CACSSS Researcher funded through HEA North South Research Programme with UU to explore Critical Epistemologies Across Borders (CEAB)

Brexit has deepened debates on constitutional issues in Northern Ireland prompting renewed conversations on the future of North-South relationships. Women need to be at the centre of constitutional discussions in order to assess what any form of constitutional change will do for women and, importantly, what it will do to women, and particularly marginalised women. Shifting constitutional arrangements will drive transformations that will affect grassroot women’s lives. Critical Epistemologies Across Borders (CEAB) brings together grassroots women on the island of Ireland from different backgrounds and cultural traditions in spaces that promote inclusive and safe forms of dialogue. It provides methodologies to discuss issues of common concern for women in relation to the theme of a shared island through the prism of difference and historical division. The project conceptualises national identity as diverse, fluid and multi-faceted and includes women who have cross-cutting identities, working-class women, LGBTQ+ women, migrant women, ethnic minority women and importantly young women, including those with caring responsibilities.

Utilising a novel combination of conflict mediation methods and Latin American grassroots feminist epistemologies, the project facilitates the inclusion of 16 grassroot women groups/NGOs (approximately 160 women) in on-going constitutional discussions utilising a weekend workshop format. As such, it provides cross-community, cross-border and co-created spaces to enable women to develop and share critical, multi-layered and diverse epistemologies on the gender implications of shifts in the island’s constitutional relationships.

Central to the methodology is a focus on how art can help enable new understandings of identity to emerge. In the case of CEAB, this artistic focus will take the form of a series of global case studies around borders and conflict that involve the US-Mexico border, post-dictatorship Argentina and Chile, and the Caribbean. The Latin American artistic case studies function as prompts to stimulate debate and forge new knowledges, to spark and transmit novel connections.

CEAB brings together feminist research in Social Sciences at the Institute of Transitional Justice, University of Ulster, and Humanities perspectives from Latin American Cultural Studies at University College Cork. The synergies of the project team are derived from the global perspectives and expertise in feminist and decolonial methods from Spanish and Latin American Studies at UCC merging with longstanding UU expertise in local/specific workshop formats co-created with participant NGO and grassroots women's organizations.

More specifically, the UCC team combines expertise on the post-conflict sites of Chile and Argentina with Dr Céire Broderick and Dr Cara Levey’s experience in feminist activism and memory studies, as well as decolonial, activist approaches from the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Caribbean central to the work of Dr Carlos Garrido Castellano. The team is led by Professor Nuala Finnegan whose expertise on gender violence, culture and the US-Mexico border has informed the creative workshop format. The UCC team works with project co-lead, Professor Fidelma Ashe at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster. Professor Ashe’s most recent book, Gender, Nationalism and Conflict Transformation (Routledge 2019) is part of a long trajectory of pioneering interdisciplinary research. She will work with UU-based team members with extensive experience in leading workshop formats with grassroots organizations. The project will generate quarterly newsletters, a report, journal articles, conference papers, a website and a programme of stakeholder events.

Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Borderline Wall, Triton Museum of Art, Crossing Borders exhibit" by csudhgallery is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view the terms, visit

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