Reset and reinvented
Culture Night Belfast returns to the Cathedral Quarter this September with a new format and a new approach designed for a COVID-safe, post-pandemic environment.
Running from 17 – 19 September, Culture Night Presents The City Garden will transform Cathedral Gardens, Writers’ Square and the area around into a colourful, nature-inspired place for play, enjoyment and relaxation, all evoking the feeling of a garden in the heart of the city.
Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust and Culture Night Belfast said that the challenges of the past year had given everyone a chance to reflect about the shape of the event:
“The arts and the wider community have had a particularly difficult time over the past 18 months,” she said.
“We have made a continued effort to support the arts through our website, social media and mailshots and now we are back we want to make sure we continue to actively support our cultural sector, now and in the future.
“We have taken a very different approach to what we are doing in September and are really looking forward to Culture Night Presents The City Garden.”
“Ensuring a COVID-secure approach is at the forefront of our plans and we will be making sure we work in close liaison with Belfast City Council and the relevant authorities to achieve this.”
Prior to the pandemic, Culture Night had been one of Belfast’s largest free events, a cultural celebration that attracted almost 90,000 local, national and international visitors to the Cathedral Quarter and Belfast city centre.
Susan added: “Culture Night 2021 will be much smaller in scale and scope and will take the form of an on-site installation that people can drop into and enjoy over the course of the weekend – this different format will allow us to focus on safety as well as making sure everyone has a great time.”
A key difference this year is the decision to suspend the previous open submission programme and instead focus on one creating one central experience working directly with artists.
“We are really excited about the possibility of creating a pop-up ‘garden’ in the city centre for people to explore and enjoy,” said Susan.
“Culture Night Presents The City Garden is something new for us and for the city and we can’t to wait to see what everyone thinks.”
The decision to end the open submission element was one taken after much consideration. Anne McReynolds, Chair of Cathedral Quarter Trust and Director of the MAC, explained,
“The extreme challenges that our artists, musicians and cultural partners continue to face, as a result of Covid-19, led us to think carefully about the open submission element of the programme. It’s vital that all artists get paid for their work so from here we are committing to paying the artists and contributors that we work with. This was a tough decision, but we believe it is the right one.”
Further details of Culture Night Presents The City Garden will be released in coming weeks.
Keep up to date at culturenightbelfast.com.