Heterotopia

We all have stories

Fears haunt us all in our dreams

To whom do you turn?

Richard Gosnold

"I just want a safe environment for my family."

Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold

"I do not know what I will be doing or where I will be next week. I cannot plan anything because I never know what is going to happen."

Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold

"Do i miss home?

It is where I belong but it is not safe.

Nobody will miss being beaten with a rifle."

Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold

"I am upset.

People say that we come here for benefits.

In my country there are no benefits.

I have never heard of benefits until I came here."

Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold

"I came here for work but I cannot find any. My qualifications are not recognised here so I need to find a new profession."

Richard Gosnold

"I am very happy. Today I have a permit to work.

Now I can find a job and provide for my family."

Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold

"The people in my country are always fighting. One tribe hates the other tribe just because they speak a different language."

Richard Gosnold

"It is very stressful. I have to go to the meeting every week. It is frightening, they search me and my bag. I have to tell somebody that I am going as I never know if I will come out again."

Richard Gosnold

"I am here alone. My wife and children are in another country and I miss them.

Hopefully they will be able to come here one day.

My child always asks when I will come for her and I always say tomorrow."

Richard Gosnold
Richard Gosnold

"I was beaten and my wife was cut on the stomach."

Richard Gosnold

"I cannot go back, it is not safe."

Richard Gosnold

Arable farmer

Architect

Athletics coach

Camel farmer

Chef

Graphic designer

House keeper

Journalist

Kiosk owner

Lorry driver

Mechanic

Pharmacist

Security guard

This work features photographs made with people, whom I met in Belfast shortly after I arrived in Northern Ireland. I didn’t know Belfast very well and I spent a lot of my time around the small part of town, known as Botanic. I was drawn to the area, as it reminded me of a tiny slice of London and I was missing home, so Botanic felt like a natural place for me to be. 


I was keen to make a project around the subject of being away from friends and family, whilst trying to build a new life in an unfamiliar place, so I started this work. 


During the project I met people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and religions. We had some good times and I met inspirational people, listened to heartbreaking stories and made some good friends. These are some of my favourite photographs from that body of work.


Some of the group volunteered at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, just outside Belfast, and I went with them. We would clean the old buildings at the museum and spend time reflecting on our life experiences. It was during these intimate occasions that we learned more about each other. I felt privileged to witness how the lives of these individuals had converged in that one place and at that one point in time, due to circumstances beyond their control, and with that in mind, I decided to title the body of work ‘Heterotopia’. 


Philosopher, Michel Foucault, describes ‘heterotopia’ as a place of ‘otherness’. Heterotopia comprises the physical state of being in one place, while contemporaneously being present elsewhere, emotionally or spiritually. Together we were sharing this heterotopia where we could relate our experiences and support one another in our new lives, while still living in the memories of home.


Many of the people featured in this project have witnessed terrible and tragic events in their countries of origin and have been forced to endure great dangers on their journeys to unfamiliar lands.


All have had to leave loved ones behind.


All have had to leave their countries of birth.


All face uncertainty.


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