Page 1

friday 24th march democracy day

presented with Building Change Trust at The MAC, Exchange Street. All events are free: register at

▶ 8.00am – 9.00am

▶ 10.40am – 11.40am

▶ 11.50am – 1.00pm

▶ 1.45pm – 2.45pm

welcome breakfast

if you’re not at the table, you could be on the menu

open policy making: a new era for citizen engagement in NI?

civic activism in motion

With short drama performance by the Waste No Time community democracy project entitled Who’s at the Table?


▶ 9.00am – 10.30am

Lab Series 1: Event A – Forum Theatre/Waste No Time team Forum theatre performance with citizen actors and professional actors on the key stories shaping people’s lives in a Council area and the lessons for community planning and local democracy.

Lab Series 1: Event C – Community Places As part of their project ‘Community Planning Is Here – Get Involved’, Community Places used a participatory card game with school pupils to help explore and discuss their views on issues important to them in their council area. This session will give participants an opportunity to try out this creative technique themselves.

how healthy is democracy in northern ireland? Electoral democracy is creaking at the seams around the world and Northern Ireland is no different. But analysis of democratic health often focuses obsessively on elections and party politics. What about the deeper ‘wellsprings’ of democracy – the quality and diversity of media coverage, the extent to which people talk about political issues around the dinner table or down the pub and, crucially, the willingness of people to listen to other points of view and change their opinion based on persuasion. In this groundbreaking research Building Change Trust commissioned Dr Paul Nolan and Dr Robin Wilson to apply the lens of deliberative democracy to Northern Ireland, looking beyond the simple act of voting to assess the deeper health of the region’s democratic landscape. Following presentation of the research a panel with both local and international contributors will give their reactions, including Prof Graham Smith from the University of Westminster’s Centre for the Study of Democracy.

welfare reform NI: looking back – moving forward

debate, deliberate, decide: consulting communities

Lab Series 1: Event B – Advice NI

Lab Series 1: Event D – IEF

Come along to our interactive event and see how Advice NI has been capturing the impact that Welfare Reform has had on citizens across Northern Ireland.

An opportunity to take part in a deliberative poll, an engaging mechanism for community consultation. The session will include a brief outline of deliberative polling, before trialling the process using a hypothetical scenario. This will include ‘expert’ presentations, facilitated discussion, and electronic polling at the start and end to assess any changes in opinion.

Tell your story. Hear other people’s experiences and fears. Challenge myths and misconceptions around benefit claimants. Be better informed, influence change and have a louder voice on issues that matter.

Belfast’s festival of ideas & politics 20th to 26th March 2017

saturday 25th march

Brewbot, Ormeau Road 12.00pm – 5.00pm

Free admission: register at

campaigning, photography, feminism, mindfulness, farming, Higgs boson, housing, nudge theory, innovation, football, politics, TV, climate change, cycling, new businesses, masculinity, craft beers, running, music festivals, David Bowie, technology, radio, Madonna and much, much more. Free admission: register at Event partner: The Banter

▶ discussions & workshops

▶ tours


This is your chance to take part in one of the most dynamic, solutions-focussed events of the year when we will come together in Brewbot, the centre of Belfast’s craft beer revolution, to organise and strategise on the issue of combatting loneliness.

If you are passionate about your local community, fancy yourself as an innovator and you are ready to revolutionise the way we act to combat loneliness in Northern Ireland, then assemble your team of four people and join us for this afternoon event. We will have a room filled with tech specialists, mentors and leaders in the community sector, working together to support new ideas and initiatives, as well as a chance to win some great prizes. Register online now for your chance to win. Free admission: register at Event partner: Washington Ireland Program

principal sponsor



Come along and find out how we used four different civic activism tools to gather data on public and community transport services in NI and feedback the experiences of people with disabilities and older people to service providers to hopefully influence change. There will also be a viewing of our Forum Theatre sketch ‘Aggie’s Big Adventures’ highlighting the issues raised in relation to transport services here. With input from our service users find out how the Insight Project has encouraged them to become more civically active and engaged in the community.

▶ 1.00pm – 4.00pm

Come along and hear about the Citizen Jury tool we have used in our project. You’ll get the chance to participate in a Citizen Jury mock-up. This will be interactive with everyone in the audience voting for or against the topic of discussion. You will hear evidence, deliberate and decide. Here is the opportunity to Have Your Say!

A quiz-style training session on fact-checking techniques from the team at FactCheckNI. We’ve all seen it – the incredible ‘news story’ gone viral on Facebook and Twitter, purporting some otherwise unreported scandal or atrocity. But who proves it as untrue? And how? Come and learn what digital fact checking is all about, and how easy and fun it is to discover where some of these whoppers come from!

campervan of dreams St. Anne’s Square The popular ‘Campervan of Dreams’ will be returning to the Belfast streets for Democracy Day. Ready and waiting to hear your hopes and dreams for the future of democracy in Northern Ireland!

chance to shape new thinking around what old age will look like in Northern Ireland in future. What are the big personal, economic and political issues which matter to you and those around you? What do we all need to be doing today to get the future we want? Join Professor June Andrews, author of the best-selling Dementia – A One-Stop Guide, and Mark Butler, an independent writer, in looking at old age from all sides. Numbers will be capped at 80, so register as soon as possible. Free admission: register at

▶ lectures & talks

This walking tour will explore East Belfast, taking in the Short Strand, lower Newtownards Road, Templemore Avenue, Castlereagh Road, Ardenlee Avenue, and Ravenhill Road. The tour is led by Declan Hill, a director of Belfast Urban Studio CIC and author of Belfast Twelve City Walks. The tour will depart from the east end of Queen’s Bridge and finish at the Albert Bridge. Lasts for approximately 3 hours with a number of short breaks. The tour is restricted to only 15 participants, so get booking! Tickets £5 from

▶ discussions & workshops

Sonic Arts Research Centre, QUB 2.00pm – 5.00pm The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast is organising this event which will record sound bites / interviews on the topic of Brexit. Participants will interview the public on how their lives might change in a post-Brexit UK. In this hands-on workshop, led by led by Franziska Schroeder, attendees will learn to use basic recording technologies (microphones, audio recorders etc). They will then edit the sound recordings on state of the art computer editing suites and compile sound bites into a short piece which will be played back at the end of the workshop. Professional sound artists and engineers will be on hand to support participants and no previous experience is required. Free admission: register at Event partner: Queen’s University

Diana Souhami

The Factory at The MAC, Exchange Street 12.30pm – 1.30pm

The Factory at The MAC, Exchange Street 2.00pm – 4.00pm

A large number of creative lesbians from the UK and America, in the early decades of the 20th Century, left the restrictive expectations of their home towns and headed for Paris. They gravitated toward each together, formed a community, expressed their true identities and made transforming diverse cultural contributions. They were patrons, writers, publishers, painters, filmmakers. The list is long: Gertrude Stein,

What do the next generation of voters want in return for their votes and support? We speak to a selection of those who will decide the make-up of our elected assemblies in the future about the issues in Belfast and the world which move them. This discussion will be hosted by Jim Carroll from the Banter series of public talks and conversations. Since 2009, Banter has covered such topics as books, food,

▶ discussions & workshops

imagine a new old age

Participants will have the opportunity to experience the technique for themselves through a discussion about their own attitudes to renewable energy developments.

specifically in Derry/Londonderry. Commissioned by the Community Relations Council, Together in Pieces has achieved outstanding reviews at major international film festivals, including the first ever Hip Hop Film Festival NYC in Harlem Manhattan (2016) and the Capital Irish Film Festival, Washington DC (2016), the biggest Irish film festival in the USA.

The Studio, Crescent Arts Centre 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

Join The Open University for a uniquely engaging talk about what it means to see things in everyday objects, like angels in the clouds or Elvis in your toast! Interacting with the audience, Dr Patrick Wright will explore ‘pareidolia’ in society, and how ‘seeing images in objects’, can be a result of historical influences or our innate fears and anxieties.

▶ discussions & workshops

Sunflower Bar, 65 Union Street 8.00pm – 10.00pm

Departs Dark Horse, Hill Street 12.00pm – 2.00pm

A screening of the documentary film Together in Pieces followed by Q&A and panel discussion.

Like Berlin and Bethlehem, also famous for their walls, Belfast has become a place where street art has flourished, where artists from around the world have come to paint. Devised and led by the local artists who have driven the scene in the last few years this is a 90 minute, gently paced guide to the ever changing face of street art in the Cathedral Quarter.

The Factory at The MAC, Exchange Street 6.00pm – 8.00pm

From tanks and guns to spray cans! This inspirational film documents the graffiti revolution that is quietly transforming the political landscape of Northern Ireland, home to the oldest tradition of mural painting in the world.

Old age is not just about old people, is it? Want to decide what a new old age might look like? Part science, part entertainment, part TED talk, part stand-up, here is your

Together in Pieces is an innovative and stylish take on the impact which the built environment has had on the conditioning of young people in Northern Ireland,

Tickets £8 from Event partner: Street Art Walking Tour

Has there ever been a more important time to discuss the big issues of our troubled times? In an era when empiricism is under attack and liberalism is in retreat, we want to bring reason and imagination together in our third festival. Cast your eyes over this seven-day programme of performance, discussion and debate taking place across the city and join in – almost all events are free to attend. As a non-profit group, reflective of the wider community, we set up the festival to promote debate and discussion of diverse opinion. Our aim is to provide a high quality showcase for new ideas on politics, culture and activism. Events include workshops, talks, exhibitions, film screenings, music, theatre, poetry, walking tours, comedy and much, much more. In fact, we think there’s something for everyone in this programme as we try to make sense of this uncertain world. The festival has been put together by a team of volunteers. Thanks are due to our wonderful partners, funders, performers and speakers for their generous support. Nobody gets paid for organising this festival so please consider making a donation via our website to allow us to support future events. As this will probably be my last festival as director, I would add my personal thanks to everyone who has helped establish this unique offering. Enjoy the festival, and I look forward to seeing you at the events. Make sure you check out our website in order to book tickets and reserve places at our events. Peter O’Neill, Festival Director

are we living in a post-truth democracy? Conor Lecture Theatre, Ulster University Belfast A talk by Bill Adair, the creator of Pulitzer Prize winning US fact-checking platform PolitiFact and the Knight Professor of Journalism and Public Policy at the Sanford School for Public Policy at Duke University. He is also a regular contributor and commentator on political affairs on major US news networks.


his upbringing in Northern Ireland, which continues to influence his work at home and abroad. An exhibition launch will take place on Monday 20 March at 7.00pm.

▶ exhibitions

Belfast Room, Ulster Museum 2.00pm – 3.00pm

up the walls!

democracy on trial: an NI Open Government Network event


Free admission

why is elvis in your toast?

▶ film

▶ 4.00pm – 6.00pm

▶ discussions & workshops

Free admission: register at Event partner: Foxwall Films

street art walking tour of the cathedral quarter

digital tools for democracy: experiences from iceland, estonia and scotland

▶ lectures & talks

Join Dr Bree Hocking from The Open University for an exploration of fantasy and fiction across Belfast’s post-industrial landscapes. Bree will examine East Belfast’s transition to a ‘nearly true’ land of whimsy and pleasure through the emerging Narnia-fication of the built environment there.

Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

▶ 6.30pm – 8.00pm

A court case that puts democracy on trial to determine whether it’s guilty of failing people in the UK, the US and

from titanic town to narnia

▶ tours

A jury made up of the audience who will deliver the verdict in the court case.

This session will explore the use of Citizen’s Assemblies, which consist of groups of randomly selected citizens, as

Following the screening there will be an audience Q&A and a panel discussion featuring film makers Eileen Walsh and David Dryden, Adam Turkington of Seedhead Arts and Bill Rolston, Emeritus Professor, Ulster University. The panel will be chaired by Caitriona Mullan, Chair of the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD).

sunday 26th march

A prosecution team and a defence team, each with the opportunity to call three witnesses to help make their case.

This session will showcase some of the most exciting international projects using digital tools to engage citizens in democracy. Contributors will include: Robert Bjarnason from the Iceland Citizens’ Foundation will demonstrate their groundbreaking open source Your Priorities platform; Hille Hinsberg from the Praxis Centre in Estonia will showcase their citizens budget tool; Ali Stoddart from the Democratic Society will showcase a range of digital platforms that have been used in Scotland to deliver participatory budgeting projects.

citizen assemblies: an answer to politicians’ inability to make tough decisions?

across Europe, and determine whether any longer it can be considered fit for purpose. A judge or presiding magistrate to oversee and direct proceedings, who will act as a kind of compère to move things along.

Lab Series 2: Event D – NI Foundation

Lab Series 2: Event B – Rural Community Network This event is based on the Re-thinking NIMBYism project developed in partnership by Rural Community Network and Community Places. The project explored local attitudes to the siting of Renewable Energy Technology Infrastructure in rural communities using the Public Conversations Dialogue technique developed by the Public Conversations Project in Boston, USA.

a tool for deliberative democracy. We’ll hear about case studies in both the UK and internationally and also from one of the most radical and ambitious citizen assembly experiments yet: the Irish Citizens Assembly, convened in Ireland in late 2016. Contributors to include Professor John Garry (QUB), the Electoral Reform Society and a representative of the Irish Citizens Assembly.

fake news: what you can do about it

not in my back yard

Departs East end of Queen’s Bridge 2.00pm – 5.00pm

▶ lectures & talks

festival partners belfast city council • belfast comedy festival • belfast feminist network • belfast urban studio cic • beyond skin black box • british academy • campervan of dreams • community arts partnership • crescent arts centre cumann cultúrtha mhic reachtain • foxwall films • framewerk gallery • history ireland • international futures forum northern ireland foundation • ni ethics forum • northern visions • nus-usi • perspectivity seedhead arts • slugger o’toole sonic arts research centre • st mary’s university college • stranmillis university college • stratagem • the banter • the mac tinderbox theatre company • verdant productions • viewdigital • washington ireland programme • wrda

Contributors will include Robert Bjarnason from the Iceland Citizens Foundation, Hille Hinsberg from the Praxis Centre Estonia and Tim Hughes from Londonbased public participation specialists Involve.

A snapshot of the Insight Project where Cedar Foundation explored the experiences of people with disabilities and older people using transport services in NI.

Lab Series 2: Event C – Holywell Trust

▶ 2.50pm – 4.00pm

Sylvia Beach, Romaine Brooks, Janet Flanner, Natalie Barney, Djuna Barnes, Bryher, H.D, Harriet Weaver… Collectively they were at the heart of the fracture from 19th Century orthodoxies, the innovation in the arts ▶ discussions &Belfast’s workshops festival of ideas & politics and lifestyle, the26th shockMarch of the new which came to be 20th to 2017 known as modernism. Diana Souhami is the author of numerous books including the Whitbread Prize winning Selkirk’s Island.

community hackathon

participatory card game: pathways to achieve and succeed

The Northern Ireland Executive committed in November 2016 to pilot an open-policy making process as part of their participation in the Open Government Partnership. This event, hosted by the NI Open Government Network, will explore what open policy making is and what it could look like in Northern Ireland through the lens of international case studies and experiences in other parts of the UK.

Lab Series 2: Event A – Cedar Foundation

citizen jury: have your vote

reflecting on the reformation


a world without prisons? Crumlin Road Gaol, Crumlin Road 7.00pm – 8.30pm

The Open University will challenge our assumptions about prisons and what role they have to play, if any, in abating crime. From Budapest to Belfast, global prison populations are on the rise and over the course of twenty years, the prison population has grown exponentially, even as recorded crime has fallen. Should the system be reformed or is another radical world possible, where prisons do not exist?

the dodge bus an exhibition by Melissa Bailey Crescent Arts Centre 21st – 26th March: 10.00am – 5.00pm This exhibition is inspired by a story of a marginalised young man who, in rebellion and social withdrawal, constructed an alternative way of living in an old abandoned Dodge bus. Visit The Open University’s exhibition to explore and consider issues of marginalisation in today’s society.

▶ theatre

Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

week-long events ▶ exhibitions


It is 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his Ninety Five Theses to the door of his Wittenberg church, attacking the Catholic Church’s corrupt practice of selling ‘indulgences’ to absolve sin, setting in train the Protestant Reformation.

The MAC, Exchange Street 21st – 25th March: 8.00pm Saturday matinee 3.30pm

To discuss these and related matters join History Ireland editor Tommy Graham, and Hiram Morgan (UCC), Bronagh McShane (NUI Galway), Pat Coyle (Irish Jesuit Communications) and Revd. Brian Kennaway (Irish Association President). Free admission: register at Event partner: History Ireland

life’s single lesson an exhibition by Chad Alexander Framewerk Gallery, Upper Newtownards Road 20th – 25th March: 10.00am – 5.00pm Chad Alexander was born in Belfast and is currently completing the final year of a BA (Hons) degree in photography at Ulster University. His photographic practice revolves around themes related to home, social fracture and conflict. His practice is very much rooted in

e @ImagineBelfast

Free admission Event partner: The Open University

Conor Hall, Ulster University Belfast 3.00pm – 5.00pm

But was that really about religion – or a cynical powergrab by some of the princes of Europe? Or was it an early manifestation of Brexit – disillusionment of the periphery with the perceived corruption of the cosmopolitan centre? What is its relevance today?


Haunting, hilarious and heartbreaking, Famla, by John McCann, challenges the stories we tell ourselves to hide the truth of who we really are. Directed by Patrick J O’Reilly with performances by Tara Lynne O’Neill, Rhodri Lewis and Hayley McQuillan, Famla is a theatrical feast not to be missed. Hector has passed this place all her young life. An old house. Must be a hundred years old. Maybe more. Looks abandoned. Festering. She never really gave the house a second thought. Until now when she needs a place to escape to. She discovers someone is still living inside. Someone spiteful. Refusing to budge. Clinging on… Tickets £12.50 – £18 from Presented by: Tinderbox Theatre Company

credits Our principal sponsor, Building Change Trust, supports the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland through the development and delivery of, and learning from, a range of programmes including commissioned work, awards programmes and other interventions. Between now and 2018, its resources will be used to support the community and voluntary sector to achieve more and better collaboration, increased sustainability and to be a learning sector which identifies, shares and acts on lessons of others’ actions. This work will be carried out across five overarching thematic areas: Collaboration, Social Finance, Social Innovation, Inspiring Impact and Creating Space for Civic Thinking. Imagine! Belfast is a not for profit event managed by Belfast Comedy Festival. Ticketing by Get Invited. Event branding by RV. booking details All of our events are open to the public and the vast majority are free. Availability for free events is on a first come, first served basis. For most events registration is required through the festival website If you have to buy a ticket, please bring a printed copy along to the event. Unfortunately, we are unable to make refunds or exchange tickets unless the event is cancelled or postponed. If this is the case, refunds can be made through the point of purchase. Please note that all events are subject to change, so please check our website and social media platforms just in case there are any last minute amendments. disabled access Information for people with disabilities and visitors who are not familiar with the venues is available through the Access400 online service at If you would like a large print of this programme or have any other special requirements, please contact us in advance of the event.

The festival, at a glance. week-long events life’s single lesson Framewerk Gallery, 20th – 25th March the dodge bus Crescent Arts Centre, 21st – 26th March famla The MAC, Exchange Street, 21st – 25th March, 8.00pm; Saturday matinee, 3.30pm monday 20th march could NI become an independent member state of the EU? Ulster University Belfast Campus Room BA00-008, 12.30pm attack of the fifty foot women The Black Box, Hill Street, 1.00pm politics & poetry writing workshop Community Arts Partnership, Donegall Street Place, 2.00pm a musical journey The Black Box, Hill Street, 7.30pm erwin james Conor Lecture Theatre, Ulster University Belfast, 7.00pm tuesday 21st march dialogue day: surviving or thriving in turbulent times Venues across Belfast, 10.00am lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer & transgender visions of peace Ulster University Belfast Campus Room BA03-019, 12.00pm how good are we at understanding the value of arts and culture? Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University, 12.30pm an economy that works for all Reception Room, Belfast City Hall, 1.00pm

imagine! making shift happen Linen Hall Library, Donegall Square North, 2.00pm

writing for the theatre The MAC, Exchange Street, 2.00pm

citizen assemblies / digital tools for democracy 2.50pm

modern medical ethics Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University, 5.00pm

belfast has suffered enough: a farewell tour Belfast City Hall, 5.00pm

democracy on trial 4.00pm

‘imagine’ the belfast of your dreams! Thomas Reynolds Room, The Open University, Victoria Street, 6.30pm why we need feminist economics The Hive, Grosvenor Road, 7.30pm wednesday 22nd march the north belfast cultural corridor Departs Clifton Street Church, 10.00am comm(on) The Black Box, Hill Street, 10.00am bioethical utopias Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University, 5.00pm highs and lows Ulster University Belfast Room BA00-008, 2.00pm students or customers? QUB Students’ Union, University Road, 2.00pm where do young people access news? Ulster University Belfast Room BA03-019, 3.00pm brexit and the border: so what? Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, 6.30pm brexit, trump and global education St Mary’s University College, Falls Road, 7.00pm caint McCracken Centre, 283-289 Antrim Road, 7.00pm thursday 23rd march inventing a language is a lot of fun Ulster University Belfast Room BA03-019, 10.00am machines, morality and the future of medical care The Moot Court Room, Main Tower, Queen’s University, 12.30pm

▶ discussions & workshops

Ulster University Belfast Campus Room BA00-008 12.30pm – 2.00pm Most countries around the world are joining regional organisations and co-operate on economic and other matters. The UK vote to exit the European Union bucks that trend. But what happens if Scotland remains in the EU, either by leaving the UK or through a new federal dispensation? Like Scotland, the majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. One option, which is few people’s first choice but perhaps a sustainable compromise, would be for Northern Ireland to become an independent member state of the EU in its own right, while retaining its British and Irish identities. Northern Ireland is larger than a number of existing EU member states. This talk and public discussion explores the feasibility of this option as a contingency plan for Northern Ireland in uncertain times. Hosted by Dr Nat O’Connor, Ulster University. Free admission: register at Event partner: Ulster University

▶ lectures & talks

attack of the fifty foot women The Black Box, Hill Street 1.00pm – 2.00pm This talk blends Catherine Mayer’s insights from her years as a journalist, latterly as Editor at Large for TIME magazine, with hilarious accounts of the process of forming the Women’s Equality Party and deep research into the global reality of gender inequalityBut her acclaimed book Attack of the Fifty Foot Women doesn’t just set out the mechanisms holding women

imagine… if the peace walls came down? Ulster University Belfast Boardroom (BA03-019), 5.30pm reading in conflict Waterstones, Fountain Street, 6.30pm the open university students inside the maze long kesh compounds Belfast Room, Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, 6.30pm 7 ways to make NI great again Dark Horse, Hill Street, 7.30pm david mcsavage live: a sacred cow The Black Box, Hill Street, 7.30pm friday 24th march: democracy day at the MAC

back and how much women contribute despite these hindrances to every area of life. Mayer also takes us on a journey to a truly gender balanced society — a place that she calls “Equalia” — and shows us how to get there. Catherine Mayer is the author of Amortality: The Pleasures and Perils of Living Agelessly and the Sunday Times best-selling biography of Prince Charles Charles: The Heart of a King. In 2015 she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party with Sandi Toksvig. Free admission: register at

▶ discussions & workshops

politics & poetry writing workshop Community Arts Partnership, Donegall St. Place 2.00pm – 5.00pm A poetry competition on the theme of politics will be organised in the run up and during the festival for new and emerging poets and will be facilitated by the festival in association with Community Arts Partnership (CAP). Poetry and politics go well together and there is a powerful tradition of poets shedding light on social,

saturday 25th march community hackathon Brewbot, Ormeau Road, 12.00pm modernism wouldn’t have happened without lesbians The Factory at The MAC, Exchange Street, 12.30pm walking east belfast with declan hill Departs East end of Queen’s Bridge, 2.00pm the new majority The MAC, Exchange Street, 2.00pm sounding out on brexit Sonic Arts Research Centre, QUB, 2.00pm

how healthy is democracy in Northern Ireland? 9.00am

imagine a new old age The MAC, Exchange Street, 6.00pm

if you’re not at the table, you could be on the menu 10.40am

why is elvis in your toast? The Studio, Crescent Arts Centre, University Road, 6.30pm

welfare reform NI: looking back – moving forward 10.40am participatory card game: pathways to achieve and succeed 10.40am debate, deliberate, decide: consulting communities 10.40am open policy making 11.50am campervan of dreams St. Anne’s Square, 1.00pm civic activism in motion 1.45pm not in my back yard 1.45pm citizen jury: have your vote 1.45pm fake news: what you can do about it 1.45pm

This year we are interested in receiving short poems on a political theme. We are particularly interested in hearing from unpublished poets and people who have never thought about writing poetry before. The opportunities of this theme are endless and we will take a broad view of what constitutes political content. However, our judges will be looking for an imaginative use of language and whether it inspires a reaction and engages an audience on a political theme. Judges will include Pádraig Ó Tuama, Chelley McLear and festival director Peter O’Neill. A prize of £200 will be awarded to the best poem received. Please send your entries to The competition closes on at 6pm on 26 March. A workshop facilitated by Chelley will take place on 20 March at 2pm to assist with the submission process. Places are limited to 15 so please register early. Free admission: register at Event partner: Community Arts Partnership

▶ music

a musical journey Access All Areas with #Youth4Peace. The Black Box, Hill Street 7.30pm – 10.00pm Join us for this special musical performance which brings together a diversity of musicians including Fife and Drum Bands reflecting Protestant culture. The event provides an opportunity through music for band members and musicians from different cultures to develop relationships and celebrate their identity whilst addressing stereotypes that are associated with such bands. Expect a lively evening of music, rhythm, culture, diversity and positivity! Access All Areas is the follow up to the successful Music Unite project which was pioneered by a diversity of musicians from Beyond Skin alongside fife and drum bands #Youth4Peace is an initiative implementing the UN Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace & Security. Tickets £5 from Event partner: Beyond Skin

the development of bioethics. However, a historically accurate picture highlights how the changing political context ultimately determined whether this interdisciplinary field represented a challenge or support for doctors. Illuminated in this way, we can consider the politics of medical ethics anew. Dr Duncan Wilson is a member of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester and the author of The Making of British Bioethics (MUP 2014).

are we living in a post-truth democracy? Conor Lecture Theatre, Ulster University Belfast, 6.30pm

welcome breakfast 8.00am

cultural and economic issues. Particularly in times of uncertainty, poems can appeal to the imagination and provide a creative context for revealing and understanding changes in society. In previous festivals we have asked the public to send us alternative manifesto ideas and submit photographs on re-imagining Belfast.

monday 20th march

could northern ireland become an independent member state of the EU?

▶ discussions & workshops

people from all walks of life to gather together, to talk, to listen and share ideas on how to be the best we can be in these uncertain times. No prior knowledge of the topic is required. Coffee/tea etc. will be available for purchase before and during the dialogue session. Dialogue Day venues are: Book Reserve/Thinking Cup Café (407 Lisburn Road), Caffè Nero (10 Donegall Square West), Clements Queens MBC (97 Lisburn Road), Common Grounds Café (12 University Avenue), Dark Horse (Hill Street), Duncairn Centre for Culture & Arts (Antrim Road), Falls Road Library, Native at the Mac, Refresh Café and 26 West. Free admission: register at Event partners: International Futures Forum & Perspectivity

▶ discussions & workshops

an economy that works for all Reception Room, Belfast City Hall 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Free admission: register at Event partner: NI Ethics Forum

▶ discussions & workshops

‘imagine’ the belfast of your dreams!

Can Belfast have inclusive growth? Nearly a decade after the global financial crisis, governments across the world are still struggling to deal with its consequences. As Belfast prepares its first community plan, this workshop explores the unique contribution that individual cities can make in fostering local economic success and inclusion for residents.

Thomas Reynolds Room, The Open University, Victoria Street 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Led by Neil McInroy of Manchester’s Centre for Local Economic Strategies, this workshop will discuss the idea of place-based ‘inclusive growth’ and the contribution that business, communities and the public sector can play in making it a reality in Belfast.

This interactive event will present cutting-edge work undertaken by the University with particular reference to the ‘New Urban Agenda’ as well as challenges to ‘inclusiveness’ and the ‘right to the city’.

Free admission: register at Event partners: Belfast City Council & Centre for Local Economic Strategies

The Open University will explore the relevance of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda in the local context of UK cities such as Belfast.

Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

▶ lectures / discussions & workshops

▶ discussions & workshops

up the walls! Sunflower Bar, 65 Union Street, 8.00pm – 10.00pm

from titanic town to narnia Belfast Room, Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, 2.00pm reflecting on the reformation Conor Hall, Ulster University Belfast, 3.00pm

lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer & transgender visions of peace in a society emerging from conflict Ulster University Belfast Room BA03-019 12.00pm – 1.00pm

erwin james – from double murderer to newspaper columnist Conor Lecture Theatre, Ulster University 7.00pm – 9.00pm

This event considers the most recent findings from this Arts and Humanities Council funded project. Using data collected through a series of focus groups, the event reviews the impact of the political conflict on members of the LGBTQ communities in Northern Ireland and considers their role in the creation of positive visions of peace in the conflict transformational period. Free admission: register at Event partner: Ulster University

▶ lectures & talks

Redeemable or Irredeemable? Erwin James, author of Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope, was the first prisoner in British penal history to write a regular column for The Guardian whilst he was still in jail serving a life sentence for murder. He will talk about the concept of redemption and prison reform with VIEW editor Brian Pelan.

how good are we at understanding the value of arts and culture?

Free admission: register at Event partners: VIEWdigital & Ulster University

Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University 12.30pm – 2.00pm

tuesday 21st march ▶ discussions & workshops

dialogue day: surviving or thriving in turbulent times Venues across Belfast 10.00am – 12.00pm Ten ways to have your say! 10am to 12noon in ten venues across the city. This is an open invitation to engage in civic conversation over coffee/tea in ten relaxed locations across the city. At each venue, participants will be welcomed by a facilitator and invited to take part in dialogue with others on the theme: ‘Surviving or thriving in turbulent times’. The conversation will last no longer than two hours and offers an opportunity for

The Black Box, Hill Street 10.00am – 11.00pm Have you noticed? There’s something happening. The world is changing. The internet has empowered millions to learn, interact and promote what they do. The number of freelancers and small businesses has increased exponentially – and it continues to grow. As the ranks of freelancers swell, there is a need to network, a need to lobby and a need to organise. Whatever we do, as bakers, tailors, brewers, baristas, entertainers etc., we have a common bond. COMM(ON) is a one-day event that will explore how freelancers can improve their work, celebrate the contribution that they make to society and build a creative space where they can network, learn and foster new ways of working together. And drink… there will be drink! Tickets £30 from Event partners: Seedhead Arts

▶ lectures & talks

bioethical utopias: what the future of medicine says about our present Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University 5.00pm – 6.00pm

street art walking tour Dark Horse, Hill Street, 12.00pm

▶ lectures & talks


With Professor Richard Ashcroft.

sunday 26th march

a world without prisons? Crumlin Road Gaol, Crumlin Road, 7.00pm

▶ discussions & workshops

This talk by Professor Geoffrey Crossick poses a fundamental question: how good are we at understanding the difference that arts and culture makes to individuals and to society? We’ve become accustomed to presenting it in terms of benefits that are supposed to persuade the government of the day, because the aim is usually to make the case for public funding. So, we point to benefits to the economy or cities or health or education. Some of these stand up to investigation but by no means all, but in any case is there a danger that in doing this we neglect some of the more fundamental benefits that matter to us all? This is not a question of claiming art for arts sake, but of identifying the most compelling ways in which arts and cultural engagement make a difference to individuals and make a difference to society. Geoffrey Crossick is the distinguished Professor of the Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London and former Director of the AHRC Cultural Value Project. Free admission: register at Event partner: Queen’s University

imagine! making shift happen Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North 2.00pm – 4.00pm A conversation about transformative innovation with Graham Leicester. Everybody has aspirations for something better. Yet reality often feels intractable, resistant and really difficult to shift. So how does shift happen? How might we successfully introduce the new in the presence of the old and have a new pattern grow over time? In his most recent book, Transformative Innovation – A Guide to Practice and Policy, Graham Leicester, Director of the Scotland-based International Futures Forum (IFF), shares lessons learned from the IFF’s substantial and wide-ranging experience of working with business, government and communities to help them create transformative change. This is an opportunity to meet and talk with Graham about work that offers practical hope and is deeply relevant to our turbulent times. Free admission: register at Event partner: International Futures Forum

▶ lectures & talks

why we need feminist economics The Hive Community Space, 15-17 Grosvenor Rd. 7.30pm – 9.00pm Katrine Marçal’s Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? is a challenge to the gender-blind nature of mainstream economics. With wit and careful analysis, she presents key principles in feminist economics and demonstrates how dominant economic theory has allowed us to create a global economy where women’s lives are largely invisible. Join us for a talk by Katrine and a panel discussion that will explore how we can create economic models where non-market activities are counted in and where cooperation and care are just as important as competition. The event will promote discussion on how women’s lived experiences need to be more fully embedded into our economic strategy, budgets and investment priorities. Free admission: register at Event partners: WRDA & Belfast Feminist Network

wednesday 22nd march ▶ tours

the north belfast cultural corridor modern medical ethics: moral support or professional challenge With Dr Duncan Wilson. Old Staff Common Room, Queen’s University 5.00pm – 6.00pm Recent decades have seen profound changes in our understanding of the ethics of medicine. Whilst the subject was previously discussed by medical doctors alone, the topic is now discussed publicly and several academic disciplines, including law, philosophy and the social sciences, make substantive contributions to the field. In the UK this change could be attributed to

Starts at Clifton Street Church 10.00am – 3.30pm A walking tour followed by an afternoon seminar in Ulster University Belfast campus. The area northwest of Belfast City Centre is home to the city’s greatest concentration of significant and landmark buildings, although this remains news to many outsiders. Gathering near Carlisle Circus, participants will get a chance to visit some of the most striking buildings. In the afternoon speakers with a history of using assets for community regeneration will share their experience and everyone will have an opportunity to consider how the buildings of North Belfast could become a platform to generate a shared and better future for the area and its people.

At a time of social and political uncertainty many people are choosing to focus their dreams and aspirations on their mental and bodily health. We may not be able to have better societies, but perhaps we can have better minds and bodies. Taking up the hopes held out by biomedicine and biotechnology, bioethicists have given further voice to these aspirations. In ideas of human enhancement and ‘the post human’ we find them projected into our collective future. Here, it seems, society will achieve Utopia, one body at a time. In this talk Professor Ashcroft will explore the place of science, medicine, and technology in the way we imagine our collective and individual futures and what this might tell us about ourselves in the present moment.

Some countries have abolished tuition fees entirely, others are investing ferociously in vocational courses whilst in England, reforms from Westminster could see Universities and Colleges competing in a way never seen before just to attract the number of students they need to balance their books.

traditional political parties and systems. Both of these political earthquakes appeared to reflect a common desire to retreat from the wider world, particularly the global South, which was closely identified in the US and UK with internal problems through inward migration, conflict, terrorism and radicalisation.

We want to explore the current situation in Northern Ireland and facilitate a discussion about the direction we should be taking. We’ll be asking the crucial question; is education still a public good?

This event will consider the role that global education can play in strengthening public awareness of social justice and equality issues in local and global contexts that impact on our lives. It will argue that the toxic combination of popular nationalism, increasing levels of racist hate crime, and recession demands grassroots, coalface global education.

Free admission: register at Event partner: NUS-USI

▶ discussions & workshops

Free admission: register at Event partner: Centre for Global Education

▶ lectures & talks

where do young people access news – and does it matter for how they see the world? Ulster University Belfast Campus Room BA03-019 3.00pm – 4.30pm 2016 was marked by bitterly fought political campaigns in the UK and the US, leading to debate about how news is reported. Particular concerns focus on online news outlets, and the use of algorithms to present ‘personalised’ news on social media platforms. However, social media can also raise awareness of important issues; one charity reported a massive surge in donations after widespread sharing of the image of drowned toddler Alan Kurdi. Young people now use social media as a main source of news according to a 2016 YouGov survey of over 50,000 young people. The panel will discuss what this means for how young people evaluate and understand issues such as immigration, international aid and refugees. Free admission: register at Event partners: Ulster University & Concern Worldwide

caint Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde & Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde Áras Mhic Reachtain, 283-289 Bóthar Aontroma/ McCracken Centre, 283-289 Antrim Road 7.00pm – 8.30pm

▶ discussions & workshops

students or customers?

Registration at is essential. Participants will be asked to sign up for the whole event.

Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Free: register at Event partners: Ulster University, Belfast Civic Trust & North Belfast Partnership

Has education become a business? Are students now consumers? Approaches to the provision of higher and further education across the world differ massively.

Join The Open University for a panel discussion about ‘Brexit’ and its implications for the jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. Will the triggering of Article 50 be a serious blow to peace, politics, trade, or is this simply unfounded scaremongering? Panel Chair: John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University. Panel Members: Dr Philip O’Sullivan, The OU; Colette FitzGerald, Head of Office, Office of the European Commission in Northern Ireland; Rowena Dwyer, Chief Economist, Irish Farmers’ Association; Noel Doran, Editor, The Irish News; Professor David Phinnemore, QUB; Dr Anthony Soares, Deputy Director, Deputy Director, Centre for Cross Border Studies.

Free admission – no booking required Event partner: Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain

thursday 23rd march ▶ discussions & workshops

brexit, trump and global education St. Mary’s University College, Falls Road 7.00pm – 9.00pm The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States following on the heels of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union by referendum appeared to reflect an increasing popular disillusionment with

▶ lectures/discussions & workshops

the open university students inside the maze long kesh compounds Belfast Room, Ulster Museum 6.30pm – 8.00pm Join Dr Jenny Meegan and Dr Philip O’Sullivan for a talk and discussionon on the findings of an oral history project based on over 90 audio interviews with Loyalist and Republican ex-prisoners, The Open University staff, prison education staff and OU students who were associated with the prisons in a professional capacity during the period of conflict 1972-2000. This collective story provides a unique insight into learning, politics and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland in the 1970s in the Maze Long Kesh Compounds, ‘The Open University’s most unusual study centre’. Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

belfast has suffered enough: a farewell tour Departs Reception Desk, Belfast City Hall 5.00pm – 7.00pm In this unique new performance, artist and writer Daniel Jewesbury weaves protest, property development, history and art together with a highly personal account of his experience of the city over two decades. Beyond the tourist trails is a city of power struggles and silenced voices, which Daniel will help us decode. Daniel makes film, video and live art, and also writes and presents for BBC radio and television. This is his valedictory offering on the city that has been his reluctant inspiration, as he will be moving to Sweden to take up a new teaching post later this year.

In this hands-on workshop, researchers from Ulster University will explore the universal properties of human language to create an alien language that can still be spoken by human actors.

Meet at the reception desk in Belfast City Hall. Duration 90 minutes. Reasonable level of fitness required. Registration required.

Linguists invent languages for science fiction and fantasy films and novels and use what we know about human languages to make their new constructed language, or ‘conlang’, as human or as ‘un-human‘ as possible depending on whether the fictional speakers are humans in a different era (eg. Dothraki in Game of Thrones) or aliens from a different planet (eg. Klingon in Star Trek).

▶ discussions & workshops

Free admission: register at Event partner: Ulster University

Ulster University Belfast Boardroom (BA03-019) 5.30pm – 6.30pm

▶ discussions & workshops

Belfast has had physical barriers separating residential communities since 1969. By now they have shaped the pattern of daily life, relationships and public services. Over the last two decades, the pressure of international opinion has focussed on removing peace walls, culminating in the commitment in the NI Executive’s TBUC strategy to remove all walls by 2023.

Tickets £5 from

▶ discussions & workshops

7 ways to make northern ireland great again Dark Horse, Hill Street 7.30pm – 9.30pm New thinking on bettering society for all. Opinion differs on whether Northern Ireland was ever great! But we’d like you to join the Slugger O’Toole blog team and our expert guests to discuss specific ways in which we can improve the quality of life for everyone in Northern Ireland. Put your thinking caps on because we would welcome ideas from the audience on the night. Only two rules: each idea must be positive and must be specific. At the end of the evening you will cast your vote for the favourite ideas you hear. Come along and enjoy a great night of stimulating ideas and craic. Free admission: register at Event partners: Slugger O’Toole & Stratagem

▶ humour

imagine… if the peace walls came down?

This workshop starts from a thought experiment. What would the consequences of taking walls down be? For local communities, for services, for planning, for Belfast, for security… Bring your imagination!

Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

▶ discussions & workshops

▶ tours

Organised by Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain / McCracken Cultural Society in Áras Mhic Reachtain / McCracken Centre

Ulster University Belfast Campus Room BA03-019 10.00am – 12.00pm

Belfast Room, Ulster Museum 6.30pm – 7.30pm

Free admission: register at Event partner: Tinderbox Theatre Company

An evening of talks about the traditions of Ireland, in the Irish language, with two artistes from the Donegal Gaeltacht. This will be followed by a question and answer session. An opportunity for speakers of all levels of Irish to come along to listen and engage.

inventing a language is a lot of fun

brexit and the border: so what?

A practical workshop for people interested in exploring political ideas through theatre, delivered by Tinderbox Theatre Company. Places are limited so please register early.

Tráthnóna cainteanna i nGaeilge ar thraidisiúin na hÉireann le beirt oirfideach as Gaeltacht Thír Chonaill. Beidh deis ina dhiaidh ceisteanna a chur agus faill ag cainteoirí Gaeilge de gach leibhéal éisteacht is bheith páirteach.

▶ discussions & workshops

Ulster University Belfast Campus Room BA00-008 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Free admission: register at Event partner: Ulster University

Free admission: register at Event partners: Queen’s University & the British Academy

The MAC, Exchange Street 2.00pm – 5.00pm

highs and lows: the challenges for innovation in drug policy

The event will include a short film screening and conclude with a panel discussion with questions and comments from the audience, chaired by Prof Hugh McKenna, Dean, Medical School Development, Ulster University and President of Addiction NI.

Free admission: register at Event partner: The Open University

Speakers include Dr Tom Walker, Senior Lecturer in Ethics at QUB and Professor Noel Sharkey, Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, University of Sheffield. Chair: Professor Hastings Donnan FBA, Professor of Social Anthropology and Director, Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, QUB

writing for the theatre

▶ discussions & workshops

This event seeks to challenge our understanding of contemporary drug issues and showcase some innovative approaches that work to reduce the harm and costs associated with drug use. This two-hour session will feature Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, formerly Minister of State with responsibility for Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy; Fiona Measham, Professor of Criminology at Durham University and co-Director of the Loop; Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director of London-based Release, the national centre of expertise on drugs and the law; and Tony Duffin, Director of the Ana Liffey Drug Project.

across divisions’, Maya and Shaf will provide extracts from a range of prose and poetry to facilitate discussion around themes of conflict for an interactive and discursive workshop.

▶ workshop/theatre

Free admission: register at Event partner: NI Ethics Forum

The ‘war on drugs’ has been waged for the last 100 years yet world-wide the scale of drug use grows with far-reaching implications for health, crime, poverty and wellbeing.

evolve. Yet as the technology advances, concerns about ethics and privacy become more pressing. Will sensitive patient data be handled securely? Can we trust robots to care for vulnerable adults? And how can patients be assured that technology won’t encourage them to take medications they don’t want – or need? Join a panel of experts as they discuss these issues.

machines, morality and the future of medical care

Free admission: register at Event partner: Ulster University

The Moot Court Room, Main Tower, QUB 12.30pm – 1.30pm

Waterstones, Fountain Street 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Robotic technology is playing a growing role in modern medicine. Surgical robots have made hospital debuts, while prototypes of robotic caregivers continue to

Join Maya Parmar and Shaf Towheed from The Open University for a cup of coffee and a relaxed evening of facilitated reading groups. With a focus on ‘reading

▶ discussions & workshops

reading in conflict

david mcsavage live: a sacred cow The Black Box, Hill Street 7.30pm The star of RTE’s acclaimed comedy series, The Savage Eye, makes his long awaited return to Belfast. David McSavage is Ireland’s most divisive comedian – he’s funny too! His new live show, A Sacred Cow, is another way at looking at all of the institutions and parts of life in Ireland that shape us. The Church, politicians, alcohol and celebrities, all come under scrutiny with a level of honesty and caustic wit. Not suitable for clergy, politicians, bankers and economists. Is suitable for people that want a good night out! Tickets £12 from continues ›

Imagine Belfast 2017 Programme  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you