Search type

Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Eric Lepp

Thesis title

'On the Shoulders of Giants: A study of space, contact and civility in Belfast'


My research project seeks to explore activity that incorporates interactions with ‘the other’ in divided societies, and to examine the way that spaces of encounter work towards generating broader peaceful change. With a focus on present-day Belfast, my PhD research seeks to make an original contribution in setting and study through actively engaging issues around the longstanding conflict in Northern Ireland within the unorthodox space created by ice hockey in Belfast. Theoretically grounded in the principles of conflict transformation, this thesis engages three primary literatures – social capital, contact hypothesis and conceptions of civility. The findings carry potential for practical contributions to the way that spaces of encounter can have a positive social impact in post-conflict environments.


  • Roger Mac Ginty (Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute – Peace and Conflict Studies)
  • Helen Wilson (School of Environment, Education and Development - Human Geography)

Research interests

Conflict Transformation; Side-by-Side; Contact; Spaces of Encounter; Social Capital; Tolerance; Civility; Post-Conflict Reconstruction; Infrastructures for Peace

Previous education

Master of Arts in Peace Studies
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
Focus Area: Conflict Analysis and Transformation

Bachelor of Social Work, Honours
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Bachelor of Arts in Social Development Studies
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Teaching experience

I have an interest in teaching courses related to Peace and Conflict. My experiences include classroom, field-centred and online forums. Courses I have instructed include:

  • Community Approaches to Health (University of Manchester – HCRI)
  • Peace and Conflict Transformation (Wilfrid Laurier University – Global Studies)
  • War and Conflict (Wilfrid Laurier University – Global Studies)
  • Field Studies in Peace and Conflict (University of Waterloo – Peace and Conflict Studies)
  • Conflict Resolution Skills (University of Waterloo – Peace and Conflict Studies)

Why I'm doing a PhD at HCRI

HCRI offers an opportunity to complete a PhD that is grounded at the intersection of academic and practitioner communities. The interdisciplinary nature of the institute provides an environment with diverse conversations and learning opportunities. The PhD students, faculty, and institute partnerships exemplify this synergy with their field-leading practical research.

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