Promoting social cohesion through education in a post-conflict society: A case study from Northern Ireland
Speaker: Professor Joanne Hughes
Queen’s University Belfast
Shared education originated in Northern Ireland. It is a contact-based model that promotes curriculum-based learning between pupils and teachers from separate schools within an education system that is divided on ethno/religious lines.
This presentation considers how shared education reflects distributive, ideational and relational dimensions of social cohesion, and the processes through which its implementation may contribute to a more socially cohesive society.
The analysis will make use of research evidence on shared education that has accumulated since its first pilots were introduced in 2007. Based on Professor Hughes' experience of aiding and assisting in the development of similar models in other international contexts, she will also look at how the shared education model has impacted other societies emerging from conflict.
About the speaker
Professor Joanne Hughes
Queen’s University Belfast
Professor Joanne Hughes is Director of the Centre for Shared Education and Director of Research in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her main research interests are in the role of education in divided societies, and inequalities in education. She has led more than 20 research projects and published widely on these themes. In 2016, she was appointed to a UNESCO Chair in ‘Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Intergroup Relations in Divided Societies’. She has advised Government Officials and Ministers nationally and internationally on the development of policies and interventions to promote good relations in schools. Her research in NI informed the Shared Education Act (2016) and an associated policy framework, and in North Macedonia, the establishment of a state-wide Interethnic Integration in Education Programme, and the development of linked resources. In Israel, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo she is working with local NGOs, academics and officials to develop shared education interventions. Recent (2016-present) expert advisor roles include, British Academy, ‘Education in Conflict and Protracted Crises’; Academy of Social Sciences, ‘Making the Case for Education in the UK; Salzburg Global Session 605, ‘Climate Change, Conflict, Health and Education’; Research Review of mid-Sweden University - Chair of the Education Panel. From 2010-2014 she was editor of the prestigious British Educational Research Journal and she served on the Executive Council of the British Educational Research Association from 2012-2017. In 2019 she was appointed to the international Learner Research Network Advisory Board, and in 2020 her work was recognised in an Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, awarded by Her Majesty the Queen to Queen’s University, Belfast for shared education research and impact.