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Welcome to the fourth edition of our fortnightly special edition newsletters to provide a little uplift during these anxious times. We'll dip into festival memories, catch up with artists and companies who've featured in previous festival editions, and share news from our friends.

Black Lives Matter

Josette Bushell-Mingo

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May by a police officer has understandably provoked anguish and outrage across the world. It has led to street protests from Berlin to Belfast to Boston as a symbol of resistance and a call for urgent change particularly to the justice and policing regimes not only in America but in all countries where ethnic minorities feel unfairly treated by the law.

How is the arts and cultural community responding to these events and the decades and decades of institutionalised racism that preceded them? One of the founding artistic principles of BIAF is to celebrate cultural diversity in its many wonderful guises and from home and abroad.

One of the most powerful and moving festival performances came from British black actress and activist, Josette Bushell-Mingo with her gritty but ultimately redemptive and uplifting stage musical, Nina – A Story About Me and Nina Simone in 2018. Josette bought the house down and audiences to their feet at The MAC. The play looks back at Nina’s political acts as part of the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s America as well as the struggles in her personal life with Josette finding a parallel with the persisting inequality in today’s society, and questioning how far we’ve really come.

In a recently published article in Swedish newspaper Expressen, Josette Bushell-Mingo reflects on the murder of George Floyd.
"Where there is no justice there is no peace, where there are lies, there will be truths, where there is murder, forgiveness will walk away."
Read reflection from Richard Wakely and full article by Josette Bushell-Mingo
Nina: A Story About Me and Nina Simone

Latest from Shobana Jeyasingh Dance

TooMortal by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, who brought the striking Staging Schiele to BIAF19, are presenting SJD SHORTS: a series of specially created dance events, celebrating past productions and providing insights into the creative journey and how these productions came to life.
Next up is TooMortal, premiering on Facebook on Monday 22 June at 7pm, after which it’s available for 7-day catch-up on SJD Facebook and YouTube.
Read more about TooMortal on SJD website
Also worth checking out is the SJD podcast. In episode 3 presenter Sanjoy Roy (The Guardian's Dance Critic) asks Shobana about the practical and artistic questions of making site-specific work for different spaces outside of theatres.
Listen now to podcast on SJD website


Upcoming SJD SHORTS

Support NI Artists

If you haven't had a chance yet, please check out the 'Bread & Butter' GoFundMe, which has been set up by Abbie Spallen, Fionnuala Kennedy and Helen Gomez, to offer a one-off £200 payment to NI arts practitioners who have lost income. Find out more

Visual Artists Emergency Fund

New Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund, in partnership with a-n The Artists Information Company, will provide hardship grants of £1,500-2,500 per person. Open to artists and freelancers in the visual arts sector based in Northern Ireland who are experiencing severe financial hardship, including those not eligible for existing public funds. Closes 2pm Thursday 18 June. Find Out More

News from our friends

Dublin Dance Festival highlights


Take a break and read this fantastic curated essay by Dr Aoife McGrath about the work, career and influences of Oona Doherty - part of Dublin Dance Festival's digital programme #DDFDigitalCapsule
Read essay on DDF website
 
Also part of #DDFDigitalCapsule is Holistic Strata Screen by Hiroaki Umeda, who opened BIAF19 with his mesmerising digital projection dance fusion piece Median.

A spectacle of light and the human body, Holistic Strata Screen combines sonic textures and entrancing visuals. 
Available to view until Tuesday 30 June (5 mins)
Watch now on DDF website

The Lyric Online

The Lyric's hit production Good Vibrations returns for one night only! The full screening will be available to watch for 24 hrs from 8pm on Wednesday 17 June.
Watch on The Lyric's YouTube channel 

Poetry Clips

Sinead Morrisey and Padraig Regan
The John Hewitt Society's Poetry Clips series is a unique collection of short videos showcasing readings from world-renowned poets through to emerging poets that will be released on a weekly basis. This week's contributors are Sinéad Morrissey and Padraig Regan. View on John Hewitt Society website

Ten Plagues

The Belfast Ensemble, in association with Outburst Arts, present their first lockdown broadcast. Part cabaret torch songs, part Schubert, Ten Plagues draws parallels with the 20th century emergence of AIDS, but here takes on a breathtaking 2020 significance. Performed by Matthew Cavan and Conor Mitchell. Purchase a ticket (£2.99) to view from QFT
 
Regular festival partner, Ulster Orchestra, have been very busy with their #UOletsplayathome initiative.  You can meet the players and enjoy musical performances on their YouTube Channel and keep an eye on their Instagram page for a series of pop-up performances.

Why not check out Oh Yeah Centre's 30 playlists (yes 30!) on Spotify spanning rock, indie, electronica, folk, blues & jazz.
Check out the latest round-up of what's happening in the arts on ACNI website.

BIAF20

We are still planning to deliver our annual festival, opening in mid-October as originally planned, but we feel it is prudent to wait a number of weeks before confirming this. Read full statement

If you have any suggestions for future newsletters, please get in touch by emailing sarahkelly@belfastinternationalartsfestival.com
 
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