Call for submission of new ideas to help re-imagine a better Belfast post-pandemic

One of Belfast’s most innovative and engaging festivals, Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics (22nd – 28th March) has launched a new campaign to ‘Build Belfast Back Better!’ as part of its 2021 programme.  The campaign is inviting people to submit up to three ideas on how to reimagine the city in the face of the pandemic and the challenges presented by Brexit, increased poverty, loneliness and mental health issues.  The initiative has attracted the attention of the people of Belfast, the wider business community and prominent Belfast hotelier, Bill Wolsey.

Festival Director, Peter O’Neill explains:

“We want to put people into the hotseat of power and hear their top three proposals for change as we kick off a conversation about how to ‘Build Belfast Back Better’.  The pandemic has raised many fundamental issues about the role of the State and has caused us to reappraise how we wish to live.  We now have an opportune moment to consider what we would change if we were in charge.  As we grapple with the challenges of living in a pandemic and adapting to the volatility of a post-Brexit world, there is a strong case for embedding an inclusive and evidence-informed democratic culture at the heart of Northern Ireland, and for our political institutions to proactively engage with citizens about how to build a better society. Our festival programme engages with many of these big issues, but we want to hear your suggestions on what needs to change to realise a better future.”

Bill Wolsey, Beannchor Group Managing Director, who has been vocal in his desire to regenerate the city has pledged his support and submitted his three ideas for the campaign.

Speaking about the initiative Bill commented:

“Belfast has a unique history, heritage and culture.  We must post-pandemic strive to breathe life back into the city and make it a vibrant place to be for residents, visitors, and tourists alike.  We must all take an active part in doing this, and making our voices heard for change.  This is the ethos of the ‘Build Belfast Back Better’ campaign, and as such I am glad to pledge my support.”

Bill’s ideas include encouraging people to move into the city centre and tackling planning laws to deliver more residential builds.  He also proposes turning Belfast into a ‘living museum’ showcasing artefacts and pieces of history throughout the city centre via shop fronts and windows.  Finally, he would like to see Belfast become a ‘green city’ as part of a sustainable tourism scheme.  To read Bill’s ideas in full please visit: https://imaginebelfast.com/.

For those who wish to get involved, Peter said:

“Send us your three ideas to ‘Build Belfast Back Better’ and join the conversation.  Use the short form on our website at https://imaginebelfast.com/ to send us your proposals and we’ll post the best online.  At the end of the festival, we will collate the proposals for wider circulation, debate them, and have a vote on the most popular.”

The Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics (22nd – 28th March) 2021 programme is now available to view online via https://imaginebelfast.com/.  To submit your proposal for the ‘Build Belfast Back Better’ campaign please visit: https://imaginebelfast.com/build-belfast-back-better/

The deadline for submission is Friday 26th March at 12 noon.