Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long MP got a sneak preview of the Ulster Festival of Art and Design, when she visited the University of Ulster's Belfast campus this week.
Top fashon designer Zandra Rhodes and Oscar nominated animator Paul Young are just some of the acclaimed designers and artists who will appear during the Ulster Festival of Art and Design at the University of Ulster's Belfast campus between June 4-19.
The festival boasts over 40 events ranging from discussions involving the creature technical director on James Cameron's movie 'Avatar' Greg Maguire to workshops with artist-in-residence Morgan O'Hara, acclaimed photographer Ian Berry who documented the Sharpeville Massacre and a presentation by the Daily Telegraph cartoonist Matt.
The outgoing Lord Mayor said: "Belfast can be proud of its cultural offering to people living in or visiting the city and has been catering for all tastes through a variety of festivals throughout the year. The Ulster Festival of Art and Design is an important fixture on the city calendar and it is great to see the talent which is being nurtured in painting, architecture, ceramics, photography, interactive multi-media design, jewellery and fashion design being given a platform alongside some of the biggest names in those creative fields.
“There are lots of events in the programme, but I’m looking forward to Matt Pritchett and some of the things that he does in term of the cartoons so I think that will be very interesting. Also the work that will be done with young people around animation like the Wallace and Gromit workshop is something that would really inspire young people to think about art and design as a career and see the creative industries as somewhere they can make their mark.”
University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor Richard Barnett said: "The Ulster Festival of Art and Design is now in its third year and has become a significant part of the country's creative calendar, hosting a plethora of international artists and designers.
"The diverse programme of events reflects the growing breadth of study at Ulster. This is a major contributor to our economy as the creative industries continue to expand, it adds to our society's richness and asserts our position as a centre of national significance in creativity and innovation."
Zandra Rhodes, who designed clothes for Diana, Princess of Wales and Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, is visiting the campus on June 11.
Other festival highlights include a talk by Paul Young, the co-founder of the Irish animation company Cartoon Saloon who secured an Academy Award nomination for its animated feature film 'The Secret of Kells' featuring the voice of Brendan Gleeson.
Wallace and Gromit animator Jan Sanger will hold a three-day workshop for people over the age of 16.
There will also be appearances by Rockpool Candy and MyTarPitt who create unconventional art from the everyday, Turner Prize nominated video and photographic artist Phil Collins, the improvised comic opera troupe Impropera and the annual shows by University of Ulster Art, Design and Architecture students.
Alan Reilly, a senior partner at Carson McDowell which is sponsoring the festival and will be displaying some of its art collection, said: "We place a high value on education, culture and community.
"The corporate world has a vital role to play in harnessing local and vibrant talent as showcased in this year's Ulster Festival of Art and Design.
"Now more than ever, business needs the injection of youthful creative vitality and ideas represented in the work on display and the events on offer throughout the Festival. We hope everyone who visits the campus during the two weeks has their horizons broadened and their creativity energised."
The full festival programme can be accessed at www.ulsterfestival.com and tickets for events purchased by phoning 02890267288 or emailing k.Gordon@ulster.ac.uk.