PS², located in Belfast city centre, has individual studios/ workplaces for currently 10 artists and three year-long residency programmes for a curator/s, a collective and for critical writing, plus a large project space for our public arts programme.

Paragon Studios Ltd, our legal name, was set up by artists who were looking for affordable workspace after their MA course, and who came together as a self-managed, volunteer-run studio collective in 1993.

In 2004 and ever since, a project space in a small shop unit was opened as a platform for art projects and cultural activities which often includes community engaged projects in neighbourhoods and fringe sites in the city and further afield.

The project space was seen as an anti-gallery and non-white cube, as a wild and experimental place for encounters between art production and the public, part exposed workplace, part showroom.

Early on, the experience of isolation and barriers between art and the public, taught us, to directly engage with people/ the publics in their own neighbourhoods through temporary activities in containers, community centres, shops and a community garden/ PeasPark.

Since its beginning in 18 Donegall Street at the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, PS² had to move several times in recent years due to the planned – and broadly debated – regeneration plans of the area:

  • to 11 North Street in 2016,
  • to be moved out again after 18 months to close by Spencer House, 71 Royal Avenue
  • and again after 18 months in December 2019 to 11 Rosemary Street.

Until now, the planned regeneration of the area has not yet started and the vacated buildings are unused.