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Belfast Peace Lines

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MSc Studio



Marc Schoonderbeek



Belfast is not a divided city in the classical sense, a city divided in more or less two halves. Abstractly, it can be described as a city consisting of a central, neutral zone connecting the northern harbour, the commercial centre, with the university district in the south, surrounded by wards that are islands of religiously segregated neighbourhoods. The peace lines separating these wards are walls with various characteristics, both protecting directly and separating symbolically. These sixteen small-scale physical partition walls, however, never seclude: they are simply a line that keeps the two conflicting parties apart and can always be circumnavigated. In the entire religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, space and image are closely connected: not only is the extent of each ward, in terms of urban planning, considered as a fait accompli, they are the scene of an extreme pictorial competition as well. On an urban planning level, the wards are considered so contested by both Republicans and Nationalists that any development within these neighbourhoods, despite contrasting demographics, needs to be solved within the ward itself. This has, in fact, caused the emergence of two cities. Moreover, the presence of images in the city forms a strange complementary presence in the wards. In the entire city, the texts, slogans, graffiti and murals […] are not simply superficial messages; they have a rather specific form and place within the urban environment. Their function is one of historical storytelling. This historio-graphic function is rather unique as it commemorates events that are deemed important as crucial events in time, in the struggle for freedom and self-determination.

Participants: Marijn Bokhorst, Ruud Brok, Christiaan van Goolen, Ninke Happel, Joost Hulshof, Taco Kuijers, Ianthe Mantingh, Joris Weijts.

Mentors: Micha de Haas, Marc Schoonderbeek, Elise van Dooren.

Belfast Peace Lines
Belfast Peace Lines
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