© Samantha Johnston

Belfast Exposed Futures

‘Futures’ encompasses a wide range of programmes providing skills training and professional & educational development for children and young people from primary level through to post-education. The Belfast Exposed Futures programmes are:

  • Futures Artists (Age 18+)
  • Photography Academy (Socially deprived young people)
  • Young Futures (Age 15-18)
  • Summer Scheme (Age 5-17)
  • School Programme (Age 12-18)
  • Community Youth Programme (Mental health and well-being)

Futures Artists (2020)

We are delighted to announce 2020’s successful applicants to the ‘Futures Artists’ programme. The six emerging artists who joined the programme are:

  • David Copeland
  • Samantha Johnston
  • Milo Lethorn
  • Manon Ouimet
  • Graeme McCormick
  • Ioanna Sakellaraki

“Congratulations to all the artists chosen to participate in Belfast Exposed Futures Artists, a career development programme, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council.  We are committed to supporting valuable, high-quality and meaningful opportunities for artists in Northern Ireland and this impressive programme will enable these artists to take that all-important next step in their professional, artistic careers.” – Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

You can view a short overview of each artist below. If you would like to view more information and imagery from each artist, you can do so through the links below.

View more information and imagery from David

View more information and imagery from Samantha

View more information and imagery from Milo

View more information and imagery from Manon

View more information and imagery from Graeme

View more information and imagery from Ioanna

Futures Artists

‘Futures Artists’ is a career development and mentoring programme for artists and photographers in post-education or early stages of embarking on their photographic career.

The programme is tailored to support the development and presentation of new work by professional mentoring, promotional opportunities, exhibitions and publications. The Futures Artists programme is for photographers and artists aged 18 or over, from UK & Ireland, in post-education or early stages of embarking on their photographic career.

Futures Artists benefit from the following:

  • Mentorship with a specialist photographer in their field.
  • A bespoke programme of experts and consultants to support career planning, develop a 5-year artistic plan and a 2-year business/marketing plan.
  • A tailored research and critical debate programme
  • Financial support that could go towards for research, production costs and artists/curator fees.
  • A significant solo exhibition (aligned with an established artist or photographer exhibiting in our main gallery).
  • Dedicated marketing activities promoting you and your work.
  • An exhibition showcase in Belfast Photo Festival.
  • Inclusion in a Futures Artists catalogue.
  • Inclusion in a network of photographic excellence.
The Thousand Year Old Boy © Yvette Monahan

Established in 2015, the Belfast Exposd ‘Futures Artists’ programme has supported 17 emerging photographic artists in the UK & Ireland. Futures Artists have been selected for exhibitions, residencies, photography prizes, photobook awards, book fairs, and have gained international recognition by exhibiting at Europe’s top photography festivals such as Arles, Paris Photo, Unseen Amsterdam, Format Festival, Photo London, Photo Ireland and Belfast Photo Festival.

“The Futures programme was great to take part in for many reasons. It provided the support and structure to work towards a completed project, and gave me access to a wide audience through the gallery’s networks and the events that they organised. One of the best aspects for me was the opportunity to have a solo exhibition. My work is all about interacting with architecture so I’m keen to take the nature of the gallery space into account when planning on showing work. At Belfast Exposed I was able to get familiar with the exhibition space and to experiment with different layouts and installation methods. I got lots of purposeful experience of exhibition planning which has been very useful subsequently and is something in particular I am very grateful for.” – Jill Quigley (Futures Artist)

Futures Artists (2015 – 2019)

Exhibition: THF by Aisling McCoy, Belfast Exposed Gallery 2, 2017

Belfast Exposed have provided Futures Artists with the opportunity for their work to be displayed in modern offices in the corporate sector. Businesses may have CSR (corporate social responsibility) requirements to meet and a programme such as ‘Futures Artists’, which supports the career development of artists and photographers, can meet their needs and attract corporate sponsorship.

In 2019, Belfast Exposed partnered with A&L Goodbody, a leading corporate law firm in Northern Ireland, to fit their brand new offices with high-end photographic artwork. A&L Goodbody were particularly keen to support the ‘Futures Artists’ programme. Not only to create visually stimulating and inspiring workspaces, but to help assist the programme in achieving its aims, and to create awareness of the programme in their workplace and the wider corporate sector.

Meeting Room, A&L Goodbody, Belfast

Photography Academy

The Belfast Exposed Photography Academy will harness the culture and potential of photography in Northern Ireland through the creation of young emerging photographers. Annually, through the development of the Belfast Exposed Community Programme, it will offer a minimum of 40 marginalised young people the opportunity to embark on either a photographic artistic career through access to university/further education or become a professional photographer. The programme will develop a network of emerging photographers by encouraging educational and employment opportunities.

Young Futures

Alongside the ‘Futures Artists’ programme, we also have an annual ‘Young Futures’ programme. The Young Futures programme targets young people aged between 15-18 years of age, who are at a stage in their education where they require additional training. The programme provides young people with skills that bridge the gap between traditional arts education in schools, equipping prospective students for third level education. The programme not only covers the technical understanding of photography and post processing, but also focuses heavily on contextual studies, artist research and professional practice.

Summer Scheme

Throughout July and August, we run week-long ‘Summer Scheme’ programmes for both kids (aged 5-11) and teens (aged 12-17). The Summer Scheme is a week full of fun, creative and educational activities and workshops. Participants will improve their photography skills, while taking part in a wide range of engaging activities.

Young Futures Programme, 2015/16

Artist Profile: Ben Malcolmson

Ben Malcolmson (b.1999) is an emerging photographer born and based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has worked with Belfast Exposed, and participated in many programmes, since the age of 10. From a young age, Malcolmson participated in workshops with Belfast Exposed, and followed that by taking part in Belfast Exposed’s ‘Summer Scheme‘ and ‘Young Futures‘ programmes, and supported the organisation through volunteering in the gallery and assisting in recent programmes for younger people.

Ben is currently studying a BA Photography with Video degree at Ulster University, and was recently awarded the opportunity to join the photography programme at Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) as part of Erasmus for 2019 and 2020. He was recently nominated by Belfast Exposed and awarded the Arab British Centre residency ‘Making Marks’.

Belfast Exposed continue to work with Ben Malcolmson, who recently joined our ‘Futures Artists‘ programme and produced a solo exhibition ‘Murmur‘ that responded to his experience as a participant in the residency. Ben is an emerging artist who has participated and progressed throughout each of the ‘Summer Scheme’, ‘Young Futures’ and ‘Futures Artists’ programmes. The video below encapsulates that journey.


‘Futures Artists’ is generously supported the Foyle Foundation, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

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