Monday, June 18, 2018

Hidden Barriers and Divisive Architecture

David Coyles, Laura Lane, Brandon Hamber and
Adrian Grant presenting at the KESS Seminar 18 June 2018
For the last three years David Coyles, myself (Brandon Hamber) and Dr Adrian Grant from Ulster University, with partners from LSE (Ann Power and Laura Lane) have been involved in a project called "Cartographies of Conflict".

On 18 June 2018 we presented some initial findings from the research entitled "Hidden barriers and divisive architecture: the case of Belfast" at Stormont at a KESS Seminar.

The policy brief, as well as presentation and video are available below:

[Policy Briefing] [Presentation] [Video]

Find out more about Cartographies of Conflict project. 



Abstract:
Hidden Barriers and Divisive Architecture: The Case of Belfast

The “peace-walls” in Belfast are particularly symbolic of the role that architecture plays in separating residential communities and a comprehensive scholarship continues to assess their effects. This presentation outlines original findings from a three-year multi-disciplinary academic research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which extends this current understanding of physical and social division. It reveals new evidence of a distinct and important, yet largely unrecognised, body of divisive architecture; an extensive range of ‘hidden barriers’ embedded in various architectural forms across Belfast’s residential communities. The presentation draws on six distinctive case-study communities that have been subjected to the implementation of ‘hidden barriers’ during the comprehensive redevelopment of social-housing during the Troubles: all six communities fall within the top ten percentile of the most deprived electoral wards in Northern Ireland with comprehensive, evidence-based examples of less visible and undervalued forms of social and physical division. The case studies provide a rigorous and reliable evidence base drawn from qualitative fieldwork that includes architectural mapping, photography, community focus groups and in excess of 100 community interviews. This data is underpinned by new and extensive archival research and analysis of NINIS statistical data. The presentation explains how emerging findings from the research reveal complex and multi-layered impacts that these “hidden barriers” have on community relations and community regeneration policy aspirations that are central to the implementation of the Executive’s ‘Together: Building a United Community Strategy’. It concludes by outlining recommendations on how these issues could be addressed within current policy frameworks, presenting the case for the development of novel and bespoke approaches to issues of concern, with a focus on housing, tourist development, and infrastructural investment.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Presenting in the Basque Country on "Hidden Barriers"

On 17 of May 2018, the team from the Cartographies of Conflict project (all project posts), along with community representatives from Northern Ireland visited the Basque Country. Part of the visit focused on presenting some of the findings of the project to date which tracks "Hidden Barriers" in Belfast (click here for more information on the project). A second part of the trip focused on learning about planning issues and social regeneration in the Basque Country.

David Coyles talking about the hidden barriers
of Belfast in San Sebastián in the Basque Country



"Guiding Architects" giving a tour of Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum in the background

Friday, May 11, 2018

Consultation: Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past

The government has now launched a consultation on "Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past". The blurb reads:
More than 3,500 people were killed as a result of the Troubles. The hurt and suffering caused is still felt by people across Northern Ireland and beyond. The Troubles affected lots of different people, including victims and survivors. People have been affected in different ways.The Government is trying to find the best way to meet the needs of victims and survivors and to help people address the impact of the Troubles in the areas of information, justice and acknowledgement and help Northern Ireland transition to long term-term peace and stability. We need to do this in order to support true reconciliation and healing at a societal level.We want to know what you think. Take part in the consultation online, or scroll down for details of other ways to take part.
This consultation closes at

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A new dawn for South Africa, but a false start for Northern Ireland

Today the Irish Times a piece I have written about the Presidential shifts in South Africa and the collapse of the Stormont Talks.

The article begins "In a strange way the South Africa and Northern Ireland peace processes have always been linked. In the 1990s both were heralded as examples of how deep divisions could be overcome, and co-operation fostered between former enemies. Other connections were more direct, such as the former ANC lead negotiator and now new South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s role in the decommissioning processes as an inspector on behalf of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning. Two decades later, however, both peace processes have lost their shine..."

To read the rest, click here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Resilience Focused Workshop in Sierra Leone

Project Participants in Sierra Leone
With partners Fambul Tok (Sierra Leone), Catalyst for Peace (US), Refugee Law Project (Uganda), Green String Network (Kenya), and the Research and Advocacy Unit and African University (Zimbabwe), I am managed to secure a seed grant to develop a Global Challenges Research Fund project to bring together partners to consider: "What are the internal-external framework and relationships that genuinely, in practice, support the creation of resilient communities facing ongoing and dynamic peace and development challenges, and how can communities, local organisations and international donors help to grow these?" A large inter-country meeting took place in Freetown in 22-26 January 2018. A range of new initiatives will now flow from the meeting including joint research and proposals.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Professor Erin Baines Visits Belfast

In December 2017 Professor Erin Baines, Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) at the University of British Columbia, visited Belfast.

The purpose of the trip was to explore ongoing partnerships and also engage with Ulster University MSc, LLM and PhD students. Professor Baines offered two classes on focusing on her work in Uganda entitled "Children & Futurities" and a second research focused workshop entitled "De-colonial approaches to research on violence".

We also got some time to do some writing, and wider than this her and I outlined some future plans for joint co-operation and research. I look forward to continuing to work with her.