Wednesday, 20 October 2021
  • A A A

  • Textile Details

    'INCORE Roundel', by Helen Averley. (Photo: INCORE archive)
    'INCORE Roundel', by Helen Averley. (Photo: INCORE archive)


    Title of Textile:INCORE Roundel
    Maker: Helen Averley
    Country of Origin: Northern Ireland
    Year Produced: 1997c
    Size (cm): 1.90m (w) x 1.60m (h)
    Materials: Cotton fabric
    Type of Textile: Roundel

    “The project resonated strongly with me, especially the desire to resolve conflict between cultures or ethnicities”, reflects Helen on the process of designing the logo for the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE– formerly known as the Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity, Ulster University). She began the Roundel design process in 1997, having returned to Northern Ireland after completing her MA in the Anthropology of Art at the Sainsbury’s Research Unit, University of East Anglia.

    The Roundel symbolizes Planet Earth and the interwoven patterns represent the rich diversity of cultures and ethnic groups across the globe. Through her interest in material culture Helen included patterns from across the world, ranging from well known majority cultures to lesser known minority cultures. “I tried to cover all seven continents”, she states.

    On first glance we see colour, harmony and complexity within this vibrant circle of earth. Looking deeper - “to challenge the viewer’s initial perspective” comments Helen - we see the interwoven circles, the discordant junctions and the clashes of patterns, reflecting the complexity of the societies who created them, the friction of borders and the contentious nature of sharing space on this planet. “The Roundel is at heart discordant, it looks lovely … on closer inspection it shows that we are breaking apart”, notes Helen.

    Flash points and areas of conflict are depicted by barbed wire and other violent forms. The gas mask and gun cartridge pattern repeated several times illustrates the repetition of conflict. Symbols of conflict and symbols celebrating ethnicity are confined within this earth circle of limited space which all elements must share, either amicably or in conflict. “The patterns jar … the fact that we humans can be so … wanton in our destruction is jarring also!” comments Helen.

    The initial Roundel design, approx 60cm diameter, was painted in gouache on paper. “It was designed to be more than a logo and to reproduced by INCORE in their printed material as an illustration at varying scales, in colour or black and white, in full or in segments”, states Helen. “If I was designing it now [over 30 years later] I would interweave some new elements especially environmental ones, because so much of the conflict is about competition on resources” reflects Helen, who as a child in Kenya witnessed the expulsion of the Asian community from Uganda, tribal conflict in Turkana, before moving to Northern Ireland with her family in 1978 at the height of The Troubles.

    The Roundel is an apt symbol for INCORE which, since its establishment in 1993, has focused on uncovering and explaining the causes and consequence of conflict, through research and teaching, as well as supporting policymakers and practitioners working within communities and civil society across Northern Ireland and globally.

    Perhaps the ability to repeat/reprint the Roundel symbol attests to the wider need to embed and repeat patterns and practices of conflict resolution and conflict transformation within our circles and societies, locally and globally, in keeping with the vision of INCORE.

    Owner: INCORE, Ulster University, Derry / Londonderry
    Location: INCORE, Ulster University, Derry / Londonderry
    Original / Replica: Original
    Photographer: INCORE archive

    Textile exhibited at:

    Textile Detail Image(s)