This event explores the theme of ‘Hidden Barriers’: elements of divisive architecture put in place during ‘The Troubles’ (the period between 1969 and 1994 when the sectarian conflict in NI was at its most extreme) to deliberately disconnect communities in areas of sectarian confrontation, as part of wider conflict-era security strategy.
Quite distinct from the highly visible ‘peace-walls’, these Hidden Barriers are made up of everyday, ordinary and seemingly benign parts of the built environment, such as shops, roads, factories and landscaping. Almost ‘hiding in plain sight’, these barriers continue to promote social, economic and physical division across a large number of Belfast’s inner-city communities.
The event draws on recent research from the multi-disciplinary ‘Hidden Barriers’ research project at Ulster University to re-imagine how these Hidden Barriers might be transformed. The event utilises Virtual Reality (VR) technology to allow workshop participants to experience real-life examples of these Hidden Barriers and work with community representatives from the affected areas, as well as staff and students from the fields of architecture and conflict-transformation, to creatively explore ways that help reconnect disconnected spaces and help to promote community cohesion.