Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls
Date: Wednesday 3rd June 2015
Start Time: 7:00pm
Location: American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. (See Location Map)
About the Book
“Many beyond Ireland believe that Ireland is at peace. There is a glittering and prosperous new Belfast – and at the same time, in the still-segregated areas of working class Belfast, the legacy of the conflict remains. In this book, Vicky Cosstick tells the story of the one hundred walls, gates, barriers and other interfaces, one third of them built since the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which continue to divide Catholic from Protestant areas, scar the city and block its progress. In May 2013 First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness promised to bring down the walls by 2023. Is that possible and how will it happen? The author interviewed community workers, residents, artists and architects, church leaders, business people, civil servants and former paramilitaries, all of them committed to building the peace in the city in their various ways, to explore that question and pen a readable portrait of post-conflict Belfast. The book contains 40 new stunning black and white photographs by Belfast photographer Frankie Quinn, who is from Short Strand in East Belfast, and a Foreword by John Paul Lederach, Professor of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, who has been a frequent contributor to the peace process in Northern Ireland. The book will be introduced at the launch by noted architect and urbanist Michael Sorkin, who is Distinguished Professor of Architecture at the City College of New York .”
About the Author
Vicky Cosstick lives in London, and has worked as a journalist, organisational consultant and adult educator. She was born in Eritrea, where her New Yorker mother was on mission with the UN, and has lived in New York and the UK. She has a first degree in Sociology, a Masters in facilitating change, and a Masters in theology from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York. Her first article about the conflict in Belfast was published in the New York Daily News in 1978, with further articles in 1988 and 2013, and she has had a home in Donegal since 1997. Once she learned about the extent of the walls and interfaces dividing Catholics from Protestants in working class areas, she became fascinated and has brought her background as an academic, facilitator, writer and journalist to explore and understand this complex challenge.