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Dr Niall Cunningham - personal details

Contact details

Role: Research Associate in Quantitative Analysis

Tel: 0161 275-2516

Location: Arthur Lewis Building-3RD FLOOR
School of Social Sciences
The University of Manchester
M13 9PL

Email (address): ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), 178 Waterloo Place, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL

Email (email):

Email (phone): 0161 275 8998




Between 2008 and 2010 I was a Research Associate in the History Department at Lancaster University working on a major project entitled, Troubled Geographies: Two Centuries of Religious Division in Ireland, which was funded under the AHRC's 'Religion and Society' scheme.  Troubled Geographies was led by PI, Professor Ian Gregory and had two central elements:

- the construction of an Historical Geographical Information System (HGIS) using census data from the Great Famine through to 2001 to chart and explore changes in Ireland's social, economic and religious geographies;

- the mapping of all conflict-related fatalities during the Northern Ireland Troubles and a spatial analysis of patterns of violence in relation to socio-economic and religio-political geographies.

A number of publications have come out of the project and my associated doctoral research, including a co-authored volume Troubled Geographies: A Spatial History of Religion and Society in Ireland (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013)  which forms part of their 'Spatial Humanities' series.  There is also an accompanying website with additional cartographic and statistical resources at

Between 2011 and September 2014 I was Research Associate at CRESC: The ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at Manchester University. In October 2014 I joined the Sociology Department at Manchester and in April 2015 I will be taking up a post in the Geography Department at Durham University.

I studied Irish history at University College Dublin and Irish Studies at Liverpool University before qualifying as a History teacher and working in schools in the UK and Japan. I hold a PGCE in Secondary Education from the Institute of Education, University of London. I undertook the MSc in Geographical Information Systems at the University of Leeds during session 2006-2007 with a particular focus on the interpretation of spatial data for social applications.

In March 2014 I successfully completed part-time doctoral studies with a thesis entitled, Repertoires of Violence: The Geography of Political Conflict in Belfast During the Twentieth Century.  Supervised by Professors Ian Gregory and Angus Winchester, the thesis argues that patterns of political violence in Belfast during the recent Troubles need to be understood not just in relation to contemporary socio-economic metrics and boundaries such as peacelines, but also in the context of much longer-term patterns and processes of inter-communal antagonism.  These patterns have remained remarkably resistent to the passage of time, despite sweeping changes to the social, economic, demographic and built environment of Belfast during the twentieth century. Three chapter have been published in whole or in expanded format in the Journal of Historical Geography, Political Geography and Irish Geography.