Event: Dr. Stephen Baker — The Propaganda of Peace

McHugh’s Bar, Queens Square [map],
The Lucan Room (above the restaurant),
Thursday 1st November 7.30pm.

Facebook event page

We are very pleased to announce this month’s speaker: Dr Steven Baker, Lecturer in Film and Television Studies and author — yes, it’s on 1st Nov, but don’t let that fool you, it’s still our October event!

With the media being such an intrinsic part of our lives, understanding and deciphering the bias and uncovering the truth from the untruth can be difficult. Specifically, what impact did the media in Northern Ireland have on the peace process?

Stephen Baker is a Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Ulster. He is the co-author, with Greg McLaughlin, of The Propaganda of Peace: The role of the media and culture in the Northern Ireland Peace Process (2010) and together they are currently working on a new book entitled The British Media and Bloody Sunday (forthcoming 2013). Stephen also researches and publishes work analysing representations of class in British film and television drama.

The Propaganda of Peace considers the media and broader cultural representation of Northern Ireland during the peace process. In particular it argues that the media played a significant role in persuading the public to accept the new political dispensation. The argues that to really appreciate the cultural shift that attended Northern Ireland’s political transformation, requires us to look across a broad range of factual and fictional representations, from journalism and public museum exhibitions to film, television drama and situation comedy. Ultimately the authors ask whether the ‘propaganda of peace’ actually promotes the abandonment of a politically engaged public sphere at the very moment when public debate about neo-liberalism, financial meltdown and social and economic inequality make it most necessary.

Before enrolling as a mature student in Media Studies at the University of Ulster in the mid-1990s, Stephen made a series of ill-fated attempts at working for living; as a van driver’s mate, a shop assistant and a civil servant. For a short time he was an ineffective shop steward for the Transport and General Workers’ Union and in 1996 stood in the Northern Ireland Forum elections as a Labour Coalition candidate in the Strangford constituency. He didn’t get elected but has the consolation of being on first name terms with just about everyone who voted for him, so few were there.

Stephen is a socialist of no fixed political abode, who defies the maxim that as you get older you get more right-wing.

Skeptics in the Pub September Social Event — McHugh’s Bar 26th Sept

After a break from events and gatherings in the physical realm we’re back this month and we have a lovely new city centre venue!

McHugh’s Bar,
2nd Floor Room,
Queens Square, 7.30pm.

Feels like we’re moving up in the world, a lovely central location and a private room on the 2nd floor which I didn’t even know existed. You could say I was sceptical until I saw it. So grab a beverage and we’ll chat about what’s going on in the world of freethough, and not-so-freethough. From creationism and how it appears to be taking a greater hold on society than ever, let alone their influence within NI politics, integrated education in Northern Ireland, and who in Stormont is in favour of this,

We will also discuss where Belfast Skeptics is heading in this version titled BelfastSkeptics 2.0: Social justice and being a positive source of good. Good without God. Sounds like the title of a talk, though not one I plan to give as such, but something I have thoughts on, and will expand on in a post.

As the anti-theism and rational thinking “movement” gains momentum worldwide, Northern Ireland is still far behind, much like it is on everything else. I learned recently that Northern Ireland is 12 years behind England in terms of arts audiences and participation. Giving it a value changes one’s perspective on the situation. In terms of religious, attitudes it is known that we have a lot of work to do.

Belfast Skeptics in the Pub is a place for those who want change to take place in Northern Ireland; whether it relates to how the politicians deal with banning blood from gay people, how long we have to wait before marriage is equal and opened up to same-sex couples, why are our shops still only open for 5hrs on a Sunday resulting in a ghost-town effect and hindering economic growth and valued tourism, or a whole plethora of aspects of live in Northern Ireland in which it is clear no logic was used whatsoever, certainly not the sort that would ensure that beliefs and ideals of some will be enforced on the masses.

Register your attendance on Facebook.

belfast skeptics in the pub september poster