Botany of Silence
Exhibition by Samantha Brown
Launching Thursday 5th April 2018, 6pm
Exhibition continues 5th April - 17th May 2018
Samantha Brown acted as a witness documenting evidence of the Clark’s shoe factory, Dundalk, being taken apart. Fallen roofs, walls and windows are eerily quiet at the end of the day. Machinery has settled into silence, leaving behind traces of activity. Scrap turned into random piles, giving form to the various materials - metal, concrete, glass and wood that disappear on the back of trucks.
A representation of the passage of time. Finally all that remains is an electricity substation sitting in the carpark.
Launching Thursday 5th April, 6pm at PLACE. (Plus - upcoming in May: join us for a discussion with the artist on Thursday 3rd May at 6pm. Refreshments served.)
Part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, 3rd-13th May 2018. http://cqaf.com
So What? Making Research Public
Tuesday 10th April 2018, 5.30pm
PLACE, 7-9 Lower Garfield Street
Belfast, BT1 1FP
So What? is a monthly forum at PLACE. It is a platform for research students, academic staff, & recent graduates to present to an audience of other disciplines, non-academics, & policy-makers. It bridges the gap between academia and the public, and encourages deeper connections and greater transparency in what research is being done, how it happens and who it benefits.
A Mnemonic Device for Belfast?
In recent years cities across Northern Ireland have undertaken intensive revitalization projects; they are lively modern cities that people want to visit. Yet for those who lived through the Troubles they are often uncanny spaces at once “homely” and familiar; “unhomely” and unfamiliar (Freud 1919). Although few physical traces of the Troubles remain in the urban center of Belfast, its legacy is clearly evident in the cultural, political, social, economic and psycho-geographic landscape.
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Kundera, 1979) begins with an erasure of history; the alteration of a photographic image for political ends; the new image superseding the old, except in memory. Similarly, representations of Belfast 2018 can seem to negate recent history. Obscuring less palatable pasts, are images presenting hip, young inhabitants of a thriving contemporary city, and visitors enjoying traces of carefully curated moments in the City's history.
As the 20th, then 25th anniversaries of the Good Friday Agreement approach, Belfast remains a place where contested notions of identity and divergent perspectives on history polarize the population. The lived experience of the Troubles is receding with no effective, shared mechanism to facilitate much needed negotiations between generations around remembering and forgetting the period. Northern Ireland and other post-conflict societies, if they are to transcend their problematic pasts and transport all constituents into a more settled future, will need to address the past in honest and inclusive ways. Part of this process should arguably include a marking, or registering of moments like the Troubles in public space.
Kate Catterall is a designer and educator who studied at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She is currently a design researcher and practitioner in Austin, Texas.
What do Conservation areas really protect?
Historic shopping streets under threat: the case of North Street
Historic shopping streets are an important part of a city's cultural heritage. The buildings that line them, the places formed within their streetscape and the people using them create a fragile ecosystem that is an integral part of the historic urban landscape. In the last 50 years, historic shopping streets around the UK, even within Conservation Areas, have been subjected to cycles of development and redevelopment. This process has rendered them increasingly homogenous, stripping them off their particular character and identity. Although change is an inevitable and welcomed process within the urban landscape, the way in which change is managed can have a serious impact in safeguarding cultural heritage within the historic urban landscape.
My research aims to understand and map the special cultural heritage qualities of historic shopping streets and question whether the legislative tools available are adequate to safeguard them. Going beyond traditional approaches arguing for the conservation of the built fabric alone, I am particularly interested in the relationship between the historic built fabric and the types of uses and interactions that take place within the buildings and on the street. The focus of this presentation is to address the level of protection granted to historic shopping streets within Conservation Areas through the UK and Northern Irish planning system, using the case of North Street in Belfast’s city centre.
The city of Belfast presents an extreme example of the UK tendency of city centre homogenisation. Its urban fabric was affected and transformed by the Blitz in the 1940s, the transport plans and the ‘Troubles’ in the 1970s, suburbanisation in the 1980s and large retail projects since the 1990s. During its complex and contested recent history, the built environment has been deeply affected by planning policy and the political climate. Even within conservation areas, demolitions and large scale developments have replaced the historic built fabric and its users, without considering the effect on the cultural landscape. As a result, many of Belfast’s historic shopping streets have high levels of vacancy and dereliction. Their built and functional integrity is continuously threatened by further demolitions and mono-functional developments. North Street is one of those historic streets. Created before 1685, it has lost a sizeable fraction of its built fabric in the last few decades. Lower North Street, despite being part of two Conservation Areas, has faced decades of neglect and is in danger of further extensive demolitions. My presentation therefore ask what do conservation areas really protect.
The presentation will conclude discussing the successes and failures of the UK planning system in dealing with the complex reality of historic urban landscapes.
Anna Skoura is a PhD researcher at the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast.
ask an architect
Ongoing until May 2018
Across Northern Ireland
Dreaming up a building or renovation project in Northern Ireland? Get a one hour consultation with a chartered architect when you donate £40 to The Jill Todd Trust in partnership with Friends of the Cancer Centre.
ask an architect is an unique annual event which gives you something back for your charitable donation. Architects across all of Northern Ireland will offer their services free of charge giving advice to those considering a building or renovation project – all for a charitable donation of £40.
Thanks to our sponsors who cover administrative costs and provide critical pro bono services 100% of all funds raised by ‘ask an architect’ will support cancer research through clinical trials.
Clinical trials are research studies involving patients. Through clinical trials, doctors can find new ways to treat certain types of cancer, improve existing treatments and improve the quality of life for patients, with the ultimate aim of improving a patient’s outcome.
ask an architect is organised in partnership by the RSUA, PLACE, The Jill Todd Trust and Friends of the Cancer Centre. Find out more at askanarchitect-ni.com
Build It - Mysterious Belfast
Ongoing through 2018 | Drop in Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 5pm
PLACE, 7-9 Lower Garfield Street
Belfast, BT1 1FP
Help build a Lego® city. Create a well-connected city with houses, shops, schools, parks and much more. Build It - Mysterious Belfast encourages young people and their parents / guardians to bring their best ideas about cities. Then collect our “Mysterious Belfast” map and find the treasure in the architecture of Belfast. You will discover the unique elements that make Belfast an interesting and fun city to walk around. All ages welcome.
If you have any questions, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org | 028 9023 2524