The Ethical and Shared Remembering Programme, 1912-1922, has been developed around a five strand methodological framework:

  • Remembering in Context
  • Remembering the Whole Decade
  • Remembering the Future
  • Remembering Ethically
  • Remembering Together

In approaching the second half of the Decade the methodology remains. The heart of the methodological framework is remembering ethically adapted from the work of Irish philosopher Richard Kearney. Kearney offered an ethic of hospitality which is at least three dimensional, narrative hospitality, narrative flexibility and narrative plurality. In the historical context of the Decade 1912-1922, this has provided a prism to critically and ethically appraise the game-changing events in Ireland one hundred years ago.

Narrative hospitality is the generous openness to hear each others narrative. Narrative flexibility is the generous openness to each other and the readiness to recognise that there are multiple narratives from 1912-1922, that there is no normative narrative, and that with new finds and documents, narratives change. Narrative plurality recognises the complexity of history, the illusions of knowledge, the limitations of vision and that our narratives are diverse, provisional and plural, and always will be.

The ethic of hospitality, flexibility and plurality continues to be applied to the main historical events of 1917-1922; the end of WWI 1918, the War of Independence 1919-1921, the Paris Peace Conference 1919, the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the Partition of Ireland 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Civil War 1922-1923, the Northern Ireland violence 1921-1922.

The approach to these events will apply the methodological framework of the first half of the Decade but with the development of an additional methodological strand. A thematic approach to 1917-1922 is now in place. Large themes emerge from the events of 1917-1922 and eight have been identified for critical exploration. The themes are: Historical, Patriarchy, Religious, Political, Militaristic, Cultural, and two themes more specifically related to Remembering the Future. These are the Common Good and Building Pluralist and Deliberative Democracy.

What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?

Major work has been developed on a theme that refused to go away when dealing with the events of 1912-1916. Dr Cathy Higgins has designed and delivered the first educational programme on Patriarchy. More programmes will follow on this all-pervasive domination system, including a significant publication during a thirty months programme.

Considerable work has also been developed by Dr Johnston McMaster on the Religious theme for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, which in their plural forms were sectarianised in Ireland. The history and legacies of the complex 16th century are being explored through extensive seminars and lectures across Northern Ireland. A book on the Reformations, Reformed Always To Be Reformed has been published.

The thematic approach is an ethical way of engaging with the root causes of past violence in Ireland as well as opening up critical thought and imagination on the kind of society we want in the present and for the future. A book is being published on some of the themes, Redescribing The Future. The ethical and thematic approach is essentially an interactive educational programme with the objectives of liberation from the past and thinking critically, ethically and thematically about the events of a century ago. It is an ethical and thematic engagement with history to shape a different future, a common good.

Further Information

Maureen Hetherington, mhetherington@thejunction-ni.org