welcome to imagine!

Welcome to this festival of ideas & politics, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is an annual event, organised in March, brought to you by a team of volunteers keen to promote debate on the big issues of our time.

Relax – we’re not affiliated to any political party and relatively non-partisan! What we aim to do is encourage participation from people not normally involved in political debate and stimulate a discussion on new ideas and activism. Most of our events are free and spread right across this wonderful city. Our thanks to everyone who has contributed their time to making this offering happen, let us know what you think by contacting us on hello@imaginebelfast.com / #ImagineBelfast

our mission

Our mission is to excite people’s minds and passions by organising an inspiring annual programme of performance, discussion and debate.

our aims

Our key aims are to provide a high quality showcase for new ideas on politics, culture and activism in Northern Ireland; to encourage the participation of under-represented groups in political/cultural debate and discussion; to stimulate reflection and debate on difficult and controversial issues; to promote free speech.

the detail

The week-long series of events is aimed at engaging people in political/cultural discussion and debate in the broadest sense. The festival seeks to cover a wide spectrum of issues including, but certainly not limited to, mainstream political debate.

The festival is a registered charity (NIC101004) organised by a team of volunteers with no staff or major administration costs. The inaugural event was held in March 2015. Our second festival took place during 14-20 March 2016 with 82 events involving 4,500 audience members. This year’s programme was developed following an open call for event suggestions during November 2016.

We are not aligned with any political party or particular interest group. Although initially based in Belfast, we would like to extend the festival to other parts of Northern Ireland. We don’t receive corporate funding: instead we are supported by our partners and individual donations – so please feel generous!

Participation in the festival is open to all and while the main debates will not be party-political, groups and individuals are encouraged to debate those ‘difficult’ and contentious issues that normally don’t air in public discussion. We are keen to hear from people who are interested in politics / culture and we welcome suggestions for speakers and subjects no matter how controversial.

our values

  • We value the active participation of citizens in our festival.
  • We will promote free speech, cultural diversity and equality.
  • We strive to challenge, inspire and inform by programming a variety of innovative events and performances.
  • We will be accessible and ensure participation from all sections of the community in our activities.
  • Our festival will be affordable, and will include the programming of free events.
  • We will work in partnership and collaboration with like-minded individuals and agencies; speakers and performers; venues and other interests.
  • We will support and nurture home grown contributors and the participation of under-represented groups in the festival.
  • We will promote the value and authenticity of our heritage and cultural traditions.


We value your feedback on this festival. Let us know what you think about the way we have developed this and any suggestions you may have on how to improve the festival in the future.