the imagine!
blog

Thoughts, ideas and unique insights from our Imagine! event contributors.

Food is everything: join us for some Belfast Food Stories
February 20, 2024
Beth Bell of Belfast Sustainable Food Partnership talks about the upcoming ‘Belfast Food Stories’ event at Imagine! 2024.
What are the prospects for citizen-led democracy in Northern Ireland?
September 7, 2023
This important question will be addressed at a seminar in Belfast on 15 September marking the International Day of Democracy.
THE ENIGMA OF ANDREW CARNEGIE – CREATOR OF PALACES OF LEARNING
March 15, 2023
Quintin Oliver discusses Andrew Carnegie – creator of palaces of learning – and the community-owned Carnegie Oldpark Library ahead of his ‘hard hat’ tour on 24th March.
everybody’s business
March 14, 2023
Ahead of the Social Change Initiative’s event at Imagine!, Jeannie McCann writes about meeting an indigenous community who peacefully resisted corporate power and how our taxes can be used as a force for good in the world.
THE IMAGINE! BELFAST FESTIVAL OF IDEAS AND POLITICS 2023 RETURNS WITH A FEAST OF EVENTS
March 8, 2023
The Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics has launched its full programme of events with Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Christina Black and other guests at an event on 2 March in the Grand Central Hotel, sponsored by Linen Quarter Bid.
LET’S RE-IMAGINE OUR FORGOTTEN SPACES
January 30, 2023
Meadhbh McIlgorm previews this year’s Imagine! special project ‘Forgotten Spaces’.
SEEING BELFAST THROUGH A NEW LENS
March 23, 2022
Dolores Vischer has always loved tours…
SHORT-TERMISM ISN’T WORKING
March 19, 2022
Why Northern Ireland Needs to Think Longer-Term.
ZINES, BAGGAGE, OTHERING WORDS AND LOTS MORE FROM SECOND COLLECTIVE
March 18, 2022
Alan Meban talks to Cathy Scullion and Sinead O’Neill Nicholl about Second Collective and their events at this year’s Imagine!
TRUTH AND LIES IN PARTICIPATORY ARTS PRACTICE
March 18, 2022
Ahead of their Imagine! event 23rd March, Sheelagh Colclough from the peer led group P³ shares some thoughts.
CANCELLATION & CENSORSHIP IN FILM
March 14, 2022
Alan Meban recently caught up with Hugh Odling-Smee from FilmHubNI who are supporting a strand of films at this year’s Imagine! Festival that explore cancellation and censorship.
LISTEN
March 15, 2022
A piece by Susan Millar DuMars ahead of her Over The Edge literary reading at the 2022 festival.
BELFAST CITY COUNCIL AND THE BATMAN: LOCAL FILM CLASSIFICATION RETURNS!
March 14, 2022
Sian Barber on the return of local film classification.
WE DON’T HAVE A POVERTY PROBLEM — WE HAVE A WEALTH PROBLEM
March 14, 2022
The Alternative Economists’ Mary McManus talks ahead of their 26th March Imagine! event ‘We have a wealth problem!’
ELECTIONS, NEAR AND FAR
March 14, 2022
Nicholas Whyte speaking ahead of his talk on 25th March.
ALAN WHYSALL: BORDER POLL OR BUST?
March 26, 2021
Alan Whysall presents an edited text of the talk he gave at this 2021’s Imagine! festival.
PANDEMIC TIME
March 16, 2021
In advance of Sinéad Gleeson’s much anticipated interview, we are delighted to publish her reflections on the Covid lockdown and a playlist which has distracted her during this time.
HOW BRITAIN ENDS: GAVIN ESLER IN CONVERSATION
March 15, 2021
Gavin Esler is looking forward to coming to Belfast. He last appeared at Imagine! festival in 2019 at an event called ‘Why Leaders Lie?’
NEIL HEGARTY: 2031
February 10, 2021
Neil Hegarty surveys the events of a decade from the vantage point of the year 2031 – and observes a scene in which geopolitics, society, and Ireland itself are changed utterly.
ON ‘MORAL AND IMAGINATIVE QUICKENING’
March 2, 2020
Denis Stewart suggests we apply Seamus Heaney’s ‘moral and imaginative quickening’ to the 21st Century.
MAY TYRANTS TREMBLE: THE LIFE OF WILLIAM DRENNAN
February 20, 2020
Fergus Whelan discusses his book ‘May Tyrants Tremble: The Life Of William Drennan (1754-1820)’
A POST ABOUT ELECTION POSTERS
March 29, 2019
Imagine! 2019's mock election posters… what was that all about?
POLITICS BEYOND POLITICIANS: TIME WE SHIFTED OUR HORIZON
March 11, 2019
Northern Slant asks: is it time we shifted our horizon on politicans?
THE PROBLEM WITH PATRIOTISM
March 9, 2019
David Mountain discusses an overlooked factor in the turbulent politics of recent years.
WHY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS MATTER
March 9, 2019
Dr. Laurence Cox discusses the importance of social movements.
WHAT DOES SEX SELL?
March 2, 2020
Kat Rezai previews ‘What Does Sex Sell?’
THE GREAT BIG NAKED CONSPIRACY NIGHT
February 21, 2019
Eileen Walsh previews ‘The Great Big Naked Conspiracy Night’.
A DUTY TO BE BEAUTIFUL?
March 14, 2018
Prof. Heather Widdows of Birmingham University discusses the pressure to measure up to the beauty ideal.
ARTIVISM AND POPULISM
January 17, 2018
As we settle in to a new year, the twin challenges of Trump and Brexit continue to dominate our political and cultural discourse.
DIALOGUE DAY
March 15, 2017
Michael Donnelly expands on the thinking behind Dialogue Day at this year’s Imagine! festival.
WHY I WRITE FOR THEATRE
March 15, 2017
John McCann, writer of ‘Famla’, talks about why he writes for the theatre.
WRITING FOR THEATRE IN TURBULENT TIMES
March 15, 2017
Tinderbox Theatre Company's Hanna Slättne discusses the challenges of writing for theatre in turbulent times.
A NIGHT MAYOR FOR BELFAST STREETS?
March 9, 2017
Our Festival Director, Peter O'Neill, writes about the need to revitalise Belfast's night time economy and the need for a Night Czar.
DISCUSSING ‘DODGE’
February 24, 2017
Melissa Bailey and Lisa Bowers talk about their forthcoming exhibition 'Dodge'.
DEMOCRACY DAY 2017
February 20, 2017
Looking at Building Change Trust’s Democracy Day.
ON IRISHNESS: A CIVIC CONVERSATION
March 23, 2016
We were asked to consider what we considered to be ‘Irishness’.
REVEALING FACT OR FICTION: A FACTCHECKNI QUIZ
March 23, 2016
Do you know your facts from your opinions? Why do those politicians lie all the time?
ST. PATRICK DEPORTED BY CITIZEN JURY
March 23, 2016
Where a public jury of citizens of Ireland voted to deport (Saint) Patrick.
BRINGING OUR OWN LENS: VISUALISING CONFLICT IN PALESTINE
March 22, 2016
A display of three types of imagery — participatory, documentary, and expository.
OUR PUBLIC LOVE AND SECRET CHAIN FOR A POLITICS OF KINDNESS
March 22, 2016
Philip Orr on 18th Century thinker Francis Hutcheson.
‘A BETTER WAY OF BEING GOVERNED’: WHAT IS THE STATE OF DEMOCRACY IN NORTHERN IRELAND?
March 21, 2016
Examining the state of NI’s democracy and the role of civil society within it.
BITING THE HAND: IS THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR ‘STILL IN THE BUSINESS OF DOING GOOD?’
March 20, 2016
A discussion of the role of the community and voluntary sector in contemporary NI.
IMAGINE… THE GREAT BIG POLITICS QUIZ IS BACK
February 28, 2016
The Great Big Politics Quiz returns next month as part of the fantastic Imagine Festival of Ideas & Politics!
LET’S START MAKING SENSE WITH SOME IMAGINATION
February 11, 2016
Belfast’s festival of ideas & politics returns during 14-20 March 2016 to broaden horizons and puncture preconceptions.
OPEN GOVERNMENT
February 18, 2016
People can re-engage with politics and politicians may be able to break the deadlock.
AN ALTERNATIVE MANIFESTO FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
April 3, 2015
The results of an online civic engagement campaign conducted by the Imagine! Belfast festival in March 2015.
HISTORY AND HISTORIANS
March 12, 2015
The role of history and historians in dealing with the past after the Stormont House Agreement.
SAY WHAT YOU SEE
March 7, 2015
A short history of election advertising.
SHAPING OUR SHARED PRESENT
March 5, 2015
A civic conversation on the subject of ‘leadership we need in Northern Ireland’.
NUS-USI: IS DEMOCRACY DEAD?
March 4, 2015
At some point we will all have heard someone say something along the lines of “there’s no point in voting”.
RAIF BADAWI
March 1, 2015
Whatever we may disagree about here and other local political blogs, we can all agree that blogging is not a crime.
THE ALTERNATIVE MANIFESTO
February 26, 2015
Your chance to pitch in your top 5 proposals for change.
THE HISTORIAN & POST-CONFLICT SOCIETY
February 25, 2015
What is the role of the historian?
THE FESTIVAL ACCORDING TO QUINTIN OLIVER
February 18, 2015
Belfast will, for the first time, stage the Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics from 9th-15th March 2015.
THE PROBLEM WITH MAJORITY RULE
February 16, 2015
The problem in Northern Ireland was, in part, majority rule.
THE FESTIVAL LAUNCHTIME
February 12, 2015
The inaugural Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics.
DEALING WITH OUR DIS-EASE
February 10, 2015
Our democratic systems seem to be ailing and unfit for purpose. There is a sense of ‘dis-ease’.
USE YOUR IMAGINATION
January 22, 2015
Imagine this! A brand new festival for Belfast.

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