'Post-Conflict Curating': the Arts and Politics of Belfast's Peace Walls

Kappler, Stefanie and McKane, Antoinette (2018) 'Post-Conflict Curating': the Arts and Politics of Belfast's Peace Walls. De Arte, 54 (3). ISSN 0004-3389 (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

This article conceptualises the challenges that curators of the visual arts working in post-conflict contexts face in terms of doing justice to the competing narratives and representations of past violence. To do so, the paper first proposes the concept of the city-as-museum, in which independent artists, and residential communities may act as curators, as much as museum professionals and state organisations. Against this background, the article goes on to consider the particular curatorial issues presented by the context of “dark tourism” in places like Northern Ireland, where social conflict itself has become the subject of exhibition. We then zoom in on three Loyalist peace walls in Belfast to suggest that those walls have been curated to represent a particular vision of a post-conflict society. We examine recent developments in mural production that have emerged alongside the site’s popularity as “pleasurable” experience for visitors to the city. We suggest that this tension between the Troubles and the visitors’ experience generates a discourse on its own that translates in the kind of wall monument that is created. In that sense, we can, for instance, view the murals in Belfast as sites of creative art on the one hand, and as political visions of the future of the city and region on the other hand. We cast light on the continued significance of the murals as expressions of community identities, and examine their ability to promote narratives of both division and tolerance between communities in the post-conflict city.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Volume 43, issue 3, 2019 of De Arte, available online:  https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rdat20/current
Keywords: Post-conflict; curating; Belfast; peace walls; murals; dark tourism; identity; heritage.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Creative and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Antoinette McKane
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2019 13:34
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2019 13:34
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2562

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