New book maps history and seeks to calm conflict

Is Northern Ireland “moving on” from the Troubles, or “emerging” from conflict? Should we talk about the Good Friday or the Belfast Agreement? Are we ready to deal with the past – and is that the same as addressing it? And do you call it “Northern Ireland” or the North of Ireland?

These questions are raised and examined in a new book from a founder teacher and former principal of Lagan College. Dr Brian Lambkin’s Calming Conflict: Northern Ireland, Metaphor and Migration explores the language people choose to use and the political and social impact of words. Dr Lambkin also proposes a new educational resource for sharing histories – not just the Troubles, but family and local history stretching back centuries. This, he suggests, would help record and express individual and shared histories and might set us on the path to finding a common approach to discussing the past.

New book maps history and seeks to calm conflictDr Lambkin’s book, which is to be launched on Thursday 30 January, sets out the idea of mapping migration stories and presents the movement of people — and the impact of this on families, communities and the wider population — as a central issue in relation to matters of segregation and integration. The new book’s proposed ‘CALM’ project takes the form of online atlases: a ‘Conflict Atlas for Local Migration’ (CALM I) and a ‘Citizens’ Atlas for Local Migration’ (CALM II). CALM I is primarily for the academics and CALM II for the wider public and will be a fascinating resource for anyone interested in researching their own family history.

The launch of Calming Conflict takes place at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) from 16.30 on 30 January and all are welcome. Entrance is free but please book online here.

Speakers will include Sir George Bain, former Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast, and John Gilmour, former Director of the Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh.

You can also purchase a copy of the book online here.