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Responding to Sectarianism : Evaluation Report

Irvine, Charlie (2013) Responding to Sectarianism : Evaluation Report. [Report]

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Responding_to_Sectarianism_Final_Report_June_2013.pdf
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Abstract

"By inviting relative strangers to speak to each other, dialogue inevitably starts with a move from safety to risk.” (Evaluation Report, p.19) In early 2013 Place for Hope conducted a series of community dialogues on the subject of sectarianism in Scotland with an initial focus on rural areas and a national ‘stakeholders’ group. It commissioned an evaluation of the project’s three aims: breaking down barriers, increasing our understanding of sectarianism and demonstrating the value of dialogue. This report sets out the findings. The evaluation used observation, interviews and written reports. It found that sectarianism does exist outside Scotland’s Central Belt, with Catholics rather than Protestants relating the great majority of incidents. Other findings include the significance of Catholics’ position within the UK constitution; other sources of division such as anti-English sentiment or the secular/faith divide; and religious people criticising and distancing themselves from those who act in a sectarian way. Faith schools remain a source of controversy. When it came to the dialogues themselves, participants appreciated the opportunity to speak to those of other traditions but felt the approach could both go to a deeper level given more time, and could be taken to more challenging groups. The report concludes that demonstrating the value of dialogue is still a work in progress and that the approach should be tested in riskier settings and over a longer timescale.