The annual 4 Corners Festival programme has been unveiled featuring a range of art, music, discussion, sport and faith-based events from January 29 to February 5 in venues across the city and streamed online across various platforms.
The Festival, which announced its dates for 2023 earlier this month alongside this year’s theme, Dreams…Visions for Belfast is now in its 11th year inspiring people from across the city to transform it for the peace and wellbeing of all.
This year’s weeklong festivities will give people the opportunity to listen to the dreams and visions for a better Belfast from Church leaders and women in leadership to children and young people from working-class PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) communities, the homeless and artists.
2023 marks a number of significant anniversaries: 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and 60 years since Martin Luther King’s ‘I Had A Dream’ speech. The 2023 festival explores whether the dreams behind these historic events have been realised and if we still hold enough hope to dream big for Belfast.
Included in this year’s busy programme will be a photographic exhibition and discussion of homelessness in the city, women in peace building, visions of Belfast, and will conclude with the theme of ‘the city where dreams become reality’.
In ‘Never In My Wildest Dreams’, a photographic exhibition will be installed at Artcetera Studio people will get the opportunity to explore the topic of homelessness in Belfast city and beyond. This eye-opening exhibit aims to increase awareness of and encourage discussion around the grim reality of homelessness in our city and speak the truth about the issues that force people into it.
Throughout the week, visitors will also be able to experience an immersive video and audio installation titled ‘Present Future’ at the Telegraph Buildings which explores themes of dreams, aspirations and leadership from the perspective of children and young people in PUL communities in Northern Ireland.
Each night of the festival, Rev Kiran Young Wimberly and Jim Deeds will lead a night prayer with a mix of contemplation, music and scripture to help reflect on the day that's been and on the events in the festival via Zoom.
The week-long festival will also feature a range of innovative events designed to entice people out of their own ‘corners’ of the city and into new places where they will encounter new perspectives, new ideas and hopefully meet new friends.
Discussions will take place around synodal conversations which inform the future of the Catholic Church as well as women’s role in peacebuilding via a panel including Inspector Róísín Brown from the PSNI, Dr Maria-Adriana Deiana from Queen’s University, Eileen Weir from the Shankill Women’s Centre and Emma De Sousa, campaigner and writer.
Speakers at the events will include Dana Masters, who will be talking about Civil Rights and its impact on America as well as the families of its leaders and Captain of the Belfast Giants ice hockey team David Goodwin who will speak about his own dreams as a sportsman and as a captain of the team in a specific place.
Another highlight of this year's festival will be the screening ‘The Letter’, a documentary which starts with a personal letter and invitation from Pope Francis to 5 climate activists from different parts of the globe to enable their voices to be listened to as we face together the climate emergency we are all facing today.
Alongside all this, young people aged 11-14 are invited to an exciting evening of sports and team activities delivered in partnership with PeacePlayers – NI in ‘Game of Three Halves’, where participants will try their hand at playing games including GAA, soccer and rugby in integrated teams from across Belfast.
The festival will conclude with a vision from near the end of the Biblical scriptures led by Rev. Dr. Inderjit Bhogal OBE, the Founder and President of the City of Sanctuary movement, a former President of the British Methodist Conference and former Leader of the Corrymeela Community who will discuss what it means to live in a city with open gates.