Beat Carnival is Northern Ireland‘s carnival arts company, founded in 1993. Beat has been encouraging Belfast to think big about celebrating its creative community life in ways that are culturally inclusive, artistically ambitious and welcoming to all, since first bringing artists and citizens onto the streets of a fractured city in the 1990s. The base for this artistic work is Beat Carnival Centre, a 21,000 sq’ / 1,900 sq.m. former engineering works on the north-west side of the City-centre, at the interface location where the first barbed wire ‘peace lines’ were erected at the start of ‘The Troubles’. The neighbourhood has always been an industrial and housing mix: it is the oldest residential area remaining in the city centre. Artists work in a wide range of carnival-related artforms at the Centre and workshops and training programmes are provided all year round, free of charge to participants of all ages and abilities. Every year, Beat Carnival engages thousands of children, young people and adults in over 600 arts activity & training workshops. Around five large-scale outdoor events have been created each year – and 35 to 70 smaller performances in public places. The events attract from 250,000 to 500,000 audience annually.
What makes the organisation unique?
Beat Carnival, which has been located at three different interface locations in Belfast, creates inclusive, participative, carnival events, bringing people together in public places, both city centre and neighbourhoods. Work demonstrates the transformative ability of creative arts, engaging and developing people and communities in ways that normal community-work does not do.
What TEH activities is the centre a part of?
Arts Education and Staff Exchange
Meeting Room, Workshop room, Rehearsal or Practice Room, Maker Space, Multi-purpose Space
Production, Exhibition and Programming, Education and Training
Music, Dance, Visual Arts, Crafts, Education, Community and Relational Arts, Democratic and civil society development