Belfast, Northern Ireland
As an organisation which aspires to a global reach and membership, INMP aims to hold its triannual conferences in different parts of the world. Venues throughout the world provide an opportunity for hosting peace museums to take turns in being highlighted, and for attracting participants from the local region or continent. Thus far, conferences have only taken place in Asia or Europe but none in Africa or America owing to absence of, or weak, applications to host a conference.
Since the last INMP conference took place in Asia, it was likely that the next one, in 2017, would be held in Europe as long as there was a strong application. It came from Belfast (UK) through a joint application from Visit Belfast and Bespoke Northern Ireland and with the support of Ulster University whose Belfast campus is the conference venue. For the first time the conference is not being organised or hosted by a peace museum or peace centre, or INMP member.
The INMP conference programme committee accepted the theme proposed by the local organiser, ‘Cities as living museums for peace’. Among other subjects, the conference aims to highlight Belfast’s social and political transformation from a divided, troubled city to one which models peace consciousness through post-conflict healing and reconciliation. Special thanks are due to Deborah Swain and Melita Williams for their joint application and subsequent work; to the local steering committee; and to Professor Roy Tamashiro, chair of INMP’s Belfast conference programme committee who ensured a smooth and efficient development of all aspects of the programme.
Special features are the opening ceremony at Stormont, seat of the parliament of Northern Ireland, and the closing ceremony at City Hall. The conference, will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of INMP. Given the proximity of Bradford (venue of the 1st INMP conference) and Belfast, participants can also avail themselves of a one-day pre-conference programme organised by the Peace Museum in Bradford.
INMP conferences mainly consist of presentation and discussion of papers, poster exhibitions, panels and workshops, with plenary as well as concurrent sessions. But virtually all conferences have also included cultural (often musical) interludes, excursions to local places of interest, and social entertainment. Excursions have included visits to the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt (Austria, where Joseph Haydn was court composer), the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Osaka Castle, a boat trip along the Belgian coast, and much more. Such occasions – often memorable and even magical (Professor Anzai!) – have helped to foster bonds of friendship among participants coming from across the world.
Day 1 of the conference
Day 2 of the conference