New Digital Archive for Belfast’s ‘Peacewalls’:
The Peacewall Archive had its London launch with an exhibition ’Fragments of the Peacewall Archive’ at the Barbican Centre on Friday, 27 November 2015.
The Peacewall Archive aims to provide a definitive online documentation of the Belfast 'Peacewalls' in Northern Ireland. Through photography, drawing, video, text and audio, this archive documents the steady growth and hesitant removal of interface barriers from 1969 to the present day. Currently in an embryonic state showing the amount and condition of interfaces in Belfast in 2015, we hope that this archival website will grow to include local area maps, historical photographs, contemporary photographic series, texts and writings, policy documents, aerial footage and audio and video recordings of testimony from local residents, specialists and politicians.
[ http://www.peacewall-archive.net ]
This project stems from the recent replacement of the Workman’s Gate Entrance at the Falls/Shankill Interface on Belfast's Lower Springfield Road in April 2015 and the removal of the former Girdwood Perimeter Wall in Oldpark / Cliftonville in November 2015. These particular events confirm the quiet fact that the ‘Interface Areas’ in Belfast are indeed slowly transforming and will, in all likelihood, continue to do so as we approach the Northern Ireland Executive’s target of complete removal of all interface barriers by 2023.
Physical barriers have increased in number and size in Belfast since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. However, some of the barriers photographed in 2014-15 and currently documented on the ‘Peacewall Archive’ website (Brucevale Park and Cliftonpark Avenue) have recently been removed in November 2015. Locally, the existence of this archive will serve as further evidence that the physical interfaces are going through a process of removal, changing in state from physical artifacts to digital archive. Looking ahead, the website will serve as a record, and perhaps a warning to other contested zones about the long-term implications of separation and segregation on urban, architectural and local community levels.