The British Council will host an international arts and culture programme this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
The programme, which will focus on the role of arts in divided and polarised societies, will look at how music, film and socially engaged arts practice have played a key role in Northern Ireland’s post-conflict journey.
As part of the programme, the British Council will welcome international delegates to Belfast from 10 countries (including from Colombia, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Iraq and Ukraine) to engage with and learn about those working in Northern Ireland’s creative and cultural sectors and take part in talks, workshops, exhibition openings and tours.
Highlights of the week include a Journey Through Film with the Belfast Film Festival. Taking place tomorrow (Tuesday, April 18) at Belfast’s Black Box, journalist Brian Rowan and filmmaker Brian Henry Martin will explore how Northern Ireland has been represented on screen and ask what role drama has in navigating unresolved concerns, ongoing debates and controversial questions for our communities. They will discuss films including Elephant, Good Vibrations and The Journey.
Also on screen is History of the Present, an experimental new film-opera by Belfast writer Maria Fusco and American-British filmmaker Margaret Salmon, which tells the story of ordinary lives still dominated today by the looming presence of the Belfast peacelines. The work will premiere at the QFT Belfast on Wednesday, April 19, before a national and international tour.
On Thursday 20 April, the British Council will partner with Ulster University and the University of Canberra to launch a new book, Difficult Conversations. This will feature 10 essays from artists, performers, poets, curators and cultural researchers, focusing on the roles of art, creativity and culture in helping to navigate provocative and divisive issues in our communities.
For music, Belfast magazine, Dig With It, will launch a special 10th edition at the Oh Yeah Centre this Thursday, 20 April, looking at the role music has played in Northern Ireland over the past 25 years. The launch night will feature performances from Problem Patterns and songwriter Niall McDowell, followed by a DJ set from broadcaster Kwame Daniels. There will also be a discussion panel about subculture and resilience, plus an art installation by Designer Lily Bailie called 'It's Personal'. Admission to the evening is free and doors open at 8pm.
Following this on Friday (April 20), British Council’s global radio show, Selector, will showcase some of Northern Ireland’s best music. The show is broadcast in over 35 countries to over four million listeners every week, with this week focusing on Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement. It will include an interview with the editor of Dig With It, Stuart Bailie, who will talk about how music has helped conflicts in the past and how it helps currently - playing tracks from Stiff Little Fingers, Chalk, Susie Blue and Phil Kieran. There will also be interviews with three-piece Derry-Londonderry pop-punk group Cherym, County Down musician Lemonade Shoelace, and BBC presenter Gemma Bradley.
Speaking about the week was Jonathan Stewart, British Council Northern Ireland Director. He said: “The British Council is delighted to host an international arts and culture programme to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Belfast/ Good Friday Agreement. The programme focuses on the role of arts in divided and polarised societies, and here in Northern Ireland, artists and cultural organisations have played a crucial role in our post-conflict journey over the past 25 years.
“We hope that through the week we can acknowledge and take stock of the significant role the arts have played in Northern Ireland, while gaining new understanding and knowledge from our international delegates on their own experiences.”
To find out more about the events and the full-line up visit: https://nireland.britishcouncil.org/programmes/our-work-society/peace-and-beyond
This week-long arts and culture programme continues the British Council’s work, building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. To find out more about their work in Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.