Raising Standards: Celebrating May Day 1992

This archive is from 1992 when, against the backdrop of continuing violence, talks between the four main political parties were reconvened at Stormont.

Under the banner of Radical Arts Theatre a group of artists created works to celebrate May Day in the Donegall Street area of Belfast, which would become Cathedral Quarter. The event was a forerunner to what has become the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. Undertaken were original compositions and recordings, theatrical backdrops, banners, visual art projects, installations, outdoor music events with street stalls, indoor poetry performances and video production.

Those taking part were Máighréad Medbh, Gerry McGovern, Vivien Burnside, Liam de Frinse, Benjamin Zephaniah, William Ennis, Michael Baker, David Hyndman, Tom Bevan and Mark Alexander.

Máighréad Medbh has published six books of poetry and three novels. She is widely known as a performance poet.

Gerry McGovern founded Nua and was described by the Irish Times as one of the top five visionaries who have had a major impact on the development of the Web.

Vivien Burnside’s public art work, Dividers, an 8.3 metre high bronze form stands in Clarendon Dock, Belfast, echoing the Harland & Wolff sentinel cranes on the other side of the river.

Liam de Frinse work is held in various art collections in Ireland, Switzerland, France and the USA.

Benjamin Zephaniah was included in The Times list of Britain’s top 50 post-war writers in 2008.

William Ennis disappeared as quickly as he appeared in 1992 and we have not been able to discover his whereabouts.

Michael Baker continues as an artist and sculptor, often working with groups in the community.

David Hyndman went on to be a founder member of NVTV, the local public service broadcasting channel for greater Belfast.

Tom Bevan went to America in 1993 where he continued to successfully practice art. He returned to Northern Ireland in 2017.

Mark Alexander retired to the Co. Down countryside, where he became involved with ecological issues.

cathedral quarter