Youth of Belfast
Photographer Toby Binder has been documenting the daily life of teenagers in British working-class communities for more than a decade. After the Brexit referendum he focussed his work on Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland will have to leave the European Union due to UK’s Brexit referendum although a majority of its citizens voted to remain. While most local Protestant Unionists support Brexit, the Catholic Irish Nationalists mainly wanted to stay in the EU. After almost 30 years of conflict during the so clalled “Troubles” a fundamental condition of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement is the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This frontier will become an external border of the European Union after Brexit again which will threaten the Peace Process in the country. Especially future prospects of the young generation could be impacted negatively if old conflicts recur again. Nevertheless most teenagers were not allowed to vote in the referendum because of their nonage.
The photo essay shows that kids in Belfast often suffer similar problems in daily life like unemployment, drug crime and violence – no matter if they live on one or the other side of the „Peace Walls“ that separate communities and the society of Belfast till today. Whatever the effects of Brexit will be, it‘s very likely that they will strike communities on both sides.
The essay accompanies teenagers in six different, both Protestant and Catholic neighbourhoods and gives an intimate and immediate insight into daily life of a whole generation.