Belfast-based curator Ben Crothers is currently Curator & Collections Manager at the Naughton Gallery at Queens University Belfast, recognised as one of the leading university galleries in the UK and Ireland.
Ben's main areas of curatorial research centre around comics, illustration, sport, gender politics and the LGBTQ+ community - an interesting combination that often results in vibrant and intriguing exhibitions.
Ben's background in American Studies means that he often travels to the US on research trips. But, while he spends a lot of time in places like Columbus and Brooklyn, he still calls Belfast home.
We asked him to share some of his favourite places in his home city...
"I used to think that I had to go to New York for the best doughnuts, but then Guilt Trip came along and changed the game. From classic plain glazed doughnuts and Boston creams to more unusual flavour combinations, Guilt Trip also serves some of the city's best coffee and offers on-point branding and a great range of merch."
THE NAUGHTON GALLERY
"One of Belfast's most exciting visual arts spaces (I might be biased!), the Naughton Gallery features a diverse and inclusive contemporary arts programme, from its annual Sports exhibition series to shows including artists such as Penelope Gazin, Aidan Koch, Sarah Maple, and Tom of Finland. The gallery also runs an extensive programme of talks, screenings, and special events, and can be found at the heart of Queen's University's iconic Lanyon Building."
"Greens Pizza is something of a Belfast institution. From my 8th birthday party to my 32nd, I've enjoyed many a pizza here. With a relaxed, rustic atmosphere, their hearty pizzas, signature Dragon's Tongue bread, and secret recipe salad dressing are best enjoyed with family and friends."
MARY & MABEL
"The brainchild of Rebecca Henderson, Mary & Mabel offers meticulously-sourced and imaginatively-repurposed vintage jewellery. Check out their Instagram for regular stock updates, or keep an eye out for open studio events where buyers also have the opportunity to visit Rebecca's stunningly designed home studio."
QUEEN'S FILM THEATRE
"Operating for over 50 years, the QFT is Northern Ireland's leading independent cinema, screening a diverse range of new releases, world cinema, and cult classics in an intimate environment. I'm lucky enough to programme the SCREEN/PRINT series at QFT, through which an international roster of illustrators are commissioned to design new posters to coincide with a screening of their favourite film."
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All photographs are copyright 51 Squared B.V. except: Portrait photo (Courtesy of Ben Crothers); Guilt Trip (Instagram @guilttripcoffee); The Naughton Gallery (Instagram @naughton_gallery); Greens Pizza (Instagram @greenspizza); Mary & Mabel (Instagram @mary_and_mabel); Queens Film Theatre (Instagram @qftbelfast). This feature was not paid for in any way.