‘Green & Blue’ Performance Comes to Brussels

 

The Northern Ireland Executive Office, in collaboration with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland present

GREEN & BLUE

Green & Blue

This thought-provoking play by Belfast based Theatre Company Kabosh is in Brussels for one-night only!

Green & Blue explores the painful and humorous realities faced by the individuals who patrolled the Irish border, based on an oral archive of Royal Ulster Constabulary and An Garda Síochána officers.

 At one point we took on a role that became an identity and that    identity now defines us. 

We’re a uniform, not real people. And rightly or wrongly we now view the world from that perspective.

 The one-hour performance will be followed by a post-show discussion with Kabosh Artistic Director Paula McFetridge.

Cast: James Doran and Vincent Higgins – Film created by Conan McIvor – Designed by Stuart Marshall

Center of Fine Arts

Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels

WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 19h30-21h30

 Tickets can be purchased here or via 02 507 8200

                         

Northern Ireland Lights Up Rond-Pont Schuman

In December each year, the large area within the Schuman roundabout outside the European Commission is transformed by an illuminated marquee and plays host to a number of festive themed events over the course of a fortnight, aimed at connecting the European institutions and representative offices with the local community.

As part of the ‘Rond-Pont Schuman Lights Up’ programme, there is a night dedicated to a Christmas market with various national and regional offices presenting stalls to showcase their local produce. Alongside stalls from Malta, Austria and Hungary, among others, the Office enjoyed the opportunity to work with our colleagues from Scotland House and Wales House in presenting our regional delicacies to the Christmas market crowd.

Visitors to our stall were charmed by the sweet treats we had on offer – from the classic ‘Fifteens’ to moreish brownies. They also had the chance to make their own ‘mix-up’ with traditionally made sweeties and Yellowman from Northern Ireland. To wash it all down, we had some hot mulled cider from Armagh – a revelation to a continental crowd more familiar with its wine-based counterpart.

Of course, a Christmas market in Belgium wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Saint-Nicholas, and staff were lucky enough to get a picture with the big man himself!

 

Winter Banquet: An Evening of Poetry and Song

As part of the Office’s ongoing collaboration with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland – The Brussels Platform – in November we presented the acclaimed poetry of Frank Ormsby and celebrated music of Anthony Toner to an audience of senior officials in Brussels.

Anthony and Frank collaborated early in 2018 on the lauded ACNI supported project ‘The Kiss of Light’, an album featuring poems read by Frank and instrumentals composed and performed by Anthony on guitar. The evening featured readings from Frank – by turns profoundly moving and laugh-out-loud funny – some of the beautiful instrumentals from ‘The Kiss of Light’, and a selection of stirring songs from Anthony’s extensive back catalogue.

The audience, including several Ambassadors, senior representatives from EU institutions, and key senior contacts and stakeholders from across Brussels, were charmed by Anthony and Frank’s easy camaraderie and unique talent. While enjoying the artists, the audience were also delighted to tuck into a menu presented by chefs Simon Dougan and Stephen Dowds of Yellow Door, and designed to celebrate the local produce and culinary flare of Northern Ireland.

 

 

Culture Night in Brussels

As Culture Night was returning to towns and cities across Northern Ireland on Friday 21st September, so too was it returning to charm its Brussels audience. An increasingly anticipated event on the Brussels calendar, Culture Night is presented in conjunction with The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, who support ‘The Brussels Platform’ – an international showcase for culture and arts from Northern Ireland.

This year the Office welcomed guests from over ten countries to enjoy the enchanting and rousing folk melodies of two singer/songwriters, Matt McGinn, hailing from the foot of the Mournes, and Ciara O’Neill from Portadown.  Ciara captivated guests with songs from Arrow, her second album. From NI to Nashville and back again, Ciara has written with some of the best in the business and performed to a US TV audience of 60 million.  After Ciara’s performance, Matt took to the stage with gusto, and charmed the audience with songs from his third album ‘The End of the Common Man’, while explaining his current project ‘Lessons of War’ which brings together musicians from places of conflict.

A perfect end to the evening was served by John Graham and John O’Hare of Lagan Ribs – a street food company straight out of St. George’s Market, Belfast. John & John served eight-hour slow roasted pulled pork, in traditional Belfast baps, and covered in a choice of their signature sauces. After a delightful dessert of Glastry Farm ice-cream, it was all washed down with some of NI’s award-winning gins, craft beers, ciders, and juices. All our wonderful produce was brought to Brussels with the assistance of FoodNI.

 

European Week of Regions and Cities 2018

Every year the European Week of Regions and Cities takes place over four days across Brussels, and with a programme of 300+ seminars and events, with 6000+ participants from Europe and beyond, it showcases the capacity of cities and regions to promote cohesion policy and economic growth, while proving the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.

In October 2018, as part of the Committee of the Regions’ official programme, the Office established the Regional Partnership for Health Innovation – along with our colleagues in three other European regions – Podlaskie (Poland), Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes (France), and Umbria (Italy). Our partnership presented a panel discussion exploring each region’s journey in the field of personalised medicine, and was held in our office.

The Office was delighted to welcome back Professor Tony Bjourson, Director of the Centre of Stratified Medicine at the University of Ulster, to showcase to European colleagues one of the best practice models in the field. As well as speakers from each of our partner regions, the audience enjoyed a keynote speech from Dr Irene Norstedt, Head of the Personalised Medicine Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. The panel was moderated by Dr Pierre Meulien, the Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry.

As well as developing our working relationships with our regional colleagues, the workshop proved a successful way of promoting Northern Ireland’s first class research capabilities. In order to be accepted on to the official programme of sessions, each session had to be selected from nearly 200 proposals – and this involved a public consultation. Our workshop featured as number 11 ‘most popular’ session in the consultation. We were also very pleased to register a range of stakeholders for the event, representing over 25 different regions and 13 different countries.

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From left to right: Julien Balsen, Tony Bjourson, Mirosław Kwaśniewski , Lucio Caporizzi, Dr Irene Norstedt, and moderator Pierre Meulien.

Northern Ireland Screenwriter Colin Bateman introduces ‘The Journey’ to Brussels

On Wednesday 19th June, The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels was delighted to welcome back screenwriter and author Colin Bateman. Hailing from County Down, Colin had previously visited Brussels in 2014 for the Brussels Book Fair, and it was great to have him back in the Office to introduce his 2017 film ‘The Journey’.

Colin introduced the film by explaining the ‘journey’ behind ‘The Journey’ – producers had struggled to find a screenwriter willing to create a script around the events of the St Andrew’s Agreement, and the relationship between the Reverend Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness. However, inspired by the subsequent media coverage of the unexpected friendship between the late former First and Deputy First Ministers, Mr Bateman wasn’t afraid to incorporate his famously witty writing style into a story imagining the first real interactions between the two men.

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Screenwriter Colin Bateman with Deputy Head of Office Lynsey Moore

 

While enjoying the film, the audience tucked into food and beverages from Northern Ireland – ‘Pop-notch’ gourmet pop-corn, cider from Longmeadow Cider and the Armagh Cider Company, as well as beers from Clearsky Brewery and Hilden Brewery. The audience enjoyed the film – described by the reviewers as ‘a remarkable mixture of light and darkness’ – and took the opportunity to ask Colin about the production of the film and the wider film industry. Colin also regaled the audience with stories from the set and of his interactions with stars such as Liam Neeson.

Colin explained to the audience that, while some critics argued the film is historically inaccurate in parts, ‘The Journey’ tells a fictional story that was never intended to be a documentary! He noted that history doesn’t come in neat three act scripts to be portrayed on screen, and ‘The Journey’ uses an imagined situation to explore the essence of the friendship between the Reverend Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

 

The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels has updated its Privacy Policy

Why do we collect information?

We maintain a contact database with details of individuals with whom our office has had contact or anyone that we invite to events in our office.  We have two elements of our contact list (a) contacts relating to our work with the EU (b) individuals with a connection to Northern Ireland in a personal capacity

What kind of information do we collect?

We record if individuals have a connection to Northern Ireland in a personal capacity and for some contacts we have personal email details

How do we use the information we collect?

We use the information that we collect as a basis for invitation lists for events we hold.  We do not share the information that we hold with anyone outside of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Access to information and correction

Any information we collect will be retained for no longer than is necessary, and in line with the Department’s retention and disposal schedule.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation you have the following rights:

We want to ensure that the information we hold is accurate and up to date.  If you would like a copy of the information that we hold about you, or if you wish to correct or update the information that we hold about you, please email us at Info.BrusselsOffice@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk

Update of Privacy Policy

We will keep our privacy policy up to date and publish any updates on our website.  This privacy policy was last updated on 31 May 2018.

How to contact us

The data controller is The Executive Office (TEO) in the Northern Ireland Civil Service

If you have any questions or comments about our privacy policy please contact us via email at Info.BrusselsOffice@executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk

 

You can also contact us by post or telephone:

180 Chaussée d’Etterbeek,

Brussels 1040

Belgium

Tel: 0032 (0) 2 2901 330

 

The TEO Data Protection Officer is:

Dr David Lammey

Castle Buildings

Upper Newtownards Rd,

Belfast

BT4 3PP

Northern Ireland

(+44) 028 9052 8400

 

You also have a right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office:

Information Commissioner’s Office

3rd Floor

14 Cromac Place

Belfast

BT7 2JB

Tel: 028 9027 8757 or 0303 123 1114

Email: ni@ico.org.uk

A panel discussion on ‘Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland’

In partnership with the Embassy of Ireland, Belgium, and the British Embassy Brussels, and with support from the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS), the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels was pleased to host a panel discussion on ‘Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland.’

 

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Andrew Elliott welcomes guests to the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Brussels

In 1985, the Northern Ireland Women’s’ Rights Movement published ‘The Female Line’, as the first ever collection of literature from women writers from Northern Ireland. ‘The Female Line’ endeavoured to show the experiences and perceptions of women.

Published in 2017, ‘Female Lines’ is a follow-up anthology of writing from thirty-three female writers from, or with a connection to, Northern Ireland. Dr Dawn Miranda Sheratt-Bado co-edited the anthology alongside Belfast-born, awarding-winning author Linda Anderson. An academic specialist in Irish studies, Dawn has contributed to publications such as The Honest Ulsterman, amongst others. During discussions, Dawn described how she felt it was important to pay homage to the original publication, ‘The Female Line’ while exploring how life had changed for women of Northern Ireland post-ceasefires and after the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.

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Dr Dawn Miranda Sheratt-Bado shares her experience curating the anthology

Celia de Fréine writes across many mediums, working in both English and Irish. Ceannródaí, her biography of Louise Gavan Duffy, will be published in autumn 2018. Celia explained that, having spent much of her life moving back and forth across the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, her work is shaped by her feelings of belonging and disconnection.

Dr Margaret Ward is currently an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Queen’s University Belfast, and she is the author of a number of historical works, including ‘Unmanageable Revolutionaries: women and Irish nationalism’. Margaret told the audience how the study of women in Irish history has developed since ‘The Female Line’ was first published.

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(L-R) Rosemary Jenkins, Dr Heather Richardson, Dr Margaret Ward, Celia de Fréine, Dr Dawn Miranda Sheratt-Bado, Annelies Beck

Poet, memoirist and short-story writer, Dr Heather Richardson, was born in Northern Ireland in 1964. She is currently working on a hybrid text and textile project ‘A dress for Kathleen’, which has received funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Heather explained how emerging from the binary nature of conflict makes life less straightforward, and how that context is perfect for writers.

female lines

More information on ‘Female Lines’ is available from its publisher, New Island.

Rosemary Jenkins is a playwright and short story writer from Belfast whose works have been performed in Belfast, Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Washington DC, and New York. Rosemary spoke about the difficulties and opportunities of being a women writing about the complex society of Northern Ireland.

Belgian journalist Annelies Beck moderated the event with expert pacing and a skill developed from her years as a TV and Radio journalist in Belgium. Her probing questions stimulated lively discussions between the writers and audience members, and provoked thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a female writer in Northern Ireland today.

Brussels Office hosts ‘A Reflection of the Good Friday Agreement’

On Wednesday 23rd May, Alan Whysall visited the Brussels office to present ‘A Reflection of the Good Friday Agreement’, providing a personal account of his experience of the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement.  The event was designed to give a Brussels audience a background to the Good Friday Agreement in light of the interest in the subject stemming from the UK withdrawal negotiations.

Alan is a former Senior Northern Ireland Office Civil Servant, with over 20 years’ experience in the Northern Ireland peace process and is now an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Constitution Unit at University College London.

Alan’s account covered his involvement in the negotiations that led to the Agreement as well as its implementation during his time as a civil servant at the Northern Ireland Office. He also addressed the areas where he considered the Agreement could have achieved more, and outlined the benefits it has brought to Northern Ireland. Alan, concluded his speech by discussing the future of the Agreement in the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The breadth of the material covered by Alan gave the audience an insight into the environment in which the agreement was negotiated.  The talk provoked a lively discussion and the audience, which included several officials working in posts relating to the UK withdrawal negotiations, reported that they found the event informative, with some taking to twitter to share a positive review.

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QUB students get a feel for living and working in Brussels during their annual study visit

On Monday 14th May students from Queen’s University in Belfast made their annual trip to Brussels for a jammed-packed week of engagements with the EU Institutions, regional offices, public affairs organisations and international businesses. The study tour, organised by the QUB Careers Department, allows the students to gain an insight into how to use their personal branding to secure a graduate programme, internship or permanent position in Brussels.

During the visit Queen’s University Belfast held an alumni reception in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive which gave the students an opportunity to meet with members of the NI diaspora working across a range of sectors in Brussels.

The students returned to the office on Thursday 17th May to hear from the UK and Irish Permanent Representations to the EU about how the EU operates, how regional diplomacy works and how to begin a career pathway in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Foreign Affairs. Our Senior Liaison Officer Nuala McNamee spoke to the students about role of the office and how it engages in Brussels. The office Policy and Events Assistants, Bethany Meban and Chyanne Holmes, added to discussion with their own personal experiences of finding work and adopting to life in Brussels. The students also got to meet with speakers from AB InBev, IBEC, Baker McKenzie and Hume Brophy to hear about working in Brussels outside the EU Institutions and more generally, the about living in Brussels.

The study tour was a great opportunity for the students to get first-hand advise on starting and building a future career in Brussels, and more widely in Europe.