Arts, culture and music

Mount Stewart Conversations 1 & 2 September 2018

Mount Stewart house, and the world famous gardens, will come alive with an eclectic mix of activities and entertainment including dance, music, and art.

Mount Stewart Conversations has teamed up with two cutting edge arts partners: Seedhead Arts and Beyond Skin, in order to create an amazing, and at times surprising, line-up of free entertainment and workshops during the two-day festival.

The Next Village

All day Saturday and Sunday - free, unticketed

Kafka once suggested that a single human life may be too short for the journey from one village to another, let alone the globe itself, Nevertheless, at Mount Stewart Conversations Festival we are going to try to get to know our new neighbours. Awakening our senses we will creatively explore where global meets the local to try to gain insight into life in The NEXT VILLAGE. …and along the way we begin a conversation with our global neighbours, beginning to learn about them –perhaps indeed, learning from each other about our place in this shared world.

The Village Experience

  • Sensory arts – sensitive and fluid to nurture and cater to crowd flow, natural conversation opportunities and surrounding talks. A creative conversation space with seating and refreshments provisions.
  • Programmed workshops


  • Flax Doll & Linen Arts (workshop) - Maria Cárdenas
  •     Question of Utopia Arts (interactive activity)   Andrea Walker
  •     Indian Arts (interactive activity) - Amita Ravikiran
  •     Lydian Stream Mind Harp (interactive activity) - Mark Smulian
  •     Sound & Healing Spa (interactive activity) - Tessa Ann
  •     Ukulele M'Lady (workshop) - Roisin Erskine & Claire Louise
  •     African Music & Dance (workshop) - Landing Máne
  •     Vibration of Communication (talk/workshop) - Tessa Ann & Shelley Deane
  •     Duozouk (music) - Nikos Petsakos & Marty Coyle
  •     Harp On (music) - Claire-Louise & guests

Crazy, mind expanding stuff

All day Saturday and Sunday – free, unticketed

This is a festival of ideas after all and so, we assume you haven’t come here to simply kick back and admire the begonias*, but to be challenged, provoked and intellectually nudged in a few unexpected directions.

Young or old learning to question is perhaps the most important skill we can practice in today's mental world so we've curated a space where magic, laughter and dexterity will not just delight but challenge and teach

*Good thing too, as we’re not actually gardeners (shh!)

Speed Debating!

Literific stands for The Literary and Scientific Society and is the oldest students’ society at Queen’s University Belfast.  Over the course of Mount Stewart Conversations Festival the students will run a wide range of speed debates relevant to society today and you will be very welcome to join in. Make your voice heard!

The Thought Experiments Scavenger Hunt

Seedhead Arts is back at Mount Stewart Conversations Festival, with the inimitable Thought Experiments Scavenger Hunt – it’s walkabout, but not as you know it. Should you decide to take a stroll down our garden path, you’ll meet plenty of characters who will give you a laugh, but it’s just as likely they’ll mess with your head a little bit as well…

Joe Loughlin’s  Animal Antics

Cross David Attenborough with Animal from The Muppets and you might get Joe Loughlin , a passionate wildlife expert with an equally wild passion for making very loud music. They’ll be some cutting-edge, brand-new, nature-inspired material, but he could do with a bandmate or thirteen to cover all the parts. Why not grab something from his extensive percussion collection - a rain-stick, a chime-bar or even a thunder drum - let your inner animal out loose?

The Which Tent

Feeling older but not necessarily wiser? Sometimes as the years go on it can get harder and not easier to know which way to turn. Well, you could do worse than turning your feet towards our Which Tent, which is occupied by a witch and – with a few centuries on us - happens to know what is what (or which is which.) Not your traditional sorceress, she doesn’t own a broomstick or a hat but don’t be fooled - she’s still pretty magic. Give her a few moments of your time and we’re sure you’ll come away feeling much less disenchanted with your lot in life.

No Camera Tricks'I can't believe my eyes.'

That's a phrase that we don't often say or truly mean anymore. With virtually any content we could wish for at our fingertips, just a click away, we are used to seeing the fantastical everyday. But what if you truly couldn't believe what you were seeing? What if you started to question your mind, your reality?......... is a real world installation piece that uses magic and illusion to create a strange reality. Strange enough to make you stop and consider just what is real, you won't believe your eyes.

A Flippin’ Experimental Drawing Workshop

Flip it in your mind, drawing. Forget the characters, forget the objects.  In this sociable rolling workshop, Sally O'Dowd will provide a space to playfully explore choreography and movement through drawing.

Here we will use our imagination to create and capture ideas of movement, whether that be cooking spaghetti bolognaise, raving at a club, or milking a cow. We will use a range of methods, materials and tools to expand how we think about image making. Beginners and experts welcome. Materials will be provided.

Bubble Trouble

Bubbles. Like MASSIVE bubbles. What’s not to like?

The Wicker Plan

Join artist Jim Russle and help him create giant creatures to populate the Conversations landscape.

Drone Patrol

Robin Price has taught his drone to carry a paint brush. What could possibly go wrong.

Mount Stewart Conversations 1 & 2 September 2018

Festival talks - book now

Join authors, historians, politicians and intellectuals for a variety of lively and interactive talks. Book your tickets....

Book a guitar masterclass with Justin Adams or Dave Randall

Exclusive guitar master classes - book now

Learn from the best with a guitar master class hosted by a rock n' roll legend...

Friends of Mount Stewart Conversations Festival 2018

Friends of Mount Stewart Conversations Festival

Mount Stewart Conversations Festival is delivered with the support of a number of leading funding bodies, charities and arts organisations.