Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

20 June 2018: Enabling Society through Interaction

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1.30pm – RaISe – Welcome and Opening Remarks

Prof Roger Austin (Ulster) – New evidence and new approaches for shared education

1.45pm –  This presentation focuses on how new research evidence can be used to make shared education more sustainable and more accessible for more children. Shared education has been adopted as policy by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive. It is based on the hope that the sharing of resources and expertise between schools can improve community relations and raise educational outcomes (DE 2016). Most of the 300 schools currently involved in shared education projects (25% of the total number of schools) do so through the Shared Education Signature Programme. Children meet face to face and spend time together on joint curricular projects either in neutral venues or in each other’s schools. The presentation considers new research evidence on a different approach to shared education –  blended contact – a combination of online interaction and face to face work which can inform future policy development. It includes findings of a study with 28 primary schools in Northern Ireland with marked socio-economic and educational disadvantage, which suggest that blended contact has striking advantages, not just in terms of children’s better understanding of each other, but also in the skills of teachers with regard to use of ICT communication tools, such as

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Mr David Coyles, Prof Brandon Hamber and Dr Adrian Grant (Ulster) – Hidden barriers and divisive architecture: the case of Belfast

2.05pm –  The “peace-walls” are particularly symbolic of the role that architecture plays in separating residential communities and a comprehensive scholarship continues to assess their effects. This presentation outlines original findings from a three-year multi-disciplinary academic research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which extends this current understanding of physical and social division. It reveals new evidence of a distinct and important, yet largely unrecognised, body of divisive architecture; an extensive range of ‘hidden barriers’ embedded in various architectural forms across Belfast’s residential communities. The presentation draws on six distinctive case-study communities that have been subjected to the implementation of ‘hidden barriers’ during the comprehensive redevelopment of social-housing during the Troubles: all six communities fall within the top ten percentile of the most deprived electoral wards in Northern Ireland with comprehensive, evidence-based examples of less visible and undervalued forms of social and physical division. The case studies provide a rigorous and reliable evidence base drawn from qualitative fieldwork that includes architectural mapping, photography, community focus groups and in excess of 100 community interviews. This data is underpinned by new and extensive archival research and analysis of NINIS statistical data. The presentation explains how emerging findings from the

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2.25pm – Discussion  
2.55pm – RaISe – Closing Remarks 
3.00pm – Networking and Refreshments