Common Ground 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Emotion, Place and Weaponisation of the Truth: The Bloody Sunday Trust and the Search for Justice

On 30th January 1972, a march organised by the Civil Rights Association, took place to protest against the internment policy introduced by the Northern Ireland government. As the day unfolded, events turned this Sunday in to Bloody Sunday. This day seminal in the history of the city and further fostered the Nationalist community’s sense of injustice. With the publishing of the Widgery Report (1972) the sense of injustice grew and the determination to seek justice for the victims begun. This paper explores how the Bloody Sunday Trust have conducted their justice campaign from 1997 to the present day. It combines observations of the workings of the Museum of Free Derry with Public History theory in order to explore whether or not the Trust’s campaign and aims constitute a weaponisation of the truth. The Trust’s three-pronged aims of; overturning the 1972 Widgery Report, obtaining an independent public inquiry and the prosecution of soldiers who fired the fatal shots has been a structured and measured campaign. The Museum of Free Derry has been a key tool in bringing together aspects of the Trust’s political campaign with a strong emotionally-led presentation of the truth. Coupled with the geography of the museum (two victims of Bloody Sunday lost their lives in the street outside the museum’s doors), the Trust’s presentation of the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Bloody Sunday utilises the obtainment of their first two aims to weaponise the truth and foster support for their final aim amongst the visiting public.
Period21 Jun 2019
Event typeConference
LocationBelfast, United KingdomShow on map