Conversations Festival - Mount Stewart

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Mount Stewart Conversations Festival will return on 7 & 8 September 2019 in the form of a truly contemporary, intimate and participative event that’s challenging, dynamic and fun. Beyond Skin are delighted to be programme & development partner for fourth year running.

A celebration of creativity and debate, this two-day festival will reveal the unique history of Mount Stewart and its place in history as a hothouse of creativity and individuality. The weekend will include a variety of talks, music, literature and live debates, ticketed events (pre-booked) and free activities located around the house and gardens which can be enjoyed by all.

Full Press Release soon

Once again Beyond Skin have put together a diverse kaleidoscopic programme with the best creative talent from near, far and farther still.

Facilitating Artists: Siobhan Brown, Slawomir Cichy, Wilhelmina Corvington. Raphael Frank, Ripton Lindsay, Mim Suleiman, Ingrid Guyon & Antonio Amador (Fotosynthesis), Amita Ravikiran, Vane MG, Tessa Ann

Beyond Skin Immersive Activities: Here & Now Choir, Music Land Drums & Percussion, Art of Conversation, Grime Rap Trap Music Making, Jamaican Dance, Swahili Ukulele. Fotosynthesis Experimental Photography, Indian Arts, Graffiti Art.

Beyond Skin would like to thank investment partners: National Trust, The Arts Council Northern Ireland, The Executive Office (Good Relations T:BUC).

Official Website:

BBC Programmed Talks:

Access to Mount Stewart will be free. Selected talks will carry a ticket charge and will be available to book in advance.

Beyond Skin Free Workshop Programme Saturday & Sunday

11.30am – 12.15pm: Grime Rap Trap Workshop
You’ll be making fresh beats for peace and rhymes in no time

12.30pm – 1.15pm: Souls Liberation Jamaican Fusion Dance
Movement of Conversation – You will find your feet have something to say.

1.30pm – 2.15pm: Here & Now Choir
The stress-relieving benefits of choir singing have been widely recognized. All voices & ages welcomed to be a part of the hear & now in this vocal mindfulness workshop.

2.30pm – 3.15pm: Ukulele Swahili
Master four strings to the sweet sound of the Mama Africa of the modern era.

Workshops periodically throughout the Day

Fotosynthesis: Experimental Participatory Photography
Fotosynthesis is an international team of professional photographers, filmmakers and participatory methods practitioners that uses ethical and inclusive image making as a tool to engage, educate and create new narratives.

Music Land: Drums & Percussion
Nature has a rhythm – we invite you to join in. Amongst the trees there be vibrations in the breeze. 

Indian Arts
Learn authentic arts from South India and everyone’s favourite - Henna

Graffiti Art
As part of a wider project linking Northern Ireland with Colombia and the Colombian diaspora – visual art production reflecting our shared independence with each other & the natural world.

A Peace of Art
"There's nothing like a brush laden with paint and a plain sheet of paper."

Sound & Healing Spa (Saturday only)
Singing Bowl healing sound frequency will resonate your body cells, and detox, balance, and soothe your body and spirit.



Mount Stewart House
Portaferry Road, Newtownards, BT22 2AD

By Car
You wil find Mount Stewart House on the Newtownards to Portaferry road, A20, 15 miles south-east of Belfast.

Free parking is available 100 yards from the House.

SatNav: If you are using SatNav/GPS, please be aware that it may lead you to the back gate at Mount Stewart which is not accessible to the public. Mount Stewart is on the Portaferry Road in Newtownards heading towards Greyabbey. Please stay on the Portaferry Road where you will see Mount Stewart clearly signposted.

By Bus
Belfast to Portaferry, alight at gates.

By Train
Bangor is 10 miles away by train.



Vane MG is a multidisciplinary artist & Designer from Colombia who is now established in London. She worked in the Design world from 2009 & in 2015 she started working on projects which focussed on highlighting the importance of Colombian women. Her objective is to attempt to reclaim elements of the cultural past, integrating it with the present and creating new images that help to define a lost identity. Her most recent and important artwork was being a commissioned artist for the world renowned Kew Gardens in London, painting colorful Colombian nature in murals at the Princess of Wales Conservatory for the famous Orchid Festival, that in 2019 was focused on Colombia. Participating in this huge event positioned her as a Colombian artist representing her country whilst being the first artist in the world to in paint inside the Kew Gardens walls. She is working in Painting, Art interior design, street art, Art Videomapping, showing the force of the creative woman leader through the spirituality of ancient Latin culture. At the same time she is working in collaboration with more artists and Designers in London, around Europe and Colombia helping to build a stronger artworld for more people and opening more art opportunities for everyone. Now as a female artist, although far from her land of origin, she feels the call of her roots which she wants to share with the rest of the world.

Fotosynthesis is a team of professional photographers, filmmakers and participatory methods practitioners that uses ethical and inclusive image making as a tool to engage, educate and create new narratives. We have of 10 years of experience designing and delivering creative projects with schools, businesses, community groups, charities, NGO’s, international development agencies, cultural organisations, universities and local .government institutions.

Raphael Frank is a London based producer/rapper that specialises in producing Grime/HipHop and trap. Through his production he has worked with various big names in the UK music scene; teaming up with other producers such as @producerzvph @steelbangles and recording and mixing for artist such as @temp_t @irishpaddy32c.
Raphael Frank also works closely with young people in various communities that are either having difficulty in education or other personal issues motivating and encouraging them through creativity; by teaching rap, music production.
Raphael Frank is also a member of #ArtsDialogue an international intergenerational team of musicians, artists, producers, writers & peace activists. 

Siobhan Brown - Founder and manager of the Manukahunney soul band who play regularly at the Back box and  some of irelands biggest festivals  Siobhan’s love for music is evident when you see her on stage.  Music has always been a big part of her life from a very young age and she has a passion for harmonies and rhythm.  Having led numerous vocal acappella groups and gospel choirs, and currently running the Clanmil Community Choir her experience in vocal arrangements is of the highest quality. Steeped in a background of gospel music, Siobhan’s ear is attuned to the rhythmic and funky grooves of the genre. In Northern Ireland her musical journey has seen her perform as backing vocalist to artists such as Brian Houston, Kaz Hawkins and Amanda St John and sing in productions alongside The Ulster Orchestra , with Night of 1000 voices, in a Carpenters tribute show and alongside The funky  Beat n Drum - Beat carnival organisation, as well as numerous performances across the province as a duet with her sister Jean, when they had their own contemporary gospel band “Watershed”.  As well as a wife and mother of 3, Siobhan is also a Conservation Architect and co-wrote  and directed the One Love musical  along side her husband David, which was performed at the MAC in 2014.

Jamaican born Ripton Lindsay was dancing and performing since childhood, mastering the art of the Kumina dance as preserve by the Maroon community in St Thomas and Portland, Jamaica. Ripton is one of the few generations left who still perform this rare and unique tradition whilst keeping its authentic essence.
Ripton went on to developing his own distinctive approach combining both traditional and contemporary dance with hip hop, reggae and jazz.
Ripton became facilitating programmes in Northern Ireland in 2013 as part of a WOMAD Foundation programme
Festival performances include WOMAD UK / Abu Dhabi / Malta / Belfast, Glastonbury, The Big Chill and Shambala festival.
Ripton captures the hearts of audiences throughout the world performing and choreographing from carnivals parades to international festivals, dancing and conducting workshops.

Slawomir (Swav ) Cichy - Polish drummer, percussionist, founder & art director of Musicland academy in Lisburn. Involved in many music  & art projects in Europe & UK

Wilhelmina Peace Covington is a Belfast based visual artist, originally from France and specialising in drawing and print. Currently studying printmaking at Ulster University Belfast, she first began her academic life at Queens University as a student of cultural anthropology. Her profound interest in human culture, inter-cultural relations, rites and ritual, the mythopoesis of peoples, and the rich fabric of artistic expression throughout the world continues to fuel her creative journey.
As an active member of Vault Artist Studios, a vibrant community of artists cross-pollinating in a re-purposed college in east Belfast, Wilhelmina strives to celebrate and promote drawing through various events. During Vault’s first Fringe Festival, Wilhelmina, along with her partner in life and art, Dragos Musat, transformed their studio into a cosy, draped space, reminiscent of a yurt and used it as a base to encourage festival goers to draw through relaxed and experimental activities.
Lately Wilhelmina and Dragos have spearheaded Solstice Events, an organisation promoting arts, music, crafts and vegan food. The first event was held on the summer solstice 2019 and featured a bustling craft market, DJs, live street art and bespoke vegan food.
Upcoming projects include curating a festival in honour of the international artists operating in and around Belfast, an illustrated book on vilified women in mythology and creating a steady flow of experimental workshops for children and adults centred around the humble yet noble medium of drawing.
Most importantly, Wilhelmina is mother to Silas Peace, who is the biggest joy, motivation and inspiration for everything she does.