Culture Night Belfast is back this year with a new format and new approach thanks to the support of Belfast Harbour.

Last month the creative team behind this year’s Culture Night Belfast installation revealed ambitious plans to create a vast structural, lighting and sound show that will fill the Cathedral Quarter’s Writer’s Square.

Belfast artist Gawain Morrison and his team will turn Writer’s Square into The Ogham Grove, a monumental, immersive sculpture and accompanying digital trail which will create a whole new experience for Belfast. 

Susan Picken, director of Culture Night Belfast and the Cathedral Quarter Trust, said the plans Gawain has presented are “spectacular” and will “provide a very unique experience to each person who visits throughout the weekend”.

She added: “Gawain and his team of artists will transform Writer’s Square into what can only be described as a stunning, immersive, hands-off cultural experience running between Friday September 17 to Sunday September 19.

“We are delighted to be welcoming the Belfast Harbour onboard as one of our sponsors this year.”

Jenni Barkley from Belfast Harbour said: “This is Belfast Harbour’s sixth year supporting Culture Night Belfast, it’s been fantastic to watch the event evolve year on year. Arts and culture is such an important part of this city and we’re delighted to see people taking advantage of the open spaces around the City. 

“Belfast Harbour’s ambition is to create a port for everyone and to develop an iconic waterfront and celebrating the city’s arts and culture is the perfect way of doing that. We want to see the city centre coming back to life with people from every walk of life enjoying the outdoors and experiencing this unique installation.” 

Prior to the pandemic, Culture Night had been one of Belfast’s largest free events, a cultural celebration that attracted almost 90,000 local, national and international visitors to the Cathedral Quarter and Belfast city centre. The impact of COVID has led to a major review of the event however.

Susan said: “Culture Night 2021 will be much smaller in scale and scope and will take the form of an on-site installation that people can drop into and enjoy over the course of the weekend – this different format will allow us to focus on safety as well as making sure everyone has a great time.”

The 2021 edition of Culture Night will have a completely new format and a new approach designed for a COVID-safe, post-pandemic environment. A major difference this year is the decision to suspend the previous open submission programme and instead focus on creating one central experience working directly with artists.

“One of the biggest changes this year will be that we haven’t run an open programme for submissions as in previous years” said Susan. 

“There won’t be the usual on-street activity or pop-ups that people are used to. Instead, Writer’s Square will be transformed with an exciting monumental installation, The Ogham Grove, running from Friday September 17 to Sunday September 19. This extended running time will allow more time and space to visit and experience over the weekend.”

This year’s Culture Night Belfast is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Tourism NI, Belfast Harbour and Translink.

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

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