Category Archives: The POD Project

Mervyn Smyth Community Photography Coordinator on the POD Project

Mervyn Smyth Community Photography Coordinator discusses the development of the Belfast Exposed POD, a purpose built photography workspace developed to pop up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills


Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers Training Programme, 2014

Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers Training Programme, 2014

The Community Volunteers Training Programme offered Belfast Exposed Volunteers opportunities to develop facilitation skills through an intensive skills development programme followed by the opportunity to facilitate in the community.

Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers

A short video with two of the Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers, Tony and Abbey. Later this year our volunteers will be embarking on delivering hands on training and facilitation in communities as part of the POD Project. The POD is a purpose built photography workspace. The POD pops up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills. The Volunteers have gone through intense training to develop professional facilitation skills.

Dunmurry Today Exhibition opens in the Exchange Space at Belfast Exposed 4th September – 11th September


Dunmurry Today is an experimental collaboration between Belfast Exposed, Dunmurry Community Association and a group of participants living in Dunmurry.

The Programme was led by Mervyn Smyth and Sarah Hunter, and engaged the practice of artist photographers and Belfast Exposed Community Volunteers, Rebecca McMaster and Jill Quigley. It was the first project to run from the Belfast Exposed Photography POD. The POD is a purpose built photography workspace. The POD pops up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills.

During the project the Belfast Exposed team worked with two groups; the Dunmurry ‘1 to 3 club’, a group of senior citizens who met on Wednesday afternoons during August; and the Senior Youth Media Week participants who took part in an intensive week-long photography boot camp from 18 to 22 August.

Dunmurry Today also involved a new and unique element of the programme as two of the members of the creative team, Rebecca and Jill, were facilitating for the first time. Both Jill and Rebecca have spent the last 6 months learning facilitation skills as part of the Belfast Exposed community volunteers training programme. The Dunmurry Todayprogramme was the first opportunity for them to test out their facilitation skills under the guidance and support of Belfast Exposed veterans Mervyn Smyth and Sarah Hunter.

The resulting images, video, photobooks, and writing, give a sense of what the participants think of Dunmurry Today as well as providing an insight into the overall programme. The images are a reflection of the project by the participants and a response by Jill and Rebecca to their time with the groups. Rebecca’s work focuses on the building infrastructure of Dunmurry and the relationship young people have with the area. Jill’s work emphasises the past, with attention to nature in this environment.

This project was run in partnership with the Dunmurry Community Association and is funded through the Paul Hamlyn Our Museum’s Initiative and the SEELB.

Dunmurry today


The children explored Dunmurry exploring the colourful take aways and shop windows. Looking above the shops signs of Dumurrys past can be found, using old photographs the group made connections between Dunmurrys past and present. 










The second participant to go into the field as part of the 2014 volunteer community facilitation program was Photography Undergraduate Rebekka Mcmaster. Working in Dunmurry Rebekka was assigned to develop the ‘Dumurry Today’ project from the perspective of the teenagers and younger children. This was a high energy group who enjoyed actively engaging with the project through photographing in the field.

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Dunmurry Today


Jill spent time with the group freely discussing stories about Dunmurry, a task that was easy for this talkative and insightful group.

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Dunmurry Today


The group brought in old photographs and studied them against the new photographs they took with Jill.


Dunmurry Today


Participants posing for a group photograph in Dunmurry, August 2014

This summer Belfast Exposed is launching our Photography POD, its first port of call will be Dunmurry Community Association where it will be placed during August and September. The POD is a purpose built photography workspace. It will pop up in communities, engaging local people and groups to develop photography skills. From the POD we will run exciting projects, a weekly photography surgery, create a living archive of the community and use photography to take a closer look at where you live.


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