The State of Us … Previewing the seventh annual Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics (22-28 March)

A quick rummage through the Imagine! Belfast programme coming up between 22–28 March. Under the strapline of The State of Us, there’ll be exhibitions, workshops, lectures, film, comedy, music, spoken word, lectures, theatre and quizzes. Voices from at home and abroad. The festival isn’t afraid to challenge. It doesn’t expect participants to agree with everything that is said. It’s about making people think. Widening their horizons. Broadening their understanding. Developing their empathy. Helping them figure out why – and if – they truly believe the hunches and biases they may have been living with for a lifetime.

Belfast 4 Corners Festival starts next Sunday. All events free to watch online…

Northern Ireland’s first-ever inter-Church arts festival will proceed despite Covid-19 by going on-line. The Belfast 4 Corners Festival, now in its ninth year, co-founded by its Joint Chairs, Presbyterian minister, Rev Steve Stockman and Catholic priest, Fr Martin Magill, will live stream 30 events from January 31 to February 7. The festival announced its lineup on its website 4cornersfestival.com The festival said they had to abandon plans to invite a limited number of members of the public to attend some …

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Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, 7th – 11th December 2020…

The festival will run from the 7th-11th December and continues to offer a wide variety of more than 30 free online events and on-demand content focussed on aspects of human rights from home and abroad. 2020 has been an unbelievably challenging year for everyone across the world. The Covid-19 global pandemic has created a massive public health emergency, extensive loss of life and has also exposed and deepened many inequalities in our society. Rights continue to connect us and to …

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Northern Ireland Social Science Festival launches programme…

Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University are again coming together to launch a packed programme of talks, workshops, plays and interactive activities that showcase the range and quality of social science research being carried out in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland ESRC Festival of Social Science kicks off across Northern Ireland in various venues from 2 – 9 November 2019. The UK-wide Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council, and aims to open up …

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Conn O’Neill Festival – 400th Anniversary, Starts August 29, East Belfast…

The second Conn O’Neill Festival will take place over two weekends in August and September 2019. It marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Conn, the last Gaelic Lord of east Belfast. His legacy endures in local place names and lore. The festival, organised by the Turas project in east Belfast, includes talks, tours, exhibitions and a family fun day. The programme is centred at the Skainos building, 239 Newtownards Road and includes: Thursday August 29: Festival Launch. 7pm. …

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The role of media in conflict: A Féile discussion

The role of media in conflict: A Féile discussion by Allan LEONARD 8 August 2019 Hosted by Féile an Phobail, the campaign group Time for Truth organised an event to examine the role of the media in conflict and to listen to the account of those journalists in the front line who helped shape and influence the narrative. The panellists were Amanda Ferguson (journalist), Sean Murray (film director), Trevor Birney (film producer), and Barry McCaffery (journalist). After welcoming those attending …

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For Northern Ireland: Parity of esteem and reconciliation

For Northern Ireland: Parity of esteem and reconciliation by Allan LEONARD 1 August 2019 As part of the 31st annual Féile festival, Jim Gibney (a member of the Féile Debates and Discussions Committee) welcomed the audience of a couple dozen attendees of a panel discussion on what parity of esteem, reconciliation, and mutual respect means from those who are pro-Union. The panellists were Professor Peter Shirlow (Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool), Dr James Wilson (Initiative for Civic Space), …

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Does Political Violence Work? #imaginebelfast

QUB pro-vice-chancellor Professor Richard English delivered a 40-minute talk on the topic of Does Political Violence Work? during the recent Imagine! Belfast festival, looking at terrorism by non-state and potentially state actors as well as drawing some conclusions about the disjunction between why campaigns start, why people join up, what is achieved and how we post hoc rationalise what happens.

Happy Days Festival does Beckett and Brexit (1-6 August)

Waiting for Godot on the border, billboards and cross-border chess: the 6th Happy Days International Beckett Festival takes stock ahead of Brexit. The first line of Samuel Beckett’s famous play reads: ”Nothing to be done“. The characters go round in circles, both verbally and physically, are disorientated, are forever waiting for something to happen but it never does. They want to move forward but instead remain fixed in the same spot. Sound familiar?

Engage with the Power of Reason – #imaginebelfast festival (12-18 March)

Between 12 and 18 March, Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics will host 80 free events in over 30 venues across the city to encourage people to engage with the big issues of our times, whether that be Brexit, poverty, (in)equality, gender or fake news. There’ll be talks, workshops, theatre, comedy, music, film, tours, exhibitions, dance, poetry and a video competition.

Mount Stewart Conversations: a festival fusing debate, culture & food (17+18 September)

MOUNT STEWART CONVERSATIONS promises a weekend of debate, ideas, storytelling, art, music and food in the National Trust’s recently restored house and the surrounding gardens. Anne Applebaum, David Aaronovitch, Fintan O’Toole, Sarah Helm, Wendy Osborne, Jonathan Powell not to mention Urslua Burns, Iain Archer, Molly Sterling, Orchestre des Refugies et Amis, Bitch’n’Monk, and Lords of Strut.

“I think that Northern Ireland needs great cultural events for an international audience”

The Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival makes the pages of the New York Times.  From the New York Times article The Happy Days festival has a budget of £300,000 (about $474,400), of which the greatest part comes from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, with smaller contributions from London 2012 and the local Enniskillen council. “On the one hand, it’s a very tight budget for the diversity and scale of the program,” Mr. …

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Oh les beaux jours!

As the Irish Times notes, the inaugural five-day Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is under way.  Launched yesterday by the Northern Ireland Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, as part of the NI2012 “Our time, our place” programme.   Funded by the NI Tourist Board,  Arts Council of NI National Lottery funds, the London 2012 Olympic Festival, and Fermanagh District Council, it’s promising to be “the world’s first annual festival to celebrate the work and influence of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel …

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Does History Matter? BBC NI’s Festival of History & Broadcasting

BBC NI Festival of History and Broadcasting

I gave up history at the age of 14. Keeping on three sciences meant that it was a straight choice between geography and history. As a result, my knowledge of history is confined to the legend of Finn McCool, the Roundheads and the Cavaliers, and a link between the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in an open top charabanc and the start of the First World War. Maybe if Horrible Histories had been around twenty five years ago I might …

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