Centenary Forum & Historical Advisory Panel

The Centenary Forum was comprised of statutory, political, business, community and civic voices, from a wide range of perspectives and interests. The Forum met on a regular basis to progress plans to mark 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness and reconciliation. The inclusion of these diverse perspectives was vital to facilitate respectful discussion around this key moment in our shared history. Whether through the Forum, or through wider engagement, every effort was made by the UK Government to ensure these perspectives were included and respected.

The advisory group discussed a range of proposals to facilitate national recognition and international awareness of the anniversary, that reflected on the past and importantly, built for Northern Ireland’s future. The Centenary was an opportunity to showcase what is best about Northern Ireland around the world; this programme of Centenary events reinforced the UK Government’s commitment to a prosperous Northern Ireland and levelling up through economic development and investment opportunities. It also celebrated Northern Ireland’s people, business, culture, arts, and young talent, looking forward to a positive future.

Composition of the Centenary Forum: 

  • Doug Beattie MC MLA 
  • Eileen Chan-Hu, CRAIC NI 
  • Stephen Farry MP 
  • Rev. Mervyn Gibson, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland 
  • Ivy Goddard, Inter-Ethnic Forum 
  • Peter Harbinson, Invest NI 
  • Howard Hastings 
  • Jacqueline Irwin, Community Relations Council 
  • David Jackson, SOLACE NI 
  • Ian Marshall 
  • John McGrillen, Tourism NI 
  • Paul Mullan, National Lottery Heritage Fund 
  • Luke Patterson, NI Youth Parliament 
  • Canon David Porter 
  • Gavin Robinson MP 
  • Cormac Savage, NI Youth Parliament 
  • Jonathan Stewart, British Council 
  •  Liza Wilkinson, TIDES Training 
  • Richard Williams, Northern Ireland Screen 

The independent Centenary Historical Advisory Panel, brought together a range of expertise and perspectives. It was independently chaired by Lord Bew, Emeritus Professor at Queen’s University, Belfast.

This Panel was tasked with ensuring that the historical facts of Northern Ireland’s Centenary are understood in their fullest context, as well as providing advice to the Government and the Centenary Forum. The Panel’s work was guided by the Principles for Remembering. As part of its role, the Panel sought to develop and curate accessible content which encourages a deeper public awareness of the history of the centenary.

The Historical Panel was committed to ensuring that the Centenary was marked in such a way that it recognised the historical facts of the period, and collaborated more widely with historians and researchers across these islands to develop key themes and collectively enrich public understanding of the events around 1921 and their implications.

Composition of the Centenary Historical Advisory Panel 

  • Professor Lord Bew MRIA, Emeritus Professor, Queen’s University Belfast 
  • Dr Brian Barton, FRHistS, Independent Historian 
  • Dr Marie Coleman, FRHistS, SFHEA, Reader in Modern Irish History, Queen’s University Belfast 
  • Dr Niamh Gallagher, Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History, University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. Catharine’s College 
  • Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Sheffield 
  • Dr Margaret O’Callaghan, Reader in History and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast 
  • Professor Henry Patterson, Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Ulster 
  • Professor Graham Walker, Professor of Political History, Queen’s University Belfast 


Details of the Historical Advisory Panel’s ongoing work can be found on the Creative Centenaries website