Creative Director of Belfast's Outburst Queer Arts Festival Ruth McCarthy, and Chair, Cian Smyth, headed to Brazil, Venezuela and Jamaica through the British Council in June 2015.
They spent an intensive two weeks sharing expertise as LGBTQ cultural activists in Northern Ireland as well as their skills in creative entrepreneurship and festival development. The pair also demonstrated the role of the arts in exploring issues of human rights and diversity — in a region with its own documented problems and violence directed at LGBTQ communities.
Highlights of the visit included meetings with government policy makers such as the Secretary of Human Rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil; learning from social enterprises in Caracas, Venezuela and visiting the On the Edge arts festival in Kingston, Jamaica.
Outburst Queer Arts Festival is Northern Ireland’s only, and rapidly growing LGBTQ arts festival. This year from 12 - 21 November 2015, it returned for its ninth year aiming to support, encourage and inspire local LGBTQ creativity, in addition to bringing the best in international queer arts to the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Outburst Queer Arts Festival started in 2007 as a grassroots LGBTQ community-led showcase for queer creativity. It has grown into one of the most innovative and exciting small festivals in Ireland and the UK, with an eclectic programme unlike any other in Northern Ireland.
The overall vision for Outburst is simple: to create a bold, brave and innovative platform in Northern Ireland for new local and international queer arts, performance and brilliant creative ideas. From celebrated cutting-edge international artists to explosive new local talent, Outburst shines a great big spotlight on the best of LGBTQ creativity in theatre, performance, spoken word, film, music, dance and much more.
While focusing on the creative voices and engagement of LGBTQ artists and community, they actively promote Outburst as a festival where everyone is welcome, making it one of the most inclusive, welcoming and diverse queer arts events in the world.