Complexity in consulting and writing about the Belfast Peace Walls, with Vicky Cosstick

Event Details

Complexity in consulting and writing about the Belfast Peace Walls, with Vicky Cosstick

Time: April 15, 2016 from 1:15pm to 4:30pm
Location: Roots and Shoots
Street: Walnut Tree Walk, Kennington
City/Town: London SE11 6DN
Website or Map:…
Phone: 020-7587-1131
Event Type: amed, writers', group, gathering
Organized By: Bob MacKenzie
Latest Activity: Apr 14, 2016

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Event Description

Vicky writes:  “I’ll draw upon my recent experiences of using consultancy and complexity skills to write my book ‘Belfast:  Toward a City Without Walls’ (June 2015).  Here, I tell the story of the 100 walls, gates, fences and other types of structure and spaces – “interfaces” – between Catholic and Protestant areas of working class Belfast.  These “peacewalls” are the physical legacy of the 30 years of Troubles which raged in Northern Ireland.

Understanding change in complex environments.  The Northern Ireland Executive made a commitment to bring down the walls by 2023.  I saw this as an opportunity to explore how change is happening in a highly complex system, and consciously brought my background as a change consultant, academic and journalist to the project.  Today, I'd like to share and discuss my methodology for researching the book, some of the challenges I encountered, and the core questions underpinning the book – whether, when and how the walls might or can come down?

Peacebuilding as constructive change?

I draw explicitly on John Paul Lederach’s 2005 work, ‘The Moral Imagination:  The Art and Soul of Building Peace’.  Lederach has experience of conflict transformation in many situations around the world, and equates peacebuilding with “constructive change”.  I was fortunate that he agreed to write the Foreword to my book.

Some issues we might address include:

How conscious are we of the theories, motivations, and experiences we bring to our writing?  What are the professional skills and approaches we bring to our work?  What genre do we write in, and what happens if we consciously avoid writing in a particular genre?  If the content is the process, how do our core beliefs about our work influence the way we go about our writing? 

We'll also also do some writing.”

Everyone is welcome to our sessions, so please feel free to spread the word.

You can contact Vicky @

Afterwards, we invite you to continue our imaginative conversations just across the road at  The Ship pub.

Cost: £12 for full AMED Members; £15 for Networkers and Guests. 

Plan your journey.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. Bob. E:

RSVP by 14 April (earlier if possible).

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Comment by ALISON CLAYBURN on April 10, 2016 at 3:24

Really sorry I cannot join you, I know it will be fascinating!

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