£1m Shared History Fund to mark Centenary of Northern Ireland

The Troubles exhibition at The Ulster Museum
Troubles exhibition at the Ulster Museum, Belfast
New fund opening today will support organisations seeking to mark the history of the Northern Ireland Centenary in 2021.

What is the Shared History Fund?

The Shared History Fund is a £1m fund which we are distributing on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to mark the Centenary of the establishment of Northern Ireland in 1921. 

The fund will support projects that:

  • Mark the centenary in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness and reconciliation, in line with the Principles for Remembering (see below).
  • Facilitate local and national awareness of the Centenary of Northern Ireland, and of the United Kingdom as we know it today.

"We recognise that dealing with contested heritage can be challenging, but it’s also important that this significant period is marked and the many communities and individuals it has impacted are acknowledged."

Paul Mullan, Director of Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund

What projects are we looking for?

We want to support a diverse range of organisations, including for example, charities, local authorities, educational organisations, community groups and faith-based organisations.

Diamond War Memorial Derry
Diamond War Memorial, Derry/Londonderry

We are focused on projects which encourage engagement with the history of Northern Ireland in an inclusive way.

As a guide, this could include projects that:

  • Reflect on the history of the centenary through use of archive material, oral history and other historical sources.
  • Facilitate engagement with untold stories relating to Northern Ireland’s history.
  • Embrace diverse perspectives and showcase a range of voices.
  • Explore key moments and stories in our history, e.g. emigration/immigration, women’s stories, agriculture.

Full application guidance is available here.

The Principles for Remembering

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is asking organisations to illustrate how their projects adhere to the Principles for Remembering as set out in the New Decade New Approach agreement.

These are a set of principles which we developed in partnership with the Community Relations Council to ensure stories told in a public space are thoughtful, inclusive and challenging.

The Principles for Remembering:

  1. Start from the historical facts.
  2. Recognise the implications and consequences of what happened.
  3. Understand that different perceptions and interpretations exist.
  4. Show how events and activities can deepen understanding of the period.

All to be seen in the context of an inclusive and accepting society.

Why are we doing this?

Paul Mullan, Director of Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We’re delighted to be distributing this fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to mark the centenary of the establishment of Northern Ireland.

"The forthcoming commemoration of partition and the establishment of Northern Ireland is an opportunity to reflect honestly about our past. To do that, we need to be open to uncomfortable facts about that time and recognise that it impacted on people in many different ways.

"We recognise that dealing with contested heritage can be challenging, but it’s also important that this significant period is marked the many communities and individuals it has impacted are acknowledged.

"We hope that all initiatives will embrace that opportunity, and we’re looking forward to supporting a diverse range of projects and organisations.”

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