Culture Night’s 2020 core programme has been unveiled with a packed line-up of music, debates, art and thought-provoking films that will all happen online on Friday 18 September.
Like everyone else in Northern Ireland, artists and arts organisations are facing enormous challenges due to Covid-19 and so this year Culture Night Belfast is going totally online. The team at Culture Night Belfast is determined to keep the show on the road in some shape or form.
Streaming across a number of virtual platforms, Culture Night Online 2020 aims to be accessible to those who would attend in-person each year as well as those who have yet to experience the best of Northern Ireland’s arts and culture scene.
Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust (the charity behind Culture Night Belfast) said that the 2020 programme will be a spectacular online display of talent. Susan urged those logging on on Friday 18 September.
“Please take the opportunity to donate some of what you would have spent on a normal Culture Night,” she said. “You can either donate here and we will send what we raise on to one of our nominated charities, or you can follow the links on individual submissions and donate to the artist, organisation or venue of your choice.
“Please help our arts & culture community to survive this difficult time and ensure a vibrant cultural future for all of us.”
This year’s core programme of commissioned pieces will see venues such as Belfast Cathedral, the Black Box, the Oh Yeah Centre and The MAC act as the backdrop to what is set to be an exciting evening of entertainment.
Susan said: “This year’s programme is very different from what you may be used to but we hope it captures the varied and eclectic mix of arts and culture you have come to know and love in the real-world event,” she said. “There are three main strands for you to log on to, dip in to and enjoy.
“Our three strands are Core, Showcase, and Gallery. Core has a special programme of performances from iconic venues across the Cathedral Quarter which have been carefully chosen and commissioned by the team here at CNB.
“Showcase is an opportunity for our other artists and creators to get involved as it features online submissions from local artists, performers, creatives, venues, cultural organisations, businesses and more and demonstrates the wealth of homegrown talent at work across the city.
“Gallery is a special open submission visual arts strand introducing the work of a wide variety of artists encompassing painting, photography and much more.”
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: “We are delighted to be supporting Culture Night again this year – a year which has been enormously challenging for our cultural sector.
“I have been so encouraged to see how many of our culture and arts organisations have adapted their activities and programmes to continue to develop and showcase the city’s creative talent during the last few months. Culture Night will bring a spotlight to this and promises a wide range of virtual events to immerse yourself in on Friday 18 September.
“Belfast City Hall will also be lit up in pink and blue on the evening of 18 September to symbolise citywide support for cultural organisations and individual artists across the city.”
Among the performers taking part this year in the CNB Online Core Programme are Cherrie On Top, Susie Blue, Sinead O’Donnell, tenx9, Charles Hurts, Becha, Stephen Beggs, Paul Currie, George Quinn, Rachael McCabe, Bounce Culture, The Swing Gals and many more.
Anne McReynolds, Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, said: “2020 has been incredibly challenging for the arts and culture sector and for all our audience and participants.
“The future of the arts in Northern Ireland remains very uncertain. Nevertheless, artists have never given up without a fight and so our programme for Culture Night Online demonstrates how talented and innovative our arts community here is.
“Hopefully on Friday 18 September everyone will be reminded just how vital arts and culture is to our city and our wellbeing. Please support our local arts and culture by logging on during Culture Night on 18 September.”
The core programme, which is supported this year by Belfast City Council and Arts Council NI, will also include a specially commissioned piece by filmmaker Will McConnell called We’re Still Here, two documentaries from Trocaire and the premiere of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s film It Seems along with a discussion chaired by NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Despite the enormous challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, Culture Night Belfast is back with an impressive digital programme thoughtfully designed against a backdrop of iconic locations in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and featuring a wealth of Northern Irish talent from across the artistic spectrum.
“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support Culture Night through the Organisations Emergency Fund, supported by the Department for Communities, and I would encourage everyone to get online on 18th September and show your support for our tremendous arts community.”
For more information on this year’s programme go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20 #CNBonline on social media.
If you’re a creator and want to submit your event to Culture Night Belfast this year simply fill out the submissions form at culturenightb
Children Asked to Share Ideas for Lord Mayor’s Time Capsule
Schoolchildren from across Belfast are being invited to share their ideas on what should be included in a time capsule which will be sealed by the city’s Lord Mayor, to be opened in 100 years.
The project is part of Belfast City Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme and aims to provide a snapshot of life in 2021 for generations to come.
Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey has himself chosen a number of items to include in the time capsule, including a NI women’s football shirt and a special medallion to mark the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland.
“This year marks a hugely significant milestone in Northern Ireland’s history, marking 100 years since the first Northern Ireland Parliament was opened,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
“While this milestone will mean different things for different people, Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme aims to provide a space to reflect on key historical moments and events from 1912-1922 that shaped Northern Ireland and Ireland.
“And as we look ahead to the next 100 years and wonder what life might be like then, I thought creating a time capsule would be an interesting way of capturing a little piece of history and preserving it for generations to come, so that they might have an insight into life in the city in 2021
“I’m hoping that young people will provide some inspiration as to what should be included; all suggestions are welcome but we would like it to be something that is particularly relevant to 2021 and the times we are living through.”
As a huge supporter of the Northern Ireland football team, Alderman McCoubrey said including the women’s team’s football shirt was an easy decision.
“The achievements of the NI women’s football team in making history and reaching the Euros is something we can all be very proud of,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
“I hope that when this time capsule is opened in 2121 this achievement will be seen as having been something of a turning point for women in sport, and that it is seen to inspire more young women and girls to get involved in competitive sport.”
Belfast City Council was awarded funding from the Shared History Fund, which The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delivering on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office, to deliver a number of projects to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary year, including the Lord Mayor’s time capsule project.
Young people can send their suggestions to the Lord Mayor’s Office via email email@example.com or share their ideas on Council’s social media channels using the hashtag #BelfastTimeCapsule
The deadline for suggestions is 4pm on Wednesday 19 May. All suggestions received will be considered by the Lord Mayor for inclusion in the time capsule which will be stored at City Hall until it is opened in 2121.
Work Begins On New £12.6million East Belfast Primary School
Education Minister Peter Weir has cut the first sod on a new school build for Elmgrove Primary School in Belfast.
The £12.6million scheme will include the provision of a new 21 classroom primary school, a double unit nursery school and a nurture unit. There will also be pedestrian access onto the Connswater Community Greenway which will make it more accessible for children and parents to walk to and from school.
Speaking at the sod cutting ceremony the Minister said: “The start of the construction work marks the beginning of a new chapter for Elmgrove Primary School.
“I am confident that the £12.6million investment will help in the drive to improve education standards. I have no doubt this scheme will have a positive impact on staff, pupils, parents and the wider school community in the East Belfast area, as well as providing a boost to the local construction industry.”
Extensive Refurbishment and Alterations
Work on the school will involve extensive refurbishment and alterations to the existing Grade A listed building and the construction of three new wings to the rear. The retention of the listed building will ensure the structure preserves an historical architectural element to the school.
The Minister continued: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their hard work and commitment in getting the scheme to this stage.
“I have no doubt that everyone in the school is looking forward to the next few years with a sense of excitement, to see the ongoing construction of the new school.
“I wish everyone well for the future and I look forward to returning, in the not too distant future, to see the new school building standing on this site.”
The new build will accommodate approximately 620 primary pupils and 52 nursery children.
The Integrated Design Team is Amey FMP. The main Contractor is Woodvale. They were appointed to carry out the main building works, which are due to complete in autumn 2023.