Belfast City Council is inviting people to come along to info events during February to find out how they can get involved in its Belfast 2024 programme.
Residents can call into drop-in information events from 5-15 February to hear how they can become part of the city’s biggest ever celebration of culture and creativity:
- Monday 5 February, 10am-11.30am – Aleksander’s Bakery, 20 University Avenue
- Friday 9 February, 10am-11.30am – Seven Coffee, 7 Glen Road
- Monday 12 February, 10am-11.30am – 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast city centre
- Wednesday 14 February, 10am-11.30am – Templemore Baths café, 96 Templemore Avenue
- Thursday 15 February, 10am-11.30am – The Café at the Duncairn, Duncairn Arts Centre
A Belfast 2024 open day will also be held at 2 Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre on Thursday 29 February, 10am-5pm.
Residents can sign up to the Belfast 2024 mailing list at a new website – www.belfast2024.co.uk – or follow the Belfast 2024 social media channels on Facebook (@belfast2024) and Instagram (@belfast2024) for the latest on projects and initiatives.
The £5.9 million Belfast 2024 programme builds upon the council’s existing support for culture and arts, and invites citizens to get creative, through an exciting mix of new cultural commissions and people-led programmes between March and November, reflecting the city’s creativity, diversity and vibrancy.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, says Belfast 2024 will be shaped by the people of the city and marks the start of a brand new chapter for how people view and experience culture and arts in the city.
“Belfast City Council already has a strong track record of over 30 years supporting our arts sector. It’s now time to move up a gear, by combining must-see activities and grassroots, community-led programmes to create something that is absolutely unique to Belfast, focusing on our three themes – People, Place and Planet,” he explained.
“Belfast 2024 isn’t an events-led programme in the traditional sense – we already have such an amazing calendar of cultural festivals, exhibitions and events taking place each month, much of which is supported by council. Instead, Belfast 2024 offers an additional layer of support to the sector, following on from the pandemic, by commissioning bespoke projects which will only be brought to life once participants begin to engage with them.
“This is what our arts community have told us they need – support for jobs, in retaining and attracting talent and in showcasing the potential of arts and culture to drive footfall into Belfast and become a genuine lever for our local economy.
“As the year develops, we will begin to see new events taking shape, brand new locations being used for creativity as people get involved and begin to experience their communities and neighbourhoods in new and interesting ways – outside of what we usually think of as ‘culture’. Alongside that, we will have amazing, evocative – and I’d go as far as to say iconic – experiences which will be announced later this spring, bringing people into our city centre to share something emotive and memorable and putting Belfast firmly on the cultural map.
“I’d encourage everyone to come along to the info sessions coming up or stop by our drop-in open day in 2 Royal Avenue on 29 February. This is the year to get creative, get involved and think about the arts in a new way – come to an event, go to a workshop, join us to experience something different and exciting.”
At the heart of the Belfast 2024 programme is a series of ambitious projects developed by our creatives, in partnership with citizens across the city, and selected following an open call to the city’s cultural sector in 2023.
They include a biodiversity initiative with communities (Wild Belfast), a textile-based hub for all ages championing mental health (Show Some Love Green House), a musical celebration of the Townsend Street interface area with Ulster Orchestra and a collaborative growing initiative with artists and gardeners based around Black Mountain Shared Space in west Belfast (Guerrilla Walls).
Each project will be shaped by the input of participants, creating a rich and diverse tapestry of creative outputs across the year, which could include film, poetry, public art, dance, nature, gaming, music and theatre.
A huge community-led engagement programme, Creative Citizens, also gets underway this spring, forging new links with communities and organisations right across the city to encourage them to become part of Belfast 2024. It will build upon existing partnerships with organisations like Northern Ireland Alternatives, University of Atypical and Conway Education Centre to support residents in co-designing new events, workshops and initiatives, as the year goes on.
Residents will also be able to put forward their own ideas for projects in their areas via a participatory budgeting model, while community takeovers are planned in council venues like recycling centres and parks, providing opportunities for visitors to work with artists to design materials for use in other Belfast 2024 activities.
By the end of 2024, the council estimates that almost 200 events and activities will have been delivered, in addition to what is already planned by festival organisers and arts organisations across the city, with over 400,000 people visiting Belfast to explore and enjoy the arts and culture here.