Identity

On this page, you will find all the work we are doing that explores how multilevel governance (i.e. different forms of regional and international governance) affects the identity of those living in Northern Ireland. Brexit is an undercurrent in this analysis, but Northern Ireland has grappled with complex identity questions long before Brexit, and therefore makes an excellent case study for analysing how different forms of governance affects identity formation.

LAUNCH: Interview Quotes and Animations

One of the core elements of the PI project was to compile a database of qualitative data on the themes of Brexit and identity in Northern Ireland. In order to do this, we completed a series of interviews with individuals across Northern Ireland between February 2019 and March 2020.

We have analysed these interviews, and have prepared an academic journal article presenting our findings, to be published in due course. In the interim, we are delighted to be able to share some initial findings with everyone.

A series of quotes have been selected from these interviews – some extremely poignant, others insightful, and all important in their own ways in offering insight to different aspects of identity in Northern Ireland.

These quotes have been voiced by actors and in collaboration with Roots and Wings design collective, we have produced a series of short animated clips. The aim of these is to give an insight to the diversity of perspectives and experiences we encountered.

In our 2-part event later this month, we will delve further into our data in relation to Brexit’s impact. Registration for the first session (where the full PI team will be coming together to present our work) is available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/performing-identities-brexit-and-northern-ireland-part-1-tickets-156666797609. Details for the second event – a panel discussion focussing on identity in Northern Ireland – will be announced in the coming days.

The full set of clips will be shared over the next few weeks on Twitter, and added to the website. Please follow this link to view the full collection.

We would like to extend our thanks once again to all those who took part in these interviews.

1 – Thoughts on the diversity of perspectives in Northern Ireland that contribute to what ‘identity’ means and how it is understood
2 – “This is who you are” Reflections on how outward expressions of identity and perceptions of others can be shaped by different factors
3 – On how perceptions of others can be shaped by things such as accent, words, and dress (particularly tops from different sports)
4 – “I think a lot of people do it here.” An account of how perceptions of identity can influence the way everyday interactions unfold
5 – How has the women’s movement navigated the challenges of historical division in Northern Ireland?
Reflections on how for members of the LGBTQ+ community, Northern Ireland and its politics can be difficult to navigate

EVENT: Performing Identities: Brexit and Northern Ireland

We are very excited to share that PI will be hosting a two-part event in June on the theme of Brexit and Northern Ireland.

Performing Identities: Brexit and Northern Ireland – Part 1

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 – 12.30-1.30pm (Online)

In this lunchtime seminar, PI team members will present key findings from the extensive catalogue of work completed as part of the ESRC-funded ‘Performing Identities’ project, as well as analysis of research that will be publicly shared for the first time.

This session will include work on citizenship and rights, multilevel governance, archival research and key findings from a series of interviews conducted as part of the project exploring identity and Brexit in Northern Ireland. The event will conclude with a Q&A.

Registration is now live and available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/performing-identities-brexit-and-northern-ireland-part-1-tickets-156666797609

The second event will take place the following day (Thursday 24th June) at 1pm – further details and registration information for this will be released soon. Keep an eye on the website and our Twitter account for further updates.

We look forward to seeing you there!

PI at PSA Annual Conference 2021

The Political Studies Association’s annual conference kicks off on Monday 29th March. Intended to be held in Belfast, the event will be conducted entirely online in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Performing Identities will be presenting two papers over the coming days; very handily, both will be happening in the same session!

Clare Rice will be presenting a solo piece of research examining the implementations of identity and governance provisions agreed in Northern Ireland’s ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal one year on.

The second will be a joint presentation from Clare Rice, Megan Armstrong and Ben Warwick, outlining some key findings from interviews completed in Northern Ireland on the theme of identity and Brexit.

For those attending the conference, these will be happening in Panel 919 on Wednesday 31st March (9am-10.30am).

PI Panel at UACES 2020

The Performing Identities will (virtually) come together on Monday 7th September to lead a panel discussion at the UACES Virtual Conference 2020.

Initially planned to be happening in Belfast, the full conference has now moved to an online platform in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have planned a panel on the theme of Brexit and Northern Ireland, in which each member will outline some key aspects of the work being done within the Performing Identities project.

This will include the presentation of initial findings from interview-based research in Northern Ireland, and overviews of several forthcoming papers not yet in the public domain.

Central to our plans for the session is to provide a forum for informal discussion – on the work of the team, but also more generally on the topics being covered.

As a ‘non-traditional panel’ at the UACES conference, we had ambitious plans for this session in Belfast. While now proceeding in a virtual format, this remains a session not to be missed for anyone interested in Brexit and its impact in Northern Ireland!


Unfortunately, this panel is only open to registered participants of the conference, but we will be tweeting updates on the day from our account – @performidentity


Briefing Paper: The ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal in Northern Ireland – Governance and Identity

In January 2017, the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, tendered his resignation from the Northern Ireland Executive, citing issues around equality, trust and abuse of power on the part of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Following 3 years of institutional hiatus, during which civil servants assuming greater responsibilities ultimately prevented a return to direct rule, talks between the 5 main political parties, with a focus on negotiations between Sinn Féin and the DUP, recommenced following the Westminster General Election in December 2019. With the support of the Irish and UK Governments throughout the process, and a commitment to this being maintained thereafter, the text of an agreed document named ‘New Decade, New Approach’ was released to the general public on 9th January 2020.

This briefing presents an overview of the agreement reached and examines key aspects of its content, focusing on the elements addressing governance and identity.

The full paper is available to download below:

Project Fieldwork Begins

One strand of the ESRC funded research we are undertaking involves interview and focus group research within Northern Ireland. The research is designed to be participatory and allow participants a central role in the design of the questions, the way they are answered, and the outcomes of the project.

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Performing Identities: Post-Brexit Northern Ireland and the reshaping of 21st-Century Governance.

The Performing Identities project is being funded by the ESRC Governance After Brexit grant scheme. The project team will spend at least 16 months working on the a set of questions about the effects of Brexit on identity in Northern Ireland, along a new research assistant (Megan Armstrong) and in collaboration with Roots and Wings and the Human Rights Consortium.

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