2017 Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ninth International Conference of Museums for Peace

The International Network of Museums for Peace held its 9th International Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 10-13 April 2017.

The conference also marked the 25th anniversary of INMP, a global network of peace museums, peace gardens and other peace related sites, centres and institutions that share the aim to cultivate a global culture of peace.

The conference theme, “Cities as Living Museums for Peace”, highlighted Belfast’s social and political transformation from a divided, troubled city to a one which models peace consciousness through postconflict healing and reconciliation.

The 9th International Conference of Museums for Peace was co-hosted by Visit Belfast and Ulster University. The conference included participation by directors and curators of human rights and peace museums, peace educators, journalists, artists, musicians, architects, policy makers, as well as researchers, scholars, and students of history, museum studies, cultural memory studies, international relations, international ethics, and interdisciplinary subjects.

“Visit Belfast, with funding support from Tourism Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, has continually promoted the city as a vibrant conference and business tourism destination.” said Laurie Scott, Director of Business Tourism at Visit Belfast. “Now, ‘Peace, Anthropology & Conflict Resolution’ has been identified as a priority for growth within the conferencing sector in Belfast so we are thrilled that INMP has chosen the city as the venue for this 9th International Conference of Museums for Peace.”

Ulster University has been globally renowned for the impact of its peace and conflict transformation research through INCORE – the International Conflict Research Institute – headquartered at the University’s Magee campus in Derry-Londonderry.

Dr Máire Braniff, Director of INCORE at Ulster University said: “The opening day of the Conference (April 10) marks the 19th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement/Belfast Agreement, the most important and far-reaching agreement in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. The Opening Reception of the Conference will be held at Stormont (Parliament Buildings) on the same estate where the historic agreement was signed. It will therefore help reflect on an historic event in our region whilst refocusing our attention on the importance of conflict transformation work both locally and internationally.”

The Conference included keynote addresses, symposia, workshops, paper and panel presentations, and a poster exhibition, as well as optional visits to historic sites and museums for peace. In addition to the conference theme, current issues and themes related to museums for peace were discussed. These topics included new developments in museum studies (museology), and the changing roles of museums for peace in the global age. For example, what is the role of museums for peace in education; in post-conflict healing and reconciliation processes; in the nuclear disarmament movement; in clarifying contested memories and multiple historical interpretations; and in raising awareness about socially-sanctioned, structural violence?