Belfast will be alive with debate during as people come together to discuss and debate the big issues of our times in Imagine Belfast Festival of Politics and Ideas.
This year, Imagine boasts its biggest ever programme, with over 80 free events in over 30 venues across the city, encouraging people to engage with the big issues of our times, including Brexit, poverty, inequality, 'fake news', 'A Century of Women in Parliamentary Politics' and 'Books that Bend Bars'.
The diverse seven-day festival hopes to attract over 5,000 people to an eclectic week of talks, workshops, theatre, poetry, comedy, music, exhibitions, film and tours. The festival is also hosting a competition, inviting the public to submit short films on the vision they have for the world of tomorrow.
The exciting line-up includes Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked, affectionately known as the Godmother of Americana, who brings her unique blend of indie, folk, blues, and politics to the festival. Kildare-born stand-up Jarlath Regan's ninth solo show, 'Organ Freeman', also comes to Imagine, fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe.
US Activist Carmen Perez – national co-chair of the Women's March on Washington, which brought over five million people onto streets across the globe – will provide a keynote speech as part of a series of talks and workshops on the theme of Democracy Day taking place on 14 March.
Elsewhere, the renowned and often provocative journalist, Peter Hitchens, is set to stir controversy arguing for closer and more trusting ties with Russia. Satire and political caricature are at the centre of veteran cartoonist Martin Rowson's event, in which he explores the techniques, practice and purpose of his craft. In another event, renowned Oxford Professor Danny Dorling will dive deep into assessing the extent to which inequality created the momentum behind the leave vote in 2016's Brexit referendum.
Alongside a host of other events, these are just some of the names fuelling one of the most vibrant festivals on these islands which will capture the imagination of Belfast.