Members of the PhD research group were invited to a workshop at Ulster University in Northern Ireland last month.
The workshop theme was: Understanding Research Ethics in Conflict-Affected Contexts. The group shared experiences and reflected upon ethical research practices in conflict-affected regions.
A wide range of topics, including the ethical dimensions of research in conflict-affected contexts, the importance of informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity, and the ethical challenges of working with vulnerable populations were discussed in detail.
The workshop resulted in the co-creation of a set of ethical research guidelines that will inform EPP research going forward.
Given the history of sectarianism in Northern Ireland, the trip provided an important opportunity to learn about the history of the conflict in the country.
Before heading to Ulster University’s Coleraine campus, the group embarked on a bus tour of Belfast to learn about the history of the conflict, known widely as The Troubles.
The tour was divided into morning and afternoon parts, during which two different tour guides explained the history of the conflict from their perspective. The guides, who today shake hands, were on opposing sides of the conflict during The Troubles.
The tour visited peace walls throughout the city. Colourful murals depicting all manner of social, political and conflict inspired artworks, that have become synonymous with Belfast.
Members of the group remarked throughout the tour of the parallels and similarities of Northern Ireland’s history with that of Iraq and the Kurdistan region.
Sophie Brown, one of the PhD researchers who was fascinated by the tour, said: “I found the peace tour extremely insightful. Hearing from both sides of the conflict challenged any idea that peacebuilding is straightforward. But it also gave me a great deal of hope about what can happen in those deeply uncomfortable dialogues.
Sophie added: “I learned a lot about the history of Northern Ireland that I hadn’t known before and translating that in real time to various contexts in the Middle East was extremely powerful.”