Exploration of Belfast’s shared history set to take place

Deirdre Mackel at City Cemetery with Tom Hartleys book, Written in Stone. Deirdre Mackel at City Cemetery with Tom Hartleys book, Written in Stone.
By Staff Reporter

A TOUR will take place this week in the City Cemetery which will tell the story of Belfast’s shared history.

The tour is part of the   Upper Springfield Development Trust’s Arts Programme, which is holding a mini City Cemetery tour and an Every Body Tells A Tale public art showcase on Wednesday June 21, starting at 3pm at the City Cemetery and then on to the Andersonstown barracks site at 4pm. This will be hosted by local historian Tom Hartley. There will also be storytelling sessions on the Verbal Arts Centre’s Reading Rooms Bus.

The project explores the shared history of Belfast through the history of the interdenominational City Cemetery, through the stories of the people buried there. This cross-community art project creatively explores the history of this shared space, creatively uncovering the history of Belfast. Participants have been exploring a wealth of stories including those relating to an underground interface, personal Belfast histories and shared histories including the history of the Jewish Cemetery. The Upper Springfield Development Trust have been working in partnership with the Verbal Arts Centre’s Reading Rooms on this project.

The project is funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It is also funded by Department for Social Development’s Belfast Regeneration Office.

Artists Lucy Turner, Michael Sheppard and Deborah Malcomson have been working on the project and delivering art workshops with Clonard Partnership cross-community womens’ group, Saint Vincent De Paul Turf Lodge, Glenalina Lodge, Action Ability Expressions Group, Clifton House and Rosario Youth Club. This will result in a gala display of arts on the day.

Lizzie Devlin, Community Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council is pleased to support this important project through our National Lottery funding. Working with professional artists, local groups have been busy creating their own artworks, in a variety of materials, which reflect the history and stories of this community. The public art showcase is open to everyone to attend and a chance to go along and find out more.”

Deirdre Mackel Arts Programme Manager with Upper Springfield Development Trust said: “The tour and public art showcase are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to come along and learn something new about local history from West Belfast’s local historian and acclaimed author, Tom Hartley, and participate in arts activities afterwards at the Andersonstown barracks site.”

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