The Speeches, Strikes and Struggles: Curating Conflict exhibition is led by the Tower Museum, and offers the chance for the public to view rarely before seen collections highlighting key moments of the Troubles dating from 1968 to the present day. The Speeches, Strikes and Struggles project combines resources from three major collections held in the museum archives - the Bridget Bond collection, the Gerry Lynch collection and the newly acquired Peter Moloney Collection.
Emma McGarrity, Learning and Engagement Officer at the Tower Museum said: 'The Curating Conflict exhibition offers visitors a chance to view a unique combinations of artefacts, some of which have never been seen before.
'Gallery 1 is a testament to the life of Bridget Bond. She is representative of the tireless work of civil rights activists on the ground, who worked without reward for the betterment of the lives of others.
'The Peter Moloney gallery creates a visual experience of the differences and similarities across Northern Ireland society. We hope visitors will be able to recognise the cultural threads that we share, rather than the differences that have divided us.'
The first gallery in the exhibition showcases the struggle for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland from its roots in the late 1960s. This is presented through the life and work of Bridget Bond, a leading civil rights activist in Derry. Secretary of the Derry Housing Action Committee and a member of NICRA, Bridget campaigned tirelessly for housing for the people of Derry and for basic human and civil rights for everyone.
The exhibition showcases unique images from Larry Doherty, Trevor McBride, Eamon Melaugh, and Victor Patterson and never before seen footage of Duke Street, from Liam McCafferty, which combine to illustrate the desire for social change in 1968. Original documents from Bridget Bond’s collection are supported by material from the Gerry Lynch and Peter Moloney collections. Presented alongside archive material from the Linen Hall’s NICRA collection and the National Museums Northern Ireland, these documents illustrate key dates and activities from 1959 through to 1974.
The exhibition also offers visitors the first chance to view material from the Peter Moloney collection, which consists of 50,000 items charting the identity and culture of Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Murals, badges, posters, banners, T-shirts and ephemera combine in a striking visual interpretation that provides a unique insight into a divided society.
Reflecting on his collection Peter Moloney commented: 'Some of my collection may upset people but we can’t rewrite history. My only wish is that people see it and learn from it.'
Hosted in the Nerve Visual Building in Ebrington, the new Speeches, Strikes and Struggles: Curating Conflict is the latest event in the Nerve Centre’s programme of exhibitions, Exploring ‘68. The programme aims to ask questions and encourage discussion around the legacy of Northern Ireland's 1968 fifty years on.
The exhibition will be open to the public from Thursday, October 4 until Friday, December 23, 2018. Opening hours at the Nerve Visual Building are Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm and Sundays 12pm – 6pm.
The exhibition is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.