Troubled Images: A personal perspective by Gordon Gillespie

Troubled Images Exhibition
14 June 2010 – 11 September 2010
Location: Vertical Gallery
Admission: Free
Troubled Images Exhibition


All 70 political posters from our ‘Troubled Images’ exhibition, documenting the years of the Northern Ireland conflict, have been hung five storeys high in our Vertical Gallery. 

The exhibition has travelled throughout the world to inform and educate the general public about the turbulent years of Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’. It is now ‘home’ again and available for all to see.

Dr Gordon Gillespie was a colleague of mine during my employment as Marketing and Production Manager on the Troubled Images project at the Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

Troubled Images was a project to digitise over 3,500 items in the library’s Northern Ireland Political Collection — posters, leaflets, stickers and the like. The resulting images were placed on a multimedia CD-ROM, accompanied by thematic essays and audio interviews of significant poster designers and campaigners.

I was responsible for the launch exhibition at the Linen Hall Library, in October 2001. It was a little nostalgic for me to see the posters on display again at the library, in a current exhbition that runs through 11 September. Indeed, the exhibition is juxtapositioned with one on newspaper cover pages of the 9/11 event. (Fionnuala O’Connor evaluates these mutual exhibitions in the Irish News.)


Gordon was asked to provide a lecture on the Troubled Images project, and it was like a reunion to see colleagues of the original project attending — Monica McErlane, Ita Connolly, Chris Brown and Ciaran Crossey. (Andy White is now working in China, Yvonne Murphy in Oxford, and John Gray enjoying retirement.)

Gordon did a masterful review of the individual contributions that went into the team effort, as well as highlighting posters that we workers found particularly important, for various reasons.

I’ll take this opportunity to underline Gordon’s crucial contribution — researching and writing the vast majority of the annotations for the images on the CD-ROM. His expertise of Northern Ireland history also prevented any embarrassing blunders; the testimony of this is that to date, near 10 years on (touch wood), no one has complained of any gross errors.


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