23rd March: 11.00am
Hidden Barriers: A Tour of Belfast’s Secret Peace Lines
David Coyles, Senior Lecturer at Ulster University will lead this bus tour visiting a number of hidden peace lines across the city.
This event takes an alternative tour through the city of Belfast. Drawing on recent findings from the Hidden Barriers research programme at Ulster University, the tour visits a range of divisive architectural installations put in place by a confidential government security committee during ‘The Troubles’, the period between 1969 and 1998 when the sectarian conflict in and about Northern Ireland was at its most extreme.
Whilst Belfast’s highly visible and widely recognised ‘peace walls’ are both major tourist attractions and the subject of dedicated government conflict-transformation policy seeking their removal, these hidden barriers are instead a little-known and fundamentally overlooked legacy of conflict. Made up of ordinary, ‘everyday’ parts of the built environment such as shops, houses, factories, roads, and landscaping, they effectively hide in plain sight across the city. The tour travels to the north, east and west of Belfast to reveal first-hand the ways in which these seemingly benign structures actually act as hidden peace walls between Catholic and Protestant communities which enforce social and physical division in unseen and problematic ways.
The Hidden Barriers research programme at Ulster University is led by Dr. David Coyles, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the Belfast School of Architecture and Built Environment. Hidden Barriers examines how the processes of political, economic, military and ideological conflict shape urban space and community development. The ongoing work of the programme builds on a series of grant awards from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which have so far funded seven years of investigations into cities such as Belfast, Derry, Liverpool, Bilbao, and Detroit.
The bus tour will stop at a number of locations where participants will be invited to leave the bus for short intervals and walk around the immediate area.
This bus tour will visit a range of hidden interfaces across the city and will depart from, and return to, the Belfast Campus, Ulster University, York Street, Belfast. Limited places so please register early.