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Towards a Belfast Festival of History

23rd March – 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

£3.00 – £4.00


The Dublin History Festival has evolved into the largest history programme across the island of Ireland. There is a growing sentiment among those engaged in Belfast’s history that the city should establish its own festival. The success of such an endeavour relies on the active support and participation of the public.

Join us for a conversation with Glenn Patterson, Leanne McCormick, Donal Fallon, and Kim Mawhinney, chaired by Hugh Odling-Smee, that will highlight the value of the city’s history, how we might explore, interpret and create narratives, and the practicalities of operating a history festival in Belfast.

In partnership with Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics.

About Glenn Patterson

Glenn Patterson is a writer known for his works in fiction, non-fiction, stage and screen scripts. As a founding patron of Fighting Words Northern Ireland and the Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, Patterson’s literary influence extends far beyond his novels. Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2023, he has consistently contributed to Belfast’s cultural landscape. Currently a Professor of Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast. His career spans novels, documentaries for the BBC, and journalistic writings collected in Lapsed Protestant (2006). He has written plays for Radio 3 and Radio 4, and co-wrote with Colin Carberry the screenplay of the 2013 film Good Vibrations.


About Dr Leanne McCormick

Dr Leanne McCormick is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish Social History and the Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland (CHOMI) at Ulster University. She is co-creator with Elaine Farrell of the acclaimed Bad Bridget project and together they have produced a podcast series, a bestselling book and exhibition from the project. She is also the co-author with Professor Sean O’Connell (QUB) of a Department of Health commissioned report on Mother and Baby Home sand Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland. She is the Co-Chair or the Independent Truth Recovery Panel.  From 2022 she has been working on an AHRC funded project, Queen Northern Ireland: Sexuality Before Liberation with Dr Tom Hulme (QUB).


About Donal Fallon

Donal Fallon is a historian of Dublin, with a particular interest in the social history of the city. A founder of the popular Come Here To Me! blog in 2009, since 2019 he has presented the Three Castles Burning podcast, exploring the many histories of the Irish capital. His previous publications include 14 Henrietta Street: From Tenement to Suburbia (2021) and he is formerly Historian-in-Residence to Dublin City Council.


About Kim Mawhinney

Kim Mawhinney is Senior Curator of Art at the Ulster Museum, National Museums NI. She is primarily responsible for the historic and international contemporary Applied Art Collections and since 2009 Kim has also curated the Troubles Art collection. Throughout her career Kim has curated, juried and selected exhibitions, lectured and written about the history and development of museums and art curation, accessibility of art collections, curating and interpreting Troubles art, both nationally and internationally. Building relationships and engaging with collaborative projects with national and international partners has been key in both her curatorial practice and for bringing important exhibitions to the Ulster Museum. Through community engagement and developing new audiences, Kim is an active advocate that museums exist for everyone. Kim is currently Chair of Craft NI, and sits on the Board of the Belfast International Arts festival and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig.

About Imagine! Belfast

Imagine! Belfast: The Festival of Politics and Ideas, is dedicated to curating high-quality showcases for the discussion of contemporary political and societal issues including new ideas on politics, culture and activism. Celebrating its 10th year, the festival has welcomed a diverse array of local and international voices. To explore Imagine! Belfast and discover its exciting 2024 event lineup, visit:


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23rd March
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
£3.00 – £4.00
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The Linen Hall
+44 (0)28 9032 1707
View Organiser Website


Linen Hall Library
17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
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Booking is essential for all events including free events. All event tickets are non-refundable. Please view our Customer Service Policy.