Swarthmore College Department of

Peace & Conflict Studies Blog

PCS students conduct research on murals in Northern Ireland

Devon Novotnak '11 records the geographic location of a mural in West Belfast.

Two Peace and Conflict Studies students, Samia Abbass ’11 and Devon Novotnak ’11, have traveled abroad with the college’s Northern Ireland semester over the past academic year. While they were there, they participated in a research project co-investigated by Prof. Lee Smithey (Swarthmore College) and Prof. Gregory Maney (Hofstra University).  With the assistance of Jayne McConkey, a resident of Belfast, Samia and Devon took photographs of over 250 murals, plaques, and memorials in West Belfast, an urban area deeply impacted by the Troubles.  The mural mapping project uses geographic information systems (GIS) data to study change over time in the content and placement of murals and other public displays of ethnopolitical identity.  You can read more about the project in a recent article in The Bulletin.