Meet the Expert

‌Professor Peter Shirlow – Expert in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice Research

Peter Shirlow

Peter’s research focuses on the themes of conflict transformation and social justice. This has included examinations of religious and social class segregation and the reproduction of injustice therein. The manner through which societies emerge from conflict and how they build, or otherwise, stable democracies has also been one of his key research themes. This research and its use in developing social justice has been undertaken in Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, Moldova, Bahrain, Iraq and other societies. Peter has also used drama and other arts related analyses to help develop confidence among victims and perpetuators of violence in order to aid integration into civic life.

The Blair Chair is an important post in terms of developing the link between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Peter has recently returned to Liverpool as the new Blair Chair and Director of the Institute of Irish Studies. Peter commented ‘The Blair Chair is an important post in terms of developing the link between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The Irish border is the UK’s only land border, both countries are each other’s largest trading partners and in Northern Ireland both governments have a vested interest in building peace and ending the chaos that sectarianism brings. Maintaining robust and developing relationships between these two nations is invaluable’.

Peter’s recent awards include an ESRC grant on applied drama and mental health in North Belfast. This project worked with men who had lost family and friends during the conflict in Northern Ireland and via art aided their transition into community leaders and advocates. Another project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and entitled ‘From Plantation to Peace: Derry/Londonderry as the UK's Fist City of Culture’, is appraising the impact of city of culture status upon sectarian and other social relationships in Derry.

Peter is actively involved with the media and has done some 600 interviews both in print and via the TV and radio. He commented: ‘Despite taking up time they have led to being invited onto research projects and to speak at international conferences. So in simple terms they do create another strand for people to discover your work and ideas’.

Finally, Peter is presently co-writing a book about criminalising aspects of the industry and a sole-authored book that will be published in 2018 to mark 20 years since the Belfast Agreement.