Culture Night Belfast Organiser: Susan Picken

Susan Picken is the director of Culture Night Belfast. This year, Culture Night will take a very different approach with CNB21 Presents: The Ogham Grove. Located in Writer’s Square, the monumental sculpture and digital trail will be a first for Belfast.

Susan joined BELFAST.CO.UK for a quickfire Q&A to tell us about her favourite Belfast experiences and what we can expect from Culture Night 2021 and beyond.

susanCNB Launch 4883
Susan Picken, director of Cathedral Quarter Trust & Culture Night Belfast 2020 Culture Night Belfast returns for 2020 with an online programme broadcasting CNB TV on Friday 18th September from 4pm-10pm
Photo: Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press

Describe yourself in 5 words

Idealistic, optimistic, organised, focussed, creative

What makes you smile and what scares you the most?

Getting to a live gig makes me smile – but heights scare me!

What is your connection to Belfast?

I’m originally from Carrickfergus but have worked in Belfast since 2008.

Earliest memory of Belfast

Being at a panto in the Grand Opera House – aged 5 or 6.

Favourite place/event/experience in Belfast

Place – I really love the views and walks at Stormont.

Event – one of our great festivals but it’s hard to choose – probably Belfast Film Festival though.

Experience – I love going to the Ulster Museum, looking forward to seeing the new artwork there.

Describe your professional journey to date

I studied and worked in London for quite a few years in the film industry and then moved back to Belfast to become Head of the QFT in 2008. I was there until 2017 when I moved to the Cathedral Quarter Trust in 2017.

Career highpoints

I worked on lots of big film events in London so was lucky to get to meet lots of famous people. A big highlight here was Sir Kenneth Branagh coming to the QFT just before I left. I think that what we have planned for CNB this year, The Ogham Grove will also be a high point as it marks a really exciting change of direction for us.

What current projects are you involved in?

Planning for CNB – this year and also looking to next year and beyond. I’m also involved in planning around how arts and culture can energise and regenerate the city centre which is really exciting.

Any future projects we should be looking out for?

The next couple of years are going to be exciting with big arts events and experiences planned for 2022, 2023 and beyond.

What do you do when you are not working?

I’ve got very into yoga over lockdown so keeping that up, hanging out with friends, books, music, Netflix etc.

Describe Belfast in 5 words

Edgy, creative, complex, individual, promising.

Visit the installation in Writers’ Square from 6 pm on Friday 17th September to Sunday 19th September.

To keep up to date with all the CNB21 Presents: The Ogham Grove updates go to or follow #CNB21 on social media.