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Nashville Students Come to Belfast

For the past five years, Panarts Charity has developed an exciting exchange partnership with Belmont University Nashville. Here in Belfast, the exchange takes place in March and July each year and is part of the Song Writing Degree course at Belmont. Sixteen Belmont staff and students arrive in Belfast on Saturday to explore Northern Ireland and to perform ‘In the Round’ at the Clayton Hotel Belfast in the Panarts Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival.

Panarts are now part of the University’s Study Abroad programme and the exchange has been a great opportunity for local songwriters to make new connections with like minded artists from all over North America.

During St Patrick’s week every year, Panarts, with support from Arts Council of Northern Ireland, travel over to Nashville with local songwriters to meet with leading music industry professionals and to showcase their music at Belmont University and the world famous Bluebird Café. Over the last fifteen years, Panarts have showcased more than fifty local writers in Nashville. Some of the songwriter s who have benefited from this international exchange include Ryan McMullan, Brigid O’Neill, Gareth Dunlop, Ciara O’Neill, Triona Carville and many more. This year, Allison McGrath, Niamh McGlinchey and Rory Nellis are showcasing in Belfast and over in Nashville and Robin Foster of the Belmont Motion Picture Department will film their progress along with his students.

Panarts Director, Colin Magee said;

“International exchange is an important part of our charity work and we’ve always believed that connecting different people in the arts is good for creativity, learning and for sharing skills. Our partnership with Belmont University has developed into something very special with friendships and new working opportunities continuing to grow each year”

Students on the Belmont course have written research papers on the history of Northern Ireland looking at politics, culture and music. The students are writing songs inspired by their research and some will perform their new songs at the festival. Four Belmont faculty

members will be accompanying the students whose majors include Song Writing, Audio Engineering Technology and Motion Pictures.

Professor James Elliot of Belmont University Nashville said;

“We're excited to continue our partnership with Panarts by bringing song writing students to participate in the 2019 Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. The festival is a culmination of an 8-week college course that includes six nights in Belfast. In addition to our time at the festival, students will visit the Titanic Experience, Giant’s Causeway and other sites. For Belmont students it’s a wonderful opportunity to perform at Belnash and meet some of the best songwriters and artists Northern Ireland has to offer. We are also excited that our students will have the opportunity to collaborate with local songwriters at the festival”

Joanne Wright, Arts Development Officer for Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “Panarts, through the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, not only brings the best international talent to Belfast but also profiles and supports our emerging artists, both at home and abroad, giving them a genuine boost to their careers. The Arts Council is delighted to see this exciting partnership between Panarts and Belmont University which shines a light on the culture and creativity that is inherent to Northern Ireland. Congratulations to all”