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 20-26 March we will provide a high quality showcase for new ideas on politics, culture and activism. We hope to encourage the participation of under-represented groups in political and cultural debate and to stimulate reflection and debate on issues that are often excluded from our local political discourse.

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 will need to complete the Event Submission Form and we’d like your ideas as soon as possible but the final deadline will be 5.00pm on 28 October 2022.

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 creative 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, cafe discussion, exhibition, workshop or kids offering.

Next year, the festival is likely to focus on a number of themes including the impact of Covid, the climate crisis, diversity issues, the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, civic activism and deliberative democracy, however please do not regard this as a prescriptive list. Or, you may simply have a suggestion for a high-profile speaker that we can invite or an interest in organising events and activities that engage political or cultural themes in the following categories:

Talks, discussions and debates
Visual Arts

Your event has to be engaging and accessible for the wider community, and deliverable from a logistical, health & safety, and financial point of view. We can help find you a venue and take care of marketing and ticketing etc. We also have a small amount of funding to support events and activities. Please contact us to discuss this when submitting your application.

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. We are unable to accept applications from political parties. Event applications need to adhere to the values of the festival.

how do I get involved?

We need you to complete the submission form with as much detail as possible. Your submission will be acknowledged, before being considered alongside other applications at festival programming meetings. Shortlisted suggestions will be taken forward and the final decision will be made by 26 November.


  • All events must take place during 20-26 March 2023  either as public events in Belfast and/or online.
  • Your event(s) should be as accessible 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 including Covid 19 safeguards. This evidence must be provided on request.
  • Organisers should take responsibility for all costs associated with the event. Assistance may however be available depending on circumstances.
  • Organisers should help publicise and promote their particular event(s) on any print materials, social media and websites you use.
  • 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.
  • We can provide further information and advice on these guidelines as required. For inspiration about possible events, check out our previous festivals at

other opportunities

There will be opportunities to participate as a volunteer with the festival team. Other opportunities will develop for individuals and groups nearer the festival so send us an expression of interest by emailing us before 21 January 2023. We are also currently looking for help with PR, photography, filming, print distribution, and event organisation. 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?

contact details and further information

Peter O’Neill
Festival Director