“A quarter century after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the time is ripe for a major initiative relating to the Troubles and peace-making in Northern Ireland.
There are three distinctive features to the proposal. First, there is no single narrative of the three decades of political violence. The intention is to showcase a multiplicity of voices and perspectives on the past, thereby contributing to processes of reflection, understanding and healing.
Second, the Troubles were never just about the Troubles. A social and cultural history of the period needs to highlight the resilience of the majority of people who lived, loved and
managed their lives in the shadow of conflict. In other words, we need a people’s history of the Troubles and of the Irish peace process.”
Bilbao is known internationally for its Guggenheim Museum.
Berlin for its Holocaust memorial and the Wall.
Barcelona for Gaudi’s masterpiece, Sagrada Familia.
Belfast may yet speak to a wider world through the medium of a new Museum that expresses different experiences of the Troubles.
This would pay tribute to the achievements of the Irish peace process, understood both in terms of high politics and community-level initiatives, many of which involved women.
The People’s Museum of the Troubles and the Peace Process is a place to tell stories, explore identity and work towards an understanding of our past.
A place where Northern Irish, Irish, and British people, can engage with each other and reflect and learn from their experiences of the Troubles and the Peace Process.
A place where visitors from other conflict zones can learn about our conflict and apply the lessons of our peace process to their own turbulent situation.
A major visitor experience that attracts visitors from home and abroad, thereby boosting employment and export earnings for the Northern Ireland economy.
The vision is to bring into being a People’s Museum of the Troubles and the Peace Process that addresses the conflict in all its complexity, that celebrates the resilience of people in their everyday lives during the conflict, and that pays tribute to the courage and creativity of those who delivered the peace.
Our role is to act as a catalyst for such an initiative. To that end we would like to work with the major potential stakeholders and help bring them together to realise a project that is both economically beneficial and socially desirable. We view a Museum of the Troubles and the Peace Process as one of the vital passage ways into a shared future.
We are delighted to share museum projects by Queen’s University students that cast a light on what a peace museum in Belfast might look like. In December 2022, master’s students in the MSc Advanced Architectural Design programme completed designing a peace museum on Bruce Street with a focus on people’s stories. The three-month project was led by Dr Gul Kacmaz Erk, architect Pat Wheeler and researcher Ece Sila Bora. The museum is composed of a people’s gallery, digital gallery, kids’ gallery, auditorium, foyer/temporary exhibition, workshop space, reading room/archive, office space, shop/cafe, artist’s residency as well as an outdoor room. These projects will be exhibited at Queen’s Film Theatre on 17-30 May 2023 and Queen’s Architecture (15 Chlorine Gardens) on 1-8 June 2023.
We are a group of volunteers of different ages, backgrounds and perspectives. If you would like to join us, please get in touch.
This project is at an early stage of development and we are keen to engage with people who share our vision.
This Production has received support from the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council which aims to promote a pluralist society characterised by equity, respect for diversity, and recognition of interdependence. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Community Relations Council
Photograph credit: Cover photo – Edited – “Hands across the divide” sculpture – Diego_cue – https://web.archive.org/web/20161023172123/http://www.panoramio.com/photo/57846413 – Creative Commons Attributions share-alike licence 3.0