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DEL Studentships (Strategic Research Projects)

Funded PhD Studentship, 2014-2017 (2 Awards)

‘Representing the Troubles: Contested histories, critical museology and conflict exhibitions’

Supervisors: Dr  Fearghal McGarry (History); Dr Debbie Lisle (Politics)

This strategic studentship invites applicants to consider the representation of the Troubles in modern museums and public spaces. By exploring the challenges that arise when curators, politicians, stakeholders and the public do not have a shared narrative about a recent conflict, this studentship will address debates concerning the legacy of the past and the politicisation of history. It will consider:

  • effective ways to represent ‘dissonant heritage’ in an institutionalized museum setting
  • the role and impact of academic scholarship on the interpretation of the past in a museum setting
  • the role of ‘public history’ institutions in mediating tensions between community memory and academic approaches to contested history
  • the constraints and opportunities that shape museums’ contribution to public debate and understanding

Applicants are invited to develop proposals that reflect their specific research interests. These might include (but are not limited to):

  • exploration of comparative and international dimensions of conflict museology (for example, placing representations of the Troubles in conversation with museum representations in South Africa, Bosnia or the Middle East)
  • consideration of how 'national' museums such as the Ulster Museum and community museums such as the Museum of Free Derry (with their differing functions, aims and responsibilities) contrast in their approaches to representing the Troubles.
  • placing current debates about representing the Troubles at the Maze/Long Kesh site within the broader international context of ‘post-conflict societies’
  • examining the representation of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum with a broader historical context of museum representations of contested events such as 1798, the Easter Rebellion, and the Battle of the Somme
  • availing of the opportunity to collaborate with the Ulster Museum through an internship contributing to the further development of its Troubles gallery.

 Closing Date for Applications:

 17 February 2014

 For further information on the PhD project, please contact: Dr Fearghal McGarry

( For information on the application process and eligibility for funding, please contact Susan Templeton ( 

Envisioning Reconciliation: Media practice as a tool of conflict transformation


Professor Fiona Magowan (Anthropology); Professor Cahal McLaughlin (Film Studies); Professor Hastings Donnan (ISCTSJ)

This strategic studentship invites applicants to consider how non-governmental media organisations and local communities along contested borders have adopted film and digital media to engage with reconciliation processes. An ethnographic critique of participatory media asks how post-conflict narratives are being literally re-envisioned. Working with community-based organisations which use media and film, the project questions how visual representation impacts upon traumatic memories, managing and transforming conflict. Selecting fieldsites from border conflicts or national contexts within the team’s expertise, it invites applicants to consider:

  • How do images of places and landscapes speak to past atrocities and how might film offer new possibilities for visions of peace?
  • For those who have experienced conflict, how can reconciliation through media practice influence behaviour, promote social integration and reflect human rights agendas?
  • In what ways can community media programmes impact reconciliation politics and promote cross-border conflict amelioration?

This project problematizes reconciliation processes as a complex relationship between image, text and media practices at local levels. It considers how visual processes impact upon personal and political memories of the past. In some countries the visual has been marginalised when Indigenous reconciliation discourses have become part of constitutional politics, while, in other places, reconciliation has been mediatized in truth commissions. Yet, there is still ‘a paucity of research and analysis of the media’s role in conflict resolution’ (Gilboa 2010: 88). This project aims to redress this lacuna by critically assessing reconciliation outcomes through the power of the visual and media practices when formal political peace processes have failed. 

Closing Date for Applications:

17 February 2014

For further information on the PhD project, please contact: Prof. Fiona Magowan ( For information on the application process and eligibity for funding, please contact Susan Templeton ( Further information is available at:


For further information:

Admission criteria

How to apply