Derry City & Strabane - Culture News May 2021




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Culture News May 2021


City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival 2021


Jazz is the music of improvisation. No boundaries. No barriers. The City of Derry Jazz Festival reflects just that.  A musical legacy open to all. We invite you to get involved in the 20th year of this world-renowned celebration of all things jazz. Watch all the Jazz performances from last weekends virtual festival! This information can be found at

Life Bloodrush - by My Left Ear

Left Ear commissioned Derry-based spoken-word artist Abby Oliveira to write a new work of performance poetry to reflect the lockdown experience we are all going through.  In the piece Abby looks past the lockdown routines to her world opening up again with fresh vigour.

Open call for membership - DCSDC Arts & Culture Strategy Co Delivery Group

Council are now seeking nominations for the Arts & Culture Strategy Co Delivery Group. This group was established to oversee the implementation of the Arts & Culture Strategy (2019-24) with a requirement for Council to facilitate an open call for membership at the end of every second year. The terms of reference for this advisory group and application forms are available from The deadline for application submissions is 12 noon on Friday 28th May 2021Applications should be submitted by email to by this deadline. The next meeting of the Co Delivery Group will be on Wednesday 23rd June @ 11am.

Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival (10th May - 16th May)

NI Mental Health Arts Festival sparks inspiring and challenging conversations about mental health issues, fighting stigma and promoting wellbeing via active creativity.

 Coinciding  with Mental Health Awareness Week it offers  a  programme of varied, vivid arts events that aim to create a platform for high-quality artwork that deals compassionately and intelligently with mental health. 

Check out this local introduction to our artists:  A commissioned film The Art of Conversation with Noelle Mc Alinden reflecting with friends, fellow artists, performers and Cultural Champions,Maurice Harron,Jenni Doherty,John Deery,Francis Rafferty,Ollie Green,Felicity Mc Call,Tommy Long and Barry Turton,  on the importance of creativity, self expression, the Arts and our Mental Health and Well being filmed in Strabane/ Derry /Londonderry. 

This video and many more programmes can be accessed via the website link from Monday:

Arts Council NI welcomes BBC announcement

ACNI has welcomed the announcement by the BBC that it is to devolve more programming to nations and regions outside London.  The BBC plans to enhance its creative presence across the UK and ensure that BBC programmes and services more fully reflect the needs and diversity of audiences, wherever they live.

ACNI Chair, Liam Hannaway:

“This is good news for the arts and creative sectors in Northern Ireland and the Arts Council is committed to strengthening its collaborations with BBC NI and the wider arts sector”.

Read more in the Link:

Appointment of Youth Patron and youth programmes “underpins Millenium Forum’s role as a teaching theatre”

The Millennium Forum welcomes Jamie Leah O’Donnell as Youth Patron as part of a new initiative focused on its youth musical and youth festival projects.

David McLaughlin, Millennium Forum Chief Executive, said: “It is fitting to announce Jamie Lee O’Donnell, an internationally successful young actress, as our Youth Patron as she has worked with us over the years on a number of productions, most recently in 2018 on our acclaimed production of Lisa McGee’s ‘Girls and Dolls’.

“At the Forum there has always been a key focus on providing accessible training and events for our young people and we have run many hugely successful initiatives in this regard. The challenge, in this time of pandemic, has been how to reach this group in society which is growing increasingly marginalised at this time.

“Running the Interact Youth Arts Festival online has allowed us the scope to widen access to this hugely popular festival both in terms of reach – we are attracting young people from a much wider catchment area - and in terms of longevity – we are able to run the event over four weeks instead of over four days. The success of the event to date also serves to underpin our ethos as a ‘teaching theatre’ and we look forward to many such events in the future.”

Colmcille 1500 website

1500 years ago, one of Ireland’s most famous sons was born in Gartan, Co. Donegal. With strong roots in the North West of Ireland, Colmcille (or St. Columba) went on to blaze a trail of cultural and social change around the world. He became one of Ireland’s three patron saints, the patron saint of Derry and his influence extends to this day.

Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council have come together, with support from the North West Development Fund, to commemorate Colmcille’s remarkable life and legacy with a series of events and activities throughout the coming year.

Keep up to date with the interactive calendar to find out about the latest events happening in celebration of the saint during this special year. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram by clicking the icons at the top of the page or sign up to the newsletter.

Peace plus programme (2021-2027) public consultation – share your view

PEACE PLUS are seeking your view on the draft content of the European Union funded PEACE PLUS Programme (2021-2027), worth approximately €1bn. It has been designed following a comprehensive cross border stakeholder engagement process.

PEACE PLUS is a new funding programme designed to support peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland, building upon the work of the previous PEACE and INTERREG Programmes. The design reflects the importance of peace-building activity, but also the importance of actions that will contribute positively to the economy, building prosperity and adjusting to the new environment and challenges we face.

The consultation will end at 5pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021.

For full details please follow the link

URBAN 2021 Photo Awards – Call out for Photographs – closing 31 May

This year the URBAN Photo Awards have decided to allow photographers to submit 1 photo for FREE.  Photography is the great passion that we share with authors from all over the world: we like the idea, in this difficult period, of giving everyone the opportunity to enter the contest.  Photographers who are already participating can add 1 photo without additional registration fees, while others photographer can submit their first photo for free.  Just flag “Free photo” next to the image in our user area!

Submitted photos will be selected by an international jury chaired by a living legend of street photography: Bruce Gilden.

 For more information check out the link.

21 Artists for the 21st Century

Are you a passionate young artist from Northern Ireland with a story to tell, a song to sing or a picture to share?

We are looking for 21 outstanding young artists across the full creative spectrum (painters and photographers, film-makers, animators, designers, poets, playwrights and short-story writers, composers and musicians, actors, directors, producers, singers and song-writers) who are willing to spend time in the summer of 2021 on developing their artistic skills and creative work.

 Read More (link the rest Leeann to our training / opportunities page)The successful candidates will each be assigned an experienced mentor (carefully matched to their own needs) to help them bring a creative project to fruition. Some of these will be individual efforts e.g. paintings, photographs, songs, poems or plays. Other artists will work together towards the production of a short play, a dance piece, or an ensemble musical performance etc. Everyone will be encouraged to share their work together at the end of the programme and to find a wider platform through recordings and publication. Where appropriate, successful applicants will be encouraged and supported to make connections through the mentor groups (e.g. composers and musicians, writers and actors, choreographers and dancers etc.).

Each of the 21 successful artists will receive:

  • - A bursary of £350 a week for the duration of their agreed project
  • - The support of a designated mentor
  • - Residential or travel costs and other resources as appropriate for their project
  • - Access to seminars on career development
  • - The opportunity to have their work showcased in a high profile cultural event

To apply for the 21 Artists for the 21st Century Programme,  and check out further details about this and many other opportunities on the NI office Website: the link.

The Art of Witness - Smashing Times and Mother Tongues Festival (Online Zoom)(Friday 14 May, 7.30pm)

Smashing Times in conjunction with the annual Mother Tongues Arts Festival are delighted to host The Art of Witness, a presentation of creative practice and an online panel discussion exploring themes of language, identity and culture on the island of Ireland. To read more_link_to our page.

Across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Europe and beyond citizens of all backgrounds and cultures are finding ways to come together to create spaces where culture works to strengthen social ties. Smashing Times are delighted to bring together a panel of artists, creatives and communities from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to share artworks and generate dialogue on how the arts can be used to explore themes of language, identity and culture in relation to equality and rights and to imagine alternative ways of living and engaging with others in understanding, trust and peace on the island of Ireland and beyond.

Presented by Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality as part of State of the Art and Creative Connections. Supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and The Reconciliation Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Online event information

Artists and Panel: Feilim James, Noelle McAlinden and Richard Edgar

  • Moderator: Kwasie Boyce
  • Where: Online via Zoom
  • When: Friday 14 May, 7.30pm
  • Booking: Booking fee of 5 euro – Book here


URGENCIES (2021) is the second iteration of CCA Derry~Londonderry’s biennial group exhibition. The artwork selected for the exhibition comes from an open call that seeks to take the temperature of what emerging artists working today with a connection to our region consider to be urgent. 

Two key themes of identity and environment thread throughout the off-site exhibition as well as many other topics encompassing both deeply personal experiences and global political events. The artists explore questions of care and labour (Siobhán Kelly), mental health (Brian Farrell, Lucie McLaughlin), borders, technology and nature (Bryony Dunne, Christopher Steenson), home and self-expression (Kathryn Graham, Michael Hanna, Patrick Hickey), pollution and the effects of global crises (Martin Boyle, Edy Fung) and the role of the artist and communication (Frank Wasser). 

URGENCIES (2021) was selected by artist Locky Morris and CCA Director Catherine Hemelryk and features new and recent work ranging in media from print, film, photography, sound, painting, manifestations online and in daily life. 

URGENCIES (2021) would usually be held within CCA’s galleries at 10–12 Artillery Street, however due to the ongoing pandemic, the project is taking place offsite and online. Artworks are visible across our city through the windows of landmark buildings, commercial spaces, homes and arts organisations also currently closed to the public. 

For more information and interactive interactive map for locations please visit website link. 

This project was supported by: Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Derry & Strabane District Council, The Elephant Trust, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Millennium Forum, Verbal Arts Centre, Derry Print Workshop, Quayside Shopping Centre, St Columb’s Court, Waterside Theatre, Cathedral School, St Columb’s Cathedral, Checkpoint Charlie Derry, Quayside Shopping Centre.

Call out for Summer Family programming

As part of the NW Audience Development programme, Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council are curating and promoting a programme of summer events and activities across the North West focused on family audiences.

If your venue or organisation is planning family activity in July or August and would like to be included in the programme, we would like to hear from you. Please send details to or call 07701377494 for more information.