Colleagues from the Centre for Shared Education presented new research at two large education conferences. In August, Joanne Hughes, Director of the Centre, and Andrea Furey from Ulster University presented a paper entitled ‘Social identity and outgroup attitudes amongst Northern Irish school children of mixed denomination and same denomination parents’ at the European Conference on Educational Research in Copenhagen. Drawing on a study involving almost 3000 pupils, this paper highlighted differences in levels of identification with traditional community and national and political identities between respondents whose parents were from the same religious group as one another (who identified more strongly with these identities) and those whose parents were not.
At the same conference, Caitlin Donnelly, Deputy Director of the Centre, presented a paper entitled ‘Teaching citizenship in the faith school: qualitative evidence from separate schools in Northern Ireland’, based on research that she and colleague Stephanie Burns conducted over the past 18 months. This paper explored differences in the delivery of citizenship education across separate denominational schools and sectors, which the authors suggest reflect differences in the development of Catholic and Protestant identities in the post-Agreement period.
In September, Rebecca Loader (pictured above), Research Fellow in the Centre, presented insights from a comparative analysis of shared education initiatives in Northern Ireland and Macedonia at the British Educational Research Association’s annual conference in Brighton. Charting the implementation of shared education in Northern Ireland and its subsequent introduction in Macedonia, this paper explored similarities and differences between the programmes in each country and examined the influence of the local context in shaping their development.