Festival tackles role of photography in the era of fake news

Pictured (L-R) launching the 2019 Belfast Photo Festival are Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey and Michael Weir, Belfast Photo Festival Director.

Northern Ireland’s premier month-long visual arts festival, the Belfast Photo Festival, will take over art galleries and dominate outdoors spaces throughout Belfast this June with experiential and engaging exhibitions exploring the role of photography in the era of post-truth, alternative facts and fake news.

The photography festival, which presents some of the finest national and international contemporary photography, runs from Thursday 6 – Sunday 30 June. Under the theme of “Truth and Lies”, the festival will look at how photography can be used to influence opinion; from carefully choreographed photoshoots to image manipulation and misrepresentation.

“The camera never lies,” the age-old saying goes, but increasingly consumers are having to be ever-more diligent in distinguishing fact from fiction – and photography has a crucial role to play in the era where billions of new images are captured daily and content is consumed at a staggering rate.

Jump Trump by Erik Kessels & Thomas Mailaender.

Among this year’s highlights is Jump Trump, the interactive exhibition by Dutch photographers Thomas Mailaender and Erik Kessels, which will be on display for the first time in the UK and Ireland. Exhibited at the Golden Thread Gallery, the installation sees the gallery space dominated by a one-metre deep inflated crash mat emblazoned with an image of the 45th President of the United States. Complete with a raised platform for daring visitors to jump onto the mat, it challenges audiences to get up close to the politician’s face and express their feelings toward the influential and often controversial figure.

Jump Trump forms part of a larger exhibition, Do Governments Lie?, at the gallery. Other works include Philippe Chancel’s Kim Happiness, a series of photographs taken in North Korea exploring the management of happiness by the country’s government, and Marc Lee’s video installation which trawls social media in real time and seamlessly weaves tweets, Instagram posts and YouTube uploads by political parties and their election candidates into a dystopian live television show.

From Kim Happiness by Philippe Chancel.

Controlled Perspectives at the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich presents works by Korean artists Seung Woo BackHeesung Chung and Yeondoo Jung as they demonstrate how photography can be used to control perspective using constructed environments.

ICONS, by artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger, displayed on the lawn at Belfast City Hall, shows images of meticulous three-dimensional models constructed to create astonishingly realistic reconstructions of some of the most recognisable images in history, including Tank Man, the striking image of the unknown protestor who stood in front of a convoy of Chinese military tanks on Tiananmen Square, Robert Capa’s The Falling Soldier, The Hindenburg Disaster and more.

Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, who rose to international acclaim as the photographer behind fashion brand Benetton’s controversial advertising campaigns that pushed the limits of the industry, will host a talk and Q&A at the Ulster Museum on June 13.

At Belfast Exposed, Margins of Excess by Max Pinckers, who is listed among the ranks of Magnum Photos, presents a body of work looking at the role of mass media in communicating idiosyncratic versions of six individuals’ own reality who momentarily were subject to nationwide media attention and scrutiny in the US.

Guests pictured with Donald Trump impersonator at the launch of the 2019 Belfast Photo Festival.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland-backed festival works to make visual art more accessible, explains Festival Director Michael Weir. “We’re introducing it to public spaces and expanding our outdoor presence while making the artform interactive and engaging. Among the exhibitions that will take over these spaces, as well as those hosted in our partner galleries and venues, are significant bodies of work hand-picked for Belfast Photo Festival by representatives from global institutions such as Tate Modern, the New York-based Aperture Magazine and Magnum Photos; the agency behind some of the most striking and influential photographs of 20th century.”

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland proudly supports the Belfast Photo Festival which celebrates some of the finest local, national and international photography around.  It’s extensive, impressive programme encourages active engagement with this popular art form whether that’s through attending exhibitions, taking part in workshops or through public displays and I would encourage everyone to get involved.”

As well as its extensive programme showcasing globally renowned names, including multi-national media and broadcasting company VICE, the festival will exhibit works from lesser-known artists through its Open Submission programme which attracted almost 32,000 entries from 83 countries.

Michael said: “Our Open Submission proved hugely successful this year and demonstrates just influential and well-recognised Belfast Photo Festival is on the international stage; established and challenger artists are eager to exhibit on our shores.”

The winner of the 2019 Belfast Photo Festival Open Submission will be revealed in June at the opening ceremony on Thursday 6th June.

For more information on this year’s festival, visit belfastphotofestival.com and keep up-to-date on social media via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Armagh Tigers Charitable Trust Presents ‘An Extraordinary BBQ Festival & Auction’

Armagh City Hotel is set to host ‘An Extraordinary BBQ Festival and Auction’ event on Saturday 29thJune to raise funds for two exceptional charities – ‘Stroke & Heart Research – Craigavon Area Hospital’ and proceeds of a raffle to ‘Daisy Lodge Cancer Fund for Children’.

The Armagh Tigers Charitable Trust are delighted to announce the musical line-up for their BBQ Festival.  The evening of entertainment will get underway from 7pm compered by Country Music’s Sean Wallace who will introduce a first class line-up of artists such as Patrick and Conor O’Sullivan, Hugo Duncan, Farmer Dan and his Band, Olivia Douglas, Boxcar Brian and Gary Gamble and more.  Taking to the stage at 11pm and headlining the show will be father and son entertainers Dominic and Barry Kirwan and their Band.

All this in the beautiful surroundings of The Fisher Suite at Armagh City Hotel, 2 Friary Road, Armagh, BT60 4FR.

Tables will be seated for ten people.  Full stage and dance floor.  Tickets are £40 each.  Individual tickets can be purchased or in tables of ten and are available from Armagh Tigers Charitable Trust members or

Armagh City Hotel Reception Tel: 0283751 8888

Kieran: 07771 654700,

Colm: 07851 648270, Kevin: 07711 527777,

Dean: 07802 672 598, Fergus: 07714 218477.

Book Early This Will Be a Sell Out Event.

Lights, camera, action…Tourism Ireland kicks off filming for phase 2 of its global advertising campaign

Tourism Ireland kicked off filming for phase two of its global advertising campaign this week. The footage will be used to create new TV, cinema and online ads and will reach millions of potential visitors around the world.

Locations and attractions which will feature in this second phase of Tourism Ireland’s campaign include Rathlin Island, Ballycastle, the walled city of Derry, Seamus Heaney HomePlace and Hillsborough Castle.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s Central Marketing Director said “It’s designed to drive continued growth in overseas tourism to Northern Ireland and to encourage visitors to travel off-peak. We’re featuring locations that are less well-known amongst overseas visitors and focusing on ‘soft adventure’ activities, such as horse-riding, walking and stand-up paddle boarding.”

The Fifth ‘Glass of Thrones’ unveiled

It’s week five of Tourism Ireland’s 2019 Game of Thrones campaign and another eye-catching installation has been unveiled in Belfast last night (Wednesday, 15 May) – beside the SS Nomadic at Hamilton Dock. This week’s window, or ‘Glass of Thrones’, is all about the villainous and elusive White Walkers – complete with their eyes painted in striking glow-in-the-dark paint!

One final window will be unveiled by Tourism Ireland next week – to coincide with the airing of the dramatic final episode of season 8 – which will bring the globally successful saga to its close.

The first four windows depicted key moments relating to House Stark, House Lannister, House Baratheon and House Targaryen – located opposite Belfast City Hall, at the Waterfront Hall, the Lagan Weir and SSE Arena. When all six windows are installed, they will form a 1.8-mile ‘Glass of Thrones’ trail in Belfast – the newest addition to the range of GoT-related experiences to be enjoyed by fans in Northern Ireland, the ‘Home of Thrones’.

Interactive digital versions of the windows have also been ‘unlocked’ on Tourism Ireland’s website, Ireland.com – where fans can explore the intricate panels and scenes, upload a photo to create a digital, stained glass ‘selfie’ … and then share that photo with friends and fellow fans on their social channels.

239 year old violin is presented to Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Samuel Kane

Exceptional violinist, Samuel Kane, from Loughgall in County Armagh, has been announced as the new Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO), and has been presented by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the Milton Violin, an exquisite instrument made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker, Joseph Gagliano, to be played throughout his tenure as leader.

The precious violin, which is 239 years old, was generously donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980 and in the past has been used by the Leader and principal players of the Ulster Orchestra.  In 2013 the Arts Council decided to loan the precious instrument to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as Leader.

Membership to the Ulster Youth Orchestra is gained through a highly competitive audition process. All members value the opportunity to come together to perform with the very best young musicians from all over Northern Ireland.  Its members work together harmoniously in the pursuit of artistic excellence.  The Orchestra’s artistic programmes encourage individuals to develop practical and social skills, boost their confidence, enhance their well-being and empower them to achieve excellence.

Ibe Sesay announced as Ambassador for Parentline NI.

Children in Northern Ireland and Relate NI have announced father of four and Q Radio presenter, Ibe Sesay as the new ambassador for Parentline NI.

The free and confidential helpline, offers advice, support and guidance for all parents and carers.

Ibe Sesay said: “As a dad of four young children, aged from eight to 16, I’m very much aware of the highs and lows of parenthood.  It’s great to know that there is someone at the end of a phone for us parents when we need advice or support on our parenting journey.”

The Parent Support Workers are truly dedicated and I am confident they can make a difference to thousands of people every year.

If you have any concern or just need someone to listen, without the feeling of being judged, I would urge you to call free on 0808 8020 400 or chat online at www.ci-ni.org.uk – the support is there for when you need it,” Ibe added.

Parentline NI is open Monday to Thursday from 9am – 9pm, Friday 9am – 5pm and Saturday from 9am – 1pm and you can call free on 0808 8020 400 or chat online at www.ci-ni.org.uk.

Belfast Trad Fest

Traditional music fans are in for a treat as Belfast’s Trad Fest returns this summer from 27thJuly – 2ndAugust 2019. The festival will be the only one of its kind in the North and brings together both the Irish and the Ulster-Scots musical traditions, in a shared celebration of culture and heritage.

Descending upon the city – in a series of concerts, masterclasses, workshops, talks and sessions – will be a host of world-renowned traditional musicians. For full details, visit http://www.belfasttraditionalmusic.com

This year Belfast Trad Fest will hold a very special opening concert on Saturday 27thJuly when three of the hottest acoustic acts in the Trad scene play Belfast for one night only.

The Arts Council wishes the Belfast Trad Fest another very successful event as it brings this highly accessible, upbeat and positive addition to the creative and cultural life of the city.

Belfast Trad Fest 2019 welcomes the support of its generous sponsors The Dirty Onion, The Cloth Ear, and Bullitt, who are supporting the launch of the event by offering 10 bursaries to young people during the festival. Trad Fest is also delighted to be sponsored by esteemed local business Dawsons; as well as Comhaltas and Ulster University. A full list of funders and partners can be found on the back of our official programme brochure.

Belfast Trad Fest is also proud to be generously supported by Belfast City Council.


Over 170 local people with learning disabilities and/or autism had their achievements recognised at the recent (8 May) 24th annual Orchardville Awards Ceremony 2019 at Titanic Belfast. Northern Ireland football legend David Healy was a special guest at the event.

Sarah Mooney (24) from East Belfast won the prestigious Joanna Tuffy Endeavour Award. This award recognises an Orchardville participant who has shown true endeavour throughout the past year.

A new award at this year’s event was the Open College Network NI Orchardville Ambassador Award, which recognises those that have guided other participants. Two very deserving individuals, Darren Gregg (26) from East Belfast and Jordan Hide (23) from Bangor, both received the accolade.

Orchardville has been supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism for almost 40 years.  The charity, which has offices in East Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and Derry, provides accredited training and skills development. These include occupational and vocational skills, wellbeing support, skills for life and work, OCN (Open College Network) accredited training, school transitions services and work placements.

The inspirational guest speaker at this year’s awards was Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm. Adam founded the organisation in 2013, and he has based it on his own experiences growing up as a young autistic person in Ireland. Adam shared his inspiring journey with guests at the awards event.

The Orchardville Awards Ceremony 2019 is sponsored by Bombardier and hosted by Titanic Belfast.

Orchardville’s projects and services are funded by Northern Ireland European Social Fund, Department for Communities, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Coca Cola Hellenic, Big Lottery Fund and International Fund for Ireland.

Theatre stars to bring Jimmy Ellis’ story to life for Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival

Evening performances of Jimmy Ellis: Home Again are set to be one of the highlights of this year’s Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival. The shows will be held on the 25th and 26th May 2019 at 8pm in Titanic Belfast’s Andrews Gallery.

The film is an auto-biographical reflection of the late actor’s family home and life working at the docks during his childhood in East Belfast.

It stars Stuart Graham – The Fall, Hunger – and Katie Tumelty – Fly me to the Moon, Divorcing Jack – who play Jimmy and Jimmy’s mother Tilly, and local actors Christine Tedders, Conor McFarlane and Oliver Stevenson who play his sister Eileen, younger Jimmy and various characters.  It has been adapted by novelist and director of the Seamus Heaney Centre, Glenn Patterson and is produced by Blunt Fringe.

Jimmy Ellis has long been held in fond esteem in Northern Ireland and by everyone who knew and worked with him. He paved the way for many actors from Northern Ireland to be recognised in the wider world stage and his own story adds to the narrative of Belfast as an immensely rich artistic hub.

The Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival is delivered by Belfast City Council in partnership with Titanic Foundation with support from Tourism Northern Ireland, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Titanic Belfast and Titanic partners.  This year the three-day event aims to attract over 100,000 visitors to Belfast’s iconic heritage waterfront throughout the day and into the evening.

Tickets are £15pp and include light refreshments.  For booking details visit https://tickets.titanicbelfast.com/eventtimes/jimmyellis.

Search for Maritime Belfast on the App Store or Play Store to download.

New street art pops up as part of the Eastside Urban Gallery

Pictured at the new artwork created by Artista, located on the Ballymacarrett Walkway, Comber Greenway, East Belfast, were, from left, Brian Hood, (BS Holdings, property owner), Linsey Farrell from Urban Villages and Heather Chesney from EastSide Partnership.

Two new pieces of street art were unveiled by EastSide Partnership as part of the EastSide Urban Gallery project funded by the Urban Villages Initiative. London based street artists Irony and Artista, in association with Seedhead Arts, have been putting their trademarks on two walls in the heart of east Belfast. The Urban Gallery project aims to use art and creativity to enhance places and spaces in east Belfast for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Both art pieces are located adjacent to each other on a wall along the Ballymaccarett Walkway section of the Comber Greenway, close to C.S Lewis Square.

The first of the two artworks features a robin amongst trees and was created by self-taught London based artist Irony. Irony is no stranger to painting animals on walls, he has adorned many London locations with his artistic creatures. This latest nature inspired street art works perfectly in its location on the Comber Greenway. The second piece of artwork is almost 400 feet long and was created by Artista, another London based artist who has had her work showcased in the Tate Modern. Artista has now left her mark on Belfast with a vibrant, colourful and energetic piece of art featuring flowers, bees and her trademark toast!

Linsey Farrell, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative, commented:
“The Urban Villages Initiative is committed to improving the physical environment and street art such as this is a great addition to the existing Urban Gallery in the EastSide Urban Village area. Street art can really transform an area and will help to enhance the growing tourism initiatives in EastSide.”

Celebrating the official unveiling of the two new street art pieces as part of the EastSide Urban Gallery project Heather Chesney, from EastSide Partnership, said:

“On behalf of EastSide Partnership I would like to thank the Urban Villages Initiative for their support in making this project happen. Their funding has helped to enhance this section of the Ballymacarrett Walkway. I would also like to thank Seedhead Arts for securing top quality, innovative street artists on our behalf and the building owners who trusted the artists to transform their buildings into works of art. The art will improve the local environment for residents, commuters using the Comber Greenway and visitors to EastSide.”


For further information on EastSide Partnership and their projects visit www.eastsidepartnership.com or follow on Facebook and Twitter @EastSidePship. Keep up to date with the Urban Villages Initiative on Twitter @UrbanVillagesNI

First list of speakers announced as ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ comes to NI

Noirin McKinney, Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Sanjoy Roy, Festival Producer for the Jaipur Literature Festival, Colette Norwood,British Council
Radhika Deshpande, Daniel Perskawiec, Pradnya Joshi and Archana Kadam, at the launch of the Festival.

Preparations are well underway, as one of the biggest, most spectacular literature festivals in the world gets set to come to Northern Ireland for the first time this June. JLF Belfast will recreate the magnificent spirit, colour, energy and atmosphere of the original Jaipur Literature Festival in India, with a packed weekend of events celebrating books, creativity, ideas and culture.

Among those already confirmed for the two day line-up are: Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Indian diplomat and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; esteemed writers Brian Keenan and Patrick Gale and award-winning poet Ruth Padel. Hosted in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the British Council Northern Ireland and the Festival’s producers Teamwork Arts, events will take place on Saturday June 22nd and Sunday June 23rd, at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy.

In the true spirit of the original festival, JLF Belfast will feature readings, panel discussions and debates with acclaimed writers and cultural thinkers from India, Ireland, the UK and more, for a unique literature festival celebrating a joint love of books, creativity, music, and sharing each other’s stories. Themes under discussion will include Borders, Gender, Peace and Non-violence, Tagore, Women and Freedom, Mythology and Looking into the Future: Artificial Intelligence. Early-bird tickets are available to buy now, with day passes from £25/£14 concession and children’s workshops from £5.  Full programme details will be announced later in May.

Paul McVeigh, Writer and Programmer JLF Belfast, commented: “Never been to India? Well, a little of Jaipur is coming here to us. We are delighted to reveal today the first details of our June programme and there is much to look forward to. The festival will be a wonderful, immersive experience. If you love listening to and engaging with writers and thinkers from around the world then you’ll love JLF Belfast.”

Namita Gokhale, Writer and co-Director of the festival, commented: “The newest edition of JLF Belfast takes our festival into the heart of an intense and passionate literary culture. In the last several years, the Jaipur Literature Festival has had the pleasure of welcoming writers of the stature of Anne Enright, Colm Toibin, David McWilliams, David Park, Glenn Patterson, Jan Carson, Jon Halliday, Joseph O’Neill, Patricia Forde, Paul McVeigh, Roddy Doyle and Roy Foster among others. We have been inspired by the literature, drama, and songs of Irish culture, as indeed the art of conversation and orality. Our international editions, now including JLF Belfast are all rooted and local and yet deeply cosmopolitan. The long connections between Irish and Indian literature have helped us appreciate the resonances between them.”

Brian Keenan went to Beirut in 1985 for a change of scene from his native Belfast. He became headline news when he was kidnapped by fundamentalist Shi’ite militiamen and held in the suburbs of Beirut for the next four and a half years. For much of that time he was shut off from all news and contact with anyone other than his jailers and, later, his fellow hostages, amongst them John McCarthy. He has written and published a number of books including Evil Cradling (1991), and Turlough (1996).


Gopalkrishna Gandhi read English Literature and History at Delhi University. A monthly columnist for The Hindustan Times (New Delhi), The Telegraph (Kolkata), Nai Dunia(Indore) and Scroll , he writes for The Hindu (Chennai) as well. He is currently Distinguished Professor of History and Politics at Ashoka University.

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight in 1962. In addition to his latest, Take Nothing With You, which was his fourth Sunday Times bestseller, his novels include Little Bits of Baby (1989), The Cat Sanctuary (1990), The Facts of Life (1995), Tree Surgery for Beginners (1998), Rough Music (2000), A Sweet Obscurity (2003), Friendly FireNotes From an Exhibition (2007), The Whole Day Through (2009), A Perfectly Good Man (2012) and A Place Called Winter (2015). There are also two collections of short stories, Dangerous Pleasures (1996) and Gentleman’s Relish (2009).

In 2017 his Man in an Orange Shirt was screened by BBC2 as part of the Gay Britannia season, which also featured the documentary All Families Have Secrets – the Narrative Art of Patrick Gale. Continuing to be broadcast regularly around the world, it won an International Emmy for best miniseries. He is currently working on a feature film adaptation of a Rose Tremain short story, a television adaptation of A Place Called Winter and two of early 20th century classics.

Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet and conservationist, Professor of Poetry at King’s College London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Zoological Society of London. Her works include The Mara Crossing on migration, Emerald for green in a dark time, and Tigers in Red Weather, a prose memoir of tiger conservation.

William Dalrymple is a bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of DjinnsFrom the Holy Mountain, White Mughals, The Last Mughal, Nine Lives, and Return of a King: An Indian Army in Afghanistan. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d’Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone/Crossword Award for nonfiction, and has, prior to the shortlisting of Return of a King, been longlisted three times for the Samuel Johnson Prize. In September 2016, a Hindustani translation of The Last Mughal was released as Aakhri Mughal. His latest book is Kohinoor, co-written with Anita Anand and he is currently working on the upcoming The Anarchy, scheduled to release in autumn this year. Dalrymple is one of the founders and a co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival.


JLF Belfast runs 21-23 June 2019 

Prices for JLF Belfast start from £25 for a day pass/ £14 Concession

To book your ticket visit www.lyrictheatre.com or www.seamusheaneyhome.com

Giftware now available at Hillsborough Castle

This elegant Georgian estate, in the care of independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, will have two shops, the main Hillsborough Castle shop in the Lower Courtyard will stock homewares and souvenirs while the Stable Yard shop, opening later this year, will focus on high-end crystal and jewellery.

Illustrated range 

These designs are available across a range of products including 100% cotton tote bags, tea towels,

fine bone china mugs, coasters, gift food and prints.  Prices from: £4.99 (coaster)


Hillsborough Castle Plaid

Designed exclusively for Hillsborough Castle   and Gardens, the weave for these colourful woolen blankets and scarves has been inspired

by the pink rhododendron and blue flax flowers in the Castle gardens, together with delicate green and teal colours, taken from the landscape and ponds.  Prices from: £95.00 (knee rug)



The House of Lor is a family concern, based in Dublin. Over three generations they have been creating luxury Celtic jewellery .

Each piece contains gold mined in Omagh, County Tyrone.  Prices: from £125.00 (silver rose Claddagh ring)


Candles and diffusers 

Rathbornes is the world’s oldest candle company. Across 500 years Rathbornes candles have illuminated the streets, homes, lighthouses and churches of Ireland, and the candles produced today are still hand-crafted with many of the same skilled methods.

Prices: £35.00 candle and £45.00 diffuser.



More gifts from suppliers across the island of Ireland will be introduced later this year,  including food ranges, a signature gin and seasonal items.