Patterns of the City – Belfast city dressing project

Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council`s Development Committee launches “Patterns of the City” project

After the disappointing recent additions of the broken Slinky Spirit of Belfast and the multistory whale bones Belfast Streets Ahead feature lighting masts public art installations, I was depressed about what statutory agencies have commissioned to demonstrate Northern Ireland’s vision. Today a “city dressing project” was announced by Belfast City Council, which worked in partnership with Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau, Belfast City Centre Management, DRD Roads Service and the Department for Social Development. It works. And I think it will work very well. A big reason is because, as described on a dedicated section of BVCB’s Go to Belfast website, the final selection of patterns were decided with local community involvement:

Through a series of workshops, Belfast City Council worked with young people, from across the city to develop the City Banners.

The 11 – 18 year old participants from Glencairn Youth Initiative, Falls Youth Providers and the Reach Project took photographs of both their own areas and areas in the city centre to highlight what captivates them about Belfast. The groups worked together to suggest ideas and to talk through what Belfast means to them and what people visiting or living here may overlook – the end product being, the patterns for the banners.

I really like these patterns. They are a perfect mixture of traditional symbols that we walk past everyday, mostly obliviously, with a contemporary twist to make them stand out and vital once again. Indeed, in contrast to the bland and banal “Be” Belfast logo — which was a concept imported from an outside agency that applied it to other English cities — Patterns of the City is much better conceived, with local involvement and symbolism that actually means something to the citizens of Belfast. Well done. Look forward to seeing these banners throughout the city and at special events, such as the forthcoming MTV Europe Music Awards, the Titanic centenary and the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

Harland & Wolff
Clonard Monastery
Queen’s Bridge
The Birds
City Hall
The Gable End
Spire of Hope
Ulster Hall
Green Spaces
Street Names
Addendum (29/7/2011): Patterns of the City – In situ 1 photos

Allan LEONARD is a peacebuilder. I do this through my personal and professional vocations, with learning, exploring, and reporting. My specialism is the politics of Northern Ireland, whose people and land I love and where I have made my home. I believe in the power of the arts for conflict transformation, through vision, sound, and performance. I work for a shared society and a #sharedfuture Views expressed here may not represent those of current or previous employers or associations.