Showing posts with label BBC Radio Ulster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BBC Radio Ulster. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Westlink: Solution or Problem?

The Westlink (part of the original Belfast Urban Motorway which never was) attracts a wide range of opinion from experts examining the political, engineering and social impact and residents to whom the road is part of everyday life. There is no question that the road is a key route in modern Belfast, but could it have been implemented differently? BBC Radio Ulster's 'The Gathering' (available on iPlayer) examines some of these issues...

How the Belfast Urban Motorway system could have appeared.
In this image you can see the Ormeau Road and the Gasworks.

The Gathering: Episode Three (31 July 2011)
Belfast Urban Motorway 
As the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Westlink passes, John Bennett considers the controversial plans for the Belfast Urban Motorway, and why it never came to fruition.
Three decades ago when the West Link was opened the motorists of Belfast were hoping that the endless queues and jams were at an end. The idea of joining the two main motorways had been part of a much bigger plan called the Belfast Urban Motorway - a six lane, stilt-borne thoroughfare which was to encircle the city and continue across Belfast Lough via a brand new bridge. Alas it never happened! The traffic continued to build up - the jams increased. 
The onset of The Troubles added to the problems and the newly constructed carriageway became a concrete dividing line between communities. 
This week we examine the political, engineering and social problems which have beset the scheme since its inception and ask if the planners could have done better.

The Westlink ('canyon section') as it appears today.
Photo by Wesley Johnston from

The episode is available on iPlayer for 3 more days until Sunday 7th August. Definitely worth a listen!

Click Here for the BBC iPlayer page to listen. (Length: 25 Mintues)

Also available on iPlayer is a clip from 'Tomorrow's Road' (first broadcast in 1972) which outlined some of the construction challenges with the Belfast Urban Motorway.

Click Here for the BBC iPlayer page to listen. (Length: 2 Minutes)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

out of PLACE on Arts Extra

Ahead of this morning's out of PLACE launch (see more info here), Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network and Amberlea Neely of PLACE spoke on last night's Arts Extra (the piece is at the beginning of the show).

Also note that today's launch is at out of PLACE on Castle Lane, rather than PLACE on Fountain Street as mentioned on the show.

BBC iPlayer: Arts Extra, 16th June 2010

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Resounding Rivers on Arts Extra

Above: Matt Green (centre) at the launch on Thursday evening. Resounding Rivers continues until 5th June at PLACE and sites around Belfast city centre.

You can hear Matt Green and Michael Hegarty (Director, PLACE) discuss the Resounding Rivers project with Marie Louise Muir on Wednesday's Arts Extra, via the iPlayer. Click here (starts around 24 mins).

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The debate goes on...

Above: Rendering of the Magic Jug in situ; via Belfast Streets Ahead

On this morning's Good Morning Ulster, the debate on the Magic Jug continued...

You can listen to the piece on the BBC iPlayer here - it starts at around 1 hr 52 mins.

Some of the main arguments are outlined below...

"It's not going to resonate with people, because it's not designed by someone who understands the people of Belfast. What makes great art? Why should it go here? There was no debate." (Will Chamberlain)

"We need a bit more transparency in how public money is spent. We don't want to be just given public art and told why it's good for us." (Daniel Jewesbury)

"Everything like that brightens the place up and makes it nice."
"It's like dressing a room."
"I think the worst people to ask are the experts in the field of architecture and art."
"I think the public are the ones who should decide because they're the ones who are going to be paying for it." (Public on Fountain Street)

"The whole concept of the city means discussion, and it means that it has to be held in a very open forum. We can't have people behind closed doors making decisions that don't engage with the people. It goes right back to the ancient idea of a city, and it has a lot to say about how you then put art in a city as well." (Mark Hackett)

"The response that we got around the city centre was extremely positive. I think what you are hearing is a small bunch of "experts" who are getting into a debate about the merits of what is art, which is not reflective of the debate you hear on the streets and which your reporter picked up. And that's a debate which very much welcomes this investment. From a town centre manager's perspective, a lot of my colleagues in other cities would be delighted that a government department was making this sort of investment. I think some existential debate about what is art is not particularly helpful... Not only are we doing this dressing exercise and giving ourselves something that looks very attractive, actually it has a physical purpose of connecting areas, drawing lines of sight and helping people move around the city." (Andrew Irvine, BCCM)

- Read the report of the meeting held at PLACE on Monday 26th May
- Belfast's Magic Jug? - Slugger O'Toole
- Smash or hug the jug? - Slugger O'Toole

Friday, 26 March 2010

Arts Extra: Public art and public spaces

Above: Artists rendering of the Mute Meadow public art installation at the Ebrington Barracks in Derry.

Marie Louise Muir talked to three of yesterday's Lives and Spaces panel on last night's Arts Extra: Head of sculpture at NCAD, Philip Napier; Michael Hegarty, PLACE Director; and Ciaran Mackel of ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects.

The discussion centred mostly on what public art and "iconic buildings" Northern Ireland wanted to see - Ciaran and Michael were keen to argue that the starting point must be the quality of our ordinary buildings and public space.

The segment begins at around 18:30.

BBC iPlayer: Arts Extra, 25/03/2010 (available until Thurs 1st April)

Friday, 12 March 2010

Belfast architecture special on Arts Extra last night

Above: The Forum for Alternative Belfast's map of the "missing city" of Belfast - you can pick up a copy at PLACE

Last night's Arts Extra on BBC Radio Ulster featured three Belfast voices in architecture and regeneration.

One of the major problems with the current model of development is that "vast swathes of our local community...are unable to raise adequate criticism", says Doug Elliott. He objects particularly to the redevelopment of the Ulster Museum, and says the design of Victoria Square has a similarly detrimental effect on the city to that of the Castle Court shopping centre.

Mark Hackett also has his sights set on the area around CastleCourt, with the reopening of Berry Street and the redevelopment of Bank Square two of the key items on the agenda for the Forum for Alternative Belfast.

Meanwhile, Patricia Freedman discusses the work of the Cathedral Quarter Steering Group and some of the issues raised at Tuesday's panel discussion.

BBC iPlayer: Arts Extra 11/03/2010 (available for 6 more days)

Read more:
- BD Online: Final bid to halt Ulster Museum extension plan
- Belfast City of Quarters Conference - 25th & 26th March
- Forum for Alternative Belfast

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Late Night Art: Thursday 5th March 6 - 9pm

The Girli Concrete/Tactility Factory Fabrication exhibition is on show for tonight's Late Night Art @ PLACE, from 6 - 9pm.

The exhibition was also featured on this morning's Good Morning Ulster on BBC Radio Ulster: if you missed it you can listen again on the BBC's iPlayer for the next seven days. Rosy Billingham's interview with Trish Belford (above) starts around 1 hour 58 minutes in. You can also read an accompaniment piece to the interview on the BBC News website here.