The Belfast Exposed Archive is a substantial collection of over one million negatives and slides, held in trust for the community. Compiled over the last 40 years, the Archive contains contributions from both professional and amateur photographers. It is a valuable, living historical resource that documents political, cultural and social changes in Northern Ireland since the 1980s.

Image (above): © Sean McKernan

Naturally, the Archive includes a significant amount of material in relation to the Troubles. However, many of the images show an alternative side of Belfast that reflects the reality, sadness and humour of the city as it experienced conflict, through the experiences of people who lived, worked and visited the city throughout that time.

Working in a socially engaged context, Belfast Exposed incorporates archival images into our community workshops as a way to discuss the trauma of the past and support participants using photography as a method of healing. We also use archival images as part of exhibitions and public engagement where appropriate, and are currently undertaking a long-term project to digitise the whole Archive.

For more information, contact us at


Images (below):
© Sean McKernan: #1, 5-11, 13-18, 20-37, 41-42, 44, 46-47, 50-51, 53-56, 59-60, 63, 66-68
© Mervyn Smyth: #2, 12, 19, 43, 48, 49, 52, 57, 71
© Gerry Casey: #3, 45, 58, 61-62
© Mark Ramsay: #40
© Michael Valente: #70