Bending Glass








16min 36sec







Johanna Leech


Johanna Leech, Northern Ireland Screen, Stuart Calvin

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Johanna Leech, Northern Ireland Screen, Stuart Calvin

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In the 1950s and 1960s, neon signs lit up much of Belfast City Centre. They adorned buildings in Castle Place, North Street and Royal Avenue advertising tobacco, alcohol, beauty products, banking services and just about anything you can think of. This documentary follows the career of Adrian McNevison, the artist behind Ulster Television's neon light displays and countless more installations throughout the city. McNevison began work in the 1960s, learning his craft at Neon Signs Ulster on the banks of the Lagan. In this film, McNevison discusses launching his own company, AM Light, and some of the work he did for UTV and local artists. His son, Chris, also shares memories of his father's workshop and considers the uniqueness of neon light in the modern world. 

Bending Glass was part of an exhibition that illuminated the former UTV studios with artworks made from light and archive footage from the UTV vaults. It was carefully crafted by Johanna Leech in collaboration with Stuart Calvin. This exhibition took place on 3rd - 6th March 2022 in Havelock House, Belfast. 


Filmed and edited by Stuart Calvin

Produced by Johanna Leech

Archive research by Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell

Archive courtesy of Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive 

Featuring Neon Artworks by: Maurice Doherty, Kendell Geers, Johanna Leech, Michael Hanna, Hilary Sleiman & Lesley Bone, Deepa Mann-Kler, Chris Crooks 

Photographs and additional archive courtesy of AM Light 

Bending Glass was commissioned by Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive with support from the Department for Communities. The UTV Archive in this exhibition is courtesy of the partnership project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI). The project was made possible with the provision of space from Flax Art Studios and support from Arts Council Northern Ireland. Special thanks to Adrian McNevison, Chris McNevison, everyone at AM Light and Flax Art Studios, Michael Hanna, Susan Hughes, Stuart Calvin, Kevin Killen, Paula Blair and Johanna Leech. 



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