The video, entitled ‘Women, Words and Walls’ was officially launched at an event in the Gasyard Centre on Wednesday, with participants, partners and statutory agencies coming together to hear first-hand experiences from across the community.
The video, which was produced by Jason Dunne included contributions from women across the Bogside, Brandywell, Creggan, Fountain and Bishop Street areas talking about their experiences growing up beside interfaces and how it shaped their outlook and perceptions.
As the only community-led initiative currently focused on inter-community relationship building and tackling barriers to peace within the Fountain/Bishop Street area, this video is a culmination of work carried out by Bogside and Brandywell Initiative (BBI) which included enabling stronger relationships with residents from both communities.
Chair of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), Paddy Harte said,
“The IFI, through our Peace Barriers Programme, has been delivering a range of initiatives within and between interface communities to support residents reach a position where they feel it is safe and appropriate to proceed with the removal of Peace Barriers in their area.
“Much of the work of these funded groups involves facilitating engagement and discussions aimed at highlighting and understanding the impact barriers are having in local communities, so the pandemic was a real obstacle for continuing to deliver this important work.
“The fact that BBI were able to continue these difficult discussions throughout Covid-19 and deliver this video is a credit to them. Hearing about the experiences of women growing up in the Creggan, Bogside and Brandywell areas and how they perceived other communities is an important element of our peace barriers work.
“Understanding the impact interfaces continue to have on peoples lives highlights the importance of working together if we are to achieve progress in reducing or removing barriers and only when communities are ready to take that step”.
Pre covid, the project delivered several workshops, activities and training courses all aimed at understanding challenges both communities faced. During the pandemic, the team were forced to adapt quickly to ensure that this vital work continued.
Facilitating regular zoom meetings chaired by a skilled facilitator allowed conversations with residents to maintain cross-community relationships to continue by enabling ongoing ‘difficult but meaningful conversations’ on the past despite the restrictions.
These conversations lead to the development of the new video entitled ‘Women, Words and Walls’, which showcased the experiences of the women who live with interfaces.
Donna McCloskey, Manager at Bogside and Brandywell Initiative (BBI), said: “Many of the women who contributed to this video have never done anything like this before, it was completely out of their comfort zone to not only talk about their experience living close to interfaces but to talk about it in such an open and public way.
“This shows how far they have come as a group; their confidence has grown, and they are willing to discuss their experiences to allow for a deeper understanding of the impact it has had and continues to have.
“It has also provided them with a platform to highlight what the community needs in way of support for any future barrier removals whilst gaining an understanding of the impact the barriers have had on communities close to them.”Tags: