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9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys

  • By: Starling Start and Studio idir
  • Location: City-wide
  • When: Year round
  • Creative Me Profile: Mover & Maker, Community Connector, Nature Lover.


9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys is an exciting new way to experience a space you may not have considered before. It beckons us to see our alleys not as forgotten spaces but as spaces awaiting creativity, connection, and community building. 

In a city-wide endeavour stretching from the bustling neighbourhood of Ballyhackamore to the hilled streets of Ligoniel, this transformative initiative is redefining the creative potential of often-overlooked spaces. 9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys is not just a project; it is a large-scale, collaborative investigation into the alleys that crisscross Belfast, prompting us to reconsider the possibilities lying just beyond our back gates.

Building on the foundation laid by the Belfast Alley Map and illustrated creative concepts for alley personalisation, the initiative is poised to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of possibilities already hinted at by the city's residents. With an unwavering commitment to staying open and agile, 9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys embraces three key pillars: Learn, Commission, and Share.

Learning is at the forefront, with hands-on engagement, alleyway exploration, and a responsive approach to the evolving needs of communities through the Reclaim the Commons Network. The initiative aims to commission a diverse array of artists and designers to respond to local needs, inspire creativity, and celebrate the cultural heritage, biodiversity, and social connections embedded in these spaces.

Crucially, 9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys is not just about doing but about sharing. The initiative seeks to develop accessible ways to communicate its progress, fostering a sense of inclusion through gatherings, film, visuals, and the creation of a Manifesto for the Alleys. In doing so, it invites every resident of Belfast to become an active participant in this transformative journey.

Imagine a city where the vast network of alleyways becomes a network of creativity, linking communities from one end to the other through green corridors. How many square metres of untapped potential do these alleys represent? Could they rival the expanses of Ormeau Park or stretch longer than the River Lagan? Can they be the green threads that weave our parks and greenways into a connected tapestry? 9ft in Common: A Manifesto for the Alleys dares us to explore these questions and more, challenging us to reimagine and revitalise the spaces we often dismiss

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This project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players and is part of Our Future Heritage portfolio of projects which help us all enjoy and understand Belfast's heritage.

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