I spent a couple of very cold days at Boston College right before and after the new year working on a project detailing the college’s involvement in the Belfast Project, a secret oral history of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. The Belfast Project collected interviews with people directly involved in bombings and other violence in the decades-long struggle in Northern Ireland with the promise to participants that even the existence of these interviews would not be made known until after they died. About 10 years ago, authorities learned of the project and it became a focal point of diplomatic negotiations between the US and the UK, leading ultimately to legal requests for Boston College to divulge the contents of these interviews for a 40-year-old murder investigation. Boston College eventually gave some of the tapes to authorities, though not all have been happy with the college’s actions. The case has interesting implications for academic and journalistic privelege.
You can read the fascinating article (and see a few more of my pictures) at the Chronicle of Higher Education website: Secrets from Belfast.