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Martha Beard is a doctoral researcher based in the Centre for Memory, Narratives and History in the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton. Martha`s research is interdisciplinary and takes approaches from cultural, social and political history, memory studies, archive theory and life-history to examine and evaluate the role of oral history as a peacebuilding tool in Northern Ireland and broader global contexts. In this historical context, Martha`s research interacts with the theory, history and debates related to the practice of conflict resolution, conflict transformation and reconciliation in dealing with the past at a local, regional and transnational level.  A core part of her work involves the critical exploration of the strategies and practices devised by the Dúchas Oral History Archive, situated in West Belfast, from c.1999, to acknowledge and deal with a conflicted history of the Troubles and to build relationships across social and political divisions in the Northern Irish peace process.

Through her PhD, Martha seeks to evaluate the Dúchas archive as a tool for negotiating a divided and contested history within and between the local interface communities in the context of the State’s management of the conflict and the peace process, while assessing the extent to which scholars might use its material in making an interpretative history of experiences and memories of ‘place’.