Belfast Culture Night has been suspended for a year after organizers branded the festival “too big and unwieldy”.

Organizers said in a statement that following an extensive strategic review, the decision was made to “suspend the city center’s celebration of arts, culture and heritage in its usual form”.

Growing popularity without adequate funding and the expectation that artists should work for free were among the reasons cited.

Susan Picken is Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust and Culture Night Belfast.

She said the decision would “disappoint some in the community” but it would pave the way for the development of an “exciting new format” that would boost the Cathedral Quarter and the arts and culture sector.

It’s close

Susan Picken, Director, Cathedral Quarter Trust and Belfast Night Culture

The strategic review recommended a “complete re-imagining” to address concerns raised by stakeholders, the community and the wider Culture Night audience.

Ms Picken said: “The pandemic and the restrictions of the last two years have given us the opportunity to take a closer look at Culture Night Belfast and take the time to ask what exactly we want the event to become.

“One of the questions we had to ask was whether Culture Night Belfast was achieving the results we had originally hoped for.”

She added: “We felt the event had become too big and unwieldy and the original intention of providing a platform for our arts and cultural communities to engage with a much wider audience had been lost.

“We have listened to what our stakeholders, partners and audiences have said and believe that taking a year to properly develop plans that will put the arts back at the heart of what we do is the best way forward.”

It’s close

The Ogham Grove 2021 Bernie McAllister/Argyll Images

Culture Night Belfast first started in 2009 and has grown to become the largest free cultural event in the city, attracting around 100,000 people in 2019.

The review was carried out in conjunction with Belfast City Council as part of a strategic effort to develop cultural events in the city.

It turned out that the culture was seemingly lost in the general “noise” of the event, and many attendees were unimpressed.

The announcement comes as the Cathedral Quarter Trust, the organization behind Culture Night Belfast, is also developing a new strategic plan to be published later this year.

While many members will be concerned by the news, Ms Picken said she believes it will be a “challenging but exciting time” for the arts and culture community.

“Over the years, Culture Night Belfast has grown exponentially, while the resources to deliver the program have not,” she said.

“The idea that artists could, would or should give their time for free is no longer acceptable, especially post-Covid.”

As the review took place over the past two years, she said many of the organizations and artists consulted had been supportive, but it was clear things needed to change.

“We at the Cathedral Quarter Trust are very excited about the plans for the future and look forward to sharing them with our colleagues and audiences in due course,” she said.

The trust has promised to update previous contributors and audiences regularly on progress.

“We understand that many of those who have taken part in the past, and those members of the community who have been looking forward to it, will be disappointed by the decision to take a year off,” she said.

“We want to be sure that we can devote our full attention to successfully planning for the future. We are developing some exciting ideas on how to take the event into the future and this requires time to plan.”

It’s close

The Ogham Grove 2021 by Bernie McAllister/Argyll Images

Last year’s Culture Night featured an Ogham Grove installation and accompanying digital track.

Supported by Arts Council NI, the route has just been revived as Fiona’s Window and allows visitors to the Cathedral Quarter to follow an interactive journey based on the ancient alphabet of the Ogham tree.

Susan added: “We’re really excited about the future – we know people will miss Culture Night Belfast, but we plan to return in 2023 with something even better.”

Source link

Previous articleAbby Smith finished in the top 20 at the Commonwealth Games time trial
Next article£142,000 inner flat ideal for first time buyers in Portsmouth