Everyday Objects Transformed by the Conflict exhibition tour to start in Derry/Londonderry
An exhibition of everyday items in use during the conflict in and about Northern Ireland will be launched at First Derry Presbyterian Church on 5 March. The exhibition has been organised by Healing Through Remembering (HTR) with the aim of achieving a peaceful future for all.
The project is called Everyday Objects Transformed by the Conflict and, after the opening at the First Derry Presbyterian church, it will be open to the public from 6 – 28 March, Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm.
Derry/Londonderry exhibitors include the Maiden City Festival, the Museum of Free Derry, the Tower Museum and private collector Frankie McMenamin.
Items on show will include:
A CS gas canister turned into a working lamp. The canister was fired by the RUC during the Battle of the Bogside in 1969;
A binlid – used as a communication tool and a means of protest in nationalist areas;
An armoured clipboard carried by police at vehicle checkpoints in ‘high-risk’ areas. It was to give protection to officers if threatened with a handgun;
A sponger badge worn by loyalists in protest at strike leaders being called “spongers” by the then Prime Minster, Harold Wilson;
A tape recording by photojournalist Vincent Dargan of live transmissions from the pirate radio Station Radio Free Belfast, manned by Civil Rights and People’s Democracy members during 1969-70;
Captive Verses – a book of poems by loyalist prisoners; and,
Behind the Barricades – an album by comedian James Young.
The exhibition will also include other objects, sound recordings, photographs and videos showing everyday events during the conflict. In total, more than 50 artefacts will be displayed.
There will also be workshops to accompany the exhibition. These will offer practical activities and ideas for discussion based on the objects on display, to help promote understanding and appreciation of the different beliefs and perspectives of the conflict.
After Derry/Londonderry, the exhibition will be staged at the following centres:
12 April – 25 May: Bell Architects, Main St, Ballymoney
5 – 28 June: Clones Library, Clones, County Monaghan
6 – 21 July: Strule Arts Centre, Omagh
2 – 11 August: At two sites, St Mary’s College, Falls Rd and Spectrum Centre, Shankill Rd, Belfast. (It is recommended that visitors visit both sites to view the complete exhibition)
Kate Turner, director of Healing Through Remembering, said: “So many everyday items assumed a new significance during the conflict – like a bin lid used for communication. And so many unusual things became everyday – like people and bags being searched before entering a shop.
“These objects offer a glimpse into the everyday lives and memories of individuals, communities and organisations, and so hopefully will help people explore the nature, causes and effect of conflict.
“We are very grateful to collectors who have lent us a substantial number of items for the exhibition.”
Funding for the event has come from various sources, including the European Union Peace III Programme, the Heritage Lottery Fund; the International Coalition for Sites of Conscience; Awards for All (Big Lottery Fund); the Enkalon Foundation; the Good Relations Council; and the Bombardier Aerospace (NI) Foundation.
Gerry Burns, NI Committee member of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This is a wonderful project, not just for the fascinating collection of items that it has unearthed, but because it has sparked an interest and debate among so many people about how we interpret our heritage.
“This wider involvement has produced an absorbing exhibition for others to explore and learn from.”
The exhibition project originates from an audit of artefacts commissioned by Healing Through Remembering in partnership with the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University Belfast.
During the two-year audit, more than 400,000 artefacts relating to the conflict were documented from 79 public and private collections.
Entrance to the exhibition and workshop participation are free. People who would like more information about the project, or who would like to book a workshop, should contact Triona White Hamilton, exhibition curator/co-ordinator, at Healing Through Remembering on 028 9023 8844 – email firstname.lastname@example.org