Voices of the New Belfast

A Kirsten Kearney J March 24, 2015
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voices-of-the-new-belfast-logoThe Community Relations Council has welcomed a series of short films being screened from today. Voices of the New Belfast is an exciting documentary film project centred on individuals from the new communities who have come to Belfast since 1998. It captures real stories and explores the experiences of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds on camera.

Created by award-winning Belfast film-making charity, ESC, ( the project drew from individuals across Belfast who would identify with the BME community, the Roma community, the Chinese, Polish and Eastern European communities, and those who do not identify with a particular community at all. Each was given the chance to tell their story.

The films bring up difficult issues and challenging questions around identity, racism and stereotypes, human trafficking, culture and the space for different cultures, Islam, atheism, religion and the troubled concept of home.

The project, supported by the Community Relations Council’s Media Grant and Belfast City Council’s Good Relations Department, worked in partnership with East Belfast’s Globe Café and South Belfast’s Belfast Friendship Club and film-makers Stuart Sloan, Jonny Agnew and Gerard Stewart. The films launch this week and after the premieres you can watch the films and join the discussion forums at

Deirdre McBride CRC photoDeirdre Mac Bride, CRC Cultural Diversity Director, said:

“ Voices of the New Belfast  provides positive empowering stories of real individuals from a wide range of different cultural backgrounds and nationalities who have immigrated to Northern Ireland.  The films reflect their experiences of living in Belfast, their opinions of current efforts to reduce racism, and their hopes and fears for the future. It is essentially their stories told in their way. CRC hopes that the films will increase understanding among wider society of the effects of racism and other prejudices. We would encourage everyone to see the films.”

Jenny Smithson VONB picGlobe Café founder Jenny Smithson was one of the inspirations behind the project:

“Globe Café has been operating in East Belfast now for just over a year and we’ve been involved in helping to tell the stories of some of the foreign nationals who have chosen to come to Belfast to work or study.  Given the recent surge in race hate crimes in this part of the city and some of the negative publicity around foreign nationals in our society, we believe this positive work is much needed.  It will provide an invaluable opportunity for those who participate in the programme to make their voices heard and to gain confidence as they help others understand their stories.  This may be, for some, a significant step in developing their sense of ‘belonging’ here in Belfast.”

You can watch all the films and join the discussions at


Deirdre McBride CRC and ESC teamThanks to the film-making team of (L – R) Gerard Stewart, Stuart Sloan and Jonny Agnew. Flanked by Deirdre McBride (CRC) and Kirsten Kearney (ESC CEO). Project facilitation by ESC’s Artistic Director Tom Magill.

Many thanks to Belfast City Council’s Good Relations Department and the Community Relations Council.

CRC high res logo



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