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Arts and Humanities Research Council

Féile Belfast


The project team brings together a team from Queen’s University, St Mary’s College, Féile an Phobail and the West Belfast community in a collaborative project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (, and it looks specifically at the ethics of cultural translation in urban festivals. The project has been funded within the AHRC’s Translating Cultures scheme. See for details of events and activities associated with projects funded under this scheme. 

The Queen’s based research team includes:

Prof. Margaret Topping

Margaret is a Professor of French Literary and Visual Cultures and Dean of the Graduate School at Queen’s. Her research is focused on the ethics and aesthetics of cultural representation within a global comparative framework. Key to this is a focus on questions of representation in textual and visual travel narratives and in cultural tourism. In this project, Margaret has a particular interest in the impact of 'dark tourism' and/or 'phoenix tourism' imperatives on the ways in which local cultures translate themselves through the process of 'festivalization' (Getz, 2007) and in the tensions between local government and tourist board imperatives to create a commercially-driven projection of a positive sense of place to the outside world, and the often competing demands of a more complex community-driven self-fashioning in the wake of a long history of conflict. 


Dr Michael Pierse

Michael is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s. His principal research interests lie in the fields of Irish literary and cultural studies, most particularly drama and fiction of working-class experience. His current projects focus on representations of the lives of working-class people in the North of Ireland throughout the twentieth century. It aims to explore the class politics of everyday life through its manifestation in various forms of cultural production — such as poetry, drama, fiction, song, memoir and film, and increasingly, through cultural festivals.  The central assumption of this research was perhaps best articulated in Peter McNamee and Tom Lovett’s study Working Class Community in Northern Ireland (1987), when they asserted the vital role of understanding class issues in contributing to a shared vision of the future: “If community relations work is to make a significant contribution in terms of helping to end the causes of the conflict in Northern Ireland, then it must recognise and build upon this living common [working-class] culture which cuts across the sectarian divide […] there are more than simply two traditions in the province […] we would posit the view that there is a long and honourable tradition on our own doorstep imbued with a rigorous understanding of sharing and sameness.”  


Dr Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh

Feargal is a post-doctoral researcher on the project and is based in the School of Modern Languages and the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s Feargal’s academic research centres on the Irish language revival and on the experiences of Republican prisoners during the Troubles. He is also a community activist in West Belfast, particularly in relation to Irish language revival in the city. He is, for example, a founder-member of the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht quarter football club, Laochra Loch Lao and chairperson of Glór na Móna. He also works part-time as Project Worker with Gaeltacht Quarter Irish Language development Agency, Forbairt Feirste.


Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis

We also work closely with the Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis

( Director Dr Paul Ell.

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