2018: Marking Anniversaries

Introduction, by Dirk Schubotz (January 2018)
2018 is a year of many anniversaries for Northern Ireland, but also for ARK. To acknowledge this, during 2018 we will use this special Marking Anniversaries section to reflect on important historical events, and to explore how attitudes and perceptions in Northern Ireland have changed over time.

At the global stage we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement. Significant events took place in 1968 in Northern Ireland, but also across the globe. These events arguably shaped in many ways the world in which we now live. 2018 is also the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), and the current political impasse in Stormont is surely going to overshadow the reflections on the undeniable achievements of the peace process which was institutionalised with the GFA.

Whilst we recognise and commemorate macro-political events which have shaped our lives, we also want to look at how the attitudes and experiences of ordinary people have changed in perhaps less obvious ways. Although ARK was established in 2000, it was 1998, the same year the GFA was signed, when the first Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) survey took place. 2018 also marks the anniversaries of our other surveys; the first Young Life and Times (YLT) survey was conducted 15 years ago, whilst the first Kids' Life and Times (KLT) survey ran a decade ago in 2008. Both YLT and KLT were established to give children and young people an opportunity to express their views on issues that affect them at important stages in their young lives.

Most of today’s Primary 7 children and 16-year olds who grow up in Northern Ireland have not directly experienced violent conflict. In fact, they deal with very similar issues as their counterparts in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland or other parts of Europe. Nonetheless, they are at the receiving end of policy making in Northern Ireland, a society coming out of conflict, and we will also use this Marking Anniversaries section to highlight some of these issues.



European Union? (ARK Feature 4), by Paula Devine and Ann Marie Gray (February 2018)
2018 marks the 45th anniversary of the UK joining the European Economic Community. However, the relationship between the UK and European Union and its predecessors has been complex. In Northern Ireland, this relationship has been complicated by the border and national identity. Surveys since 1989 show general pro-European attitudes in Northern Ireland, although unionist supporters have been less in favour. This pattern is also evident in the referendum and Northern Ireland Life and survey of 2016. In the years to come, public attitude surveys will provide an important barometer of opinion as the UK exits the European Union.

Disclaimer: © ARK 2002 Last Updated on Wednesday, 21-Feb-2018 11:41