The theme was exploring how we are shaped by the city and by our local environment and what legacy we are leaving to future generations. Hence, the Inheritance project was born.
Everyone involved was asked to become a part of a gentle conversation and explore issues like waste management, the elusiveness of accountability of those who had the power for change, the ‘hidden’ nature which continues to survive in our increasingly urban environment, our disconnection from nature and over-use of technology, climate change, the rise in the practice of mindfulness and how we use our city’s natural resources, our hills, rivers, and green spaces, to engender well-being.
That was the start, and as time went on, other subjects emerged such as the quality of life for our older people in the city, the social isolation, issues with mobility and public transport, the resources in communities and the characteristics of the built environment which affects our lives, often in unforeseen ways.
How might a creative life, actively “making” something happen by participating in the arts or producing an experience, rather than passively “taking” something in, help to reduce loneliness? Would these actions reduce the need to consume more and more “stuff”. Is it possible that collective creative action would help more and more people to re-connect with society and feel that they belong? What are the benefits of shared arts projects?
Art has its place to play as well. Are local artists sensitive to the ecological content and consequences of their work, the techniques they use and alternatives such as non-toxic etching, electrolytic and non-polluting procedures, natural fibres, organic, natural, sustainable or recycled materials?
The nature of the project lent itself to mixed media using basic industrial materials, such as steel, aluminum, wood and glass and discarded textiles, cell phones, chargers, circuit boards, glass bottles, older format media such as tapes and other consumer goods and as far as we were able, participants were able to choose an art form to represent their work.
The art works were scheduled to be exhibited in March 2020 and then the pandemic happened. Society was locked down… but ideas and creativity can never be locked down for long.
So many of the groups and people involved turned their attention to supporting others during the pandemic and helped us to bring community issues to the fore on NVTV, our local television channel, and social media with new discussion formats, daily news and current affairs. The concept that we may be able to “build back better”, became a thoughtful refrain, though much of the earlier optimism is evaporating.
The idea that we might learn from others experiences came to the fore in the summer of 2020 and the awareness that the television channel, which is available free to everyone in the city, was an amazing tool to showcase a festival selection of films was realized.
We are all very grateful to the filmmakers from around the world who gave us their films to show in our city. Thank you. At the time of writing in July 2021, we are still waiting for restrictions to be eased with an announcement at the end of this month and the exhibition opening has been delayed… and delayed, we hope it will not be long now… and we have a wonderfully creative explosion of ideas, beautiful imagery and thoughtful people who will fill our screens for a memorable weekend as we enjoy the summer days of the year.
Our thanks to all the individuals who took part and without whom this project would not have been possible.
Streetbeat, Woodvale, Patrician Youth Centre, Downpatrick, Millisle Youth Forum, Youth Strike for Climate Change, Moonbase, Donegall Pass Community Forum, Shankill Women’s Centre, Eastside Arts Older Peoples Group, Extinction Rebellion NI, GlenParent Youth Group, GROW, Footprints Women’s Centre, Short Strand Community Forum, UK Pivot Group, Carrick Hill Residents Association.
Brian John Spencer, Sheena Devitt, Clive Lyttle, Marie Nancarrow, Jonathan Brennan, Rob Ireson, Anto & Gerard Brennan, Frankie Quinn, Sean McKernan, Lucy Jarvis, Fiona Perrott.
Arts Access & Coordination: Connor McKernan
Festival Curator: Deborah Espect
Project Concept: Marilyn Hyndman