The fifth Build Peace conference took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland on October 29 – 31, 2018. The conference theme was “Re-imagining Prosperity: Alternative Economies for Peace”.

Build Peace 2018 took place in Belfast (Northern Ireland), at Ulster University. The conference hosted over 200 peacebuilders from more than 30 different countries who came together to discuss how technological innovation and creativity re-shape the economic opportunities, economic organization, and economic power that impact how we live together in peace – in the Global North and the Global South alike.

In many contexts, building peace requires addressing the role of economics in conflict. To build peace, we must also re-imagine the economic organization and economic powers that affect how we live together. Creative and digital economies can provide alternative economic models that tackle inequality, reduce social exclusion, and make communities more resilient to conflict. At the same time, creative and digital economies can create or deepen conflict, altering or reinforcing the balance of power in ways that damage efforts towards reconciliation and social cohesion.

We organized our collective inquiry across three sub-themes: creativity & reconciliation, inclusion & social cohesion, sustainability & resilience.

All conference presentations can be watched on our YouTube channel. The conference opening remarks are available here, and three blog posts summarising the main issues discussed in each sub-topic are available herehere, and here. The conference mixtape can be accessed here.


Creativity & Reconciliation

A conversation between Ellada Evangelou (Community Organiser, Rooftop Theatre), Karishma Kusurkar (Founder, The Design Salon & Belfast Design Week), Daniela Zuluaga (Social Projects Manager, FTZ Studio), and John Peto (Director of Education, Nerve Centre), moderated by Viviana Mayor (La Metro), on the role of creative industries in reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

Inclusion & Social Cohesion

A conversation between Rachel Stein (Executive Director of Campaigns and Strategy, Stonewall), Htaike Htaike Aung (Executive Director, Myanmar ICT For Development Organization), and Susan Benesch (Executive Director, Dangerous Speech Project), moderated by Helena Puig Larrauri (Director, Build Up), on digital communities: organizing or polarising?

Sustainability & Resilience

A conversation between Harriet Adong (Executive Director, Foundation for Integrated Rural Development), Brendan McCourt (CEO, New Red), Sarah McLaughlin (Peace IV Project Officer, Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership), and Aline Sara (CEO, Natakallam), moderated by Kate Mytty (Build Up and MIT), on re-imagining prosperity in conflict-affected societies.


Opportunities to innovate in the post-conflict space

Organizer: LSE Ideas

Why are tragedies less common in the commons? Forging social contracts through resource mapping

Organizer: International Alert Philippines

Mobile Money for the Displaced

Organizer: Creative Associates International

Fact-checking in a Divided Society

Organizer: FactCheckNI

Scribbling Peace, Experimental Drawing workshop

Organizer: ThinkBucket

Green & Blue

Organizer: Kabosh Theatre

The role of cultural economies in resilience and peace-building: Festivals as vehicles for transformative community resilience and reconciliation

Organizer: UCT – The Hive / Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Food and Peace

Organizer: CRAICNI, Cultivate Respect Appreciate Inclusion across Communities, Northern Ireland

#ArtsDialogue @ Little Soacha: Making Peace Infectious

Organizer: Beyond Skin

Technology & Conflict: Assessing & Mitigating Risks of Doing Business in Conflict Sensitive Markets

Organizer: JustPeace Labs & Build Up

Fearless Futures: It Takes a Village to Build Peace

Organizer: Fearless Collective

Hidden Barriers – Walks through two inner city Neighbourhoods

Organizer: David Coyles, Donovan Wylie and Brandon Hamber, Ulster University

Empathy and Employability: Building transversal skills through Virtual Exchange

Organizer: Sharing Perspectives Foundation

#GOTGRACE? Using E-Media technology to promote whole school community approaches and intergenerational peacebuilding

Organizer: Community Relations in Schools (CRIS)

Building local democracy in conflict-affected societies: Participatory Budgeting in Northern Ireland and Colombia

Organizer: Participatory Budgeting Works (Northern Ireland), Building Change Trust (Northern Ireland) and Policéntrico (Colombia)

Innovation, Economics and a Positive Peace

Organizer: The William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace

Strengthening Peace Spaces in Colombia with the Use of New Forms of Organization and Technologies

Organizer: One Earth Future / PASO Colombia

Short Talks

Social media, political agency and peace: evidence from Global Peace Perceptions poll

Christine Wilson, Portfolio Lead Research, British Council

Six world regions where Creativity or Digital Projects are being used to secure Peace and Prosperity

Dawn Grant, Founder and CEO,

SAFEWATER: Transdisciplinary Approaches to a Global Challenge

Michael Brennan, Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management, Ulster Business School, Ulster University

Helping the private sector build peace: the role of technology

Julia Pardo, Head of Accounts, AKTEK

Manifestos, murals and marches

Jill Spratt, Lecturer in Graphic Design, Brand and Advertising, Ulster University

Using GIS technology to support communal water dispute resolution in Punjab, Pakistan

Quratulain Fatima, Project Lead, Agency for Barani Areas Development

Understanding the links between mental health, transgenerational trauma and peacebuilding

Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences, Ulster University

ISOOKO: digital platforms for building peace through information-driven dialogue

Mark Hedges, Senior Lecturer, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London
Philipp Grunewald, Research Associate, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London

Stories of Home: A Refugee Youth Playback Theatre Employment Project

Bonface Beti, Artist Peacebuilder, Amani Peoples Theatre

The ‘hidden barriers’ to community cohesion: revealing the everyday architectural legacy of conflict in Belfast’s social-housing communities

David Coyles, Lecturer in Architecture, Belfast School of Architecture and Built Environment, Ulster University

Unemployment and coexistence

Khaled Kaouk, Founder, We Open Windows

Reclaiming trust in blockchain

Maude Morrison and Jerry McCann, Build Up

Computer clubs to foster intercultural learning and understanding

Konstantin Aal, Research Assistant, University of Siegen

Harnessing technology for community-led innovation

Paul Braithwaite, Programme Leader, Building Change Trust

A shared education NW Children’s Science Centre – The Amelia Earhart STEAM Zone – Creativity and Inclusion

Mary Casey, Founder Director, Amelia Earhart STEAM Zone NI Charity

Interactive Exhibition, Arts & Evening Programs

Interwoven Stories

Interwoven Stories was created in 2016 by Diana Weymar, and has since been or is being facilitated at several locations in the USA and at Build Peace 2016, 2017 & 2018. It is a community based, socially engaged textile project which uses visual narratives and text to explore themes of community, identity, transformation, loss, memory, and material culture. All pages are donated back to the community organization and the Interwoven Stories pages are exhibited through North America and in other countries with Build Peace.

Build Peace mixtape 2018

The theme of Build Peace 2018 is “Re-imagining Prosperity: Alternative Economies of Peace”.

To explore this theme, Luis Puig brings us another mixtape this year with songs on money love and belonging.

Listen to the mixtape here.

Interactive Exhibitors (1)

Jonny McEwen & David McKeown
A moving digital painting of landscape from both sides of the NI/Ireland border.

Language of the Lamp posts
John Baucher
This exhibition consists of artifacts made from brass eyelets and cable ties to display flags and fragments. It is an exploration of national pride, looking at traditional narratives and seeking to detoxify some issues.

Interactive Exhibitors (2)

Privacy Seed
Ilias Bartoni
A wooden tree that reads the heartbeat of participants, and replays them, challenging the intersection of personal spaces and data privacy, human identity, digital extensions.

Athraitheach: Who do you think you are?
Clare Bell & Declan Behen
This exhibition takes the form of a ‘variable font’ that aims to capture and engage with current public discourses around linguistic diversity and national.

Interactive Exhibitors (3)

Frame Design Process: Creative Capsules
Monica Curca
Participants create a mobile using the Frame Design Process presented as a Creative Capsule.

Urban/Rural design co-creation using the digital game Minecraft
Liliana Carrillo & Delphine Ducatelle Carrillo
Playful-CO builds upon work presented at the Build Peace 2017 Conference, as a workshop: ‘Minecraft used as a bottom-up participatory solution for urban planning co-creation’.

Evening Reception

This evening reception brought together international delegates attending Build Peace 2018 and representatives of the local community. It showcased some innovative projects rolling out in Urban Villages areas where there has been a history of deprivation and social tension. The Urban Villages Initiative is a headline action of the Together: Building a United Community Strategy. It is designed to improve good relations outcomes and develop thriving places. Kindly supported by The Northern Ireland Executive Office and The Ormeau Baths.

Opening party

The opening party took place in Black Box in the Cathedral Quarter – the creative and cultural heart of Belfast. We celebrated Belfast’s musical talent with performance by Hex Hue. Hex Hue is the new musical project from musician and composer Katie Richardson. The music is introspective alternative pop, laden with harmonies and percussive synths.


Build Peace 2018 was brought to you by Build Up and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building
Build Peace 2018 was made possible thanks to our academic partner.
Build Peace 2018 was made possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.