Tuesday, 13 October 2015


5-week course with Michael Doherty at PLACE

An introduction to sketching the environment around you led by architect and artist Michael Doherty
5-week course, beginning Monday 19th October (price includes entry to the Ulster Folk Museum)

The aim of the course is to develop drawing skills and improve observation techniques in a creative and fun environment. Armed with his architectural quips and his 2b pencils, Michael invites you to learn how to select views, enhance your ability to sketch and increase your confidence and capability to capture the world around you by exploring mark-making, depth of field, light and shadow.

You will try a variety of basic sketching materials, making sure you are properly kitted out for your sketching trips and on the final day, we will visit the Ulster Folk Museum where you will have the opportunity to try out your new skills as well as some one on one time with Michael to iron out any personal (sketching!) issues.

Monday 19 October 6pm-8pm, PLACE
Monday 26 October 6pm-8pm, PLACE
Monday 9 November 6pm-8pm, PLACE
Monday 16 November 6pm-8pm, PLACE
Saturday 21 November 11am-3pm, Ulster Folk Museum

Please bring
- A3 hard backed sketchbook with plenty of sheets for quick sketches
- Pencils (2b,4b and 6b)
- Any other mediums that you’d like to try out (Pens, ink, charcoal etc.)

To book and pay via Paypal (incl. £4.13 booking charge), click the link below, or contact 028 9023 2524 for other payment options. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Street Space - Redefining the analysis of streets as public spaces for their critical transformation

Lecturer in Architecture at QUB, Dr Agustina Martire, invites you to join a new reading group exploring streets as key elements of urban space. 

Streets are in essence public spaces and connect diverse areas of the city, weaving the urban fabric. How do we analyse street space? How do we communicate this analysis? Can we use a language that different disciplines will understand? How can we use these methods to change/improve street spaces?

This reading group will explore different approaches to the analysis of streets as public spaces. We invite students, academics and professionals of architecture, planning, anthropology, sociology, history, psychology, film, media, arts and any other discipline interested in the analysis of public space.

The reading group will take place in 15 Chlorine Gardens. The next three meetings will be on October 7, November 4 and December 2, from 12:30-4pm. 

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to

Cohousing Potential in Northern Ireland | Wednesday 28 October, 7-9pm

The UK’s leading expert on Cohousing, Stephen Hill (Chair UK Cohousing Network), is visiting Belfast on Wed 28th Oct and will be discussing NI’s potential for Cohousing.

Cohousing is a type of intentional, collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighbourhoods. Cohousing provides the privacy we are accustomed to within the community we seek.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

PLACE & DTNI selected to take part in 'Techies in Residence'

PLACE is delighted to have been selected, along with Development Trusts NI (DTNI), to take part in the Techies in Residence programme (TIR). We see the TIR programme as an opportunity to join the dots in terms of community planning by mapping the potential of unused space across inner city Belfast. We want to make repopulating vacant spaces easier, faster, and more creative. A key factor in that is taking away much of the mystery surrounding property ownership, rates, contracts, and other formalities that can disinsentivise smaller, independent businesses, community groups, and cultural organisations from stepping in where retail has died off. 

PLACE is keen to begin to make data that are already available fit for public use as well as gathering and exposing new data that show how people use the inner city areas. We want to establish an evidence base and accurate policy information to support a more vibrant and resilient inner city. We know that there is significant demand for short, medium, and long term reuse of vacant retail units & void sites. We want to take available data and work with our Techie to make it less unwieldy; simply, to present information to the public in an attractive and useful way.

The Techies in Residence (TIR) programme is as an initiative of the Building Change Trust, which in turn has been funded by Big Lottery Fund. CultureTech have been appointed by the Trust as Managing Agent for the ongoing development and delivery of Techies in Residence.
Techies in Residence:
Development Trusts NI:

Monday, 3 August 2015

Forum for Alternative Belfast (2010 - 2015)

Forum Farewell.
Issued by Forum for Alternative Belfast - July 2015.

Forum for Alternative Belfast has been winding up since January 2015 and recently we have taken the decision to close the organisation.

Since 2010, with the collaboration of many groups and government agencies, the Forum has produced a series of urban re-stitching plans for the city that begin to deal with its longstanding problems of disconnection, particularly access for inner city communities. Over this period, we have demonstrated practical projects for the city, alongside wider analyses and a set of principles for how Belfast can be planned in the future. We have had some successes; however, other Forum projects may remain as illustrations of what could have been. All of this offers cause for reflection and learning.

The trajectory of the city’s development is something we should all be concerned about. With the City Council's new planning powers we urge all those concerned to take a professional and reflective approach that ensures, as a priority, the creation of a fair and balanced city that is connected by walkable, well designed streets. 
 We wish to thank all those who have contributed to the work of the Forum and we hope that our work will continue to influence the shaping of the city.
Our website - - will remain and publications will be made available at the universities; for legacy issues please contact

Monday, 20 July 2015

Artist Talk: Todd Gilens - Thurs 23 July, 1pm

US based visual artist Todd Gilens will present his work connecting handwriting, stream morphology and landscape changes at the Golden Thread Gallery on Thursday 23 July 2015, 1pm - 2pm.

While a resident artist at Digital Arts Studios Todd Gilens has been transforming the handwriting of Northern Irish writers into digital fonts, and by keyboarding in their hand, describing his encounters with the stream systems, geology and urban development of the Lagan River Valley. His project probes relationships between writing and observation by mixing up time periods and scrambling methods, and will become a basis for a project with California water systems. The artist will outline the larger planned work, share his process, accomplishments, and the questions raised during his residency.

Todd Gilens is a visual artist based in Berkeley, California. His website is
Find out more on the Golden Thread Gallery website by clicking here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Belfast Transport Hub - Neighbourhood Engagement Studio - Wed 8 July 2015

A Neighbourhood Engagement Studio considering the proposed new Belfast Transport Hub at Great Victoria Street will take place on Wednesday 8th July 2015 at the Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast. The event is facilitated by architect Declan Hill on behalf of the Sandy Row Community Forum.

To facilitate attendance presentations take place at 1pm and 6pm. Informal presentations and workshop discussions take place between 2pm and 5.30pm.


1pm - Presentation 1
  • Introduction: Glenda Davies
  • Background: Declan Hill
  • The Hub: Translink, John McAslan and Partners, Arup Associates.
  • Questions / Observations

2pm - Studio Groups

3pm - Coffee / Tea

3.30pm - Studio Groups

6pm - Presentation 2
  • As Presentation 1

7pm - Studio Groups

7.45pm - Summary and Way Forward

8pm - End

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Photo Diary - Belfast Photo Festival Urban Photo Walks - 25 & 27 June 2015

As part of the 2015 Belfast Photo Festival all ages and experiences were invited to join PLACE on a walk through central Belfast. With some of Belfast’s best known buildings as the backdrop, participants were guided and encouraged to create stunning architectural images. Below is a selection of images from the two walks which took place on 25th and 27th June 2015.

Transport House - John Vaughan

The MAC - Janet Holland

Royal Mail Sorting Office & The Obel - Gareth Johnston

Saint Anne's Square & St Anne's Cathedral - Neville Leinster

The MAC - Saint Anne's Square - Allan Leonard

Victoria Street underpass - John Vaughan

The MAC - Gareth Johnston

St Anne's Cathedral - Janet Holland

The MAC - Allan Leonard

Monday, 22 June 2015

Mapping North Street - 27 - 28 August 2015

Mapping North Street is an interdisciplinary workshop, taking place in the Old Museum Building, College Square North on 27th & 28th August 2015.

Click to enlarge.

Streets are key elements of urban space; they are in essence public spaces and connect diverse areas of the city, weaving the urban fabric. Our understanding of cities has grown in complexity in the last half century. How do we analyse street space? How do we communicate this analysis? Can we use a language that different disciplines will understand? How can we use these methods to change / improve street spaces?

This workshop will explore different approaches to the analysis of streets as public spaces. We invite students, academics and professionals of architecture, planning, anthropology, sociology, history, psychology, film, media, arts and any other discipline interested in the analysis of public space.

Participants will develop a series of layers of analysis including but not limited to: mapping, drawings, diagrams, photographs, interviews, archive work, soundscapes and more.

A universal solution is not sought for the use, design and management of streets, but a culturally specific array of possibilities that our streets could potentially have. North Street is an ideal case study to consider, for it is in the core of the city, it connects very different areas, and above all it is loaded with meaning and potential.

Join two days of exploration!

The workshop is free of charge. More details will be published in August.

Please RSVP before August 20 to Dr Agustina Martire –

Where have all the numbers gone?

Guest post by Peter Holland...

A few weeks ago I was looking for an office on Ann Street in Belfast. It was a warm, pleasant day and I strolled to one end of the pedestrianized street. Not finding the premises I turned and walked in the other direction. Reaching the end of the street I turned again and once more retraced my steps, by now, increasingly hot and irritable. There were no numbers on any of the doors, not a single one.

Ann Street is an extreme example but in the environs of Belfast city centre perhaps only one in six business premises displays a street door number. I have asked in a couple of shops why they don’t have a number on their doors and the reply is a shrug of the shoulders and a “don’t know”.

The week later I was handed a flyer for a business on Botanic Avenue. It had the name of the business, the street (Botanic Avenue) and the door number. But sure enough on the actual business premises there was no door number and none on those neighbouring it.

I’m baffled. Internet shopping is so easy that anything impeding on-street retailing has an impact. When businesses advertise they use their street and door numbers. I haven’t seen anyone write the address as, “we’re somewhere on Royal Avenue – good luck finding it”. Some of the ‘no-number premises’ have recently been refitted, so someone had to say ‘don’t bother’ when asked whether they wanted the number to go on the door or the signage.

This is more than a problem for individual premises. Google Streetview can locate business premises if door numbers are visible. Tourists, visitors or just those in an unfamiliar part of the city can orientate themselves by the direction door numbers ascend or descend.

There is a law, 'The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1995'. Section 11 mandates the procedures for naming streets and marking door numbers. It is even a summary offence if a door isn’t marked with a number – that is, after the council has asked for it to be done, which it hasn’t.

Belfast City Council replied to my query, writing that, ‘if it caused confusion, it would investigate’. Belfast Chamber of Commerce and Belfast City Centre Management have yet to reply.

Has the Belfast on-street retailer given up trying to fight Internet shopping? Is the lack of door numbers a manifestation of the lack of direction of the wider political process? Perhaps it’s a rejection of regimentation? Or is it just local shops for local people and Belfast settling into the role of the largest village in Ireland? Answers please on a postcard to… oh never mind.

Peter Holland

Friday, 19 June 2015

Queen Street & Wellington Place, Belfast - Public Engagement Event - Mon 22 June, 12 - 8pm

A public engagement event will take place on Monday 22 June 2015, 12noon - 8pm at 29 Wellington Place (former Parsons and Parsons), Belfast BT1 6GS. 

The event is an early opportunity to learn about, and share your views on, a proposal for student accommodation at lands within the site bounded by 24 - 30 College Street, 41-49 Queen Street (formerly known as the Athletic Stores) and 29 Wellington Place (former Parsons & Parsons), Belfast. The proposal includes a mix of cluster beds with shared facilities and studios; ground floor uses including support facilities associated with the student accommodation and a bar; restaurant and cafe.

Further information relating to the proposals may be obtained from: Turley, Hamilton House, 3 Joy Street, Belfast BT2 8LE on behalf of Lacuna WJ Limited (Lacuna Developments & Watkin Jones Group).

If you wish to make comments on the proposals you may do so at the above event and / or in writing to Turley, Hamilton House, 3 Joy Street, Belfast BT2 8LE and no later than Friday 21 August 2015.

Click to enlarge.

Monday, 15 June 2015

#StrandTogether - Thursday 18 June, 5.30pm at the Strand Arts Centre

Join the Strand Arts Centre for the launch of…


A new awareness campaign to celebrate the Strand’s contribution to East Belfast and to secure its long-term future.
Strand Arts Centre
156 Holywood Road, Belfast
Screen 2
Thursday 18 June 2015
5.30 - 6.30pm 
[Tea / coffee on arrival at 5.30pm. Presentation in Screen 2 begins 5.45pm.]

RSVP by e-mailing

The Strand in East Belfast has been providing entertainment, creating employment and boosting the local economy since 1935.

Due to celebrate its 80th anniversary in December, the building’s short-term survival was secured by establishing Strand Arts Centre as a not-for-profit charity in 2013 that enhances the arts and cultural offer in East Belfast.
The Strand attracts audiences of over 40,000 annually with a vibrant mix of new and classic screenings, live theatre and music events, creative workshops, performing arts classes and more.

The launch of the #StrandTogether campaign will celebrate some of the Strand’s recent achievements, share its plans for the future and let you know how to get involved.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

QUB Architecture End of Year Exhibition - 18 - 26 June 2015

The School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, is pleased to announce the opening of its annual exhibition of student work on Thursday 18 June, 6pm. 

 The exhibition is a celebration of the talent, creativity and innovation of Architecture students. Models and drawings of their designs will be on show in the studios at the David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road. Work from Civil Engineering and Planning will also be on display.

QUB warmly invite you to join this celebration:
  • 6pm, speeches in lecture room 0G.024, David Keir Building
  • Followed by a reception and exhibition from 7pm, spread across floors 1, 2 and 3 of the David Keir Building
  • Refreshments will be served

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will run from 19 - 26 June from 1pm - 5 pm with a late opening on Thursday 25 June until 8pm.

Please contact for further information.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Created in Belfast: Annual Student Exhibition at Ulster University - 6 - 13 June 2015

Ulster University's Annual Student Exhibition takes place from 6th - 13 June 2015 on Level E (MArch) / Level F (BA Arch, Interior, Product & Furniture) at the Belfast Campus, York Street.

The exhibition will open on Friday 5th June, 6pm with Belfast School of Architecture speeches and prizes in the BA Architecture studio at 6.30pm.

Click to enlarge

The exhibition includes MArch Level I urban housing investigations in the Smithfield+Union neighbourhood, adjacent to the future Ulster University Belfast Campus.

The students surveyed existing buildings to prepare a detailed mapping document and area model (with support from PLACE), in addition to carrying out international precedent studies of urban housing and preparing individual proposals for mixed-use living/working/playing – options that include but are not exclusive to student living.

It is hoped that this work will be continued over the coming year together with key partners, with a view to opening further conversations about the future of housing and living in the Smithfield+Union area.

Click to enlarge

Monday, 1 June 2015

PLACE Urban Design Academy 2015 | Derry~Londonderry

PLACE is looking for volunteers for its 4th annual Urban Design Academy, taking place this year in Derry~Londonderry from 3-7 August.

We need 4-5 committed individuals with a strong background in the built environment disciplines and a keen interest in education and research.  You will work together as a team in the two-months leading up to the Academy, meeting approximately every two weeks, and will be present for the full week of 3-7 August.

It's full-on, but an amazing experience, especially if you plan to have a career in architecture or urban design, as previous volunteers can testify.

Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls - Thurs 11 June, 6pm - 9pm

Colourpoint Books invite you to the launch of Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls at The Red Barn Gallery. There will be an exhibition of photographs by Frankie Quinn and book sales and signings.

Thursday 11 June 2015, 6pm - 9pm at The Red Barn Gallery, 43b Rosemary Street, Belfast.

For more information or to RSVP please email

The book can also be purchased from or from local bookshops.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Archaeology and the Farset River - Wed 27 May, 6pm at Cultúrlann Mcadam Ó Fiaich

Queen's University lecturer Ruairí Ó Baoill explains the complex archaeological history of the Farset River, a founding feature of Belfast. Specialist in medieval and post-medieval archaeology, he is also the author of Hidden History Below Our Feet: The Archaeological Story of Belfast.

For more information go to The Farset Project Facebook page.

Date: Wed 27 May 2015
Time: 6pm
Venue: Cultúrlann Mcadam Ó Fiaich

The Farset Project is one of seven Creative Belfast projects funded by Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through the Creative and Cultural Belfast Fund. For more information see the Creative Belfast webpage.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Designing for Biodiversity Workshop - Wed 17 June, 10am - 2:30pm

The RSPB are hosting a workshop to help those involved in the design and delivery of construction projects to provide for the needs of biodiversity within their work.

Designing for Biodiversity will take place on Wednesday 17th June, 10am - 2:30pm in the QUB School of Geography Room, OG/033.

The workshop will highlight working examples of how the needs of nature have been successfully incorporated into the design and delivery of projects across the UK and Ireland. Those attending will also participate in activities designed to encourage practitioners to apply what has been learned in a practical context.

This workshop is open to all, but will be of particular benefit to those involved in the design and delivery of construction projects.

Booking is essential as places are limited. For more information and to book please contact or call 028904 91547.

Click to enlarge

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Portavogie: Vacant to Vibrant - Saturday 9 May, 12noon - 2pm

The new Portavogie Village Plan identifies a number of projects to improve the village. The plan identifies opportunities to reuse vacant buildings and improve derelict sites.

To develop these opportunities further, PLACE (an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the making of great places) has been appointed by Ards and North Down Borough Council to identify opportunities for reuse of vacant properties and sites, in line with the needs identified in the Village Plan.

On Saturday 9th May, 12noon - 2pm join us as we pop-up alongside Portavogie Harbour. There will be an opportunity to learn about these opportunities, and to have your say.

There'll also be seafood provided by The Quays Restaurant and free kids activities!
  • Discuss opportunities to improve or reuse vacant sites and properties in Portavogie.
  • Taste freshly prepared seafood provided by The Quays Restaurant.
  • Children are invited to join Young at Art (NI's leading children's arts not-for-profit) to make personalised boats and jellyfish puppets. There'll also be a Face Painter!

To find out more, email or phone (028) 9023 2524.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Up and Down the City Streets: What’s in a Name? - Fri 1 May, 10am

Raymond O’Regan, BA, Cert Adm PR, TTCAED will lead a half-day workshop on Friday 1 May 2015, 10am - 2pm exploring the origins of Belfast street names.

Squeeze Gut Entry, Water Street, Crooked Lane, Back of The River Mill Street, Hercules Street. This is just a small selection of the fascinating names that once adorned the streets of Belfast’s city centre. On this trip we will discover their history and their present day names. A map and a hand out highlighting all the streets will be included in the walk.

Date: Friday 1 May 2015
Time: 10am - 2pm
Start: Visit Belfast Welcome Centre front door, Donegall Square North, Belfast
Cost: £17 per person (no concession / limited to 16 people)
Booking: Click here to book with QUB

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Virtual Uprisings: Tahrir Square, Social Media and the return of Public Space - Wed 6 May 2015, 2.30pm

The School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) and Spaces of Liberation Project at Queen’s University Belfast would like to invite you to a public talk by Professor Nezar AlSayyad.

Professor AlSayyad’s talk is titled: “Virtual Uprisings: Tahrir Square, Social Media and the return of Public Space”. He will share his views on the practices and dynamics of social movements in public space over the past few years including latest developments on the protests in Hong Kong and the US and the political unrest in the Middle East, the rise of Islamist ideology of insurgency and the manner with which public space is accustomed to a profound and radical change in the Twenty First century.

Tahrir Square

Professor Nezar AlSayyad is a distinguished Professor of Architecture, Planning and Urban History at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the Chair of UC-Berkeley’s Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Former Head of International and Area Studies Graduate Programme, the co-founder and president of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments.

Professor AlSayyad is the Editor of the highly acclaimed Journal of Traditional Dwellings and Settlement Review. He received several high profile awards including Guggenheim Fellowship (2014) and UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2008). He is the author and editor of over 15 books and two documentaries, including: “Traditions: The ‘Real’, the Hyper and the Virtual in the Built Environment” (2014), “Cairo: Histories of a City” (2011), “The Fundamentalist City?” (2010), “Cinematic Urbanism” (2006), “Making Cairo Medieval” (2005), “The End of Tradition” (2003), “Urban Informality” (2003)Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam” (2002), “Consuming Tradition, Manufacturing Heritage” (2001), and “Hybrid Urbanism” (2000).

The talk is hosted by “Spaces of Liberation” Project based at The School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) and Co-sponsored by Architecture and Construction Management Research Cluster (ACM), Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning (ISEP), and the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities (ICRH).

For further information visit, or visit the Facebook pag at

Date: Wednesday 6 May 2015
Time: 2.30pm - 4pm
Venue: Canada Room, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University, Belfast
Cost: Free
Booking: Email

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Antrim Coast in the Age of Industry, 1750 - 1890 / Lecture Series at PRONI

PRONI will be delivering a series of lunchtime lectures in April, May and June 2015 examining the arrival of Victorian technology and industrial activity in the Antrim coast and Glens. Until the 1800s much of the Antrim coast and Glens was wild and hard to access. During the nineteenth century the landscape was opened up and efforts were made to bring about an industrial revolution, like that of Belfast, in the country villages and peat-bogs.

All lectures will run from 1pm - 2pm in PRONI, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ. Lectures are free but advanced booking recommended. Email or phone 028 9053 4800.

Tuesday 28 April 2015
The Industrial Heritage of the Antrim Glens 
Fred Hamond

Tuesday 5 May 2015
The Limestone Town of Glenarm: Quarries & Quarrymen
Gerard Muldoon

Thursday 21 May 2015
Ballintoy Project: How to Organise a Local History Group
Robert Corbett

Tuesday 26 May 2015
William Bald and the Making of the Antrim Coast Road, 1832 - 1840
Desmond McCabe

Tuesday 2 June 2015
Iron and Stone: The Earls of Antrim as Victorian Industrialists
Ian Montgomery

Nimble Spaces Ways To Live Together: New Cultures of Housing - Friday 1 May 2015

Nimble Spaces Ways To Live Together: New Cultures of Housing is an international conference exploring participative design, spatial justice, social housing, co-housing and new ways to imagine housing in the 21st Century.

Studio Weave, Ecology of Colour. Image by Jim Stephenson

Are you someone with particular housing needs? Are you an architect / designer, researcher, artist, student, activist? Are you a group or an association of people who are tackling a particular housing issue? Are you a policy maker? Do you work supporting people around their housing needs? Are you interested in shared living? Are you interested in rethinking our town centres and rural landscapes as supportive living places? Let’s think collectively. Join Nimble Spaces on Friday 1st May 2015.

Date: Friday 1st May 2015
Time: 9.30am - 5.30pm
Venue: VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow
Tickets: €60 full price / €20 reduced price (students, seniors, unemployed, under-employed / precarious workers). Lunch by Luncheonette included in ticket cost.
Booking: visit or call 059 9172400

The conference is a co-production between Nimble Spaces, Camphill Communities of Ireland, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Maynooth University Department of Geography and DIT, Dublin School of Architecture. Supported by Irish Design 2015 and the Arts Council.

The conference coincides with a presentation of film, images, and research materials from Nimble Spaces: Enabling Design, documenting long term collaborations between artists, architects and adults with a disability, considering ‘home’ and shared living. Participating artists, architects and filmmaker include Rhona Byrne, Paul Bokslag, LiD Architecture, Eamon Little, Meme Architecture, Jennie Moran, Ríonach Ní Néill and Studio Weave. Developed by Commonage in association with Camphill Communities of Ireland and funded through an Arts Council Arts Participation Project Award.

For the full conference programme and further information please visit

Changing Spaces: The first Jane's Walk in Belfast - Sat 2 May, 9.30am

On Saturday 2nd May, Jane's Walk will come to Belfast. Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbours.

The walk departs from the Donegall Square West gates of Belfast City Hall at 9.30am on Saturday 2nd May 2015. The walk is free to join and will finish at approximately 10.30am.

Jane's Walk Belfast is organised by Tricia Keogh-Hodgett. The theme for the walk will be 'looking back and stepping forward'. Tricia describes the walk as an alternative to an in-depth tour, it is a way of looking at Belfast through conversation.

For more information, or to get in touch with Tricia, visit

Click to enlarge

Exhibition: 5 arterial routes & 1000 commercial signs / 30 April - 9 May 2015

'5 arterial routes & 1000 commercial signs' is an exhibition by Ruth Brolly and Forum Alternative Belfast. The exhibition runs during the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival from 30 April - 9 May 2015 in PS2 Gallery, Donegall Street.

Credit: Ruth Brolly

On Belfast’s culturally rich arterial routes, pivoting around an increasingly postmodern city centre, the image of place is created through a combination of buildings, signage, green and vacant spaces. Commercial signs can be the most obvious indicator of socio-economic conditions of people living in neighbourhoods in and around these arterial routes. The level and impact of economic decline, as a result of these routes sometimes being cut off from the central business district, through the creation of major carriageways and other physical barriers in the geography of the city, may be observed in the appearance of commercial signs.

These signs surround us in our city streets, everywhere we look we can see their words, materials and colour on buildings, telling us where we can purchase goods or services. We are so used to seeing them we rarely give them much thought, yet what would our streets be like without them? On red brick Victorian terraces in Belfast, once homes and not businesses, the words on signs tell us what is sold, they speak when doorways and windows are mute. Signs interpret the built environment for us much in the same way as captions on pictures tell us what is happening within the photographic image. Wherever we go in the world signs on shops give us information about the sort of place we are in. Even when we cannot read the language on signs the letterforms, colour and materials can give us visual clues on our whereabouts. The condition of signs can even be an indicator of whether a place is safe or not.

Credit: Ruth Brolly

Only fairly recently have researchers worldwide become interested in the value of local commercial signs as cultural artefacts unique to place. With weathered, broken or faded signs being increasingly replaced, often in the interests of urban renewal and to bolster ailing economies, its worth considering how replacing ‘old’ with ‘new’ signs might affect local character, as colours letterforms and materials used on the signs may change. This exhibition examines buildings and commercial signs on five arterial routes of Belfast, the Antrim, Falls, Lisburn, Newtownards and Ormeau Roads, to show how commercial signs help to create the image of each of these places. A photographic archive captures the buildings and signs as a snapshot in time in a city that is constantly changing.

Exhibition opens with refreshments on Thursday 30 April, 6 - 8pm in PS2, Donegall Street, Belfast. The exhibition will be open to view until 9 May (Wed-Fri 1-5pm, Sat 12-3pm).