The Arts Council is increasing opportunities for artists and arts organisations to showcase their work abroad, with a range of new funding schemes designed to put Northern Ireland’s creative talents on the map.
The Artists’ International Development Fund is one of them. Through a joint initiative with the British Council, £150,000 has been committed over the next three years to give artists and arts organisations the chance to bring their work to international audiences.
A budget of £50,000 is available this year for applications to develop new international projects, across all artforms including visual arts, music, literature, drama and dance, with grants of up to £5,000.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said: “These new funding programmes will help open up opportunities for some of our finest writers, musicans, performers and visual artists, to present their work to international audiences. Our reputation as a cultural and artistic hub is growing as more tourists come to visit and these new initiatives will help us to spread the story of Northern Ireland’s creative wealth even further, by supporting performances and exhibitions in worldwide locations.”
The Artists’ International Development fund is one of a host of new international opportunities established by the Arts Council as part of its strategy to enhance the profile and reputation of the arts in Northern Ireland. It builds on the success of other recent initiatives like the Brussels Platform, launched in September last year, which so far has given 16 artists the chance to take their work to the European Parliament.
Writer and actor Dan Gordon travelled to Brussels last month to perform his Belfast shipbuilders tale, The Boat Factory at the renowned Bozar Theatre. He says the new Artists International Development Fund will come as a much needed boost for the local arts sector. He said: “This investment will give our artists and performers the means to explore international opportunities. Our success in Brussels proved the interest and appetite is there – people are keen to know who we are and what we do – now we can tell them.”
David Alderdice, Director British Council Northern Ireland, also welcomed the scheme: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Arts Council in launching the Artists’ International Development Fund in Northern Ireland. Individually, the awards will offer Northern Irish artists a great opportunity to gain international experience. Collectively the fund will enhance Northern Ireland’s international artistic development, reputation and standing.”
The Artists International Development Fund is just one of a number of funding schemes offered by the Arts Council. Other international opportunities including International Residencies and the Professional Artists Abroad scheme, for organisations seeking funding over £5,000, also opened today. For more information on these and to access information on the Arts Council’s full range of grant programmes visit: www.artscouncil-ni.org/subpages/funding.htm.