The Art And Soul Of Peace – Poetry, Story and Complications from Northern Ireland’s Peace Process
Poet, theologian and group worker, Pádraig Ó Tuama has worked with groups in Ireland, Britain, the US and Australia and currently serves as the Community Leader of the Corrymeela Community, an historic ecumenical center on the north coast of Northern Ireland. With interests in storytelling, groupwork, theology and conflict, Pádraig lectures, leads retreats and writes both poetry and prose. We are thrilled that he will join us for a poetry reading and discussion about Northern Ireland’s peace process. This event comes at a tenuous time for Northern Ireland as plans for Brexit (the divorce of the UK from the EU) collide with the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement. Padraig’s ability to perceive and articulate the humanity and spirituality of peacemaking is rich and not to be missed.
Sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies, English Literature, the Interfaith Center, and the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility.
Swarthmore deadline for spring semester applicants: October 7 Deadline for fall semester applicants: February 20
Program Description: In 1969, society in Northern Ireland was torn by violent conflict that erupted from issues relating to civic, social, and political differences. Today, Northern Ireland offers an example of the vast dimensions of transition from conflict to democracy. Students in this study abroad program examine the historical, political and religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the prospects for peace, and the progress being made. Through readings, lectures, discussions, internships, group and independent study projects and field experiences this program invites interaction with people involved in social change. The program explores theoretical approaches to understanding conflict and its transformation as well as the processes underway in Northern Ireland to create a sustainable democracy.
Field seminars focus on human rights, equality, conflict transformation, and education for democracy, and help students see in action the tools used to transform conflict. A seven-week, nearly full-time internship in Londonderry/Derry allows students to participate directly in efforts toward a peaceful future. Diverse perspectives at the internship help students understand the progress of peace and analyze the cultural strengths, traditions, and resources available for building a sustainable and inclusive democracy. Internship sites ultimately provide an opportunity to do meaningful work that makes a difference. Some organizations are grassroots with a local focus, while others are international in scope. Finally, each student carries out an independent study project on a topic of her/his choice, which includes field research.
HECUA partners with the University of Ulster, which has campuses throughout the country. Classes are held at the University of Ulster at Magee with field study and internships in selected regions of Northern Ireland. The program is affiliated with INCORE, the International Conflict Research Institute on the University’s Magee campus in Londonderry/Derry.
Students spend the first five weeks taking core seminars at the University of Ulster at Magee. All students will be provided with a private room during this initial program module. During the seven-week internship at the center of the semester, students will live in a student village in Derry/Londonderry and share living/common space with other students.
Swarthmore is a member of the HECUA Consortium. HECUA
Many will remember the Mellon Creative Residency that brought Northern Ireland mural artist, Dee Craig, to the Tri-Colleges in the fall of 2014. Craig installed a collage in Kohlberg Hall and a large mural on the side of the Science Center, hosted an exhibit on mural arts in McCabe Library and guest lectured in classes across the Tri-Colleges.
Prof. Lee Smithey had the opportunity to catch up with Dee Craig this summer in Belfast and visited each of the new murals.
Youth from nearby Ballymac Friendship Centre designed the first at the bottom of the Newtownards Road in East Belfast. Girls feature prominently along with themes of racial and ethnic diversity, education, and dance. Robyn Buseman and Willis “Nomo” Humphrey from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Project flew to Northern Ireland to assist in the installation.
A new mural in the Donegal Pass area of South Belfast encourages reading and the emphasizes the importance of education for local youth.
Another mural celebrating education adorns a wall of the newly renovated Ballymac Friendship Centre.
Northern Irish and Polish youth cooperated to create a mural in Foxglove Street in East Belfast. Major-General Stanislaw F. Sosabowski led Polish Airborne Forces, who fought at the Battle of Arnhem in WWII. Sosabowski and his forces came to the rescue of the British 1st Airborne Division that had become surrounded by German troops.
Congratulations to Dee and all of his partners as they build on the Tri-Colleges Creative Residency.
This year, we will celebrate with Northern Ireland as they hold a gala event in Belfast City Hall. The youth organization, Public Achievement, have organized a stellar night of bands and speakers that they will broadcast live via the internet from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. EST.
As you buy a coffee or pass through Kohlberg Coffee Bar on Friday September 21, stop by the Peace Day table to watch the broadcast (or stop back by this blog post, where we hope to embed the livestream).
You will have the opportunity to tweet a selfie with a message about what peace means to you, some of which will appear on a large screen in Belfast City Hall during the event. (In fact, you can do that anytime! Print this out, and tweet a photo using #peacedayni)
We have sent a brief video greeting to the organizers.
International Day of Peace 2015 – Video message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
You can follow an aggregated Twitter feed containing all tweets that include #peacedayni, #peacedayphilly, @peacedayphilly, or @peacefestni
It has been for many philanthropists, who worry that building a business model will compromise their mission, and for businesspersons who deem the social part too “touchy feely.” But that’s changing, says Denise Crossan.
“Increasingly, I have students and community members coming to me saying, ‘I have this great business idea, and it’s also going to address a societal problem,’” she says. “There’s definitely space for both.”
“There’s real appetite from students here who want to be engaged in giving back to society through sustainable enterprise,” she says. “It’s about building an organization that makes money that can be reinvested into social purpose or impact.”
Crossan is offering two courses this year through the Peace and Conflict Studies program. This fall, she is teaching a class on what social entrepreneurship is and how to engage in it. In the spring, she will teach a course she calls “finding your inner social entrepreneur,” targeting students who have identified a social issue to which they would like to apply a business model.
“It’s about giving them the space to convert their idea into a viable, sustainable enterprise that creates measurable social change,” says Crossan, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.
“If anyone wants to have a conversation about their research or interests or work that might potentially spin out into social entrepreneurship and wants to come talk with me, I’d be delighted,” she says.
John Van Til ’61, professor emeritus of urban studies and community planning at Rutgers University, Camden, was one of Crossan’s external examiners for her Ph.D. Noting her deep knowledge of community organizations in Northern Ireland, he mentioned that Swarthmore was looking for someone to set up a study abroad program there. Crossan’s discussions with Steven Piker, former professor of anthropology and advisor to the Off-Campus Study Office, and Rosa Bernard, assistant director of the Off-Campus Study Office, yielded a successful Northern Ireland Program based in Derry and Belfast that has sent 12 Swarthmore students to study peace and reconciliation with Trinity College students since 2005.
“I thought, ‘We need the Lang Center in Ireland,’” she says. “They inspired me to work toward setting up the Trinity Centre for Social Engagement [pdf], which will foster social innovation and entrepreneurial action and help us to understand meaningful engagement in society.”
Crossan also sits on a panel of experts in social entrepreneurship for the European Commission, whose responsibilities include advising the commission on the development of the Social Business Initiative across the European Union. She is creating a digital map of social enterprise and eager to engage Swarthmore students in mapping social entrepreneurship in Philadelphia and beyond.
Before she could outline her academic plans for the coming year, though, Crossan had to overcome what she called the “information overload” of re-locating to the U.S.: “new house, new job, new car, new I.D.”
But since she was born and spent the first 10 years of her life in Ohio, it’s not all new.
“Things that I remember from when I was little are coming back to me,” she says. “It’s the small things, like the sounds of people cutting their grass at night or the bugs in the trees.”
And she already feels at home in the Swarthmore community.
“They’re just the most engaged and incredibly deep-thinking group of individuals you could possibly meet,” she says. “Even better, it comes without judgment. It’s an incredible institution with fabulous thinkers, which is also very humble, open to new thoughts and people and contributions. That, I absolutely love.”
Lee Smithey had the opportunity to meet up in Belfast, Northern Ireland with Dee Craig a couple of weeks ago. Dee is the artist who painted the mural on the Science Center here at Swarthmore. (See photos, video, and more.)
Here is his latest piece on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast!
Dee sends warm greetings to all of his friends at Swarthmore!
The Peace and Conflict Studies program is thrilled to join the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility in welcoming a new colleague in Peace and Conflict Studies for the 2015-2016 academic year!
Dr. Denise Crossan Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change 2015-2016
As the Lang Professor, Dr. Denise Crossan will engage with alumni, community members, faculty, staff, and students through instruction, research, and engagement activities surrounding the topics of social innovation and social entrepreneurship.
Dr. Crossan will offer two courses on social entrepreneurship in 2015-2016:
PEAC 039 Social Entrepreneurship for Social Change (Fall 2015)
PEAC 049 Be the Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Principle and Practice (Spring 2016)
Dr. Crossan joined the School of Business at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) in January 2009 as Ireland’s first Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship, and is the founding director of TCD’s new center, Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship. There she has taught courses such as “Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation: Organisation and Management,” and has consulted with many groups as they develop earned income strategies to sustain their work for the common good.
All members of the College community are encouraged to connect with Dr. Crossan during her time at Swarthmore as she is an incredible colleague with expertise in the areas of innovation, leadership, NGOs, social entrepreneurship, as well as strategic management and marketing.
Endowed by Eugene M. Lang ’38, the Lang Visiting Professorship brings to Swarthmore outstanding social scientists, political leaders, and social activists whose careers demonstrate sustained engagement with major issues of social justice, civil liberties, human rights, and democracy.
Along with the sponsoring academic program, Peace and Conflict Studies, this Lang Visiting Professorship is co-hosted by the Lang Center.
David “Dee” Craig, a prolific mural artist from Northern Ireland, created a large mural that is now mounted on the southeast end of the College’s Science Center.
Craig’s work was facilitated by the Mellon Tri-College Creative Residencies Program. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program supports faculty of Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr Colleges from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities divisions to design and implement arts residencies in association with their curricular and scholarly agendas.
From Oct. 28 to Nov. 18, Craig painted and worked out of a purpose-built studio tent adjacent to the Science Center wall that his mural now covers. Painting first in the tent and then later directly on the wall, Craig’s mural took form before the eyes of students, staff, and faculty as they went about their work or walked to their classes. Craig also participated in two public conversations about mural art, conflict, and peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, first at Swarthmore’s McCabe Library to open an exhibit of his murals in Northern Ireland and again at Bryn Mawr, for an event sponsored by the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.
Craig hails from East Belfast and is well known internationally in mural arts circles for his work, and his pieces have often been part of initiatives to replace paramilitary murals that became common during the 30 years of open conflict known as “The Troubles.” Such “reimaging” projects are part of the ongoing and sometimes halting transformation of conflict in Northern Ireland. A renowned artist, Craig was named one of the Belfast Media Group’s top-40 artists under 40 in 2008.
Lee Smithey, associate professor of sociology and coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, helped arrange Craig’s stay. Smithey’s initial application to the Creative Residencies Program noted that “the making of murals is shifting the symbolic landscape to incorporate new narratives within communities, re-articulating collective identities, and beginning to minimize the martial symbols that figured so prominently during thirty years of political conflict in Northern Ireland. Murals offer opportunities for regeneration in excluded or marginalized communities and sites for re-framing memory and identity.”
Smithey feels strongly that the core values of the program were successfully put into practice. “The College is fundamentally about empowering people through learning and sharing ideas,” he says, “and this residency has been very rich on both counts for many of us.”
The mural itself stands as testament to core global ambitions of the Swarthmore community. “We have tried to address the past, present, and future of the College,” Craig says, “and convey aspirations, hopes, and values that faculty, staff, and students expressed in planning discussions before I arrived.”
The goal was to erect a mural that expresses the College’s commitment to scholarly pursuits on behalf of the collective good, or what President Rebecca Chopp described in her inaugural address as “educat[ing] in a way that makes possible the setting aright and setting anew of the world.”
“It seems to me that Swarthmore is quite focused on learning in order to make a positive contribution in the world,” Craig says, “and I hope the mural expresses that.”
Throughout the month-long residency, Craig visited with seven classes across the three colleges. Students were also able to learn with him by collaborating on the project.
Kathryn Barron ’16, from Oak View, Calif., attended the initial lecture at McCabe and proceeded to sign up to paint. “I was amazed at how many people were contributing in various ways to the mural,” she says. “Painting was really fun, and I did learn a great deal about the process of putting up such a large work of art.”
Barron describes how, like the content of the image itself, the process of creating the piece united the community in the completion of a common goal. “I would say one of the greatest things I learned from Mr. Craig and the mural project was how art can be used to pull people together who normally wouldn’t necessarily cooperate on something creative,” she says. “You don’t hear about that kind of thing too often, that art is inherently collaborative.”
Craig had much to teach, but he doesn’t hesitate to concede that during his time at the College, he learned a great deal about Swarthmore and about his practice.
“Swarthmore feels like a very positive place,” he says. “It has been inspiring.” He elaborates that the local techniques for painting murals in Philadelphia are entirely new in Belfast. Paul Downie, executive director of the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, Pa., provided training and consultation on the process of painting on cloth panels that are subsequently adhered to a wall.
“It’s a new style of mural painting for us,” Craig says. “In this piece, I have fused this new format with traditional mural painting. I look forward to taking this process back and introducing it to Northern Ireland mural culture in ways that can help promote cross-community cohesion.”
Craig’s residency was truly an exchange. Just as Craig shared his unique experience and talent with Swarthmore, the College was able to offer him training in a new mural painting technique. Perhaps most importantly, new relationships and networks have been established that will support peacebuilding and creative arts both in the U.S. and in Northern Ireland.
We want to extend our profound thanks to Dr. David Tombs for his excellent well-researched lecture on “The Scandal of the Cross: Sexualised Violence, Silence and Crucifixion” on November 20, 2013. You can view the lecture below.
In addition to his lecture, David visited Lee Smithey’s class on “Transforming Intractable Conflict” and offered an information lunch session on the Northern Ireland Semester Program.
Professor David Tombs, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation for the Irish School of Ecumenics, will meet with interested students and answer questions.
The program provides students a unique opportunity to study conflict, ongoing peace building efforts, and social entrepreneurship in local communities in Northern Ireland, a region in a critical transition after 30 years of violent political and ethnic struggle. Students work (for supervised credit) within local community organizations while studying conflict, peace, and reconciliation at the Irish School for Ecumenics of Trinity College at its Belfast campus. Community placements can be tailored to fit your particular academic interests (e.g. theatre as peace building, culture and conflict, transitional politics, segregated education, cross-border economics, etc.)
The Semester in Northern Ireland is based in two geographic locations, Derry / Londonderry or Belfast, but student involvement with community groups may take place elsewhere in Northern Ireland. Students may register for one semester or two, and further possibilities for summer research and/or service work may arise.