East Belfast Community Arts and Carnival

An introduction to arts activities in the east Belfast area

One of the city’s longest established community arts organisations, the Beat Initiative evolved from a pilot youth arts project, East Belfast Music, Art and Performance.

From its foundation in 1993, the Beat Initiative has explored arts and cultural influences that could connect with aspects of Northern Ireland’s grass-roots culture, such as music, drumming, parades and street pictures, yet be open to people across community divides.

In 2001, the Beat Initiative moved to warehouse and workshop premises in east Belfast, which currently provides a carnival arts construction workshop and a base for administration and outreach projects.

The Ballymacarrett Arts and Cultural Society uses art and cultural activities to offer the local community means of self-expression, addressing questions of division, diversity and pluralism. Using dance, drama, music, poetry and other art forms, the society works in east Belfast and further afield to challenge the idea expressed in the title of one report as ’Prods Can’t Act, Dance or Sing’.