Dr Lehner’s research interests are in contemporary Irish and Scottish writing as well as post-conflict literatures and cultures, with a focus on Northern Ireland. Her work explores the relationship between politics, ethics, and aesthetics. It takes inspiration from the field of postcolonial, gender, and trauma studies and political and aesthetic theory, and has both a comparative and interdisciplinary dimension.
Dr Lehner has been involved in several projects:
She is completing a PaCCS-funded project on ‘LGBTQ Visions of Peace in a Society Emerging from Conflict’, led by Dr Fidelma Ashe (University of Ulster). This project sought to redress the marginalisation of LGBTQ people in conflict transformation processes by providing them discursive and artistic fora to express their stories of political conflict, conflict transformation, and visions of peace. The creative outcomes included a photography exhibition and a theatre performance, which were launched during Belfast's Queer Arts Festival, Outburst, in November 2017, at Belfast Exposed and TheatreofplucK.
Dr Lehner is currently working on another PaCCS-funded project on ‘Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation’, led by Professor Fiona Magowan (QUB). The project investigates the effects of sound (including sonic arts, participatory music-making and storytelling in theatre) to explore how sounds project and ameliorate community experiences, memories, and narratives of conflict across cultures and different conflict/post-conflict settings of resistance through to reconciliation.
Dr Lehner is working on the role of storytelling, the politics of voice and sound in theatre productions to assess the ways in which they can create contact zones and foster reconciliation among audiences. She is working with four local theatre companies, which are notable for creating a new ‘transformative aesthetics’ to counteract one-sided narratives of the Northern Irish conflict: Tinderbox, Kabosh, TheatreofplucK and the Theatre of Witness programme at the Playhouse in Derry.