We are now taking submissions for the Culture Night 2015 programme, which will take place on Friday 18th September. All proposals must be submitted by Wednesday 1 July.
It's the seventh year of Culture Night Belfast, the city's biggest, most colourful and inclusive cultural celebration. With your help we will radically transform and energise the streets, throughfares, spaces and places of Belfast over one day. Last year over 200 organisations and individuals got involved and performed, presents, curated, cultivated, illuminated, showed, screened, told and generally opened up to over 50,000 people across the city centre, and beyond, in an evening of carnivalesque adventure like no other.
If you have an exciting idea or event you think would be perfect for Culture Night Belfast 2015 now is the time to let us know.
We piloted CNX last year and we were so pleased with how it went we are doing it again!
CNX will run from Thursday 17th - Sunday 20th September (excluding Culture Night on the 18th September). CNX will give people the chance to see that the fantastic cultural offering in Belfast is not limited to a few hours one Friday night.
200+ events, 100+ venues and over 30,000 people in Cathedral Quarter and beyond - Culture Night is taking over Belfast on 19th September between 4-10pm. VIEW EVENTS
"Best night ever! A surprise round every corner. Simply brilliant!"
This year in the lead up to #CNB15 we're compiling the CNB Almanac
Almanac: an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables, and tabular information. Astronomical data and various statistics are found in almanacs, such as the times of the rising and setting of the sun and moon, eclipses, hours of full tide, church festivals, etc.
Ever feel like all the decisions about your city are being made behind closed doors?
Ever contribute to a consultation which didn’t ever seem to make any difference?
Ever wonder who decided it was OK to build that there or knock that down?
Ever feel like you wanted a new way to talk about Belfast and how we’re planning our future?
The CNB Almanac will be a new approach in public consultation. It’s an attempt to gather a creative guide for decision makers and disseminate the outputs, not via an ignored report, but to thousands of people via performances at Culture Night and associated digital content.
Each event will include five challenging, five minute presentations and then be opened up to everyone. We will take your ideas and dreams and turn them into a body of work that will help everyone to talk about and own the conversation about the future of our city.
Our three events will look at Belfast through the three lenses of Arts, Environment and Youth and ask how they can contribute to the city’s future.
29 May: The Arts
26 June: The Environment
24 July: Children & Young People
1pm – 2pm (lunch served from 12.30)
Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Harbour Office, Corporation Square
As the CNB team look foward to what our city's creative talent can conjure for another odyssey of the imagination in 2015, here's an incredible story and a reminder of the power and inspiration the event holds, not only for the cultural and creative indusitries of Belfast and Northern Ireland, but to its citizens regardless of background or experience in the arts from CNB14.
"A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow." Charles Brower.
The fire of imagination, spark of newness, risk and possibility is often extinguished by our peers, and unfortunately our significant others until these repeated dismissals are pre-empted in our hearts and there is a dulling of our dreams. We ignore these sparks and slowly part of us diminishes.
Driving our 1973 VW camper is always an adventure, never predictable, teachin us the joy of the journey and the possibility of unpredicted destinations.
It brings a lightness to the communities we drive through, a shriek of excitement from a small child, a wave, a glance of nostalgia, a moment of possibility, a reawakening. Time must be allotted on each journey to account for the conversations at every stopping place, adults reminisce, kids clamber in, people relax and share aspirations.
Let's face it, it is a malfunctioning, rust-loving vehicle and yet it is a van of wonder and possibility. There are many stories to tell.
In 2014 we decided to turn our campervan into an interactive installation, to park it up somewhere and create a space for people to find acceptance and courage to speak their dreams. We could think of no better event to start that journey than at Culture Night Belfast. A night were Belfast brims with creativity, sparkles with expectation, stakes a claim as a cosmopolitan city. A night when our souls are re-ignited by collective possibility.
We loved the theme ‘Feed Me’ the challenge that we all need fed and in turn we need to feed the city with energy, enthusiasm, ideas and new ways of being. Culture night has been a big highlight in our lives and our kids’ lives and this year we thought it was time to not just partake, but participate. Recognise our own creativity, ability and resources and participate in CNB 2014. We had no budget or funding but a lot of good will and ability to borrow. Working with the culture night team was fantastic, encouraging and empowering.
On Culture Night the van was parked up on Talbot Street. We had flash mob protests against dream-snatching, buskers rousing the crowd to dream. A team of total enthusiasts, lovers of life, dream enablers.
The beauty of the night was that people had the courage to enter the van and an articulate a dream. The dreams were spoken into a microphone within the ‘safe’ confessional parlour of the van, but there were then transmitted via a rooftop megaphone. Talbot Street was filled with the audible aspirations of 350 people that night. Yes, 350 people stepped in and declared some new possibility for themselves, someone they loved, their community or the world.
Children dreamed some of being footballers, owning ponies, living in a sweetie house, designing Lego or simply of a happy life. Adults talked wistfully of dreams of their youth and transitions in their lives. It was humbling to witness dreams of new beginnings, taking risks, escape, and the vulnerability of dreaming of love.
Teenagers came in clusters giggling into the van, aspiring to travel, love, success, friendship or acceptance. One of the greatest pleasures and surprises of the night was to witness the connection made by teenage girls, that they could dream their own dreams, not being completely peer or media led. They could follow their hearts and instincts and forge their own way.
Tears were shed, there were a lot of laughs, it was humbling.
In the camper of dreams there was no scrutiny, dismissal, judgement people could dream big or small. It truly was inspirational.
Our team of dreamers recorded all the dreams on twitter @camperofdreams and on ribbons. The ribbons were tied to our 10ft high dream catcher. A visual installation of the collective dreams of the people of Belfast. It shimmered in the night, fragile and delicate with hopes, a challenge for passers-by to re-imagine for themselves or the city.
Each dreamer left the van with a button badge of the camper to remind them of their declaration and encourage them to keep dreaming.
While packing up at the end of the night, full of delight at the response, a guy came up to us who recognised the van; his brother has owned it years previously and had died tragically in his youth. The connection was painful, emotional, and full of reminiscence. To be able to tell the story of Culture Night’s hundreds of aspirations, hopes and dreams being told that night in this van of wonder and van of sorrow, we hope was honouring to Michael and his family.
In 2014 we took the challenge to start dreaming again, to take a risk, to transform the camper into a dream-enabling camper, to participate in Culture Night, to go to other festivals. So we pass on that challenge to others, to those who attended Culture Night, to those who support Culture Night and to those who fund Culture Night and the Arts in this city. We challenge you to be still and listen; to remember and connect with your desires: to imagine things differently; to believe in possibility.
Find us a www.campervanofdreams.com,
FB- camper of dreams /twitter@camperofdreams
Belfast’s biggest celebration of culture & arts is back on 18th September! On Culture Night, venues, galleries, cultural organisations, historic buildings and many more will open their doors to invite the public to explore what they do and enjoy free performances, events, talks and tours. There will be also be a host of on-street activities and events taking place in the public squares, outdoor areas and pedestrianised streets of the Cathedral Quarter. It’s a night of carnivalesque adventure like no other!
It’s part of our mission to make sure that everyone who wants to participate in CNB15 has the best support possible and thanks to Children in Need we are able to provide a special bespoke training programme for youth groups that want to take part.
Over the next three weeks we will be recruiting four youth groups to participate in this programme. Successful applicants will receive a specially designed training programme devised and delivered by the Culture Night team. The training will begin with the creative process of deciding what event you want to deliver then step by step go through what you need to make your ideas come to life on Culture Night itself. We’ll even provide you with a small budget to deliver it.
For young people interested in any sort of event management, (for arts, entertainment, sport etc), this will provide excellent experience and applied training. Not only that but it will allow participants to present their work to the CNB audience who are notorious for their positive attitude. Feedback for past participants would suggest that performing on Culture Night can be a truly transformative process and we’re keen to ensure that we use this energy to build skills, experience and confidence in our young people.
If you’re interested in applying to be one of the groups in the programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org with some information on your group.
In the event of CNB receiving more applications that we can facilitate groups will be selected based on creating a geographic spread. We will also prioritise those from areas of need. Most importantly we really need the participants to be interested in running events. We want to empower young people to deliver something that they are proud of and give them transferable skills which they can take into careers in events. It won’t work if the young people are dragged along.
If you’re game, we can give you the skills to create an event that will change things. How and what is up to you.
And just like that, it was over.
Wow. How to put it all into words... Last Friday wasn’t just a celebration of culture and the arts in Northern Ireland; it was a celebration of all that’s great about this place and the majority who live in it. Echoing the sentiments of another article on the event, it was a great reminder of how far we’ve come and where we can be if we pull together as one community. Some will rightly say they wish it could be every night, or put over a weekend, but in my opinion it would be almost impossible to replicate that joy, spontaneity, magic, wonder and imagination over several days.
What I’d hope is for you, the wonderful people who made CNB14 the success it was, to go build from this. Go form a band, draw for the hell of it, sign up for the roller derby, dance and sing like no one is looking or just keep going to events in the city and keeping supporting and enjoying everything the arts has to offer in Northern Ireland. That’s how Culture Night stays in your hearts from 2014 all the way to the next one in 2015. Just, eh, ask before you go rainbow chalk a cathedral...
As one of the wide-eyed naive interns (okay, as you've guessed by now I’m the naive one. My fellow intern, Stephanie was just awesome from beginning to end) who came into it all for the first time, being part of something so big and so great is going to stay with me for the rest of my life. I don’t know where I will end up next but whatever happens, I’m thankful I got for this opportunity to meet and work with some truly amazing people and see a city I love feel so vibrant and alive.
Thanks, Belfast. You proved all of us right.
See you next year!
Here we are folks. Happy Culture Night Eve! Whimsical musings and rants from a naïve intern aside here’s some really important information to help you enjoy the Culture Night experience so much more…
Now, there is probably nothing more apocalyptically bad than going to a major outdoor event where tens of thousands people descend upon a site and you’re missing all the fun trying to find a parking space. When you come to Culture Night and realise several important public roads in Belfast City Centre are closed, it makes it that tiny bit worse.
This is why, for the first time, we’ve teamed up with the wonderful people at Translink to try and provide a safe, efficient, service to take all the people of Belfast and beyond to and from Culture Night without the worry of parking enabling you to indulge in one or two drinks here and there.
So pay attention, don’t say we didn’t warn you, here is detailed information of road closures, car parking and public transport…
We’ll start with the roads, because Culture Night isn’t nearly as much fun if these roads were open. All of the Cathedral Quarter will be closed in stages throughout the day and during the event. These are as follows and subject to change…
The roads will not open again until crowds have dispersed and our team deem it safe to allow traffic back into the streets.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT - BUSES, TRAINS & TAXIS
Yes! You’re not driving in, we’re so delighted! Travel with Translink…
Visit the Translink website here for up to date information on additional road closures and amendments to bus routes affected.
For even more information ring 028 9066 6630
Due to closure of Waring Street the public hire taxi ranks will depart from Bridge Street and High Street.
Before 6pm there is free disabled parking in St Anne's Cathedral car park, accessible via Academy Street. Access to this facility will not be available after 6pm due to on street activity but please note that St Anne's Square Car Park has a large number of pre-bookable disabled car park spaces.
Information for disabled people and visitors who are not familiar with the venues is available through Access400 online service at www.adaptni.org. While we endeavour to ensure full accessibility on Culture Night, the pop up nature of much of the activity will mean that some events may not be fully accessible.
If you would like a large print of this programme please contact email@example.com or call 028 9031 4011.
That’s right, with our choice colour scheme this year it’s only right we go a bit green too. There will be a free and manned bike park available at St Anne's Cathedral Car Park, off Academy Street. Just be careful not to get caught up in the Slow Bike Race, you’ll be immediately disqualified…
Okay so public transport isn’t your thing and you don't own a bike. You’re not within walking distance of the main Culture Night site and you've decided to bring the kids, nieces, nephews and siblings in a mini bus. Excellent! You’re most welcome. So...you need a parking space and that’s okay.
While there will be no parking allowed on the aforementioned roads, there are ample car parking spaces available in the city centre, click here to download a guide. Special mention to the Castle Street multi-storey car park which will be running a special CNB14 deal of £4.50 from 12pm – 11pm on the day/night. Be sure to get in early.
So there you have it folks. We’ve suggested a half day, we've encouraged you to bring all the family and now we’ve provided as much information as we can on to get there and of our infrastructure on site. Nothing else left to do but join us for the biggest party this city has ever seen. Are you ready?
Due to the size and nature of Culture Night, there is always a chance for last minute changes, cancellations but most excitingly more events! So to keep you, me and everyone we know right, here is our up to the minute information before the whole party kicks off today!
Firstly the bad news…
Ulster Scott’s Agency Showcase – Corn Exchange
Play. Create. Celebrate - Bright Young Birthdays – Café Nero
Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies - The National
NEW EVENTS (Yay!)
Wee Toast Tours
Times: 5pm – 8pm
Location: No Fixed Abode
Listing:New to Belfast! Travel in style and experience Culture Night in a completely different and way. Cycle on Wee Toasts Tours' pedal bike with up to 17 people.
Poetry with Personality(ies)
Organisation: Duncairn Centre for Culture & Arts
Location: Reading Room/Family Room at the MAC
Time: 16:00 - 22:00
Listing: Pop in, join in & be surprised by our readers & the poems they love!
DNA and genes - the instruction manual for all living things
Organisation: Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology
Location: Writers Square (with Science in the Square Event)
Times: 16:30 – 20:30
Listing: Do you have the 'supertaster' gene? Want to extract DNA from a strawberry? Join us for these experiments led by cancer researchers.
Organisation: The Conservation Volunteers
Location: Academy Street
Times: 16:00 – 22:00
Listing: Help build a five star 'Bee Hotel' with The Conservation Volunteers. Constructed from sustainable wood, you can help the hotel take shape and make a 'mini-motel' for your own garden.
LOFT Silent Disco
Times: 4pm - 8pm
Location: Red Telephone Box, Assembly Rooms, North Street
Listing: LOFT invite you to BELFAST'S SMALLEST SILENT DISCO! Dance like noone is watching in our "glass case of emotion".
Disability Pride Blind Football Challenge
Times: 6pm – 8pm
Location: Rosemary Street (outside TK Maxx)
Description: Disability Pride Blind Football Challenge
Times: 7:30pm – 8pm
Location: St Anne’s Square
The Intsika dancers’ pulsating movements, chants and costumes are centred on the traditions and cultures of the Xhosa people of South Africa.
Down & Out
Time: 6 – 8pm
Location: The Dark Horse Courtyard
Listing: Bluegrass band Down and Out performs
Rebekah Fitch Band
Time: 8 – 9pm
Location: The Dark Horse Courtyard
Listing: The new-country group, Rebekah Fitch Band performs
Rhythm and Rhyme
Times: 4pm – 4.30pm
Location: Belfast Central Library
Listing: For children age 0 – 4. Stories, songs and rhyme fun
Times: 4.30pm – 5pm
Location: Belfast Central Library
Listing: Stories for children age 0 – 4.
Times: 6pm – 7pm
Location: Belfast Central Library
Description: music performance from ‘Manouche’ will take place on the ground floor of the library.
Culture Night at Berts
Times: 5pm – 7pm
Location: Berts Jazz Bar
Description: Berts will have live jazz on the patio from 5pm until 7pm with Belfast singer Rose Devine singing jazz standards.
Culture Night at The Cloth Ear
Times: 5pm – 8pm
Location: The Cloth Ear
Description: Matthew Rea performs an upbeat acoustic set
Culture Night at The Dirty Onion
Times: 6pm – 1am
Location: The Dirty Onion
Description: Beer Garden: 6pm-8pm 'Acoustic Collective', 8pm-10pm 'The Nine Inch Nialls'
Bar: 8pm-11pm 'Realta' trad session
Yardbird 'Unplucked': 11pm-1am 'Discobeard'
Thank Mal its Friday
Organisation/Location: Malmaison Hotel
Listing: For one night only Live Jazz music at Malmaison - classic cocktails and drinks for only £5
Times: 6pm – 7pm
Location: John Hewitt
Listing: Live set from Serotonin
CHANGES TO PROGRAMME
UNKNWN – St Anne’s Cathedral at 22:00 is cancelled.
Replaced by Ghosts
‘Made in Belfast’ Carnival Parade
Organisation: Beat Carnival
Times: 20:00 – 21:00
Location: Custom House Square to Donegal Street (Waring Street junction)
Listing: Join Beat’s Carnival Parade leaving from Custom House Square, moving down High Street to Royal Avenue with a performance stop en-route at Castle Junction.
Beat's ‘Made In Belfast’ Carnival and Culture Night Finale
Organisation: Beat Carnival
Times: 21:15 – 21:45
Location: Donegal Street - St Anne’s Cathedral
Listing: An ensemble of hundreds perform the Fleetwood Mac Tusk song in procession from the bottom of Donegal Street to the steps of St Anne's Cathedral. At the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral marvel at The Urban Ballet, an all new, local composition.
Garfield Street Stage
19:00 ‘Amidships’ now ‘Jonny Black’
Puccini and a Pint: Opera's Greatest Choruses
Last performance at 20:30
Film Hub NI in the City
Times now 17:00 - 22:00
Takeover Film Festival, Cinemagic and other Film Hub NI members will be showing films you know and films you definitely don't at this open air cinema!
Augmented Reality Performance IV
Times now 16:00 – 20:00
Location now Premier Inn Waring Street
Belfast City Arts and Banna Illustration are a Collective of artists and composers exhibiting their art forms - AR experience you need a mobile device and headphones
Thank you so much to everyone involved. We’ve done all we can now it’s up to all of you to make CNB14 the best Culture Night the world will see on September 19th 2014! Let’s do this, Belfast…
At CNHQ one thing we’re extremely proud of is making Culture Night Belfast as family friendly as possible. It’s only fair that on the biggest night of the year, the kids of Belfast are able to have as much fun as their parents. So please, don’t worry about getting a sitter, don’t deprive any of your household from coming along, there is literally something for the whole family.
Organisations across the city have catered to make Culture Night accessible from the moment you’re born! The lovely people at Young at Art and the Replay Theatre Company even have an event which states as much with “Culture Night for the Under 4’s!” in CastleCourt from 3pm. From there we have KidsSpace in Buoy’s Park, Stand Up Comedy in Clements (Rosemary Street) for kids, by kids! Not forgetting the Book Trust’s Super Stories for Super Heroes event (costumes encouraged) as well as letting them express their artistic tendencies in PS2’s mini museum.
And it progresses on, let your teens be inspired by the lads and ladies of T13 and the Roller Derby, let them marvel at how vibrant, interesting street art can transform even the most run down of areas. Get them involved with our community mural on Rosemary Street. Test their minds with Street Countdown. Show them all the great things which will make them proud to grow up in Northern Ireland.
As time goes on and we’re at Culture Night 2024, or even Culture Night 2034 (what a terrifying thought for our Programme and Production Managers), wouldn’t it be amazing to look back on Culture Night 2014 as the beginning of a magical family tradition, full of beautiful memories, you shared with your husband or wife and especially your children? And maybe even your grandchildren also?
So this Friday we’re asking you, the mums, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandfathers and grandmothers of Belfast, to share with us these memories. Prove that Culture Night isn’t just about doing one lap around the park then eventually ending in the pub.
Make it something more.
Whenever anyone asks about Culture Night or even when most people think about the event itself the first of a collection of things which springs to mind is Writer’s Square. Or Buoys Park. Or parades climaxing outside St Anne’s Cathedral. Or trying to force through the crowds of Hill Street. And rightly so, because there’s always amazing things to see in all of these places.
However, this year the participants and team at CNHQ have made an incredible effort to spread the love throughout all of the Cathedral Quarter and beyond, which will keep you guessing and full of wonder from beginning to end. Look beyond Buoys Park and the site keeps going. Block parties in Dawson’s Music! A Cat Café in Clements! Walk down Union Street and you’ll find weird and wonderful street art and events in bars like The Maverick and The Sunflower running from beginning to end.
Drift past the Assembly Rooms on Waring Street and find dragons at The Wickerman and a Zine-making workshop in Mikey’s Diner. Stroll across the road and find a beautiful art installation in Joy’s Entry about The Fishermen of Lost Dreams and the Belfast Feminist Network’s walking tour, A Wander of Wonder Women, departing from Pottinger’s Entry.
Go even further “off the beaten track” and you’ll find Fountain Street has constructed a mini area of its own for Culture Nght containing Tradiohead (Radiohead tribute by way of traditional Irish instrumentation), music in The Fountain Bar, Write Fight and even an appearance from Peppa Pig in Waterstones! Or start your whole CNB14 experience as far as Victoria Street with an evening of Poetry and Prose from the superb people at The Open University.
No Culture Night is ever the same. Year by year there’s new arts collectives & organisations, shops, buildings, bars, cafes and restaurants which alter the whole dynamic of the area, how it’s used and how it’s imagined. Be sure to embrace all of it, you won’t be disappointed!
Here’s a secret the powers of the world don’t want you to know. Ready? Gather closely and be very quiet. Did you know that the third Friday in September is International Take a Half Day from Work. Seriously, how brilliant is that?! Imagine all the wonderful things you can do with taking a half day from work...
You can take the dog for a walk, pick the kids up from school on time, read a book, write a book, kiss a cook! Go to the pub, go to the park, fly a kite, ride a bike, the list goes on and it doesn’t even have to rhyme.
If you happen to be in Belfast or a bus or even plane journey away you can always use that half day to come to Culture Night. I know what you’re thinking, what an amazing coincidence. It’s almost like we’ve just made it up...
Imagine; it’s 12.30pm on Friday September 19th. You’ve got that Friday feeling or whatever the kids are calling it these days, lunch is on your mind, maybe even an early pint. You recline back feeling proud knowing you’ve put a shift in, staying that extra hour or two on the Wednesday or Thursday and you have Culture Night pinned on your calender anyway. Well, why not tell the boss you’re leaving early? Hell, bring him or her along for the trip, why not make it a staff do!
As you’ll know by now, there are so many brilliant events starting before Culture Night officially kicks off! At 3pm the wonderful people at Belfast City Tours are providing a Free Boat Cruise at Donegall Quay with loads of fun surprises we aren’t allowed to tell you about. Head Music and Young At Art will be electrifying CastleCourt with events taking place all day from 12-6pm! It will also give you the chance to explore more alternative CNB venues such as the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency (opened to the public from 1pm with talks and activities) or the Red Barn Gallery opened from 10am.
Wait, you’re right, what about dinner for you and the kids? Well don’t worry about that because we’ve got you covered with sixteen...SIXTEEN street food vendors plus the possibly thousands of other restaurants populating Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter these days. Not forgetting everything which will be starting at 4pm sharp the whole family can enjoy. The city will be buzzing all day in anticipation! Join in and get involved!
Guys, we can do this. Come one, come all and let’s make Friday a half day!
If you know me you’ve probably heard this story before, so I apologise for boring you all once again. However, for everyone else who hasn’t I’m here to tell you why the arts matter to me. And bore you also...
When I’m not doing this internship and I find those few precious hours to myself, I write stories, for children mostly. I know, I know, you’re right I should probably go and find a real job but stay with me for a moment.
A couple years ago I was setting up for the first ever public reading. I don’t know how the organisers got me to agree to it. Ignore the fact I’m a horrendous public speaker, but who would want to come see an unknown, self-published children’s author ramble on about a book they’ve never heard of? Somehow it went better than I expected. One thing I’ve learnt about writing over the last five years is it’s never half as terrible as it probably is swirling around in your head.
Anyway, one day, months I got the most amazing e-mail from a little girl who attended the event telling me how much she loved my story, that it was one of her favourite books. I responded with sheer delight, truly blown away by such kind words. Yet the best part was to come when the girl’s mother sent me a second e-mail telling me her daughter made her create a birthday cake out of my book’s title character, and sent me photo evidence.
Success is defined by a lot of things. I might not become a best-selling author but because I wrote a book, one girl decided, alongside all the Harry Potters, Katniss Everdeens, Cats in the Hat, Artemis Fowls of the world that my Amelia Black was worthy of being listed in such prestigious company. It was the first time in my life I’ve felt like something I created mattered.
So one week from today, at Culture Night, when you’re moved by a piece of poetry in a cafe, or blown away by that incredible boom of a giant drum circle, or inspired by the girls of the Roller Derby, or when you’re playing about on a pop up piano or just smiling in delight at the sight a big red rocket, remember all of these feelings and reactions are as important as the people who spent the countless hours invoking them.
Look I’ll stop the whimsy and be reasonably serious for a moment...
We all know this country isn’t perfect. Some of the problems we have are so petty and mind-boggling it conjures genuine anger at how insignificant they can seem to the most reasonable of minds. And sometimes it’s easy to forget in light of all those things how much the arts matter in this country – even when they aren’t being threatened by unfathomable cuts. They exist to enrich our lives and to awaken our souls. They shouldn’t ever exist to make us feel inferior or excluded. Heaven forbid, it’s about having fun!
So don’t let our unfortunate ‘powers that be’ cut away at it further. On September 19th 2014 in this beautiful city let them know how much all this matters, let them know what we’re all capable of when we collide in this celebration of everything good about Northern Ireland. And when the clock strikes 10pm and the sounds of Tusk are finished ringing through the city, let the whole world know of all the beauty and wonder that transpired, scream it as loud and proud into the stars.
Once you do, trust me, marvellous things are going to happen.
One of my favourite things since starting this internship is walking to work every morning. Partly to keep fit, mostly because I’m skint. I take pretty much the same route to get into the centre of town, but as soon as I’m over the Albert Bridge and pass The Waterfront Hall, my path to the office take on various forms. Sometimes I walk through the Victoria Centre, other times I stroll pass Bittle’s Bar on Upper Church Lane. After that it’s a combination of side streets, entries and quiet roads through the Cathedral Quarter.
If you happen to do a similar walk, next time just look up at the buildings. Forever changing, Belfast’s contorted urban jungle is a bizarre mix of Art Deco ruins, Victorian and Georgian restorations, crisp modern architecture and everything in between.
I’m not a student of the field but it baffles me walking past some structures why they bother to create all these “exciting new property and office developments,” when they aren’t using the structures already there. Yes a lot of red tape is involved, yes health, safety and risk assessments must come into it, but it breaks the heart to see buildings go unused. It breaks my heart further to see them used in the wrong ways.
Think this is why I’m drawn to the arts or more specifically to Culture Night in general. There are people out there who use these spaces in the most incredible ways; who see a derelict building and imagine a theatre, or go down a painfully grey street or entryway and devilishly envisage a weird, wonderful gallery of street art.
I mean it could be worse, just look at the botched job of beautiful historic buildings in this Guardian article and you realise Belfast maybe doesn’t have it so bad but we do still have a lot of catching up to do in the grand scheme of things.
It also begs the bigger question for our own Cathedral Quarter, and even the grander commercial area of Belfast City Centre, of what the future holds for our high streets? With increases in online shopping, there should be more proactive support for people to set up interesting new businesses around the area.
In the last couple of years Belfast’s bar and restaurant scene has attempted to animate areas which were all but dead previously, the same should be encouraged with our independent retailers.
So the next time an old bank is set for refurbishment, demand better than a Tesco! This is a creative city full of colour and imagination; it deserves more interesting shop fronts, theatres, gig venues, art galleries, museums, independent cinemas, libraries for all communities, across all walks of life.
Imagine bigger, imagine better.
Culture Night Belfast, the city’s most colourful and inclusive celebration is back again for its sixth year! Last year over 40,000 people took to the streets of our city for an odyssey of art, music, poetry, dance, film, theatre and everything in between the whole family can enjoy. This year we intend to not only go bigger but also expect our footfall to rise once more.
Because of this, the need for keen and enthusiastic people, with a passion for promoting the cultural and artistic beauty this city has to offer, has never been greater. We’re looking for volunteers to not only take part in the biggest night of the year but to help us deliver something special that all of Belfast can be proud of and will be remembered for a long time after.
Also, for the first time ever, we will be looking for additional volunteers to help out during our CNX events from Tuesday September 16th to Sunday September 21st.
We’re looking for volunteers to who will happily engage with the public on Culture Night, providing a safe, friendly atmosphere as well as oversee questionnaires to make sure future Culture Night events are the best they can be.
If interested, please fill out our online volunteer form and come along to one of our briefing sessions held at 6pm on the 8th and 10th September 2014 in our offices at the Cathedral Quarter Management Workspace on 109-113 Royal Avenue.
Help us make this city grow…
CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT THE VOLUNTEER FORM
Calling all culturally-curious community groups. Have you or your group considered taking part in Culture Night Belfast in this or previous years, but didn’t know where to begin?
Well – begin right here! This year, organisers of Culture Night Belfast are offering bespoke tours for first time groups. Building on the huge success of previous Culture Night Companion Tours, which won over hundreds of new CNB Converts, they will return on the night of 19 September, with the aim of drawing more new audiences into the sheer communal thrill of Culture Night Belfast.
It couldn’t be simpler for you or your group: Organisations or groups eager to sample some choice Culture Night events and experiences will be taken on the tours, especially designed to best showcase a dazzling array of events and activities taking place throughout the night.
These specifically tailored tours will benefit groups who are interested in finding out what Culture Night is all about first hand, and offers a welcoming “way in” to the often daunting full-on programme of Culture Night Belfast.
Experienced guides will work with community leaders to ensure that the tours offered will chime exactly with the needs and interests of any particular group and a comprehensive Culture Night Belfast experience is guaranteed for all intrepid tour teams.
The Tours depart from the University of Ulster, York Street entrance on 19 September, from 5pm or 7pm and last for approximately 90mins. Free transport to and from the city centre is available for groups. The only thing that’s missing then, is you..
If you’re interested in your group taking part in a Culture Night Companion Tour, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07749 103 626.
After a month in the office, the first thing you notice is time is never on your side – it’s an obvious observation I know, but an observation nonetheless. It’s August 11th 2014, a rainy Monday morning and we’re all chasing the last of an already impressive submissions list as the first wave of deadlines loom...
I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but looking at all that’s been submitted so far – red tape, logistical headaches and production niggles aside – you can’t help but be in awe of the creativity and craft involved in this city of ours. The diversity is simply endless.
I mean, there’s going to be a 16ft high red rocket overlooking Writer’s Square! A group of people will be splashing the roads with a sea of rainbow crossings before darkness descends and we finish with a dance with fire in Cathedral Gardens. Umbrellas will hang from above with tales of lost dreams while turning around you’ll see a shadow puppet show taking in the bridge linking the University of Ulster’s art colleges together.
Just seeing that previous paragraph written down sounds completely bonkers, but seeing it executed on the night is going to be something truly magical. From my perspective, seeing the hard work involved in bringing all this together from the artists and everybody in the office has only made me love what Culture Night is trying to achieve even more. Just don’t ask us to name another project, the puns flow faster than water…
It’s time to get back to it. The final programme is coming very soon, I think everyone who’s been to Culture Night before is going to love it, and everyone else who are coming for the first time will love it even more.
Culture Night Belfast is proud to unveil its latest partnership, one that we hope will literally bear fruit (and veg) in a very good cause….
Root Soup is a social enterprise which grows and prepares vegetables to make soups and breads, directly involving people who have learning disabilities and people who are homeless working together to learn and grow. A “field to fork” initiative, Root Soup offers training and employment opportunities across the food chain in areas such as growing, preparation and catering. Their greater aim is to enhance the relationship between people with disabilities, people who are homeless and the rest of our society, using the simple act of growing fresh healthy produce together as a catalyst.
This chimed SO much with CNB2014’s theme of organic growth, not to mention our slogan “Feed Me”, that Culture Night has joined forces with Root Soup to present the shiny, new and 100 per cent sustainable “Culture Night Allotment” initiative.
The plan is simple: Culture Night has co-opted a number of vegetable and fruit beds and polytunnels at Root Soup’s rather stunning Vista Allotment in Dundonald (which we visited last week – see fab pics below!).
These will offer up a delicious and dizzying variety of potential produce such as runner beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, courgettes, leeks, peas, carrots, onions, beetroots, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and apples.
We’re now asking local organisations, venues, businesses and individuals – be they regular participants in Culture Night, or newcomers - to sponsor a bed of produce. A sponsored bed-in if you like. Each sponsor will get naming rights on whichever vegetable or fruit bed takes their fancy – from Apples to Zucchinis (that’s Americanese for courgettes!). Root Soup and Culture Night will then track the progress of your sponsored produce through a photo diary, and then finally, the produce will be harvested, prepared and used to train, feed and nurture those most in need.
Like a certain royal, the only decision participants have to make now is, which fruit or veg speaks to them most?
For further information and a full list of fruit and veg sponsorship options please contact email@example.com quoting “Culture Night Allotment”.
We all love that magical night in September, when for a handful of amazing hours, Culture Night Belfast gloriously transforms the spaces and places of our favourite city .
BUT why stop at one intense evening? As well as Culture Night, what about enjoying an leisurely programme of events throughout the week showcasing more of the best of Belfast?
Yes, we thought so too! And so Culture Night Belfast is about to go “XTRA” with CNX – offering curious visitors and up-for-it locals an attractive array of opportunities over six days. CNX will offer up a programme of activities and adventures, performances and even a few surprises which neatly wrap around the big night itself, and offer a little something extra for everybody.
Staring on Monday 15 September, CNX will whet the appetite for Culture Night Belfast, and then offers the perfect non-chemical antidote to the dreaded Culture Night cold turkey comedown by giving everybody an excuse to make an extended weekend of it in Belfast, right up until Sunday 21 September. And we can absolutely guarantee that it hasn't been tested on animals - you will be our willing human guinea pigs!
In official blurb, CNX is a brand new element to the Culture Night Programme - there will even be a special pull out section in the brochure.
But really, we all know what CNX really means - six days to sample events and to window shop along the rich creative underbelly of the Belfast Streets, and all in a way that won’t spoil your appetite for the main event!
Where do I start?
What a curious few weeks these have been. Casting my mind back to the start of June, things felt so different. My job options were nonexistent and I was working a part time job that I’ve been in for over ten years, with no get out clause. So, jaded with the situation, I was close to packing it all in and leaving Northern Ireland for good. But sure, the World Cup was on the telly. That was at least something.
Maybe upon hearing this plea of self-pity, the universe heeded my call for change. Maybe I was just in the right place at the right time. Or perhaps I was just a jammy git. I saw the advertisement for this internship and sent my CV in on a whim. I have so many rejection letters and e-mails from prospective jobs and my haphazard literary career already, what’s one more to the pile? Yet here I am, writing a post on my first three weeks as a Culture Night intern. And through a combination of fear, hope, excitement and wonder along with the kindness of my new colleagues, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.
Since I found out about it back in 2011, I’ve always loved the idea of Culture Night. Swimming through an ocean of beautifully crafted events – music, art, theatre, film, dance and literary – around every corner of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and beyond. Each more magical than the last and seeing venues lit up and breathing life into a city I love dearly – despite all its imperfections. In a perfect world Belfast would be like this every weekend, but until that day CN remains one of the most enjoyable and equally most important nights on Northern Ireland’s calendar.
However, did I ever stop for a moment to think of the scale of this operation? The security? Closing off streets? Catering? Volunteers? Team leaders? Permits? Sponsorship? Licensing? Insurance? Logistical coordination of the actual events?! No, no I did not.
When Jillian [Thompson, Production Manager] handed me and my fellow intern Stephanie this huge tome of information containing every single minute detail of each site from CN13, on the first day, I went a little pale and wondered if I was in over my head.
As the days passed by I went from sourcing catering and street food vans to writing down all the incredible events already confirmed, waiting with immense anticipation to see what else is to come, getting to know my fellow intern Stephanie and rediscovering a coffee addiction I thought I beat years ago. The first two weeks have been deliberately slow but exciting. Though I guess it didn’t sink in what we were actually trying to achieve, until one sunny afternoon over a week ago. Adam [Turkington, Programme Manager], Jillian, Stephanie and I were standing in Buoy Park, Belfast, beside St Anne’s Cathedral, visualising how it will look on the night. With that burst of imagination it suddenly began to feel so real.
Typically of Northern Ireland, the first two weeks in July brought a slight lull with the Twelfth festivities. Yet there was still opportunity to food vendors, scout exciting new venues and approaching other potential acts and artists for the event.
I’ve been repeatedly told, and with good reason, when this blog post goes live and the #CNB14 website is officially online it’s all guns blazing. And I may cry for air at times, but I couldn’t be more proud and thankful to be part of it.