25th March: 1.00pm

How to Investigate: Investigative Journalism Skills for Everybody
The Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) brings its renowned training to Belfast for journalists and non-journalists alike to learn some investigative skills and hear different approaches to story-telling.

The event is free but you must register in advance as places are limited. The CIJ is offering hand-on workshops in advanced investigative skills and an introduction to finding company information. We have two talks, in the first the Bureau local team will explain how their latest investigation took shape – revealing long delays and hardships for disabled people trying to make their homes more accessible – and how you can get involved in the next one. Our second talk Spatial Investigations: Why Architecture Matters, brings together artist Gabriela Löffel, who will talk about her work exploring Free Ports and architect Aisling Rusk, who will consider how spaces and architecture can influence how we interact with an environment.

The afternoon will end with a keynote talk from Chris Moore talking about Kincora and after, Cover-ups, editorial cowardice and the challenges of doing investigative journalism in Northern Ireland. Join us for a drinks reception after the sessions for opportunities to network and share ideas.

Minimum age: 18

13:00-13:15 Welcome & About the CIJ
13:15-14:45 Parallel Workshop / Talk – | Digital Tools for Journalism | Bureau Local: how to get involved in – or lead – a community investigation
15:00-16:30 Parallel Workshop / Talk – | Investigating Companies | Spatial Investigations: Why Architecture Matters.
16:45-18:00 Keynote talk with Chris Moore
18:00-19:00 Drinks reception



Now in its third year, this afternoon of workshops is a spin-off from the popular CIJ Summer Conference, bringing the CIJ’s training to Belfast to give a taster of what you can do with investigative tools and hear from the experts how they approach stories.

Join us in the Mac at 1pm for a cup of tea and a biscuit as we kick off the afternoon with a short introduction about the work of the CIJ.

You’ll then have a choice of ninety-minute workshops – Investigating Companies with Martin Tomkinson, Digital Tools for Journalism with Tom Sanderson, or one of the talks, either from the Bureau Local: how to get involved in – or lead – a community investigation or Spatial Investigations: Why Architecture Matters.

We’ll end the day with our keynote speaker, Chris Moore, who will talk about the challenges of doing investigative journalism in Northern Ireland. To round off the afternoon we invite you to join us for a drink and a chance to network and continue discussions.

The event is free to attend but you will need to register as numbers are limited.


The Workshops

Investigating Companies with Martin Tomkinson

Any UK-based investigative journalist or aspiring journalist should have a working knowledge of Companies House. Companies House is the central registry for all UK registered limited or PLC companies and contains a wealth of useful information for those who know how to use the site. The aim of this class is to show how to get the most information from the official website, as well as highlighting what information can’t be found there. The class will give ample time for questions and queries and is an absolute must for anybody who does not feel confident in using this vital tool for investigators.

Martin Tomkinson is a veteran investigative financial journalist and corporate researcher. He was a financial researcher for The Mail on Sunday’s ‘Rich List’ from 2000-2004 and has worked on The Sunday Times’ ‘Rich List’ since 2005. Martin has written for all the UK’s major newspapers.

Digital Tools for Journalism with Tom Sanderson

Whether you’re conducting public-interest research for your journalism or advocacy, trying to verify a claim you’ve read or heard, or looking into a company before trusting them with your money, business or personal data, there are many tools, techniques, and online platforms that will help make your research and fact-checking quicker, simpler and more effective. This session will signpost a huge range of methods to help you search the internet more effectively, find eyewitnesses and potential sources, and follow the digital trails of fraudsters and criminals.

Tom Sanderson is Deputy Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, which he joined in 2014. He oversees the CIJ Training Programmes and the development of CIJ’s Initiatives.


The Talks

Bureau Local: how to get involved in – or lead – a community investigation

Bureau Local is part of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, one of the biggest non-profit journalism organisations in the country. Bureau Local aims to shed light on issues and stories that affect local communities but that also provide a national picture. The team will explain how their latest investigation took shape – revealing long delays and hardships for disabled people trying to make their homes more accessible – and how you can get involved in the next one.

On the panel will be Emily Wilson, Editor, Bureau Local, Rachel Hamada, Lead Health Inequality Reporter and Community Organiser, Bureau Local and Vicky Gayle Health Inequality Reporter, Bureau Local.

Spatial Investigations: Why Architecture Matters

Gabriela Löffel: Gabriela is an artist whose multi-channel video installation “Inside” explores the concept of art freeports. She will show excerpts of her work and discussing her approach and strategies to exploring investigative themes through art. The experiences she made on the construction site of a new art freeport in Shanghai, together with the position of the Geneva art freeport the first art freeport ever and which takes the function of a model are the focus of her work “Inside”.The inaccessibility and non-transparency that operate in these financial tools, in form of buildings – Art Freeports, constitute the starting point of “Inside”.

Aisling Rusk: It was Churchill who said that we shape our buildings and then afterwards, our buildings shape us. Conflicts and wars have a physical impact on our built environment that often far outlasts the civil unrest. In Belfast, for example, 24 years after the Good Friday Agreement there are still 100 peace walls that are not proving easy to remove, because people still think they are necessary. Aisling will explore how conflict shapes the built environment in more and less obvious ways, through the example of Belfast, and will set out some examples of ‘liminal spatial praxis’ in Northern Ireland – practices that are, in various ways, transgressions that erode physical divisions between people and places.


Keynote speaker: Chris Moore

From the Kincora rape scandal to priests protected by the Catholic Church to the strange alliances which emerged at the close of the Troubles to bury the secrets of the murky intelligence war, Chris Moore talks about how investigative journalism worked among the Northern Irish conflict, and the enemies ranged against it. Chaired by the CIJ’s James Harkin.

Chris Moore, winner of journalist of the year and features journalist of the Year in Northern Ireland and the author of six books, became a local reporter in Northern Ireland in 1968 before joining BBC Northern Ireland in 1979. In 1982 he cut his investigative teeth on Kincora, a scandal whose full dimensions remain to be revealed and which still permeates his work.


About the CIJ

The CIJ is an experimental laboratory that teaches reporters new tools alongside the traditional craft of investigative journalism. We incubate promising new investigative projects and open out investigative journalism into fertile new territory.

James Harkin, is the director of the CIJ and a journalist who covers social change and political conflict. His work has work appeared in Vanity Fair, Harper’s, GQ, The Smithsonian, Prospect and the Guardian. His last book, Hunting Season, was an account of the rise of the Islamic State group and its campaign of kidnapping journalists.

Learn more: tcij.orgTCIJ on TwitterThe MACThe MAC on Twitter

date & time

date & time

Friday 25th March
Duration: 6 hours



The MAC,
10 Exchange Street W.



Free admission

book tickets

Tickets for this event can be booked below, or on the event’s Eventbrite page.

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