Cultural representatives urged to ‘Grab it and change it, it’s yours’ at Belfast City Hall

Discussions inspired by iconic Stiff Little Fingers lyrics point to the city's aim to set itself apart on the European and global stage

‘Grab it and change it, it’s yours’. That was the message at a major event in Belfast bringing over 100 representatives from the cultural and associated sectors to City Hall today, Monday, September 25.

The third annual Belfast Culture Forum, themed ‘Collaborate and Connect’ offered a timely opportunity to examine the city through a European lens, with input from leading cultural thinkers and programmers. Belfast City Council is currently finalising its bid with Derry and Strabane District Council for the European Capital of Culture 2023 title.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister, who welcomed delegates to the event, said: 'Our cultural leaders never fail to impress me with their passion, vision and commitment. Today, we’ve been considering how culture, collaboration and connection are key to Belfast becoming the healthier, more successful and more progressive city that we’ve envisioned in our Belfast Agenda.

'From our lively discussions, inspired by the Stiff Little Fingers lyrics ‘Grab it and change it, it’s yours’ it’s clear that there’s great potential to work more closely with the cultural sector to overcome challenges to our growth – including how we become more visible on the global stage, how we nurture our creative talent and how culture can capitalise on the surge in tourism here. New partnerships have been forged, working relationships improved, and we’ve been reinvigorated.'

Róise Goan, Arts Programmer and Producer who was Director of the Dublin Fringe and worked on the Three Sisters bid for European Capital of Culture added: 'My talk was titled ‘Dreaming the Impossible’ and that’s exactly what’s required if we want to achieve a step change in our cities.

'Culture is becoming an even stronger force in Belfast’s resurgence because there’s a growing respect for the power that culture holds to transform lives and to transform spaces. That’s very good news for a city which is seeking to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded global marketplace.'

Discussions from today will inform the delivery of Belfast City Council’s Cultural Framework and action plan. For more information, go to and to pledge your support for the WeAre2023 European Capital of Culture bid visit