Can art therapy be a form of visual protest?

The body social is a term that relates to society and the impact of social content upon identity. Art therapy has a role to play in understanding how subjectivity and society are related. Everybody has the potential to live out of bounds, and is entitled to expression on their own terms. A feminist agenda for art therapy not only highlights the significance of “the personal is political”, but also activates public declarations of agency that declare the importance of “the … Read more

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Doing time: the reality of prison for young men…

Across the UK, reports and inspections have continuously illuminated the ongoing concerns relating to the high levels of violence, self-harm and reoffending experienced by young men in prison, particularly in comparison to their older male counterparts. These issues are exacerbated by the high levels of lock-up and overcrowding all prisoners are subjected to. Within NI, Hydebank Wood Secure College (hereafter Hydebank) is responsible for imprisoning young men between the ages of 18 and 24. This event sets out the findings … Read more

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Thoughts on unionist options in the general political chaos

Henry Patterson  has written  an excellent explanation in the Guardian of the pressures on the DUP within Northern Ireland rather than at Westminster or from Brussels. As the professional  historian of the fate and fortune of border Protestants and much else besides, Henry’s analysis commands respect even from the DUP’s critics who claim they should have backed Remain or at least Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. Today’s favourite commentator  on unionism Alex Kane has also extended  his reach into the London … Read more

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Why Northern Ireland still needs a Bill of Rights…

Dr Anne Smith and Professor Colin Harvey A Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland remains part of the unfinished work of the Belfast Agreement/Good Friday Agreement (the B/GFA). It is still needed, and its absence is felt in the mess that this society is currently in. Reflecting the B/GFA’s mandate, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) launched the Bill of Rights process on 1 March 2000, and submitted its advice on 10 December 2008. The advice includes recommendations which … Read more

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The DUP should “swallow past shibboleths” and make peace with Labour and Lib Dems

My own view is that momentum still remains with the government and has done since the unexpected loss by remain back in 2016. As as self confessed hardline Remainer, I have to accept that if this were a game of rugby Leave has been camped on our 25m line since the game began. Most of what’s happened though is position play. There won’t be a score until the end, whenever that comes. But the DUP now face an intriguing dilemma. … Read more

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What would happen at GE2019 if it is more like the 2019 European election than the last general election?

Previously, I looked at what might happen at a future general election using the 2017 general election results as a base and a YouGov poll to redistribute votes to see how a new general election might pan out. This poll gave the Tories a 9 point lead over Labour in second place, and accordingly in such a scenario the Tories would win a majority despite a historically low vote share, albeit with a smaller majority if the Lib Dems, Greens … Read more

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The role of media in conflict: A Féile discussion

The role of media in conflict: A Féile discussion by Allan LEONARD 8 August 2019 Hosted by Féile an Phobail, the campaign group Time for Truth organised an event to examine the role of the media in conflict and to listen to the account of those journalists in the front line who helped shape and influence the narrative. The panellists were Amanda Ferguson (journalist), Sean Murray (film director), Trevor Birney (film producer), and Barry McCaffery (journalist). After welcoming those attending … Read more

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Trans Rights are Human Rights – Ellen Murray’s Amnesty NI lecture at Belfast Pride

Read or watch back Ellen Murray’s lecture (delivered on Tuesday 30 July as part of Belfast Pride). Under the title ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights’, she examined the international context, foreign opinion on the “worrying” state of public discourse in the UK, the shared history with disabled rights struggles, as well as healthcare, welfare of children, women’s rights and her hopes for trans rights in Northern Ireland.

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The Universal Credit two-child limit: all cost, no benefit

SOAPBOX: a representative from the British Association of Social Workers argues that the UK Government policy to limit Universal Credit to the first two children in a household is unbefitting of a modern, just society and argues that this roll-back of welfare provision is being pursued regardless of the impacts on hard-up families and vulnerable children. The resulting costs of implementing the introduction of the two-child policy mean that it seems to be driven by ideological rather than fiscal responsibility.

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