City (Re)Searches Initiative

From 20th to 23rd February Community Arts Partnership will be hosting City (Re)Searches in a large, white pop-up structure in the middle of Belfast’s Writers’ Square. This structure will be the focus for a four day process, bringing together arts practitioners of regional/ national / international experience from as far away as Brazil, Netherlands, USA and Lithuania in a shared process of listening, developing and understanding.

This is an initiative funded under the EU Culture programme enabling a two year examination of the local voices of community based art practices. This inquiry and its outcomes may support the emergence of a new platform for the public value of culture. The project involves leading a research-feasibility study. This is an interdisciplinary arts-based inquiry which engages ordinary people about their cultural rights. It involves a Practice Circle of artists and activists in a series of four-day Inquiry processes in Cork (September 2012), Belfast (February 2013) and Kaunas (June 2013). This will be followed by a reflective event in Rotterdam (Winter 2014).

The EU Project Assessor noted in her assessment of the project application:

Here is a research based on the correct observation that there has been an institutional failure to create conversations between arts/culture and other momentums for social and political rights, and rightly place their efforts in the framework of developing a new consensus about the public value of culture.

We want to listen, to have conversations and exchanges in which we can make an account of the cultural value that can often go unrecognised and unsupported. Taking a glance to the past and, more importantly, to making sense of the present, we want Belfast people to assist the group. Over the course of the journey between Cork, Belfast, Kaunas and Rotterdam, we want to gather a range of facts and understanding that may help to illustrate what cultural rights means as envisioned in the UN Convention on intangible cultural heritage (2005) and creative expression (2007).

We’re inviting community groups, community artists, social activists, arts activists, policy makers, organisational representatives to get in touch with us and take part in a very different kind of arts enquiry.

The project is produced by Ed Carroll (Blue Drum), Conor Shields (Community Arts Partnership) and Vita Geluniene (Kaunas Biennial). Funded by the EU Culture Programme Culture Policy Analysis Strand.

Keep an eye on the website for times, dates and further developments and opportunities. For further information contact Conor Shields, or call 02890923493.


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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.