QFT50 exhibition hits the road with Libraries NI

Dr Sam Manning's QFT50 exhibition is touring libraries throughout the north
Dr Sam Manning's QFT50 exhibition is touring libraries throughout the north Dr Sam Manning's QFT50 exhibition is touring libraries throughout the north

FOLLOWING its display as part of the QFT50 celebrations last October, Queen’s Film Theatre has partnered with Libraries NI to bring its QFT50 exhibition to audiences across Northern Ireland.

This exhibition is the culmination of a year-long Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research project undertaken by Queen’s University film scholar Sam Manning.

Employing a range of storytelling techniques and resources, including first-hand testimony from cinema-goers, staff and film-makers, plus photography and archival material, Dr Manning delves into the cinema’s unique story in the exhibition.

Having first visited Strabane Library last month, it has just arrived at Antrim Library, where it will remain on display until Monday July 15 before moving on to Lurgan Library and then to Warrenpoint.

"QFT holds a special place in the memories of many in Northern Ireland and it is fantastic that this tour will enable the history of our cinema to reach people through Libraries NI," says Joan Parsons, head of QFT.

QFT has been the north's foremost independent cinema since opening in 1968 – 70 per cent of its programme is unique and cannot be seen in any other cinema here. The exhibition shows how over the past half century, QFT has repeatedly risen to social, cultural and political challenges including the Troubles, declining cinema audiences, the rise of the multiplexes and changing cinema technology.

The exhibition raises the following questions: How have audiences changed in the past 50 years, and which films have they enjoyed? How has the building altered? How important has QFT been to the social and cultural life of Belfast and Northern Ireland?

Kirsty McClelland, senior good relations manager with Libraries NI says: "Libraries NI is delighted to be working with QFT to help celebrate their 50th anniversary.

"It is great to have the opportunity to help expand public access to the exhibition, with its unique historical snapshot, and host accompanying talks from Dr Sam Manning in branch library locations throughout July and August."

:: QFT50 exhibition tour: July 2-15, Antrim Library; July 16-August 4, Lurgan Library; August 5-30, Warrenpoint Library.