New online archive of the Troubles in Northern Ireland to be launched
Divided Society digitises countless articles, posters and media from the Linen Hall Library's political collection documenting the conflict's latter years
Courtesy of Ian Knox and The Yes Campaign
A new Heritage Lottery-funded digital archive of materials relating to the Troubles and peace process in Northern Ireland is to be launched by acclaimed journalist Kate Adie OBE on Monday, January 22.
The Divided Society project will see the 1990 – 1998 section of the Linen Hall Library’s Northern Ireland Political Collection digitised and made available online at www.dividedsociety.org.
Free to use in the UK and Ireland and via subscription to the rest of the world, the archive includes hundreds of journal titles containing thousands of articles, hundreds of political posters, a video and audio gallery, educational toolkits, and ten exclusive essays from leading academics such as Marianne Elliot, Adrian Guelke, and Connal Parr.
The resource focuses on a significant time in Northern Ireland’s history from 1990 – 1998. This includes events such as the Downing Street Agreement, several ceasefires, and the ongoing peace negotiations which culminated in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
Kate Adie OBE became a familiar and respected figure through her work as BBC Chief News Correspondent and being one of the first women sending despatches from danger zones around the world. She carried out numerous assignments in Northern Ireland throughout ‘the Troubles’ as well as reporting on the Good Friday Agreement. For the launch event she will reflect on her astonishing career and her time in the country, while commenting on the Divided Society project.
Julie Andrews, Linen Hall Library Director, said: 'We’re delighted Ms Adie accepted our invitation to the launch. The essence of the project is to give an understanding of what it was like living during a conflict. Throughout her career Kate dedicated herself to doing exactly that, giving viewers an accurate description of global conflict the only way she knew how, by being on the ground, in the midst of it.'
Gavin Carville, Divided Society Project Manager, said: 'This resource has phenomenal importance as a historical archive and we are delighted it has been preserved for future generations.'
The publications represent a variety of perspectives including community groups, political parties, pressure groups, local and national government, and paramilitaries.
Senator George J. Mitchell, Chair of the all-party talks, has written In his introduction to the resource, chair of the all-party talks Senator George J. Mitchell writes: 'The peace talks were a long and difficult process and this archive provides its users with a sense of the atmosphere of the time, the issues affecting daily life, how they were debated, and the various attempts at a resolution. Nearly twenty years later, some of these issues remain, but are solvable if the political leaders are willing to engage and talk.’
Two exhibitions, We Lived It – the social impact of the Troubles and Laughter in the Dark – Illustrating the Troubles, have also been created and displayed as part of the project. The latter, which charts the role of cartoons in Northern Ireland's political history, continues until January 30 at Linen Hall Library and is free to visit.