Knowing that many of us will be spending much more time indoors, I’ve put together a little round-up of some interesting content that’s easily accessible, interesting and has the ability to raise your spirits and feel like you are participating in artistic activity with a local focus.

Belfast International Festival has some content on YouTube for a limited time. They have been developing their audio captioning on some videos which enable those with sight problems to get an audio description of what is happening in the video.    

Madrigals at the Museum with Sestina Music and art by Ursula Burke. I first came across Ursula Burke when she had an exhibition of her PhD work in Catalyst Arts. She is obsessed with Irish tourist paraphernalia and her collection  of work, including the political embroidery that she has become more known for, cheered up a grey Saturday.

A STITCH IN TIME: Ursula Burke's embroidered rioters

A STITCH IN TIME: Ursula Burke's embroidered rioters

I next came across her when she exhibited at PsSquared Gallery a selection of sub-service China sculptures. At first glance this looked like any China ornament but on closer inspection, you found out that the seated man was actually was a paramilitary relaxing with a Playstation at home. That piece found its way into the Arts Council art collection. Since then I’ve admired her work in The Golden Thread Gallery, the MAC, RHA Dublin and the Ulster Museum.

The exhibition shown in the background of this video was first shown in the  Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris where Ursula had a residency. 

I first came across Kate Guelke when she was developing Spark Opera on a creative industries programmes and I was her mentor. She is a brilliant young women with a passion for opera and has been putting together highly originally work in this field for a number of years now.

Singing the agreement is an opera based around the signing of the Belfast Agreement — and why not?

For trad fans, I recommend the Drawing from the Well series with Louise Mulcahy looking at Liam O Flynn’s archive at the Irish Traditional Music archive.

Duncairn Arts Take Two series was originally designed to run to Christmas but will be with us for a while yet, methinks. The series has an interesting selection of music and sometime other art forms. Here's my favourite: Emma Langford Curates with Tulu Makay, Alec Brown and more.

There are some interesting online symposiums with a writing focus including
'Place and Displacement: Seamus Heaney's Poetic Engagement with his Home Place and Adopted Home' by Dr Richard Rankin of Russell Baylor University which will go out on 12 January 2020. Registration is free. 
'Prophets, Makers and Risk-Takers: A Showcase of Writing from Northern Ireland' is a free online writing symposium on 14 January 2021 (but registration is required). This is an event of East Side arts supported by the ACNI (and is linked to Out To Lunch Fest).

The  symposium looks in particular at how our writers are approaching global issues and themes; how they are revisiting ideas associated with the history and politics of NI but finding new ways to tell the stories; what opportunities exist outside NI and how best they might promote their work internationally and finally, what makes writing from Northern Ireland so distinctive.

There is an impressive line-up of speakers including Dr Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado who will deliver the keynote address and participants throughout the day will include writers Nandi Jola, Mícheál McCann, Susan McKay, Darran Anderson and Michelle Gallen, in conversation with Emma Warnock (No Alibis Press), Peggy Hughes (National Centre for Writing), Nora Hickey M’Sichili (Centre Culturel Irlandais), Jim Hinks (British Council), Damian Smyth (Arts Council) and Cathy Brown (Seamus Heaney HomePlace). 

While we have mentioned the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris, it is worth noting that the centre currently has a call out for their residency programme for all art forms and deadline is mid-January.
And please don’t forget the Out to Lunch Festival which runs from 8-30 January. 

Belfast Photo Festival has archived their discussion and talks, they are all available online for anyone interested in photography and they have an open call out for the 2021 festival.

Love and light