The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to update members on work with community partners and a group of young men in the Orangefield area, and to seek approval for a piece of artwork on the wall at Orangefield Pavilion.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Approve the intent to install a piece of artwork on the wall at Orangefield Pavilion and agree the approach for codesigning the image.
3.0 Main report
3.1 East Belfast Alternatives have been working with a group of young men, supported by Eastside Greenways and Belfast City Council parks outreach team. This group of young men lost a friend at the start of the year to ongoing battles with mental health and substance misuse. This prompted a number of tributes and graffiti being sprayed on the walls at the pavilion.
3.2 East Belfast Alternatives have been using the pavilion every Thursday evening to work with the group of young men. They have undertaken training sessions around mental health including a wellness initiative created by the Trauma Resource Institute as well as emergency first aid and defibrillator training with the Red Cross. The group are keen to continue working together to support mental health initiatives, develop increased use of the pavilion for the community and take a bit of positive ownership of the space around the pavilion.
3.3 The group have requested approval to create a piece of artwork on the wall and produce something that would be a more fitting tribute to their friend as well as celebrate his work as a local artist. We believe this will also reduce any further graffiti or damage to the building and give the group a sense of ownership of the space. To date, the group have worked with a local east Belfast artist and have produced an image which council officers have advised might be unsuitable.
3.4 Officers have discussed and shared the PHA guidance on memorials which outlines some circumstance where memorials can have a negative effect on people, and also the importance of considering other park users - all who interpret images differently.
3.5 Officers are keen to support the work with this group of young men and continue to build on the positive outcomes for both the young men involved and the council’s work to create safe, welcoming spaces and increase community and resident capacity for development and participation.
3.6 This project aligns with priorities set out in the Belfast City Council’s Cultural Strategy, A City Imagining. One of the key themes of the strategy is ‘A City Belonging’, which proposes that through active participation, citizens will gain a sense of cultural belonging. Citizens should be supported to creatively express their identity and ensure they themselves and their creativity is reflected, welcomed and celebrated in their city.
3.7 The Orangefield Pavilion is a perfect example of this active participation as a group of young men have organised and engaged in creative expression on an issue that is important to them and is a positive message to the wider community (musical talent in Belfast and how creativity can help our mental health). Our cultural strategy positions citizens to be active agents of change and co-creators of cultural activity. These young men have taken on this role by engaging with artists, community organisers and local stakeholders – reinvigorating their local area in a collaborative and creative way.
3.8 Belfast recently gained UNESCO City of Music status and the story of what music means in Belfast is an important one to celebrate, which citizens have previously and repeatedly highlighted through consultation. This planned project celebrates a local artist who was part of initiatives such as HotBox Entertainment, a music studio based in East Belfast on Ravenhill Road which empowers young people to create and record their own music.
3.9 The mural and the work that these young men and all community groups involved are doing is carrying on the legacy of a local musician and advocating for what creativity can mean for people’s mental health, their sense of belonging in their community and their ability to actively participate in and shape their city.
3.10 To achieve the Cultural Strategy, we have an ambitious year-long celebration of creativity planned for 2024. As part of Belfast 2024, the creative sector, city stakeholders and citizens across Belfast will be co-designing and participating in the creative programme of events, exhibitions, performances and more.
3.11 It is essential that, to achieve this level of participation, we are investing in and building relationships with communities where they are supported to realise their ideas and visions for creativity in their local areas, such as the mural for Orangefield Pavilion.
Approach for agreeing the image
3.12 Officers recommend a co design approach with the group of young men, supported by the local artist, and including input from council’s Culture and Arts team, local elected members, and a specialist input from a local mental health charity or art therapy service.
We will use guidance previously agreed through committee on producing public animation/art around the centenary and ensure that we bring in expertise on the subject and ensure further engagement with other stakeholders.
Community/Partner consultation on the image
3.13 Officers recommend that the young men would undertake a consultation process with the new agreed image. This would include pop up engagement with park users, as well as partners such as Eastside Greenways, Eastside Arts, EBCDA, East Street Team, People of Orangefield Park, Bloomfield Football Club, Park Run, Bloomfield Wildlife, People of Orangefield Park, Bloomfield Community Association, Adopt a Spot groups, Orangefield Community Garden group, elected members. This engagement could be supported by Eastside Greenways team.
3.14 In addition to the image, the young men would like to include a QR code as part of the design which links the user to Spotify, and 7 of the artists songs. Also, a QR code beside the defibrillator which links the user to the East Belfast Health Hub App developed by EBCDA.
3.15 Officers from our communications team will check and approve the content before installation.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.16 No financial cost to council. This project would be funded by East Belfast Alternatives and their Communities in Transition funding.
Officers would advise that the permanency of the artwork be up to two years and then reviewed.
The group could be supported with the DPCSP graffiti packs to remove any unwanted tagging themselves which will further support the level of ownership felt by the group.
3.17 There are no associated impacts.”
The Committee approved the intent to install a piece of artwork on the wall at Orangefield Pavilion and agreed the approach for codesigning the image.