What: Four Days of Conversations and Exchanges
Where: Writer's Square, Belfast
When: February 20 until 23, 2013
Read: Belfast Deliberation -
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pop culture -j mulloy -.jpg

Members of the Belfast public and beyond are being invited to say what culture means to them and their communities as part of an international four-day research programme, all taking place in a giant inflatable pop-up building!

City (Re)Searches will take place in Writer's Square in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter from Wednesday 20 February to Sunday 24 February, within the iconic Pop Culture! or culture pop-up!

This project, supported by the EU Culture Programme, is an international partnership between Blue Drum, Kaunas Biennial and Belfast-based Community Arts Partnership. The four day inquiry involves Fernando Marquespenteado (Bra), Fiona Woods(IE), Jeanne van Heeswijk(NL), John Mulloy(IE), Mary Jane Jacob(USA), Niall Crowley(IE), Niall O'Baoill(IE), Susanne Bosch(NI), and Vagabond Reviews(IE). They will be joined by local community leaders, artists, funders and activists, but also give local people the chance to have their say.

The striking centrepiece venue that will be transform Writer's Square beyond recognition for the four day event was designed by award-winning Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk. Its Belfast debut will also be the first time this space will have been installed anywhere in Europe for an arts participation event. The Pop! Culture space is then going to travel on to other European cities, offering communities, artists and the public the chance to explore culture and creativity.

More information: Conor Shields
e. conor@comartspartner.org
m. +442890923493

(1) Proposal for research action as part of City (Re)Searches in Belfast

Jointly presented by Susanne Bosch and Fiona Woods

Lines through the city

Through some advance research, we will identify some people based in and around Belfast with whom we would like to conduct a series of conversations. These proposed conversations are motivated by an idea of 'Listening the New into Being'.

Focusing on ideas such as making change happen and journeys of transformational change, we will conduct these conversations on public buses travelling around the city. The guests can select which route we travel on, and we will travel from the city centre to the end of the route, or to a point chosen by the guest, working with Belfast as a 'landscape of . . . transformation'.

These conversations may take place with one person, with more than one or with a group. It is significant that we will be in motion through the city as the conversations take place, and that we will be occupying a form of public space, that is, public transport.

These journeys will take place over a number of days. They will be documented visually, textually or using audio, and will be fed back into the overall research process, either during the life of the event, or subsequently.

These actions will be open for other City (Re) Searchers to participate if they choose.

A Circle in the city

I want to share with you what is a really obvious issue right now in Belfast and the idea to host this need as our agenda:

Belfast has 50% of empty shops in the city centre, space that is available for free if you have charitable status. And organization called PLACE is the interlocutor between shop owners and interested groups. So far, not much has happened besides the occasional “pop up” events…

So, lots of free empty space in all shapes and sizes. www.place.uk.net/

I have been part of a discussion identifying a need for a space to host events and exchange knowledge. As former local university lecturer, I have witnessed how many people wish to engage critically but cannot afford it financially. With me leaving UU, I proposed an idea last summer: To start a free school or university using the common model of TRADE school, started by a NY based artist. www.tradeschool.coop/

Lots of people expressed passionate interest: from the activist community as well as the arts community. There were 2 small meetings to see who would be on board. In these meetings, I realized one thing: if this should start in Belfast, it needs to be started and planned collectively. It is too big for one person to kick-start and to have a sustainable future, it should NOT start like a one person initiative.

Here comes the idea for the City (Re)Searches and out pop –up location: we could host within City (Re)Searches a 1 or 2 day session, inviting all interested people to come and work together on the idea. We could use Open-Space technologoy or Pro-Action Café to move from idea to action planning. We as international researcher team have for sure a lot of ideas to share and contribute.

The pop up could be THE prefect location to host such an event. We could alternatively get one of the empty shops nearby. I really wish to see something like this happening in Belfast, but it needs a START. We could facilitate this START.

Milestones and timeline for the Circle

Formulate text for invite
January 2013
Agree with City (Re) Searches team on date and space in Pop Up
January 2013
Send out an invitation to all with date and location
End of January 2013
Decide on form of event, documentation, evaluation, reflection
January/February 2013
Find a form to feed back into the research group
January/February 2013
Circles and lines
20-23 Feb 2013 (?)
Reflection, proposal
Past Feb 2013

Milestones and timeline for the lines

Formulate text for invite and identify people
January 2013
Agree with responding people on day and time of bus travel
January 2013
Fine tune with the rest of the 4 day programme
January 2013
Decide on documentation, evaluation, reflection
January/February 2013
Find a form to feed back into the research group
January/February 2013
20-23 Feb 2013 (?)
Reflection, proposal
Past Feb 2013

(2) Proposal - How Derry?

by Fernando Marquespenteado


i decided for a [one] FACT to push forward to derry from the experiences i had in cork

= the asylum publications, in particular a magazine [now in its 4th edition] that gavin [you all know him] runs,

out of his long term creative writing groups in communities centres in cork, a FACT that seals for me

the Local Well Being of culture.

we [me + gavin] are exchanging notes and visual material which i will prepare carefully [with all due explanations]

to be presented in the visual repertoire of the 'inflatable pop.monument' [IPM].


next to it me and fiona are exchanging [simple] drawings [signage evoking the 'public'] to be embroidered by one another,

also, inevitably, for the IPM visual repertoire.


for derry i intend to exclusively dedicate myself to HOSPITALITY.

i want that the IPM would be able to Charm first, than to be able to Inform [me and you].

attention to little things is on demand: warm enough? lighted enough? coffee around? that the group/conversation need help/warm up?

does that information/signage need new location? what should change from day one to day two?

in other words: make the best of the place [IPM], get to know it, move it around [inter-city, if feasible].

i also want to be close to the researchers&public as much as possible throughout the ephemeral 4X24 hours we have for each other.

nothing else much.... oh...god save the IPM in derry, even before saving the queen.


i decline to answer the question "what is your research ?"...it scares me a little.

it pushes me back to quantitative/qualitative structures of knowledge which are strange to my practise so far.

the most i could do in other displays of my 'scientific' competence was a ethic gathering of documents

which i transformation in fabulations, to be read than as art-artifacts. i am OK with documents, ethics and fabulations.

i retain this is the best i can Do, and that at the end of the project whatever my gatherings will appear [will be formatted]

i believe they will be of good substance to the knitting of our 'summary of intentions'

which, i interpret, as being our [city[re]searchers] final outcome, our [quirky] political manifesto.


i decline to respond now to the in-red-my-own-question-via-mary-jane-"how are we continuing to practise in kaunas?"

...i might well have raised the subject in the past, subject which, indeed, is still in the back of my mind... but,

the time in derry will definitely determine more 'down t earth' strategies.


i have slight[ly] changed my motto, and adequate it [now them] within the realm of adverbs, now being




City (Re)Searches is popping up!

in CAP News, Front Page, News

What makes culture important to you? What do you value about culture and creativity? What does culture and art mean to you?

Following up from our news story posted last week we are getting closer to the City (Re)Searches Pop Up event which will be in Writers’ Square 20-23 February. The City (Re)Searches team will be hosting a series of events, conversations and creative opportunities looking at these questions and more.

We are in the process of finalising the timetable and can confirm the running order of events:

  • Day 1 Wednesday 20 February: An afternoon session will provide access to the public space where anyone can drop in and tell us what they think.

  • Day 2 Thursday 21 February: Community Artists and Community Activists are invited to join us for a morning session and share their experiences in relation to notions of cultural agency and the value of culture.

  • Day 3 Friday 22 February: Statutory Agencies, Policy Makers, Funders, Politicians and Trustees and leaders of local organisations are invited to join the morning session.

  • Day 4 Saturday 23 February: This final session will be open to the public and enable people to provide their opinion around the value of culture and at the same time our CAP team will help folk get creative.

There will be afternoon sessions, where invited groups and individuals will assist the City (Re)searches look at local experiences of culture and the value of creativity through creative workshops.

City (Re)Searches: Experiences of Publicness was part funded by the Creative Europe cultural policy research strand from June 2012 until May 2014.