ps/o6.d. encuentrobelfast
ps/o6 public education | school of echoes | pedagogy of the ear

Ultra-red | Encuentro Belfast
"What Might [Organising] Another Politics Sound Like?"
Part of "I Confess That I Was There" a series organised by Interface, School of Art and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast

Catalyst Arts
Saturday, 18 November 2006
The ENCUENTRO begins at 15:00

2nd Floor 5 College Court
(South of Castle Street, East of King Street)
Belfast BT1 6BS
Tel. + 44 (0)28 9031 3303

On Saturday, 18 November 2006, Ultra-red will present the ENCUENTRO as part of "I Confess That I was There" a series of events organised by Interface. Held at Catalyst Arts, the ENCUENTRO is open to the public for artists, community organisers, and anyone interested in strategising around the intersection between critical art practice and organising.

For the first time in Belfast, the sound art organisation Ultra-red will host a discussion with organisers from Northern Ireland. Inviting individuals from four different community-based organisations, Ultra-red will facilitate responses to the question; "What might [organising] another politics sound like?" The Spanish term, "encuentro," meaning "encounter," suggests a format of gathering where the outcome can only be produced by those who come together. What becomes of the discussion and the impact it has depends entirely on the discussion itself and what desire for further elaboration arises from those in the room.

The ENCUENTRO suggests in both form and objective, a different way of conducting a political conversation. While political discourse in Northern Ireland continues to be monopolized by the State-building process, particularly in the lead up to the November 24 deadline, the ENCUENTRO brings together four individuals to speak about their own experiences of community organising in contemporary Northern Ireland.

Of particular interest for Ultra-red is how do these respondents, coming out of social service and community-based organisations, conceptualize their work as an organising practice.

  • What is their analysis of participation?
  • How do they build on their organising efforts from project to project?
  • How might we conceptualise new forms of organising that challenge the consolidation and monopolisation of political power?
  • Is there a different way to organise politics from the standard model of alliances that seem to serve the power interests of those who negotiate the alliance?

Facilitators: Janna Graham (London) and Dont Rhine (Los Angeles)

15.00 - 15.30 INTRODUCTION (Dont Rhine)


Claire Hackett, Co-ordinator, Dúchas Living History Project, Belfast. Dúchas is the Falls Road Community Council's oral history archive, which records the experience of the conflict in West Belfast. The idea for the Dúchas archive took root during the mid 1990's when the organisation began discussions on the significance of history, memory and peace building. Claire Hackett is chair of the storytelling subgroup of Healing Through Remembering, a broad based organisation which focuses on dealing with the past relating to the conflict. She has been an activist in the women's movement for over twenty years.

Edie Shillue is part of the support services team at the HIV Support Centre in Belfast. She works with others to provide a range of services and support for people living with and affected by an HIV Positive diagnosis. These services range from alternative therapies to information and helpline service. In addition to her work at the HIV Support Centre, Edith is a writer and academic. She holds a Doctorate in English from Queen's University and is the author of two books Earth and Water: Encounters in Viet Nam and Peace Comes Dropping Slow: Conversations in Northern Ireland. Her interests as a writer include how communities subvert dominant and dominating discourse as well as how language is coded to include/exclude.

David McCartney, The Rainbow Project / Derry. The Rainbow Project aims to address the physical, mental and emotional health of gay and bisexual men and is Northern Ireland's only gay and bisexual men's organisation. Beginning in 2003, the Rainbow Project organised the three-year initiative Positive Voices that brought together people living HIV and AIDS from all over Northern Ireland and Ireland. With funding from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Positive Voices reached out to hundreds of positive people and has produced the All Ireland Charter of Rights for People Living with HIV.

16.45 - 17.00 BREAK

17.00 - 18.30 SESSION TWO: DISCUSSION (Janna Graham, Facilitator)

"I Confess That I Was There" is a short season of events in Belfast, using a variety of formats -- Talks, Lectures, Discussion, Performance, Exhibited Works and Archive material -- representing prototypes of art production and practice-based research, concerned with relations between art/artists, place, location, memory and context. Organised by Interface, School of Art and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast.

Ultra-red would like to thank the following for making the ENCUENTRO possible: Sarah Pierce, Declan McGonagle, Louise Harbinson, Susanne Bosch, Mirjam Bader at Rainbow Project / Belfast, Sam Brush at the HIV Support Centre and all the dedicated folks at Interface, School of Art and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast and Catalyst Arts. Dont Rhine and Janna Graham would also like to extend gratitude to those Ultra-red members not in attendance but who provided crucial feedback in the development of the ENCUENTRO: Elizabeth Blaney, Manuela Bojadzijev, Eddie Peel, Elliot Perkins and Leonardo Vilchis. Finally, special thanks to our guest presenters, Raul Araujo, Claire Hackett, David McCartney, and Edie Shillue for opening up the discussion.