, having submitted a bid for PEACE IV EU Special Programme Body funding within weeks of her arrival. She also holds funding, along with Professor Hughes and Professor Rhiannon Turner, from the ESRC, and is working on a number of projects with Dr Laura Taylor. She also holds funding from the Northern Ireland Policing Board to investigate community policing (October 2017).

Centre involved in new ESRC grant on Brexit and Deliberative Democracy

The Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations is part of a successful bid to the ESRC to examine the Post-Brexit UK/Ireland Border and the stability of peace and security in Northern Ireland. The interdiscilpinary project, which is led by Professor John Garry (School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, QUB), and will involve co-investigators Professor Brendan O'Leary, Professor John Coakley, Professor Rhiannon Turner (School of Psychology, QUB), Dr Clifford Stevenson (Anglia Ruskin University), and Professor David Farrell, will  conduct two "deliberative democracy" exercises which allow Northern Ireland citizens the space and relevant information to consider the challenging issue of Brexit and the border (March 2017).

Centre receives ESRC funding to develop an international research network on education in divided societies

The Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations, along with colleagues in the Centre for Shared Education, the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council as part of their Global Challenges Research Fund.

The project, which involves collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, St Cyril and Methodius University Skopje, Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, and University of Zagreb, is entitled, Education in divided societies: Developing and researching shared education in the Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia.

It will develop a strategic network of key educational stakeholders in Northern Ireland and the Balkan region whose work contributes to peace building through the promotion of intergroup contact and intercultural dialogue in education. In doing so, the project will establish an infrastructure that connects academics, practitioners, NGOs, and policymakers across four diverse contexts, each transitioning from violence to sustainable peace. 

The project is due to commence in early 2017 and will include a number of in-country events designed to forge relationships, to facilitate, promote, and develop models of shared education appropriate to each context, and to enhance the internal capacity within each jurisdiction to effective implement, monitor, and evaluate shared education initiatives.

Bringing together members from post-conflict societies with the common challenge of separate education for divided groups will allow for the generation of distinctive insights and perspectives to inform a broader discussion around the role of education in divided societies to act as a vehicle for reconciliation and social change (November 2016).

Centre Receives EASP funding for a Medium Group Meeting on Challenging the Narrative of Intractable Conflict

The Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations, led by Dr Laura Taylor, Dr Lesley Storey, and Thia Sagherian-Dickey, has received funding to hold a medium group meeting on challenging the narrative of intractiable conflict. Intractable conflict plays a central role in the lives of individuals and the organisation of society. In this context, social and political psychologists have both a role and a responsibility to better understand and to develop effective programmes to constructively address these issues in their societies. The event will take place form 26-28 June 2017. It is hoped that together with colleagues from around the world this conference will offer a space for academics to discuss how current theorising and research in the psychology of legitimacy, stigma, and socio-political participation can increase our understanding of these challenges.  (October 2016)

Centre PhD students organise successful Postgraduate Conference

Postgraduate Researchers from CIIR, Christine Spencer, Judith Escuin-Checa, and Jeff Hanna were on the organising committee of the School of Psychology's Annual Postgraduate Conference. The highly successful and well attended conference, which took place on 23rd September in the David Keir Building at Queen's, involved a series of research talks PhD students entering their second year of study. The conference also featured a keynote talk by Dr Nick Hopkins (University of Dundee), and talks from Centre members Dr Gary McKeown and Dr Ioana Latu (September 2016).




Karolina Urbanska undertakes research on responses to authority decisions in Malaysia

How do people in groups respond to authority decisions across cultural contexts? This is the question that led Karolina Urbanska, final year PhD student, to collaborate with Dr Miriam Park (Monash University Malaysia). Malaysia, typically theorized as vertical collectivist country, makes an interesting case for investigating this question. Having received support from the School of Psychology, Karolina visited Dr Park from 9 September to 16 September 2016 at Monash University Malaysia, located 15 miles away from Kuala Lumpur.  Karolina collected data from 160 Malaysian students, which will provide insights into cultural values that determine group members’ responses to authority decisions. She also gave a guest lecture to fourth year psychology students in the ‘Psychology in Society’ module (September 2016).

Dr Ioana Latu joins the Centre as a lecturer

We are delighted to welcome Dr Ioana Latu, who joined us from Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, to Queen's University at the start of September. Ioana's research focuses on how individuals’ stereotypes and prejudice affect actual behavior in interactions – both the verbal and nonverbal behaviors of the person holding these biases, as well as the behavior and performance of the targets of these biases. We are all very much looking forward to collaboration with Ioana! (September 2016)



Professor Rhiannon Turner seconded to the Mitchell Institute

Professor Rhiannon Turner has been seconded to the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice as a Senior Research Fellow from 1st September 2016 until 28th February 2018. The Institute, which is focused on the global challenge of building a peaceful, inclusive and secure world, is highly interdisciplinary, with research fellows in the fields of Anthropology, Business, Education History, Geography, Law, Politics, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology. Rhiannon intends to develop interdisciplinary collaborations, highlight the importance of psychology in promoting global peace, and host research events. Centre member Dr Laura Taylor is also a Fellow of the Mitchell Institute (September 2016).




CIIR PhD students present at BPS Social Section Conference in Cardiff

First Year PhD students Judith Escuin Checa and Jeff Hanna presented their research at the BPS Social Section Conference, which took place in Cardiff from 31st August to 2nd September 2016. Judith presented her work on the role of language in intergenerational transmission of identity (pictured), as well as presenting a poster on the effects of symbolic threat in multiple identity management. Jeff presented his research with Dr Laura Taylor on perspective taking among emerging adults in a setting of protracted conflict (September 2016).


Thia Sagherian-Dickey attends EASP Summer School in Exeter

Centre PhD student, Thia Sagherian-Dickey participated in the EASP summer school from August 1-13. She was part of the workstream "The group dynamics of unequal status positions" taught by Jolanda Jetten, Andrew Livingstone, and Joseph Sweetman. During the second week, the graduate students taking part were divided into smaller subgroups within each workstream. Thia's subgroup designed an exploratory project looking at 'inaction' as a specific form of resistance and / or protest (August 2016).




Lukas Horstmeier attends White Water Management Summer School in Kochel am See, Germany

Lukas Horstmeier attended the White Water Management Summer School, organised by the University of Applied Science Furtwangen w from the 22nd to the 31st August, in Kochel am See, near Munich, Germany. The concept has been to apply and experience theories and strategies of management and team building in a kayaking whitewater simulation through a mixed approach of lectures and application. Lukas took part as a supporting staff assistant for camp management and team building (August 2016).


Thia Sagherian-Dickey presents at ISJR conference at University of Kent

PhD student Thia Sagherian-Dickey presented her research at the International Society for Justice Research at the University of Kent from 20-23 July, in Canterbury, UK, at the University of Kent. She gave a presentation entitled "The nature of intergroup trust in support for social change" (July 2016).



Thia Sagherian-Dickey attends ISPP meeting in Warsaw, Poland

Centre PhD student, Thia Sagherian-Dickey attended the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) meeting in Warsaw, Poland, from July 13-16. Thia was co-author on a presentation by Dr Clifford Stevenson on territorality and migration in a divided city, examining lay theories of citizenship in Belfast. As a member of the ISPP early career committee, she also co-organised a mentoring luncheon (June 2016). 


Lukas Horstmeier presents at ISPP in Warsaw, Poland

Lukas Horstmeier presented the first set of findings to emerge from his PhD at the 39th Meeting of the International Society for Social Psychology, in Warsaw, Poland, which took place from July 13-16 2016. His talk was entitled “Measuring Social Class: SES, Self-categorization, & Identity”, and was given as part of a session of talks on “Socio-economic status and inequality perceptions” chaired by Dr. Guillermo B. Willis from the University of Granada. Lukas was also welcomed the great opportunity to be paired with Professor Linda Tropp (University of Massachusetts Amherst), an eminent international social psychologist, during an Early Carrier Support event at the conference (July, 2016).


Thia Sagherian-Dickey undertakes research visit to Beirut

Centre PhD student Thia Sagherian-Dickey visited Beirut in June to engage in networking activities and to collect data for her PhD project, which focuses on understanding the group level dynamics of trust in Northern Ireland and Lebanon. Further details and photos to follow (June 2016).




Thia Sagherian-Dickey undertakes research visit to Beirut

Centre PhD student Thia Sagherian-Dickey visited Beirut in June to engage in networking activities and to collect data for her PhD project, which focuses on understanding the group level dynamics of trust in Northern Ireland and Lebanon. Further details and photos to follow (June 2016).




Thia Sagherian-Dickey presents at EASP meeting in Brighton

Centre PhD student, Thia Sagherian-Dickey attended the EASP small group meeting on new directions in the social psychology of solidarity from May 10-11. Thia gave a presentation entitled "A meta-analysis of trust: a key construct in the study of solidarity". The meeting was organised by John Drury (University of Sussex, UK), Roberto Gonzalez (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chille and Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies, Chile), Nick Hopkins (University of Dundee, UK), Clifford Stevenson (Anglia Ruskin University, UK), and Hanna Zagefka (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK) (May 2016).




Jeff Hanna visits SUPIR lab at the University of Sydney.

Jeff Hanna was hosted for a research visit by Professor Fiona White and her team at the Sydney University Psychology of Intergroup Relations (SUPIR). Jeff is involved in a cross-cultural research project comparing e-contact and imagined contact in Northern Ireland and Australia. He originally become involved in the project, led by Professor White and Professor Rhiannon Turner, when he undertook a School of Psychology-funded Summer Scholarship on the topic in 2014 while studying for an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Jeff is now a first year PhD student in the Centre. During his visit to SUPIR, Jeff delivered a seminar on the effectiveness of e-contact in Northern Ireland, and gave and tips to honours students planning on usng e-contact (April 2016).



Jeff Hanna presents at SASP

Jeff Hanna travelled to Brisbane, Australia, to present at the Society for Australasian Social Psychologists (SASP). He presented research conducted with Dr Laura Taylor on youth anti-social behaviour in Northern Ireland (April 2016).



Professor Saths Cooper, President of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), visits the School of Psychology

On 15th April 2016, Dr Laura Taylor hosted Professor Saths Cooper for an informal discussion in the School of Psychology. A close associate of the late Steve Biko, Saths played a key role in the anti-Apartheid struggle, the advent of democracy in South Africa, the unification and ascendancy of psychology and youth and community reconstruction and development during and after Apartheid.

Members of the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations, the Univerity of Ulster, and Open University attended the discussion. Dr Cooper, who was visiting the School to deliver a public lecture sponsored by the Northern Ireland British Psychological Society, discussed a range of topics, including how psychologists can engage more with the general public, and the societal challenges that psychology can help address, including economic instability, globalization and terrorism. He also gave advice to our PhD students on how they can best engage with society when undertaking research (April, 2016).



Dr Damien Dupré joins the Centre as a visiting researcher

Dr Damien Dupré is currently based in the Centre, working with Dr Gary McKeown. Dr Dupré investigates emotions in user experience of new technologies (April 2016)


Centre members present symposium at NIBPS Conference in Dundalk

Several members of the centre presented their work in a symposium organised by Dr Karen Trew and Professor Maurice Stringer (University of Ulster). Presenters from the Centre were Dr Laura Taylor, Thia Sagherian-Dickey, Debbie Kinghan, and Kevin McNicholl (March 2016)


Dr Laura Taylor publishes article on Youth Resilience for APA

Dr Laura Taylor wrote an article for APA's Psychology International Newsletter entitled 'Youth resilience in the face of growing global conflict: Disrupting social patterns of violence and promoting resilience in youth'. The full article can be found here (March 2016)

Patrick Flack writes about researching loyalist communities for The Psychologist

Patrick Flack has written an article for The Psychologist on researching loyalist communities. He is currently completing his PhD on 'Identity Change amongst Loyalist Paramilitary Organisations in Northern Ireland'  (March 2016)

 Karolina Urbanska wins Santander Scholarship

Karolina Urbanska has been awarded a Santander Scholarship of £500. The funds will be used to visit the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews in June 2016. Karolina is currently in the second year of her PhD, examining authority legitimacy in contexts of intergroup conflict (February 2016).

Professor Rhiannon Turner publishes paper on 'confidence in contact' in Social Issues and Policy Review


With collaborator Dr Lindsey Cameron from the University of Kent, Professor Rhiannon Turner published a paper entitled "Confidence in Contact: A New Perspective on Promoting Cross-Group Friendship Among Children and Adolescents". The paper presents an empirically driven theoretical model of intergroup contact that outlines the conditions that help to make young people “contact ready,ˮ preparing them for successful, sustained intergroup relationships by giving them the confidence that they can engage in contact successfully (January, 2016).



Thia Sagherian-Dickey presents at conflict conference in Groningen

Thia Sagherian-Dickey, a second year postgraduate researcher in the Centre, presented at the International Workshop: Distrust and Conflict Escalation in Organizations and Societies in Groningen, in January 2016. Her paper, with supervisors Dr Mirona Gheorghiu and Dr Lesley Storey, was entitled "Understanding the conceptualisation of intergroup trust and distrust in post-conflcit Northern Ireland”, and was part of a panel chaired by M Van Zomeren and S Tauber (January 2016).

Patrick Flack publishes article in Queen's Policy Review

Patrick Flack recently wrote an article for the Queen's Political Review ( The article is based on recent focus groups that he conducted with ordinary members of the loyalist community, and focuses on the 'social identity theory of leadership' and how this relates to leadership within the loyalist community (August 2015). 

 Dana Townsend visits CIIR

Dana Townsend, PhD student in psychology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame (USA), is a Visiting Research Associate with CIIR. Dana spent three weeks at QUB and worked on collaborative research projects on youth civic and moral engagement in settings of intergroup divide with Laura Taylor. Dana also led a journal club meeting organised by Karolina Urbanska and Thia Dickey to discuss moral development of young people in settings of political violence (July 2015).

British Academy-Leverhulme Grant for Dr Laura Taylor

Dr Laura Taylor and her collaborator Dr Shelley McKeown have been awarded a British Academy-Leverhulme Grant looking at youth resilience and altruism. Congratulations, Laura!

CIIR Away Day 2015

The Centre held an Away Day at Riddel Hall on 30th July 2015 to explore ideas for collaboration and dissemination (July 2015) 

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CIIR Members attend ISPP Conference in San Diego

 Members of the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations, including Dr Laura Taylor, and PhD students Patrick Flack and Thia Sagherian-Dickey, presented at the ISPP Conference in San Diego in July. Thia Sagherian-Dickey talked about her research with former Centre member Dr Clifford Stevenson (now at Anglia Ruskin University) on experience of contact for incoming residents to mixed identity areas of Belfast (July 2015).

New publication for Dr Laura Taylor in Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology

Dr Laura Taylor has a new publication in the journal Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. The paper examines the relationship between political violence & civic participation in Colombia (June 2015).

Professor Fiona White visits CIIR

Professor Fiona White from the University of Sydney spent 3 weeks with us in the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations as a visiting professor in June. Fiona worked on collaborative resarch projects with Professor Rhiannon Turner and Dr Gary McKeown, and also attended a journal club meeting organised by Karolina Urbanska and Thia Dickey to discuss the future of social psychology (June 2015)


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Media coverage for Turner BJP paper

A recent publication in BJP published by Professor Rhiannon Turner, led by her former PhD student Dr Rebecca Graber at the University of Sussex and undertaken alongside Professor Anna Madill from the University of Leeds has featured in a number of media reports in the UK and abroad including the Daily Mail, Boston News Time, the Boston Globe, Science Newsline, and UK Ed Chat. (July 2015).


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Richard Benjamin Grant for Dr Laura Taylor

Dr Laura Taylor and her colleague Dr Shelley McKeown at the University of Bristol have been awarded a Richard Benjamin Trust on 'Altruism Born of Suffering in a Post-Accord Generation'. The work will take place among Northern Irish youth (May 2015).


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New paper for Rhiannon Turner in the British Journal of Psychology

has published a paper on the role of friendship in promoting psychological resilience among at risk young people via close friendships. This work was undertaken with her former PhD student Dr Rebecca Graber at the University of Sussex and Professor Anna Madill from the University of Leeds, and was published in the British Journal of Psychology (May 2015).

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Brucknell University visit

A delegation of American undergraduate students from Brucknell University, Pennsylvania, visited the on 29 May 2015. The visit was part of a 3-week study abroad program, Paths to Peace, led by psychology professor Dr Bill Flack and geography professor, Dr Adrian Mulligan. Students have lectures and coursework, and also volunteer at community placements around Northern Ireland. Following a lunch where the delegates had the opportunity to meet staff and students from the School,  there were a series of talks by Head of School , Director of the MSc Political Psychology programme , Dr Ulrike M Vieten of the the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, and students undertaking Masters degrees in the School. , an alumnua of Brucknell who oragnised the visit, then took the delegation on a tour of the university campus.

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Centre Research Commended by REF2014 Panel

Research in the School of Psychology has been judged to be world-leading and outstanding by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), with research outputs recognised as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour with almost 60% of the submitted outputs classed as 4* or 3*. We were also ranked as 9th best Psychology departments in terms of research intensity. Research outputs on identities, groups and social change submitted by members of the Centre was particularly commended as strong work by the REF panel (December 2014).

CIIR Launch event, July 2014

On 2nd July 2014, the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations held an inaugural event to celebrate it's launch at Riddel Hall. Presentations were given by Dr Mirona Gheorghiu, Dr Clifford Stevenson, Dr Karen Trew, Dr Sam Pehrson, and Dr Lesley Storey from QUB. Dr Katy Haywood joined us from the School of Psychology at QUB, Dr Claire Campbell joined us from the University of Ulster. We also welcomed an international keynote speaker, Dr Kevin Durrheim from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. A number of PhD students also gave excellent poster presentations (July 2014).


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Rhiannon Turner gives keynote at FACE conference

Rhiannon Turner gave a keynote talk at the FACE conference: Integrating our Hidden Communities, which took place in the Titanic Centre. The conference was a platform for Co-operation Ireland to showcase the development and successes of their FACE Project and they invested its organisation with the same detail and creativity as the project itself. The conference followed the progression of the Project from inspiration, theoretical basis and practical application to evaluation, showing the natural evolution of the Project from idea to implementation. (September 2014)

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Inaugural Lecture for Professor Rhiannon Turner

Professor Rhiannon Turner delivered her inaugural lecture at Riddel Hall on 27th February 2014. She talked about her research on how imagination and observation can be used to change people's behaviour in an increasingly diverse social world (February 2014).

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