Creativity and innovation led the way at BBC Blackstaff Studio, Belfast as 5 businesses, 2 individuals and 1 prestigious arts organisation celebrated their success at the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards 2011.
The Awards showcase examples of excellence and the delivery of tangible business benefits with winning partnerships coming from across the spectrum of Northern Ireland business and arts sectors.
Nelson McCausland, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, recognised the increasing importance of partnerships between commerce and culture. He said: "In these tough economic times it is vital for all businesses, both in the private sector and in the arts, to think more creatively and be more innovative in how they do business to help secure their future.
"Partnerships between the arts and business sectors help to increase competitiveness, motivate staff, nurture and develop their customer base and engage with their communities. Artists are the lifeblood of the creative industries which are major employers in Northern Ireland. Some 36,000 people in Northern Ireland are employed in the creative industries and the sector is recognised across the world for their potential for job and wealth creation."
In conclusion the Minister said: "That is why the Northern Ireland Executive recently announced a new �4million investment in the creative industries over the next four years, which will build on the success of the Creative Industries Innovation Fund. This investment recognises the importance and potential of the sector to Northern Ireland and will support the region in competing and succeeding on the world stage."
Presenting the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards Paul McCann, Allianz, congratulated the partnership and all the winners saying: "The standard of all the creative partnerships this year has been truly inspiring. These innovative projects prove beyond doubt the beneficial value that arises when arts and business combine to work together. My congratulations to all the winners and to those shortlisted - the scale, diversity and dynamism of all the partner projects has demonstrated yet again what can be achieved when creative thinking is applied to clear challenges."
Recognising the success of all the partnerships, Mary Trainor-Nagele, Director of Arts & Business Northern Ireland commented: "Congratulations to all the winning partnerships, and indeed to all the organisations shortlisted. These projects show remarkable creativity and energy and are shining examples of what is possible through arts and business partnerships working together."
The importance of continued private sector support for the arts was reinforced by Rosemary Kelly OBE, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, saying: "A growing number of local businesses are recognising the benefits that the arts can bring to their organisation and tonight we have seen some fine examples of what can be achieved when the arts and business worlds come together.
It is our hope that these awards will inspire more local companies to forge meaningful links with arts organisations, working together to deliver new creative projects and real business results."
Allianz Arts & Business Community Award
Awarded to a partnership that has encouraged specific community engagement with the arts or has made a significant contribution to regeneration or sustainable growth.
JTI UK & Ulster Orchestra
Allianz Arts & Business Cultural Branding Award
Awarded to a partnership that reinforces the branding and marketing activity of a business through the use of culture.
Davy Northern Ireland & Davy Portrait Awards
Allianz Arts & Business Professional Development Award
Awarded to an individual who has added outstanding benefit to an arts organisation in a governance role through a formal voluntary placement such as the Board Bank programme, Young Professionals or volunteering.
Mark Carruthers, BBC NI & Lyric Theatre NI
Allianz Arts & Business Sustained Partnership Award
Awarded to an established, on-going partnership that continues to set standards in creative arts-business collaborations.
Randox Laboratories & Camerata Ireland
Allianz Arts & Business Young People Award
In recognition of a partnership that has harnessed the power of the arts to engage young people. The winning business will demonstrate a dynamic connection with youth through the arts.
Northern Bank & Cahoots NI
Allianz Arts & Business Employee Engagement Award
Awarded to a partnership that involves employees in the arts and incorporates creativity and innovation into the workplace.
Tennent's NI & F�ile an Phobail
Allianz Arts & Business - Business Individual of the Year Award
Awarded to an individual who has demonstrated and advocated the business benefits of partnering with the arts.
Alan Stewart, Patton Group
Allianz Arts & Business Arts Award
Awarded to the arts organisation, which has consistently looked to develop and pioneer new ideas, whilst demonstrating a progressive and creative approach to business partnership.