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Imagine Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics 2020

Monday 23 March 2020 - 29/03/20

The programme for our thought–provoking festival has just been released. During 23–29 March, we will host 90 events across Belfast to help navigate the big issues of our times. The strictly non–partisan festival offers up an eclectic week of talks, workshops, theatre, comedy, music, exhibitions, film and tours – so there should be something of interest for everyone!   

The seven–day festival features a packed programme of over 300 speakers and performers in 50 venues across the city and is supported by 57 partner organisations. Most of the events are free, and we hope to attract people who are not traditionally involved in the arts or political debates.

The exciting programme includes the journalist and writer Paul Mason, best selling author and news editor Sam McBride, and business leaders Roseann Kelly, Angela McGowan and Ann McGregor. Other high–profile speakers include the first Unionist Irish senator, Ian Marshall, leading writers such as Sorcha Pollak, the Guardian’s social affairs correspondent Rob Booth and open Democracy editor, Adam Ramsay.

You are also welcome to join us for a choral setting of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement text, composed by Clare Salters, who was involved in the negotiations, and for the world première of Nicky Larkin’s documentary exploring the creation of The Belfast Ensemble’s provocative Abomination: A DUP Opera. 

We are also delighted to include the powerful performance of Body Politics brought to you by Macha Productions, and exhibitions, including More Bad News by Dougal McKenzie.  We also feature an open call exhibition ‘Art As Therapy‘ at the Take Up Space gallery in Connswater Shopping Centre, dedicated to ending the social stigma towards those living with mental health issues. 

We are also putting the fun into politics with music satirists Paddy Cullivan, the Ulster Fry’s Keith Law and the inter–galactic space warrior, Count Binface, as he discusses the ups and downs of democracy today! Other events will look at touchstone topics such as climate change, the mental health crisis, the implications of Brexit, LGBT+ issues, Universal Basic Income, Irish unification, US politics and many more topical issues. 

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