The annual 4 Corners Festival has announced its dates for 2023 and this year’s theme will be Dreams … Visions for Belfast.
The festival will feature a range of art, music, discussion, sport, debates and faith-based events from January 27 to February 5 in venues across the city.
Now in its 11th year, the festival was conceived as a way to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and wellbeing of all.
It features 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.
Co-founder the Fr Martin Magill explained that while in the past there was a focus on peace-making, the festival was about the next step.
“I see the 4 Corners Festival as making a contribution towards peace building,” he said.
“The idea of people getting to know one another, spending time with one another, building relationships and I see the festival really as a catalyst to help encourage that building of relationships.”
Fellow co-founder the Rev Steve Stockman said the traditional divides have changed much in recent years and that’s one of the things that keeps him involved.
“It is those moments where people come to a part of the city they’ve been in before and they meet somebody across whatever the divides are,” he explained.
“Of course, we have the traditional Catholic/Protestant divide and that’s one of our major divides in Belfast, but there are other races in Belfast now too, so there are all those kinds of divides, but there’s also class divides.”
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’.
This year 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.
“Martin Luther King Jr didn’t have a complaint. He had a dream. Likewise, we want to ask, what are our dreams for our city, now?” said Mr Stockman, adding:
“Our hope is that as we hear the dreams of the homeless, young loyalists, women in leadership, sportsmen and musicians as well as church leaders that we be inspired to live out our dreams.”
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