SPIRAL focused on the use of storytelling to facilitate an understanding of the past and a greater appreciation for the benefits of peace in the northeast cross-border region.
SPIRAL, an acronym for Storytelling to Promote Intergenerational Reconciliation and Learning, is a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE III Programme as awarded by Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership.
SPIRAL aims to use storytelling to facilitate an understanding of the past and a greater appreciation for the benefits of peace in the northeast cross-border region. It is a joint initiative between the Netwell Centre and Diversity Challenges, a Northern Ireland organization which aims to facilitate a shared understanding in diverse cultural groups. A central aim of SPIRAL is to create opportunities for conversation between different generations and within different generational groups, drawing on life stories to promote positive relations and to facilitate a greater understanding of the past and the benefits of peace.
As a border region with Northern Ireland, the community in County Louth was geographically and psychologically close to the conflict in the North. Over the years of the troubles (1979 to 1994/95), as tensions escalated into violence and ebbed towards peace, the lives, relationships and routines of people living in County Louth were affected in many different ways. Yet we have limited knowledge on this; what affect the conflict/border had on the daily routines of ordinary people, on relationships either side of the border or the health implications of protracted conflict. Having access to such knowledge may hold important learning opportunities for contemporary society.
With the cease-fires now more than decade and a half old, young people have limited knowledge or understanding of its human repercussions. At the same time, the situation in Northern Ireland remains fragile with tensions increasing as disagreement around devolution continues to fuel disaffection among republican supporters. The SPIRAL Project will use real people to get the message of peace and reconciliation across to young people, particularly vulnerable young people who may be at risk of getting caught up in the conflict, should it return. Through life stories, community based older adults will be supported to tell their stories and share their learning experiences. Helping to raise awareness of the impact of community conflict and its human repercussions can in turn help young people to develop skills to equip them to deal with difficult situations in a more positive way.