Dr Bryan has developed a research agenda exploring rituals, symbols and memory as they influence identity and social space in Ireland. Much of his early research focused upon Orange parades in Northern Ireland (see Orange Parades: Ritual tradition and Control Pluto Press 2000) but the research now covers a much broader range of rituals and activities including St Patrick’s Day, The Lord Mayor’s Show and Carnival in Belfast. In addition, Dr Bryan has a major four year project looking at the popular flying of flags in Northern Ireland. In all this research Dr Bryan examines the policy implications of the way public space is utilised and how it influences people identity. As such, the outcomes of the research have implications for conflict resolution and understanding why violent conflict has been such a part of Northern Ireland’s recent history and why violence has diminished.
"Just when Kant's formulation that 'the public exercise of reason should be free' had begun to seem so remote and exhausted, the Battle should reinforce one's faith in the enduring worth of dissent and of the free traffic in ideas"
Swapan Chakravorty, professor of english, Jadavpur University