Our Place; Our Stories project

Impact: Cultural Impact, Quality of Life Impact, Societial Impact

Description of impact

Engaging local communities living in socially disadvantaged and deeply-divided parts of Belfast in the co-creation of a major oral history archive to be held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland; developing new and innovative methods of engaging local urban communities with their history and heritage; and exploring the potential of such engagement for building social cohesion and contributing to well-being in divided societies.

Who is affected

Local communities; schools; PRONI; general public


This project, carried out in collaboration with the Greater Shankill Partnership, St John's Church, Falls Road, and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, seeks to engage local communities in the collection and co-creation of an oral history archive and digital 'memory map'.
The project began with the curation of an exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of St Matthew's Church, Shankill. This was a collaborative effort between academics, QUB students on the MA in Public History, Greater Shankill Partnership, members of the local community, and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The exhibition was launched in March 2022 and included the Shankill crozier on loan from the National Museum of Ireland. The exhibition was subsequently shown at the Public Record Office of NI, accompanied by a number of public lectures on the history of the Shankill, and from there it will tour local libraries and community centres. The next phase of this project is a similar venture planned for 2024 with St John's Church, Falls Rd.
Running alongside this is a major oral history project that collects stories of people who lived, and still live, on the Falls and Shankill Roads. Some of these will be carried out as schools-based project involving intergenerational oral history collection. These oral histories will be collated, archived and made publicly accessible in PRONI by professionals and groups of volunteers from the communities involved.
They will also engage wider audiences in the social history of West Belfast through the co-creation of a digital memory map that will explore the stories that unite family and communities across the traditional barriers and divisions of the area.
The ultimate aim is to develop a physical museum of everyday working-class life in the area.
The project is supported by a CAST doctoral studentship to commence in October 2023.
Impact statusOngoing
Impact date20222026
Category of impactCultural Impact, Quality of Life Impact, Societial Impact
Impact levelEngagement


  • social cohesion
  • divided societies
  • local history
  • oral history
  • archives