come up with an idea for an event and apply to present it as part of the festival

Imagine! Belfast is a unique festival designed to excite people’s minds and passions in an inspiring annual programme of performance, discussion and debate. During 23-29 March 2020 we will provide a high quality showcase for new ideas on politics, culture and activism in Northern Ireland. We hope to encourage the participation of under-represented groups in political/cultural debate and to stimulate reflection and debate on difficult and controversial issues.

The Call for Ideas is intended to give the whole community a part in shaping the festival, from suggesting speakers to directly creating and delivering events. Although we can’t run with every proposal, we promise to look seriously at every suggestion and come back to you with a reasoned response.

You’ll need to complete the attached Event Submission Form and we’d like your ideas as soon as possible but the final deadline will be 5pm on 29 November 2019.

what are we looking for?

We are open to all suggestions and adopt an expansive interpretation of the terms ‘ideas’ and ‘politics’, especially if your proposal is an imaginative and provocative event. Our contributors include a wide range of individuals and organisations including community groups, colleges, artists, arts organisations, businesses, cultural groups, charities etc. You may have an idea for an event around a particular issue or idea – perhaps a debate, café discussion topic, exhibition, workshop or kids offering. You may simply have a suggestion for a high profile speaker that we can invite or an interest in programming events in the following categories:

political, cultural & economic debates
visual arts

The festival has to be engaging and accessible for the wider community, and deliverable from a logistical and financial point of view. If you have funding for an event or idea, please let us know. If there are particular audiences you would like to reach, tell us who they are. We would prefer if your proposal is original and not a repeat event.

how do I get involved?

We ask that you complete the submission form with as much detail as possible. Your submission will be acknowledged, before being considered alongside other ideas at festival programming meetings. Shortlisted suggestions will be taken forward and the final decision will be made by 10 December 2019


  • All events must take place in Belfast during 23-29 March 2020.
  • Your event(s) should be open to the public and be as cheap as possible – preferably free.
  • Events should be fully accessible and every effort should be made to cater for the special needs of attendees.
  • Events should be as creative and imaginative as possible, with your audience encouraged to participate.
  • Organisers should take responsibility for all relevant insurances, licences and health & safety requirements. This evidence must be provided on request.
  • Organisers should take responsibility for all costs associated with the event. 
  • Organisers should help publicise and promote their particular event(s) on any print materials, social media and websites you use.
  • Organisers should help publicise and promote the festival as a whole to their contacts and on the above platforms.
  • General assistance in the form of helping to originate and distribute publicity materials, supplying photos of your event, facilitating media coverage, providing online resources and post event evaluation will be appreciated.

other opportunities

There will be opportunities to participate as a volunteer with the production team. Other opportunities will develop for individuals and groups nearer the festival so send us an expression of interest by emailing us before 20 January 2020.

We are also looking for help with PR, management of print distribution, programming and managing events. We always need help with fundraising – could you or your organisation host a fundraising event for the festival or do you know someone who would be interested in sponsorship? We can provide further information and advice on these guidelines.

contact details and further information

Peter O’Neill
Festival Director

download event submission form