Segregation in the City

European cities are among the most cosmopolitan in the world yet most suffer from various degrees of social and physical segregation which divides communities and hinders shared prosperity. This exhibition looks at a specific area in Belfast and reflects through images on the effect of segregation on the physical and social fabric of the place and how peope live there.

Once grouped with Beirut, Baghdad and Bosnia as one of the four B’s to avoid, Belfast is now one of Lonely Planet’s top ten cities to visit. The city has suffered from 35 years of crippling civil unrest and armed conflict, but since The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 a sense of optimism has been growing; Belfast and its people are regenerating. However, in many areas a splintered existence remains, and sectarian division and bleak deprivation are still startlingly alive. Pride, identity and vigour - things we celebrate and promote in urban environments - go hand in hand with a history of violence, tension and fear. Students from Studio 4 at London Metropolitan University have been studying a highly charged site that sits as a void along the Shankill Road, a high street that links the city to this long contested neighbourhood. The photos exhibited are from their first visit to Belfast, via Limerick.