The past fifty years in Northern Ireland have often been turbulent but throughout this time the Queen's University of Belfast has always been at the core, encouraging intellectual thought and spirited discussion. William Crawley considers this period of its history and how the university tried in vain to remove itself from the political difficulties of Northern Ireland.
With contributions from past graduates and current staff William recalls the hey-day of the 1960s when Queen's found itself welcoming its first working class students like Paul Muldoon to a world where intellectual thought was prized and Queen's was the very essence of a British red brick institution. As 1968 took hold, and student radicalism swept the world, Queen's University students like Nick Ross were to take up the role of championing the rights of the individual and their civil liberties, carrying the flame for student activism challenging the society around them. However, in the 1970s as a young David Trimble and Alexander McCall Smith took up their first teaching posts, it was clear that the university could not resist the grip of the' Troubles' as it permeated every aspect of Northern Ireland life.
From the turbulent years of the seventies and the out of control eighties WIlliam Crawley tells the story of a university that became the very reflection of what it tried to stand apart from as staff, students and the university itself became embroiled in the chaos around it. From murders on campus to discrimination and alienation, to a very public row over its own identity he charts how Queen's University Belfast passed through an emotional rollercoaster few institutions would have survived to emerge stronger and leaner in the 21st century.
Producer: Regina Gallen.