19th Feb 2020 5:30pm-7:00pm
M2 Boardroom, Grand Parade
Scenes of Trauma: Photographs of Conflict and Post-Conflict Northern Ireland: from a former British soldiers’ perspective
In this seminar I will be discussing my transition from soldier to civilian and how this journey shaped my PhD research and analysis through the taking of photographs. My history in photography began with a compact camera that my stepfather bought for me on my 18th birthday in 1990. I was based in Northern Ireland serving with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. The photographs I took where of the Northern Ireland landscape, its terrain, the murals, housing estates, the military equipment we wore and the hardware we used.
I photographed a private world, away from the bravado of war films and advertisement commercials. The photographs I took mostly depicted the mundanity of army life in Northern Ireland during the long drawn out ‘Operation Banner’. I took pictures of fellow soldiers in my platoon patrolling the streets, photographed the murals that were a visual reminder of how much the British army were hated.
I travelled back to Northern Ireland twenty years later when I was interviewed by BBC Northern Ireland as they filmed me revisited the places I once patrolled during the height of the troubles. In 2014, I travelled back to Northern Ireland to photograph a group of former soldiers. We visited South Armagh, Derry and Belfast sharing dialogue with former opposing combatants. Then in 2015, I moved to Belfast to begin my Ph.D. at Ulster University.
During my time in Northern Ireland, I attended conflict resolution workshops and during December 2018, I was part of a peacekeeping project called the ‘Derry Model’ organized by the Bloody Sunday Trust. During my time in Derry, I photographed what remained of the Northern Ireland post-conflict landscape and how the 'troubles' themselves have shaped its aftermath.
Stuart Griffiths is a UK based photographer. He began taking photographs as a young paratrooper during the Northern Ireland ‘troubles’. In 2010 Griffiths was winner of the Brighton Photo Fringe Open for his exhibition ‘Closer’, which examined displaced UK veterans. In 2011 and 2013, two monographs were published based upon his soldier photographs from his days in the British army: The Myth of the Airborne Warrior and Pigs’ Disco. Griffiths is currently finishing his PhD ‘The Soldiers’ Camera: Barracks to Battlefields at Ulster University. Collections include: The Imperial War Museum, London; Archive of Modern Conflict, Canada; National Science and Media Museum, Bradford.