Date: 05/12/2013

Bridge of Hope, a programme of Ashton Community Trust, has unveiled a unique piece of artwork created by victims and survivors from Belfast.

The Transitional Justice Grassroots Jigsaw features contributions from Falls and Shankill Women’s Centres and was unveiled today (Thursday December 5) in the office of the Victims and Survivors Service.

The jigsaw forms part of Bridge of Hope’s Transitional Justice Grassroots Programme. Each piece of the jigsaw was produced by the women from these centres and digitally recreated at FabLab, an urban hi tech laboratory based in the New Lodge, managed by Ashton Community Trust.

The jigsaw pieces collectively reflect the women’s lived experiences of the conflict as well as their hopes for the future.

Transitional Justice seeks recognition for victims and aims to promote possibilities for peace and reconciliation. Bridge of Hope’s Transitional Justice Grassroots programme has successfully engaged with individuals from Falls, Mount Vernon, New Lodge, Shankill and Tigers Bay around a range of issues such as institutional reform, prosecution, truth and reconciliation.

The Victims and Survivors Service on behalf of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister funded the programme. It has also received ongoing support from the Transitional Justice Institute and University of Ulster academic Eilish Rooney.

Speaking at the unveiling in the Victims and Survivors Service Junior Minister McCann said: “I commend the Ashton Community Trust, the Victims Survivors Service and everyone who participated in this project.  The jigsaw pieces reflect individual experiences of the conflict as well as their hopes for the future.”

“Peace needs partnership and community projects like this one involving the Shankill and the Falls provide a solid foundation for peace and community relations.  This piece of art may be complete and the project finished, however, the relationships and new friendships forged as a result of this project will live on.”

“Transitional Justice is important as it seeks recognition for victims and aims to promote possibilities for peace and reconciliation.  This Programme has successfully engaged with individuals around a range of issues such as institutional reform, prosecution, truth and reconciliation.”

Irene Sherry, Head of Victims Services at Ashton Community Trust, said “This is a unique cross community reflection of post conflict life.”

“As a piece of many parts, it captures many individual experiences, and ‘glues’ them all together as one. We see it as a wonderful piece of artwork and we are delighted that the Victims and Survivors Service are displaying this permanently in their office. Our thanks must also go to the participants who gave such heartfelt and thoughtful contributions.

“We have been exploring transitional justice with grassroots communities since our pilot programme began three years ago. Through this work we have gained a deeper understanding of what steps communities feel need to be taken in order to reconstruct peacefully after conflict.”

Notes to editors:

Bridge of Hope is a programme of the award winning social regeneration charity Ashton Community Trust. Since 2001 it has worked to empower and promote positive change for people who have been bereaved, physically harmed or psychologically affected by the conflict.

Bridge of Hope receives funding for its victims work from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

More details are available at www.thebridgeofhope.org andwww.ashtoncentre.com and www.fablabni.com