The OICD is proud to announce that the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Aga Khan University, will be our partners and co-hosts in an upcoming workshop to be held in King’s Cross, London on October 8th and 9th 2018. The theme of the workshop is:

Can Identities Positively Transform Societies?
Theoretical and Methodological Challenges and Solutions

Workshop Concept Summary

Peace and conflict scholars of identity have been generally optimistic that human identities offer great potential to transform conflict and promote cohesion in society. Part of the optimism comes from observations that the opposite is true–that identities are often used to divide and promote conflict in the world. The logic is that if the mechanisms through which divisions are made are understood and modelled, then they can be utilized to prevent and reverse divisive manipulation.

Despite the sound theoretical basis of the optimism, researchers and practitioners have found it difficult to translate the scholarly observations into tools and models that can be applied to real world practice. The workshop investigates why this might be the case, delving into the theoretical and methodological challenges that the development of such tools and models present.

The workshop brings together scholars and practitioners who all in someway work towards identifying and overcoming the challenges of theory and method. Theoretical questions include: what are the critical dynamics of identity and how can they be modelled to help to positively engage identities? Methodological questions include: how can we research and identify ways in which people shift their representations between multiple cultural concepts and narratives?


DAY ONE (10am-5pm)

A day of presentations from academics, practitioners and other experts in the field of Identity and Conflict. Speakers and discussants include: Special Guest Pierre Sane (formally Secretary General of Amnesty International), Davin Bremner (, Steve Lyon (Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations and OICD), Emilia Groupp (Stanford University and OICD), Bruce White (OICD and UCL). Other speakers from NGOs and Universities working in the Conflict Transformation field in London are also expected to present.

Attendance is expected from Academic Institutions, NGOs and International Organisations in the UK and beyond. Students and faculty staff from Aga Khan university and University College London (UCL) as well as other academic institutions are expected to attend.

We Expect Five Presentations of around 30-45 mins with Q&As across the following thematic slots.

PRESENTATION #1 Academic Research on Identity and Conflict
PRESENTATION #2 Academic Research on Identity and Conflict
PRESENTATION #3 Applying Academic Research in the Field of Identity and Conflict
PRESENTATION #4 Practitioner or Institutional Experiences and Approaches to Identity and Conflict
PRESENTATION #5 Practitioner or Institutional Experiences and Approaches to Identity and Conflict


DAY TWO (10am-5pm)

Three roundtable panels will extend issues addressed in the presentations and discussions of day one to lead engaged exploration that will move us closer towards more effective application of relevant approaches to problems of conflict transformation, mediation and management. Invited panelists will be experts in their field who will each be asked to provide a brief summary of the implications of the relevant panel discussion topic within the context of their academic, regional or practitioner context. The roundtable discussions will take account of theoretical and practical challenges, identifying problems and limitations but also flagging up possible solutions and ways forward. Panelists will respond to the following themes and questions.

PANEL DISCUSSION #1 Researching and Analysing Identities in the Field
What are the challenges of collecting data relevant to identity? How do we analyse the data once it is there? What kind of outcomes of should identity research and analysis aim for or expect?

PANEL DISCUSSION #2 Formulating Intervention Strategy and Implementation Design
Once we have reliable research and analysis on identity-based dynamics, how do we turn that into a useful intervention strategy and design? What are the limitations? What are the opportunities?

PANEL DISCUSSION #3 Operationalising and Evaluating Interventions
What kind of intervention platforms and approaches work best in the real world? How do we get buy-in for these with stakeholders? How we evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and demonstrate value for money and value of approach.


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