Previous Projects

Bring a Little Light to East Belfast this December

In normal times every December, organisations in East Belfast get together for the annual Lantern Parade, complete with Santa and all the bells and whistles. This year, things are looking different for a lot of people and we're all wondering what December will look like. Whilst things are a little strange, we're determined not to lose out on events that bring us together and give us joy, so we’re launching Bring A Little Light. 

Bring A Little Light is an East Belfast wide initiative, inspired by those amazing lantern parades, which aims to connect us and give us that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with the festive season. We've teamed up with Strand Arts Centre, Wandsworth Community Centre and Connswater Community Greenway to offer a variety of different ways for you to take part based on what suits you best.

1. Book your space on one of our free Lantern Making Workshops, held at Strand Arts Centre and Victoria Park. They're family friendly and all the materials you need will be supplied. (Due to Government guidelines spaces are limited so keep an eye on our What's On page to book!)

2. Bring your lantern on one of our free Festive Walks! With some fun guests to lead the walks, we'll be getting together outdoors with our twinkly lights and wooly hats to Bring a Little Light to different places in East Belfast. (Due to Government guidelines spaces are limited so keep an eye on our What's On page to book!)


1. Make your own lantern at home! You can find an instructional video on how to create a Willow Lantern HERE and written instructions on how to create lanterns from recycled materials HERE

2. Download and print out our 'Bring A Little Light' poster by clicking HERE. Colour it in and display it in your window - why not encourage other people you know to do the same? 

3. After it gets dark on Friday 11th December, take your lantern, a torch or anything that lights up safely outside your house to light up your neighbourhood. Maybe other people on your street would like to join in too - you might even want to do your very own Lantern Walk. If you're going to organise a neighbourhood walk remember to stick to the government guidelines - we've created a handy guide HERE which might help. 

4. Take a picture of how you're celebrating the event and send it in to us. You can email it to or DM us on our social channels (including Connswater Community Greenway socials)

Remember: We only make willow lanterns and don't reccommend the use of chinese or floating lanterns as these are dangerous and harmful to the natural environment. 

However you choose to take part, have fun and stay safe. We can't wait to see how you Bring A Little Light to East Belfast this year!




The annual Home Project in association with Terra Nova Productions offers 4 emerging artists living in Belfast the chance to take part in a mentorship programme which focuses on developing their practice as intercultural artists.  The artists receive one to one mentorship with an artist established in their chosen artform whether that be; dance, drama, visual art or music as well as some basic training in the practicialities of facilitating a community workshop and putting together a showcase event. 

As a part of this project the artists get the opportunity to work with east Belfast based community groups to discuss diversity within their community with the aim of creating a new art piece with that community group.  A diiferent theme is introduced each year which helps to facilitate this discussion, in previous years we have asked what does Home mean to you and we have explored how the preparation of food and how we share a meal can change within different family or community circles.

Each year we ask emerging artists living in Belfast to apply to take part in the Home Project where they receive;

  • Free one to one mentorship sessions with an established artist in their chosen artform whether that be; dance, drama, visual art or music
  • Free training days with Terra Nova Productions in the basics of facilitating a community workshop and producing a showcase event.
  • Placement with a local community group for paid facilitation.
  • Support for the development of a new art piece (including a budget for props, costume, set, materials and other production costs)

We worked with some amazing new artists for the 2019 Home Project Artists and they created fantastic new art pieces in visual art and dance which were showcased in February at the Strand Arts Centre.  You can check out the video of the showcase HERE


Find out more about the 2019/20 Home Project Artists

Find out more about the 2019/20 Home Project Showcase 'Belonging'


Creative Wellbeing

In an initiative supported by the Public Health Agency through the CLEAR Project, EastSide Arts, in partnership with the Belfast Health & Social Trust ran a series of creative workshops in The Arches Wellbeing & Treatment Centre in 2017.  The aim of these workshops was to offer a space within the health centre where people could relax and get creative either before or after appointments and a space where staff could take 10 minutes out of their day to unwind with a craft workshop.

This pilot programme has been continued by the East Belfast Community Developments Health Development and Connections Programme who can be found in the health centre regularly offering craft workshops and information.


Healthy HeARTS and Minds

This Healthy HeARTS and Minds project aimed to develop a menu of weekly arts opportunities in east Belfast which would supplement the already existing structures for social prescribing there. Creative activities are widely known to be effective methods of addressing mental health issues as well as offering opportunities to improve physical health and well being.  

The project, in partnership with the East Belfast Community Development Agency offered weekly, donation based creative workshops delivered by local artists hosted in local community settings in the east. Training was offered throughout the programme for local artists and EastSide volunteers ensuring participants were facilitated by experienced artists. 

Through creative workshops such as; craft, dance, music, drama and more, participants learned about the Take 5 steps to wellbeing and were actively encouraged to practice Take 5 steps by learning new skills/interests, connecting with new people, getting active, giving their time to attend or volunteer, and taking notice of their wellbeing. 


Humans of East Project

The Humans of East project brought together groups of different ages and backgrounds to work on a collaborative pier documenting the thing which makes east belfast such a great place to live - the people who live there! Drawing inspiration from the well known "Humans of New York" photo blog, humans of east Belfast captured portraits and stories from a wide mix of people who live in the area and make up the communities it holds. 


The Human's of East Belfast Exhibition appeared as a part of this years Possitive Ageing Month  in 2016 and was displayed in The Black Box from 6th - 31st October.  CLICK HERE to view the exhibition online!

A special thank you to Carrie Davenport and the artists involved.


Lagan Village Wishing Tree

In association with ArtsEkta, EastSide Arts hosted summer workshops with Lagan Village Youth Group looking at themes of wishes, hopes and dreams.  The group at Lagan Village created a beautiful Wishing Tree which will was planted in Botanic Garden as a part of the Belfast Mela this summer.  The tree has now returned to Lagan Village Community Centre and will remain there for everyone to see.


The Pop Up Pharmacy

If you could give another person one great piece of advice what would it be?  What would you say to someone who is feeling a bit lonely or unhappy to cheer them up?

The Pop up Pharmacy project asked people to think about; What makes them happy? Where is their favourite place or thing to do in East Belfast and why?  What song or piece of music makes them happy?  What is their idea of a perfect day?  What is their favourite thing to eat?

Local residents were then encouraged to create and contribute pieces of art, craft and other small, meaningful items which were collated in a purpose-built pharmacy installation. When the People’s Pharmacy opened on Saturday 4th August 2017, (running in conjunction with the EastSide Arts Festival Fun Day), local residents were able to visit the pharmacy and receive a “prescription” created by another east Belfast Resident.


This project aims to; connect local individuals and community groups by working together on a joint project that introduces social prescribing in a fun way and raise awareness of health and wellbeing needs and opportunities through the arts and subtle promotion of the Take 5 message.

Some examples of what people contributed were; photographs, recipes, poems, stories, drawings, paintings and knitted or crochet gifts.  We received hundreds of these hand made donations and gave out nearly 300 prescriptions to people along with some information about local groups and health hubs.