Photo by Declan Roughan, Irish News
Last week, Interface Diaries launched our latest DVD with groups from the Shankill Road and Carrick Hill. The DVD includes everything from the video diaries beginning in week one, to the cross cultural trip to Manchester in week eight.
The change in those involved has been evident, with attitudes of sectarianism slowly breaking down and real friendships being made. The Interface Diaries participants had previously only known each other from rioting and incidents at the Carlisle Circus roundabout, but to quote one young person involved, “I used to just know their faces from the riots, but now they’re actual mates.”
Check out a shortened version of Interface Diaries: Shankill/Carrick Hill below.
This week, the Lower Shankill and Carrick Hill groups met for the first time, doing an activity day and touring each other’s communities. The excitement is high, and it only gets better.
This weekend, the groups will be traveling together to Manchester. Over three days, they will engage with local organisations like Rathbone, Hideaway, and the Kicks project, to better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist for young people locally. The group will also meet Somalian and Carribean communities in Manchester’s Moss Side, check out a football match, and enjoy a filling dinner on the infamous Curry Mile.
Last years Interface Diaries Girl’s group took a similar trip and were able to apply their experience to their own lives back in Belfast. To quote one young person from last year’s group, “After seeing it through our own eyes, I’m starting to believe that lots of stuff we’ve been told growing up might’n be true.”
Last Year’s Group in Manchester
More to come.
This week, our groups will meet face to face for the first time . Having gotten to know one another through the previous weeks of video diaries, the first meet is always a combination of nerves, excitement, and anticipation. Ballymurphy has paired up with Highfield, and our Lower Shankill group with Carrick Hill.
For their first meet, each paired group has an activity day at the Belfast Activity Centre. With activities ranging from icebreaker games to overcoming vertigo, the process of two groups becoming one begins. Ballymurphy and Highfield were the first of the four groups to meet. To see what they got up to, check out the preview below.
Next up, community tours.
This past week saw the completion of the video diary element of Interface Diaries. Groups asked their final questions to one another, preparing to meet face to face next week. This weeks questions focused on topics ranging from opinions on the P.S.N.I. versus community policing, the affect of fear in motivating the ongoing flag protests, dating members of the opposite religion, and ways to ease tension when touring one another’s area.
Over the past four weeks, hardened attitudes have broken down and questions have developed from simplistic to deeply personal. The young people involved have had to defend their points of view in a way they often are not asked to, and in doing so gained a confidence valuable far beyond Interface Diaries.
Beginning next week, groups will meet for an activity day at the Belfast Activity Centre, conflict resolution workshops at Farset International, area tours of each community, and group residentials to Manchester and Castlewellan.
The Interface Diaries DVD launch will take place at the end of March.
Much more to come. Follow us on Twitter! @idiaries
On set in the Shankill
Ballymurphy Young Person
Group Discussion in Carrick Hill
Video Review in Highfield
Highfield Questions in Preparation for Ballymurphy Tour
Week three of Interface Diaries has proven the most interesting thus far. All four groups are developing a cohesion that is shining through in the personal nature of this week’s discussions. Topics ranged from teenage pregnancy in communities to the mutual discontent with the local paramilitaries in those same areas. While the IRA and UDA/UVF would have been at opposite ends of the spectrum 20 years ago, today they appear to have more similarities than ever for young people. These modern incarnations of paramilitaries are hot topics for our groups, who share a mutual discontent for the oppression they bring upon their areas through violent justice.
On a lighter note, this week also saw a Catholic invite to join a Protestant football team on the Shankill, a request to come out for St. Patricks day and the Twelfth of July, and my favorite question of all: “Can you show us how to dance? Because we all got two left feet.”
The second week of Interface Diaries is in the books. Groups finally got used to the idea of being on camera, flexing their public speaking skills and offering unique and thought provoking opinions. All four of the groups are taking to the process nicely, asking their partner groups poignant, topical questions and holding little back in their responses. Common topics of interest this week included how friends are made through riots, the dangers of modern paramilitaries, opinions on policing, and the problems posed by addiction. Looking forward to a very interesting Week 3.
More to come. Stay tuned.
Ballymurphy Group Watching Video Made by Highfield Partner Group
This week Interface Diaries began our new year of programming, working with 43 teenagers across Belfast. Communities involved include the Protestant Highfield and Shankill Rd. and the Catholic Ballymurphy and Carrick Hill. All group members got on camera for their first week of filming, introducing themselves to one another and asking their initial set of questions to the partner groups. Given the ongoing Flag Protests across Northern Ireland, Interface Diaries has an added significance for those involved. We are looking forward to the next eight weeks of filming and giving teens in Belfast the voice they deserve.
This years partner organisations include the Shankill Area Project, Rathbone, the Youth Engagement Programme, and Lamb Films