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Heritage skills brought back to life through Belfast 2024 programme

May 2024 - The East Side Advertiser

Boat building, gardening and sewing are among the traditional skills being brought back to life through Belfast’s City Council’s Belfast 2024 programme.

The celebration of culture and creativity is now well underway across the city, with projects, events and workshops encouraging people to get creative and try their hand at something new this year.

Among them are ten projects celebrating Belfast’s built, cultural, industrial, maritime, natural and intangible heritage, with additional funding of £250,000 provided from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

One of them – Water Works - will see 10,000 boats setting sail down the River Lagan on Saturday 3 August, most of which will be created by residents and school pupils through workshops and events led by arts organisation PS2.

The corso will celebrate the role of waterways in and around Belfast and feature several larger boats, including a St Ayles skiff – a wooden boat crewed by five people – which is currently under construction at Vault Artist Studios, located inside the old Shankill Mission building.

Led by writer and boatbuilder Niamh Scullion, almost 90 people have signed up so far to help build the skiff, which will be 22 foot long and almost 6 foot wide when completed.

Volunteers have been busy putting together the boat’s spruce frame and plywood moulds and shaping the stem, hog and rib skeleton of the skiff from larch – a complex process which follows traditional techniques.

Other heritage projects now underway through the Belfast 2024 programme include The Hearth, a film about Belfast made by the people of Belfast, with the deadline for submissions fast approaching on Friday 31 May.

Roots, a vibrant community garden which mixes planting with dance and storytelling, is hosting the Big Spring Dig on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May, with volunteers from the Black Mountain area welcome to join forces to dig, plant and move.

Sound Links, a unique collaboration between the Ulster Orchestra, Townsend Enterprise Park and Zeppo Arts, will celebrate the history and stories of Townsend Street with a special event on International Day of Peace on 21 September, with their deadline for stories and memories tomorrow (Wednesday 8 May).

Show Some Love Green House, a collaborative space for learning, with a focus on creativity and sustainability, is now open at 171-175 Victoria Street in Belfast city centre, with a programme of inclusive community workshops and events planned for throughout the year, including repurposing and upcycling old clothes and other items.

Safari in the City – led by Wild Belfast – has been encouraging residents to engage with nature on their doorstep through events and workshops, while 9ft in Common are inviting people to explore the potential of over 200km of alleyways across the city.

Later this summer, Shadowdock will invite visitors to experience the iconic Thompson Dock where Titanic was launched, through an immersive display of light, colour, shadow and sound, led by Studio Sykes and Three’s Theatre Company.

In October, North Star will host a musical celebration of black culture in the city, developed with schools across the north of the city, while Are You on the Bus? will look at the development of the city’s LGBTQIA+ community, in partnership with Outburst Arts and Kabosh Theatre Company.

For more details of what’s on as part of Belfast 2024 and how to get involved in projects taking place, visit

You can also follow @Belfast2024 on Instagram and Facebook.


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