Everyday Objects Transformed by the Conflict launched in Belfast

The Everyday Objects Transformed by the Conflict exhibition is now in Belfast and is being co-hosted by St Mary’s University College (Falls Road) and the Spectrum Centre (Shankill Road).
The launch at St Mary’s University College (Falls Road) and the Spectrum Centre (Shankill Road) was on 2 August was organised by Feile an Phobail and Healing Through Remembering.  The exhibition will be open to the public until 11 August at both locations and an accompanied walk connecting the two exhibitions will be provided each day at 2pm from each location.

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Attendees at the Spectrum Centre launch

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Laurence McKeown leading an Everyday Objects Connections Trail between St Mary’s University College and the Spectrum Centre
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 Ballymena Councillor William Wright during a protest by loyalist strike leaders at 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.
• 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 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.
The exhibition comes to Belfast after being held for two weeks in Omagh.
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 exhibition@healingthroughremembering.org
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.”
Healing Through Remembering’s online exhibition is adding more and more stories during the exhibition’s tour throughout Northern Ireland and the border counties.
If you would like to contribute a story about an everyday object you own, and which has been transformed by the conflict, please contact exhibition curator Tríona White Hamilton. – Tel: 028 9023 8844
Email: exhibition@healingthroughremembering.org

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