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Belfast’s Continental Market is set to return to City Hall this Christmas

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Belfast Christmas Market
Return: Continental Christmas market will take place outside Belfast City Hall from November 20 to December 2

Belfast’s much-loved Continental Market is set to return this winter, taking its well-known place on the grounds of City Hall for a month in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Market, considered by many in Belfast to be a symbol of the city’s festive spirit, will set up shop outside City Hall from November 20 to December 22.

The return comes after a scaled-down version of the Market ran last year throughout Christmas, although strict Covid restrictions were in place.

The organisers were forced to cancel the Market in 2020 due to lockdown laws, meaning that this will be the first full-scale version of Belfast’s Continental Market in three years.

What should I know before visiting?

Located slap bang in the centre of Belfast, the Continental Market is a major Christmas event that sees dozens of traders from all over the world come to the city to sell all manner of trinkets, foods drinks, and services (everything from Scandinavian knitwear to Dutch pancakes can be found here).

The market is looked at with a sense of pride by many locals in Belfast, as these cosy wooden stalls, heaving beer tents, signature Christmas tree, and dazzling Christmas lights all transform the city centre into a festive hub.

Belfast’s Christmas Market attracts as many as one million visitors each year and is estimated to contribute over £70 million to the local economy.

Speaking about the news of the Continental Market’s return, Allan Hartwell, managing director of Market Place Europe and the man overseeing the Market in Belfast, said: “We’re delighted that once again the sights and sounds of the Belfast Christmas Market will form a focal point for the city centre during the festive season…We have made renewed investment on the market to make sure it feels as special as ever.”

What should I visit at the Market if I go there?

Here’s a taster of some of the excellent stalls to visit if you’re planning on going to the Continental Market this winter:

The Dutch Pancakes Stall

The Dutch pancakes (or ‘Poffertjes’) served at the Continental Market are the stuff of legends. The stall is by far the most popular one year after year, with many looking forward to getting a taste of these light-than-air, small, fluffy treats.

The stall also serves delicious ‘gluhwein’ (Dutch mulled wine), if you’re feeling thirsty after filling up on pancakes!

The Beer Tents

You’ll find no better atmosphere in Belfast at Christmas time than in either of the two beer tents at the Continental Market.

Nestled in amongst the stalls and vendors, the local Laverys Beer Tent, and the German Beer Tent, are always alive with seasonal revelers.

In Laverys, you’ll find local craft beers, gins, and ciders galore. Meanwhile, in the German Beer Tent, you can get your hands on strong German ‘doppelbock’ beers, as well as 1 litre ‘Steiners’.

We doubt you’ll go thirsty!

The Little Salty Seahorse

A local trader, The Little Salty Seahorse was the winner of the ‘Jolly Big Business Boost’, a competition to give a local trader in Belfast the opportunity to set up a stall at the Continental Market completely free.

The business offers beautiful trinkets, ornaments, and pictures which are hand-crafted from sea glass and pebbles.

And the rest…

The Little Salty Seahorse is one of a large number of local traders who you’ll find at the Market this year. Following on from the difficulties of lockdown over the past few years, the Market’s organisers have said that they’re looking to highlight local businesses as much as possible this year. Find full details here.

Freelance journalist, travel writer, and copywriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Peter McGoran has worked as a staff writer for Hot Press Magazine and Belfast Live, and he has been published in the Daily Mirror NI, the Manchester Evening News, and the Daily Express.

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£125,000 in grants awarded to UK creatives to support careers in screen arts

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Emerging creative from low socio-economic backgrounds are amongst the talent receiving bursaries.

BAFTA announced over £125,000 in grants have been awarded to 69 talented creatives to support their career development in the screen arts.  

This year, grants of up to £2,000 each have been made available to 58 emerging creatives including production assistants, costumer designers, writers, game designers, and camera and sound trainees to help them progress in their respective crafts. The grants will go towards essential costs such as driving lessons, specialist equipment, training and relocation costs that might otherwise lock talented people out of a screen arts career.  

The Prince William BAFTA Bursary scheme is named in honour of BAFTA’s President. Kickstarted with the support of film director Paul Greengrass, it is now in its fourth year.

For the first time, BAFTA is also awarding grants to individuals who have been forcibly displaced in collaboration with the Refugee Journalism Project. £30,000 in funding has been awarded to 11 recipients including journalists, editors, directors and videographers.  

The Refugee Journalism Project builds on BAFTA’s recent work with Counterpoint Arts – highlighting the importance of authentic portrayals of refugees on-screen, including recent events with BAFTA award-winning filmmaker and activist Hassan Akkad, a masterclass with BAFTA award-winning director Waad al-Kateab, and ‘Introduction to Filmmaking’ workshops with Deadbeat Films. 

Supporting the next generation of talent is an essential part of our mission. The Prince William BAFTA Bursary Fund is a fantastically effective way to kick-start careers, particularly for those who face socio and economic inequality. The bursaries are transformative for career starters, enabling them to buy an essential piece of kit, secure training, or in some cases it’s as simple as getting driving lessons so they can get to set! There is no shortage of potential in our workforce. Unfortunately, the opportunity to act on that potential is all too often limited by financial barriers. So, I’m delighted to continue The Prince William BAFTA Bursary Fund, thanks to our incredibly generous network of donors and supporters,” says Jane Millichip, CEO of BAFTA.

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Qatar museum opens exhibition revealing new voices from the Arab world

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Qatar museums opens exhibition revealing new voices from the Arab world
"Take Shelter" is one of the films showing during "Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices" | Photo: still courtesy © LA CHAUVE-SOURIS

Qatar Museum has opened Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices, a major exhibition coinciding with the 60th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, bringing together works by filmmakers and video artists from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. On view at ACP Palazzo Franchetti (through 24 November), the exhibition presents a journey in moving images through contemporary experiences of community life and memory, transnational crossings and exile.

Your Ghosts Are Mine is produced by Qatar Museums and co-organised by Doha Film Institute, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the future Art Mill Museum in collaboration with ACP Art Capital Partners and with support from Media City Qatar. It is curated by Matthieu Orléan with Majid Al-Remaihi and Virgile Alexandre, with exhibition design by Federico Martelli and Clément Périssé. The advisory committee includes Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Zeina Arida and Catherine Grenier.

The exhibition explores themes such as deserts, ruins, borders, exile and women’s voices through films supported by Doha Film Institute and video works from Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the future Art Mill Museum.

The works span fiction, documentary, animation and memoir. Included are excerpts from works by over 40 artists including Faouzi Bensaidi (Morocco), Jessica Beshir (Ethiopia), Ali Cherri (Lebanon), Tala Hadid (Morroco), Joana Hadjithomas (Lebanon), Khalil Joreige (Lebanon), Soudade Kaadan (Syria), Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho), Asmae El Moudir (Morocco), Amal Al-Muftah (Qatar), Shirin Neshat (Iran), Larissa Sansour (Palestine), Abderrhamane Sissako (Mauritania), Elia Suleiman (Palestine), Ramata-Toulaye Sy (Senegal), Tariq Teguia (Algeria), Shaima Al Tamini (Yemen), plus works by Wael Shawky, Lida Abdul, Hassan Khan and Sophia Al Maria.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums and Doha Film Institute, said, “Your Ghosts Are Mine will open the eyes of international viewers to the ideas, feelings, and artistic visions of today’s filmmakers from the Arab world and neighbouring regions. With this exhibition, Qatar Museums advances its mission of encouraging understanding across borders, while Doha Film Institute continues to nurture rising talents of our region.”  

A schedule of film screenings accompanying the exhibition is available here.    

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Thousands of free travel passes available to travel around Europe

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Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days

Starting this summer, thousands of young people will once again travel around Europe by train for free thanks to the latest call of the DiscoverEU programme. Today at 12:00 CET during the European Youth Week buzzing with activities, the Commission launched the latest DiscoverEU application round. It will end on Tuesday 30 April at 12:00 CET.

In total, 35,500 travel passes are available. To get one, young people born between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2006 can do a quiz with five questions about the EU and one additional question on the European Youth Portal. Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days between 1 July 2024 and 30 September 2025.

The call is open to applicants from the European Union and countries associated to the Erasmus+ programme including Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Türkiye. Ticket holders can plan their own routes or be inspired by existing ones. For example, they can discover a route launched last year, which focuses on cities and places making the European Union ‘beautiful, sustainable and inclusive’ in line with the principles of the New European Bauhaus.

Participants can also benefit from the DiscoverEU Culture Route an initiative of the 2022 European Year of Youth that combines various cultural destinations including architecture, music, fine art, theatre, fashion and design. Participants can visit the European Capitals of Culture which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List,  European Heritage Label sites, or Access City Award label locations, which are cities that have gone above and beyond to become more accessible to everyone.

Participants will also receive a discount card with over 40,000 discount possibilities on public transport, culture, accommodation, food, sports and other services in eligible countries. Additionally, Erasmus+ National Agencies organise pre-departure information meetings, and national agencies across all Erasmus+ countries prepare DiscoverEU Meet-ups, learning programmes lasting from one to three days.

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