British Council is a major partner in a number of festivals that occur in Northern Ireland throughout the year. We aim to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic endeavours.

Upcoming events:

Belfast International Arts Festival

Belfast International Arts Festival – Northern Ireland’s biggest contemporary arts festival – is back for 2019, running from 15 October – 3 November 2019.

We’re proud to have supported the festival since its inception, and in this 57th year, audiences can expect a world class and eclectic fusion of theatre, dance, music, visual art, literature, films and talks – with over 200 events and 14 premieres. 

This year's festival will include several major works from Japan to coincide with our UK in Japan programme 2019-20.  Jointly organised by the British Embassy in Japan and the British Council, the campaign presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deepen the close bonds between Japan and the UK.


 British Council Northern Ireland supported events:

Medium & Accumulated Layout: Hiroaki Umeda


Opening Belfast International Arts Festival is the UK and Irish Premiere of Median and Accumulated Layout. 

Median fuses dance, hypnotic sounds and stunning digital visuals into one unforgettable sensory experience.

Pushing the limits of experimentation, the Japanese choreographer draws inspiration from elements invisible to the naked eye. The artist pursues his long-standing belief and fascination that a human body is an intrinsic part of nature, where there is no distinction with other living things.

Umeda is recognised as one of the leading figures of the Japanese avant-garde art scene. Most often creating solos, he fuses choreographic writing, computer code, sound and visual composition into a form of global language, which enables him to generate new perceptions of space.

100 Keyboards: ASUNA

100 KEYBOARDS| ASUNA| 17-19 Oct| The MAC | 7.45PM | £14/ £12

Pioneering Japanese sound artist ASUNA presents his landmark work and site-specific listening experience, 100 Keyboards.

A stalwart of Tokyo’s experimental music scene, ASUNA’s playful genre-bending sonic experiments cross from ambient to hip-hop to hardcore punk to low-fi pop and improvisation.

In this captivating performance, ASUNA manipulates 100 battery operated keyboards, generating an undulating sonic harmony both mesmerising and mysterious. Sound waves on the same frequency multiply and bounce off in myriad directions, creating a complex sonic field of interference and reverberation that swells and changes over time. Subtle acoustic variations emerge, hover and retreat based on your location in the performance space.

This event takes place in the round and the audience are encouraged to move around the space. A small number of seats are available.

Unique instruments, expectant spaces | Hall McKnight

UNIQUE INSTRUMENTS, EXPECTANT SPACES | HALL MCKNIGHT | 18-Oct- 8 Nov |  Ulster University, York Street| | Sat, 9am - 7pm | Sun, 9am to 5pm

Metaphor, simile and story-telling are at the heart of local architectural practice Hall McKnight’s work. In 2018, for the prestigious 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, La Biennale di Venezia,their work was presented as an ensemble. The large-scale installation cross-referenced a number of their projects including the re-imagining of new civic spaces from a variety of different perspectives.

The Festival is honoured and delighted to be able to bring home this major and critically acclaimed installation for a special presentation in partnership with both the Ulster University and the British Council.

Unique Instruments, Expectant Spaces – Ancillary Programme

This exhibition will be accompanied by free public talks at Ulster University reflecting on the architect as “artist”; how Henry James’ preface to The Portrait of a Lady influenced the creation of the installation; and the role of the architect in addressing the unspoken wishes of people they have never met.

In addition, architects Hall McKnight will engage with students and practitioners across various disciplines at Belfast School of Art and Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment to produce and exhibit their own responses to a selected literary quote or translation.

Plans are also being made for a free schools workshop led by Hall McKnight.

For further details or contact

Download the full programme below:

External links