The Imagine! festival takes place in Belfast every March and presents a unique way of imagining the future of this great city – and the wider world. They present high-quality showcases for the discussion of contemporary political and societal issues including new ideas on politics, culture and activism from some of the world’s leading contemporary thinkers. But it’s not all brain-melting policy discussions: there’s something for everyone in the form of exhibitions, humour, family events, music, theatre, tours, workshops and film and whatever else they can find to fire your imagination.
The mission of the festival is to provide high-quality showcases for the discussion of contemporary political and societal issues including new ideas on politics, culture and activism.
Each March they organise a week-long series of events aimed at engaging people in political/cultural discussion and debate in the broadest sense. The festival seeks to cover a wide spectrum of issues including, but certainly not limited to, mainstream political debate.
The festival is a registered charity organised by a team of volunteers with no major administration costs. The inaugural event was held in March 2015. The majority of the events in the festival are proposed as part of a public call for proposals conducted every October. Last year they received 90 event proposals from groups and members of the public – the vast majority they were able to support.
They are not aligned with any political party or particular interest group. Although initially based in Belfast, they would like to extend the festival to other parts of Northern Ireland. They don’t receive corporate funding: instead they are supported by partners and individual donations.
Participation in the festival is open to all and while the main debates will not be party-political, groups and individuals are encouraged to debate those ‘difficult’ and contentious issues that normally don’t air in public discussion. They are keen to hear from people who are interested in politics / culture and welcome suggestions for speakers and subjects no matter how controversial.
The Evaluation Report 2023 is available here.