Orange and IRA jail group among those in QUB project

Dr Dominic Bryan
Dr Dominic Bryan

The Orange Order and a prisoner support group for ex-IRA members are among the organisations involved with a soon-to-be-launched course about identity.

Queen’s University Belfast said that the Order, along with Coiste na nlarchimí, are supporting its free online programme, which is billed as examining “issues around the use of public space to express identity”.

It is an online course developed by Dr Dominic Bryan from the Institute of Irish Studies, and is due to go live on April 28. It is accessible to anyone with internet access.

Queen’s listed the contributors as including the Order’s Grand Chaplain Mervyn Gibson, Seanna Walsh of Coiste na nIarchimi, the chair of the Community Relations Council, and more.

Speaking about the programme, Mr Gibson said in a statement: “Identity conflict and public space are issues that affect people all over the world.

“We in Northern Ireland know better than most how using public space to express identity can cause tension.

“This course will be invaluable in terms of looking at these issues and understanding the importance of identity and public spaces in politics wherever they may be.”

Mr Walsh said: “Education is key to moving forward in conflict societies and this programme provides us with a global understanding of the issues surrounding conflict and public space.”

It is the second free course, known as a Massive Open Online Course, to be offered by Queen’s.

Other contributions to the course are also made my Dr Milena Komarova and Dr Neil Jarman at the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, and Dr Sam Pehrson from the Centre of Identity and Intergroup Relations.

The first such course offered by the university, called Critical Listening for Studio Production and starting in January, saw 8,000 enrol.

For a trailer for the new course and more information visit: