Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555 info@artscouncil-ni.org

Latest News
Browse Archive

Shakespeare at The MAC a ‘Dream’ come true for Open Arts!”

Wednesday 20th March 2019 at 12pm 0 Comments Drama

Fairy King and Queen Oberon and Titania (Gareth Smyth & Michelle Porter), sprinkle a little magic ahead of Open Arts 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at The MAC on 26-27 April. Image: Fairy King and Queen Oberon and Titania (Gareth Smyth & Michelle Porter), sprinkle a little magic ahead of Open Arts 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at The MAC on 26-27 April.

Open Arts, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic arts and disability organisations will be stepping into the spotlight at The MAC on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April for a unique production of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Audiences will be transported to a magical forest world to meet the fairy king and queen Oberon and Titania and their mischievous servant Puck, who creates unintentional havoc for two lovestruck couples with the aid of a magic potion.

Adding to the comedic chaos are the motley crew of The Mechanicals (including in this adaptation a librarian, a DJ and a rugby coach!) performing the famous ‘play within a play’ and poor Bottom, whose head gets magically transformed into that of an ass, creating all the necessary ingredients for an hilarious story of order and disorder, reality and appearance and love and marriage.
Presented by the award-winning arts and disability charity Open Arts, this very special event will showcase the drama, dance, choral, visual art, creative writing and traditional Javanese Gamelan melodic percussion skills of up to 65 group members who have a range of disabilities: physical, sensory, learning disabilities and mental health illness.

Eileen Branagh, Chief Executive of Open Arts said:

"Given that it is national Shakespeare Week this week, we are especially delighted to be launching our unique adaptation of ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ at The MAC, one of Northern Ireland's leading arts venues.  This ambitious production is the result of almost two years’ work by Open Arts participants and tutors and it promises to be an unforgettable celebration of creativity and inclusivity.”

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“Open Arts is a remarkable arts organisation and is vital, not least because it provides opportunities for people with disabilities to access and participate in the arts, but also because it provides a platform for people to make friends, to learn new skills and to increase confidence and self-esteem.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support this terrific organisation, through National Lottery funding,  and I look forward to seeing the energy, commitment and creativity that the cast will bring to their take on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.’
 
Tickets for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are priced £10/£8 and are on sale now from The MAC box office at themaclive.com/event/a-midsummer-nights-dream or tel. 028 90235053.

Open Arts is principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and receives Core Multi-Annual Funding from Belfast City Council's Tourism Culture & Arts Unit.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast to welcome Man Booker Prize-winning author Anna Burns

Friday 15th March 2019 at 8am 0 Comments Literature

Man Booker Prize-winning author, Anna Burns Image: Man Booker Prize-winning author, Anna Burns

Man Booker Prize-winning author Anna Burns, whose standout 2018 novel Milkman captured the ultimate prize in literature last year, is set to come to the Lyric Theatre Belfast next month for a special evening event on Monday 15th April. The event will be jointly hosted by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Faber Members, in association with the Lyric.

‘In conversation with’ acclaimed Irish author and fellow Man Booker-winner Anne Enright, Anna Burns will read extracts from her work and give an insight into her creative inspirations, and her much talked about novel.

Milkman is Anna Burns’ third full-length novel, winning the author her first major award. She is the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the prestigious prize.
Born in Belfast and now based in East Sussex, the novel draws on the writer’s experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Set in an unnamed city, the story focuses on middle sister as she navigates her way through a complex and dangerous world, overshadowed by the threat of gossip, rumours, social pressures and politics. 

Looking forward to the event, author Anna Burns said:

“I feel excited and joyous to be coming to my home town of Belfast to take part in this event. It is an honour to be the first Northern Irish winner of the Man Booker Prize and to have the chance to share this achievement with the place I was born and grew up in. I am delighted to find that my book has spoken, not only to those of my generation, but also to younger people who weren't even born during the era in which the book is set.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“We knew that Anna Burns was inventive and unnerving and daring as a writer. But it was only when Milkman appeared early in 2018, that the scale of her gift was visible. It was already clear that in Milkman she had written possibly the best novel from or about Northern Ireland in a decade.

“Since then, we have lived with the book’s scrutiny of the insidious and invasive cultures of the time, and with its intense and distinctive humour, and its masterly control of the play of our language. Somebody McSomebody and Middle Sister have joined the ranks of the indispensables of our culture. It is a huge joy of course to welcome her back to her home city of Belfast which she has so vividly refashioned for good in the image of her characters.”

Executive Producer of the Lyric, Jimmy Fay, said:

“We are honoured to have been chosen by Anna Burns to host this event. It marks her first public appearance in Ireland, north or south, since she was announced as the winner of the Man Booker Prize. Her brilliant novel Milkman, with a central character whose only means of escape is literature, is just the perfect fit for the Lyric Theatre Belfast, as the home of new writing in Northern Ireland.
The chance to meet and hear Anna Burns is a wonderful opportunity for book lovers and fans of new writing across the country. It is just fantastic that we can celebrate this extraordinary writer in her home town.”

Milkman is published by Faber & Faber, making it the fourth consecutive year the prize has been won by an independent publisher. Faber & Faber has the second highest number of winning titles of any publisher, with six winners that include: Something to Answer For (1969), Rites of Passage (1980), Oscar and Lucinda (1988), The Remains of the Day (1989), True History of the Kelly Gang (2001), Vernon God Little (2003).

Tickets for the event are priced at £12, with a concession price of £8 per ticket for schools. To book your place visit www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

Faber Members is Faber & Faber's free-to-join literary programme of events, news and special partnerships - www.faber.co.uk/members

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Joshua Burnside, Roe and Jealous of the Birds showcased at major music gathering, South by Southwest

Wednesday 13th March 2019 at 10am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured L-R, Joshua Burnside, Naomi Hamilton (Jealous of The Birds) and Róisín Donald (Roe) Image: Pictured L-R, Joshua Burnside, Naomi Hamilton (Jealous of The Birds) and Róisín Donald (Roe)

Three musical artists from Northern Ireland, Joshua Burnside, Jealous of The Birds and Roe are taking part in this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) showcase, the world’s largest gathering of the music, media and film industry in Austin, Texas.  Also attending is management for the artists, Lyndon Stephens, Declan Legge and Liam Craig.

This opportunity is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland’s new collaboration with PRS Foundation and their International Showcase Fund (ISF), which is also supported by Department for International Trade, British Underground, Arts Council England, the Musicians’ Union, PPL, Creative Scotland, Wales Arts international and Arts Council Wale.  The ISF offers musicians, who are at critical stages of their careers, the chance to promote their work through showcasing performances and networking with industry leaders. 

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for our artists to develop their careers.  This opportunity, supported by the Arts Council through funding from the Department For Communities, does just that by giving artists, and their management, the chance to connect with leaders within the music industry whilst shining a light on the tremendous talent that is inherent to Northern Ireland.  We are proud to partner with PRS Foundation and Invest Northern Ireland in this important initiative which is enabling export ready artists vital access to a global stage.”

ISF is open to artists in Northern Ireland who wish to travel to and perform at music industry facing showcase events including; SXSW, WOMEX, Folk Alliance, Classical:NEXT, Eurosonic, JazzAhead, Reeperbahn Festival and Canadian Music Week.  ISF can support costs for international travel, accommodation and visas for those artists invited to perform at an industry event in a territory that will be beneficial to their career development. 

Brian Dolaghan, Executive Director at Invest Northern Ireland said:

“Northern Ireland has a strong base of musical talent which has been developed over many years with support from a wide range of stakeholders including Invest NI.  By supporting this initiative we aim to help grow and develop the sector through increased access to key external markets and through events such as SxSW help develop closer business linkages within the global music industry.”

Vanessa Reed, CEO at PRS Foundation said,

“We’re delighted to partner with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland in extending our vital career development and international showcasing opportunities to talented music creators in Northern Ireland. It’s fantastic news that the whole of the UK is now eligible to apply to this important fund which has a significant impact on music creators’ careers and continues to promote the strength of UK music worldwide.”

The International Showcase Fund is currently open for applications. 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Sector leaders ‘on the same page’ with reading for children

Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 2pm 0 Comments Literature

Image:

Policy influencers, corporate partners, authors and sector leaders came together on Tuesday 5 March to discuss early children’s book sharing across the health, education and arts sectors in Northern Ireland.

BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, hosted the ‘On the Same Page’ conference as a celebration of cross departmental working as well as a discussion about the impact that early book sharing has on children across Northern Ireland. 

Sector spokespeople including Koulla Yiasouma (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People), Siobhan Slavin (Nurse Consultant for Early and School Years Public Health Agency), Cathy Galway (Director of Youth, Education and Childcare, Department of Education) and Damian Smyth (Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of NI) alongside notable children’s authors and illustrators Dan Freedman, Myra Zepf, Andrew Whitson Kelly McCaughrain discussed the impact and the future of early children’s book sharing as well as strategies to diversify funding. The main outtakes of this included:

  • The importance of the right for a child to flourish and working in close partnership to ensure all children enjoy and achieve
  • The importance of collaboration and cooperation to ensure that every child gets the best start in life
  • The importance of early shared reading in supporting language & literacy skills, brain development, bonding, socio-emotional development and wellbeing

Koulla Yiasouma - Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said,

“As a child I was enthralled by Enid Blyton and for my children, it was Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry that caught their imagination. However, not all parents and children have the access to books which is why the work of the BookTrust is so important. That the charity reaches 3.4 million children across the UK with books, resources and support every year is testament to the hard work and dedication of the organisation and its many supporters. A love of reading helps children to get the best start in life so it is critical that our children are given every opportunity to enter the world of literature.”

Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust commented:

“On the Same Page has been a powerful opportunity to make real change in early book sharing which will impact children and families across Northern Ireland. Today’s conference brought department leaders together to discuss book sharing and take action so that every child has access to a bedtime story and an opportunity to discover the magic reading because we know that a love for reading can transform lives.” 

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“Research shows that the earlier the reading experience begins with children the better the prospects for future educational and quality of life benefits. The fact that reading is also enjoyable, inspirational, memorable, life-enhancing and, in many cases, life-changing, is an added and wonderful bonus. The Arts Council was delighted to partner in this important conference discussing these and other issues relating to the reading life and to welcome guests from across the field of interest gathered with a common aim.”

Dan Freedman, Author of the Jamie Johnson football series commented,

“It was an absolute honour to have presented a key note speech at the BookTrust’s On the Same Page conference. Reading brings us so much joy and understanding. It was a great opportunity to meet the teachers, librarians, policy makers and practitioners who are helping to ensure that the young people in Northern Ireland can enjoy the pleasure of books from an early age – something they and the whole of society will benefit from.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Dancing with Joy! - 107 arts organisations awarded Equipment Programme funding

Monday 11th March 2019 at 10am 0 Comments

Pictured (L_R) is Roger Courtney, Interim Manager, Crescent Arts Centre, Helen Hall, dancer, Paul Moore, Department For Communities and Noirin McKinney, Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Pictured (L_R) is Roger Courtney, Interim Manager, Crescent Arts Centre, Helen Hall, dancer, Paul Moore, Department For Communities and Noirin McKinney, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today announced awards worth £740,000 that will help arts organisations renew and replace essential equipment. New exchequer funding from the Department for Communities, has offered much needed support to arts organisations hoping to enhance their artistic services for audiences. The fund helps to improve lighting and sound systems, renew staging and seating, as well as purchase backstage, essential items such as sewing machines, costume rails and IT equipment.

The Crescent Arts Centre received a grant of £10,988 which comes at a strategically important time for the busy, south Belfast venue. Roger Courtney, Manager said,

“The Crescent Arts Centre is literally dancing with joy - this equipment grant will help us achieve our strategic objective, to create a dance hub in Belfast, and extend the wide range of arts activities we provide here.”

Richard Wakely, Artistic Director, Belfast International Arts Festival, said,

“The grant we received will go towards a portable dance floor, an essential piece of equipment for any major arts Festival and one which will help relieve the burden of costs required to host a major international arts festival like this in Belfast.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“The Equipment Programme was a major success. We received applications valued at over £2 million, a reflection of the strong need within the arts sector. The Arts Council was able to make 107 awards for equipment worth £740,000 which included everything from stages and flooring to computers and sewing machines.  We are so pleased to receive this new funding package from the Department for Communities; it will benefit many artists, arts organisations and their audiences”.

Paul Moore, Head of Arts Branch, Department for Communities said:

“I am delighted the Department of Communities was able to invest £740,000 in the arts sector. This programme will provide necessary and valuable equipment to arts organisations across Northern Ireland and benefit the audiences and communities they serve.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Stories brought to life as Children’s Writing Fellow hosts Derry workshops

Saturday 9th March 2019 at 11am 0 Comments Literature

Myra Zepf pictured with, from left Grace Holly, Sarah Jane Logue and Cadhla Nixon Image: Myra Zepf pictured with, from left Grace Holly, Sarah Jane Logue and Cadhla Nixon

Seamus Heaney Children's Writing Fellow Myra Zepf was in Derry this week to host a special interactive workshop at the Guildhall.

Children from the city's three Irish medium primary schools, Gaelscoil Eadáin Mhóir, Gaelscoil na Daróige and Bunscoil Cholmcille, joined children's book writer Myra Zepf to mark the start of both Book Week and Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish language Week)l with stories, games, music and fun. The 'Lúcháir Leabhar' event (The Joy of Books) was hosted by Derry and Strabane District Council, and each school was awarded a box of books by the Mayor, John Boyle.

The role of Children's Writing Fellow was created by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with funding from the National Lottery, and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast. It is the first appointment of its kind and is one of a number of projects created by the two organisations to ensure the legacy of the Nobel Prize-winning poet, and to inspire and support current and future generations of creative writing talent.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Kathleen Jamie named Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow

Thursday 7th March 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Literature

Kathleen Jamie by Robin Gillanders Image: Kathleen Jamie by Robin Gillanders

Award-winning Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie has been appointed as the second Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast.

The fellowship is part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast’s joint ten-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project and is supported by Atlantic Philanthropies. The appointment is worth £20,000 annually and made to a distinguished poet of international repute.

Jamie will be based at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University later this year, presenting public readings, workshops and masterclasses for students at the University. She will also give a reading at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy.

Speaking about the appointment and looking ahead to her time in Belfast, Ms Jamie said:

“As a Scottish poet I've always looked to Ireland, admiring writers from north and south; for years I've secretly hankered to spend time there. I never imagined the opportunity would arrive in such a prestigious manner! I’d be delighted to become the next Fellow and I’m looking forward to it already.”

Kathleen Jamie was born in the west of Scotland in 1962. Her poetry collections to date include The Overhaul, which won the Costa Poetry Prize, and The Tree House, which won the Forward prize. Her non-fiction includes the highly regarded books Findings and Sightlines, both regarded as important contributions to the 'new nature writing'. Her most recent poetry collection, The Bonniest Companie appeared in 2015, and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. A Selected Poems appeared in 2018.

Professor Glenn Patterson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s, said:

“Along with the Arts Council, we are very pleased to announce Kathleen Jamie as the second Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow and look forward to welcoming her to the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s, and to Belfast. We know Kathleen’s appointment will benefit not only local writers, students and the academic community, but also the wider public here in Northern Ireland.”

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

“We are delighted to announce Kathleen Jamie’s appointment today. During her time in Northern Ireland, Kathleen will work closely with the MA students at Queen’s as well as taking part in public lectures, readings and workshops. As our second Visiting International Poet, Kathleen’s appointment follows a very successful visit to Northern Ireland by the American Poet Mark Doty and like he did, we hope Kathleen finds much to inspire her own future writing during her time here.”

The distinguished selection panel is comprised of current Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and fellow poets Ciaran Carson, Gerald Dawe, Leontia Flynn, Michael Longley and Paula Meehan.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Exhibition celebrating female artists from NI launches to mark International Women’s Day

Friday 1st March 2019 at 1pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Officer and Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts at the Arts Council. Image: Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Officer and Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts at the Arts Council.

A special exhibition featuring female artists from Northern Ireland has been launched in celebration of International Women’s Day this Friday 8th March.  The exhibition, which includes works from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s contemporary art collection, runs from 1-31 March at the Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre in Cookstown.

On show are some of the best examples of contemporary art from the artists in the region, covering a range of media including photography and painting.  The exhibition features a range of artworks from emerging and established female artists and includes photography, painting, printmaking and drawing.  Collectively, the exhibition brings together artworks which tell the stories of women from different cultures, life experiences and times.  The nine artists featured include, Shalleen Temple, Eve O’Connor, Laura McDowell, Ailbhe Greaney, Suzanne Colledge, Sharon Kelly, Fiona Finnegan and Gemma Anderson. 

The exhibition is a result of the Arts Council’s new Art Lending Scheme, a free scheme which is open to curators, galleries, and organisations interested in putting works from the Arts Council’s collection on public display.  The exhibition at Burnavon has been curated by Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Officer at the Arts Council, who is on hand to assist organisations in curating their own exhibition.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“We are delighted to have works from the collection exhibited at the Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre in celebration of International Woman’s Day.  By offering the collection for public display, we are helping to showcase the work of our artists and to introduce the public to Northern Ireland’s wealth of creative talent. I would encourage everyone to go along and see this exhibition at which promises to be an impressive mix of emerging and established artists.”

The Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, commented on the new exhibition at the Burnavon,

“I’m delighted that the Burnavon, Cookstown are able to showcase this fantastic exhibition of art from the Arts Council by female artists throughout March, which is most fitting as we celebrate International Women’s Day. I encourage everyone to call into the Burnavon and visit this free exhibition while we have it here in Mid Ulster.”

Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Frances Burton also said,

“As we mark International Women’s Day, we recognise this year’s theme ‘Balance for Better’ through this incredible exhibition by female artists across Northern Ireland. It offers a great opportunity to enjoy some of the best examples of contemporary art from the Arts Council’s Collection, which I hope the residents of Mid Ulster will thoroughly enjoy.”

The Arts Council Collection Exhibition at the Burnavon Arts and Culture Centre continues until 31st March, visit www.burnavon.com/theatre/art-exhibitions

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Leading performance artist, Sinéad O’Donnell, launches exhibition inspired by female empowerment

Thursday 21st February 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured is Joanna Johnston, Arts Council of Northern Ireland with artist, Sinéad O’Donnell. Image: Pictured is Joanna Johnston, Arts Council of Northern Ireland with artist, Sinéad O’Donnell.

“We are all sisters in this world we have to support each other. Our place and understanding of place in this world is the same in our beings to survive, to resist oppression and to join and merge through artistic forces. My work created a meeting point, through performance art, to be free.”  (Sinéad O’Donnell, performance artist).

Acclaimed performance artist, Sinead O’Donnell, has launched her latest exhibition, Crossing Permissions, at Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown.

The exhibition which includes a mix of photography, sculpture, video and performance art, reflects the artist’s response to time spent living and working among women in diverse locations including; Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Uruguay and Indonesia.  In each setting the artist exchanged stories and ideas with local women to draw out issues affecting them which have informed this new work and given a voice to these women. 

Describing her latest work, Sinead O’Donnell, said,

“Crossing permissions is the title that I used to describe a process.  A process that was like an unravelling of self, art, and others through, or driven by, feminist feelings through my performance practice.  The process looked at my practice and the wider world of art that I placed myself within. As a project, Crossing Permissions, for me, was about mutual exchange: living and working alongside women; I shared my stories and they shared theirs. In each of these countries the permissions differed from culture to culture, community to community, artist to artist and woman to woman.”

Sinéad O’Donnell was the first performance artist to be awarded a Major Individual Artist award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2017/18.  These prestigious awards, worth £15,000, are given in recognition of an individual’s contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland and in order for an artist to create a significant body of new work, in this case, Crossing Permissions.  The project was commissioned by Millennium Court Arts Centre.     

Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“Sinéad O’Donnell is one of Northern Ireland’s leading performance artists  with an exceptional portfolio of work that is highly regarded internationally.  The Arts Council was delighted to recognise this significant artist with a Major Individual Award in 2017 and Crossing Permissions is the outcome from the time and space this award afforded the artist.  The result is a truly impressive exhibition with great touring potential.  Congratulations to Sinéad.”

Jackie Barker, Millennium Court Arts Centre, added,

“We have been delighted to work with Sinéad O'Donnell to produce 'Crossing Permissions', a year-long project that gave Sinéad the time, space and opportunity to develop her practice, further pushing herself to create new work based on the experiences that she has encountered throughout the year.  At MCAC, we strive to support artists to take risks and to not only challenge the gallery space, but also to challenge our audiences and artists.”

Crossing Permissions at Millennium Court Arts Centre continues until 27 March 2019.  Visit www.millenniumcourt.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

New fund opens to help arts organisations renew and replace equipment

Tuesday 19th February 2019 at 3pm 0 Comments

Image:

The Arts of Council of Northern Ireland has opened a funding round that aims to help arts organisations renew their working environment.

The new programme, supported by £740,000 of exchequer funding from the Department for Communities, offers much needed support to arts organisations hoping to replace old and outdated IT equipment, replace lighting and sound systems, renew seating, or purchase backstage essential items such as sewing machines and costume rails.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“The Arts Council’s Equipment Programme can be used for anything from IT equipment and seating to jig-saws, drills and microphones - all of it benefitting artists, audiences and participants in the year ahead. We were delighted to receive this new funding package from the Department for Communities. It just couldn’t come at a better time for our arts organisations, many of whom have been struggling to buy the equipment needed to benefit the audiences they serve”.

Director of Culture with the Department for Communities Maeve Walls said:

“This funding of £740,000 will be welcomed across the arts sector and will provide necessary and valuable equipment to many organisations across Northern Ireland.  I would encourage those organisations with an interest in applying to do so by the deadline of February 26th.”

For further information and to apply online by Tuesday 26th February 2019 visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/equipment-programme

Arts organisations in receipt of 2018/19 AFP or 2018/19 Lottery Project funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland are encouraged to apply.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Northern Ireland musicians showcased at major music gathering, Folk Alliance International, Canada

Monday 18th February 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured (L-R), is Joanne Wright, Arts Council of Norther Ireland with Brigid O’Neill, Stevie Scullion and Lyndon Stephens. Image: Pictured (L-R), is Joanne Wright, Arts Council of Norther Ireland with Brigid O’Neill, Stevie Scullion and Lyndon Stephens.

Two of the region’s top emerging artists, Stevie Scullion of Malojian and singer-songwriter, Brigid O’Neill, took part in this year’s Folk Alliance International, the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community.  Also attending the five-day event in Montréal, Canada, was Lyndon Stephens, artist management for Malojian.

This opportunity is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest NI’s new collaboration with PRS Foundation and their International Showcase Fund (ISF),  which is also supported by Department for International Trade, British Underground, Arts Council England, the Musicians’ Union, PPL, Creative Scotland, Wales Arts international and Arts Council Wales, offers musicians, who are at critical stages of their careers, the chance to promote their work through showcasing performances and networking with industry leaders. 

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added,

“The Arts Council is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for our artists to develop their careers.  This opportunity to attend Folk Alliance International does just that by giving artists the opportunity to connect with leaders within the music industry whilst shining a light on the tremendous talent that is inherent to Northern Ireland on an international stage.  The Arts Council is proud to partner with PRS Foundation and Invest NI in this important initiative which is enabling export ready artists vital access to a global stage.”

ISF, is open to artists in Northern Ireland who wish to travel to and perform at music industry facing showcase events including, SXSW, WOMEX, Folk Alliance, Classical:NEXT, Eurosonic, JazzAhead,

Reeperbahn Festival and Canadian Music Week. ISF can support costs for international travel, accommodation and visas for those artists invited to perform at an industry event in a territory that will be beneficial to their career development. 

Vanessa Reed, CEO at PRS Foundation said,

“We’re delighted to partner with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest NI in extending our vital career development and international showcasing opportunities to talented music creators in Northern Ireland. It’s fantastic news that the whole of the UK is now eligible to apply to this important fund which has a significant impact on music creators’ careers and continues to promote the strength of UK music worldwide.”

The International Showcase Fund is currently open for applications.  Visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/international-showcase-fund for details.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council publishes its 2018 Annual Funding Survey

Friday 15th February 2019 at 9am 0 Comments

Culture Night Belfast 2018 Image: Culture Night Belfast 2018

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has released data from its 2017/18 Annual Funding Survey.

Investment levels in the arts over the last 7 years contributed to another difficult year for the arts sector. Key headline figures show fewer performances delivered in 2017-18, an increase in the number of staff working on a part-time or contract basis, a decline in the number of volunteers working for core arts organisations, and a reduction in the number of outreach activities taking place.

Despite declining income levels however, arts organisations reported an overall increase in the number of arts activities carried out, reporting a rise in the number of festivals and participation based events. The report also revealed the positive efforts organisations were making to deliver a range of social outcomes, with 51 per cent of activities delivered in the most deprived 10 areas in Northern Ireland, as well as the targeted work taking place with children/young people and deprived communities.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, commented:

“The data presented today has been gathered from the 106 organisations funded through the Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme.  It is a reflection of their financial position, employment figures, the work they undertake, the services they offer, and their geographic reach.

“While there are some positives to be found in today’s report, overall the survey reflects a troubling financial climate. Our major arts organisations are facing reduced funding and rising core cost, which is impacting on their programming, their ability to deliver outreach activities and to reach new audiences through publicity and marketing.”

Statistical bulletin:
Part of the Arts Council’s research programme aims to provide data on activity funded through the Annual Funding Programme.  This helps to demonstrate the results of our significant investment in a core group of arts organisations and contributes to increasing the knowledge and understanding of the value of this investment. 

These statistics detail findings from the 2017/18 Annual Funding Survey which was completed by 106 arts organisations.  These organisations received £13m under its Annual Funding Programme.

As with last year, the data is presented in the form of an interactive dashboard to make it easier to analyse. Each of the four excel spreadsheets can be interrogated by selecting the desired criteria in the drop-down box at the top of the page. 

Some Key Findings

  • Small and medium scale arts organisations remain most vulnerable to cuts in public funding due to their reliance on Arts Council funding and limited ability to generate earned income, for example through box-office sales.
  • Arts organisations continue to operate in a challenging operational environment with increasing core costs having to be covered by funding originally allocated for programming.  This is impacting on organisations ability to deliver outreach and invest in reaching new audiences through publicity and marketing.
  • The number of volunteers working for core funded organisations fell by 12 per cent compared to 2016-17.  The time contributed by these volunteers increased by 2 per cent to over 100,000 hours.
  • Fewer people are being taken on as apprentices by core funded clients.
  • The vast majority of activity still takes place in urban areas, reflecting the geographical location of arts organisations.  A larger proportion of activity was delivered in rural areas compared to the previous year.
  • Fewer performances were delivered in 2017-18.  Despite an increase in the proportion of discounted and discretionary sales, the average ticket yield increased.  This suggests organisations are increasing the price of tickets to offset reductions in income.

Background on data
In a number of instances it has been necessary to exclude extreme responses to ensure trends displayed are an accurate reflection of the portfolio. Referred to as outliers, these figures have been removed as they tend to obscure trends.

A variety of methods are used by clients to record audiences and participant levels, some of which are more reliable than others.  To reduce associated error, organisations are asked to report data as either ‘actual’ or ‘estimated’; depending on the confidence they have in the data.  Both fields are shown in this release.

It is particularly difficult to estimate attendances at non-ticketed events such as carnivals given the nature of the work delivered.  This release includes data provided by a number of carnival organisations which together make a substantial contribution to total estimated attendances. Subsidy per attendance is calculated using actual and estimated attendances combined.

This is the fourth year this survey has been run, allowing data received to be cross-checked with responses received over the last three previous years.  In a change to the survey, organisations were asked to comment on any unexplained or large year-on-year changes in engagement levels.  This helped to validate the data received.  Any unexplained, large scale variances were checked directly with the organisations concerned.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Poems by late poet Pádraic Fiacc gifted to Belfast schools

Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Pictured are year 11 students from Malone Integrated College with Principal Katrina Moore, James Kerr from Verbal Arts and Gilly Campbell from the Arts Council. Image: Pictured are year 11 students from Malone Integrated College with Principal Katrina Moore, James Kerr from Verbal Arts and Gilly Campbell from the Arts Council.

Secondary schools across Belfast are set to receive a copy of the late Padraic Fiacc’s Selected Poems Ruined Pages, in memory of the influential poet who died aged 94 at the end of January.

The books are a gift from the Verbal Arts through its publishing imprint, Lagan Press, and with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Education Authority will be distributed to 50 secondary schools across the city.

Born Patrick Joseph O’Connor in Belfast in 1924 and later emigrating with his family to New York in the late 1920s, Pádraic Fiacc is best known for his writing on the Troubles. He enrolled at St Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers in 1941 and studied for five years under the Irish Capuchin Order. Unhappy at the life of a prospective priest, he left the seminary and came to Belfast in 1946, where he immediately began forging a reputation as a poet.

His first full collection, By the Black Stream, was published by Dolmen Press in 1969. Other volumes quickly followed, as well as a miscellany of his critical and autobiographical work. Recent collections include Sea:  Sixty Years of Poetry by Pádraic Fiacc (edited and illustrated by Michael McKernon, 2006) and In My Own Hand: Poems Written in the Poet’s Own Hand (2012). Fiacc was recognised for his contribution to Irish literature when he was elected a member of the Aosdana in 1981 and honoured by Belfast City Council in 2012 with a special reception at City Hall.

James Kerr, Chief Executive of Verbal Arts commented:

“The Verbal Arts is delighted to be able to share the creative talent of Padriac Fiacc with the next generation of young people.  Through our imprint Lagan Press we have published many works by Fiacc including Red Earth, Sempere Vaccare and My Twentieth Century Night Life.  This bequest of Ruined Pages to the 50 post primary school libraries in Belfast gives a great overview for first time readers to the talent and vivacity of Fiacc and will sustain the legacy of one of our greatest poets for years to come.”

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented:

“Pádraic Fiacc was one of the most distinctive poets of his generation. His powerful writing on the Troubles will perhaps be what he will be best remembered for; breathtakingly honest,  often unsettling, but always brilliant. We are delighted to be working alongside the Verbal Arts imprint Lagan Press and the Education Authority to gift this important collection to schools across Belfast, so that many generations to come can experience his work.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Sam McCready (1936-2019)

Monday 11th February 2019 at 4pm 0 Comments Drama

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with great sadness of the death yesterday of Sam McCready, Belfast actor, author, poet, director, teacher, painter, and a founding member of the Lyric Players Theatre.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, paid the following tribute to Mr McCready:

“The word ‘legend’ is much overused, but with Sam McCready, the epithet is no exaggeration. For decades he was a pivotal figure in Northern Ireland culture, and his influence on the shape of professional theatre here cannot be overstated. He was a great actor, director and theatre-maker in his own right and, as actor, mentor, teacher and friend, he dedicated a lifetime to encouraging younger actors to reach their own creative potential and inspired many of our finest actors who would go on to achieve world renown. Sam McCready was revered as an artist internationally, but he will be remembered locally with unusual warmth and affection by the entire arts community of Northern Ireland. We have lost one of our leading lights, an inspiration, and a truly lovely individual.”

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Tales of Life on the Lagan celebrated at Waterways Storymaking Festival

Tuesday 5th February 2019 at 12pm 0 Comments

Pictured are young writer Aisling Smyth,10, from St Theresa’s Primary School in Lurgan, composer Bridgett O'Neill, who composed a special piece for the festival, Brian Cassells, OBE, Chair of Lagan Navigational Trust and poet Olive Broderick. Image: Pictured are young writer Aisling Smyth,10, from St Theresa’s Primary School in Lurgan, composer Bridgett O'Neill, who composed a special piece for the festival, Brian Cassells, OBE, Chair of Lagan Navigational Trust and poet Olive Broderick.

The stories of the Lagan Navigation were brought to life on Saturday (2nd February) at a special awards ceremony celebrating the creative talent of the communities that connect with the waterway.

Organised by the Lagan Navigation Trust, and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds, Lisburn and Castlereagh Council, Belfast City Council, Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Waterstones, Libraries NI, the Odyssey Trust and many others, the Waterways Storymaking Festival invited local people to submit their stories of life on the Lagan using words, images, music and dance. 

With a theme this year of “Linen on the Lagan”, creative writing, tapestry and photography workshops  ran through the Autumn, encouraging local residents to reflect on their own experiences of the historic waterway. As part of Saturday’s celebration event, prizes were awarded for creative writing across a range of categories for adults and young people. Residents in six local communities also learnt stitching skills to create a series of stunning tapestries which were displayed alongside a photographic exhibition, while local composer Bridget O’Neill worked with musician Colin Reid to create a new musical commission entitled Flight of the Locks.

The Lagan Navigation dates back to the 1700s; connecting with 300,000 residents, 141 schools with a 35,000 pupil population, and traverses three council districts along its 27 mile route. As custodians of the waterway, the Lagan Navigation Trust campaigns and raises investment to have the route restored and fully reopened for communities and future generation to enjoy.

Brian Cassells OBE, Chair of the Lagan Navigation Trust commented,

“The Lagan Navigation has been a hugely significant part of life for many generations of people. We were overwhelmed by the number of entries we received to this year’s festival. We’ve had local people taking part in creative writing workshops and photographing the surrounding landscape and wildlife, and others coming together in their communities to learn embroidery skills. This is only the second year of this Festival, so it has been extremely encouraging to see so many people, of all ages and abilities, getting involved and celebrating our proud tradition of storymaking in Northern Ireland.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, was one of the judges of the writing competition. He said:

“The Arts Council was delighted to get involved for the first time this year in the Waterways Storymaking Festival. Many of those who submitted their stories and poems to the creative writing competition had never done anything like this before and it was fantastic to see the range of entries submitted, each with own unique perspective on what the Lagan Navigation means to them.”

An exhibition of artworks created for the festival will now go on tour to Lagan Valley Island, Belfast Boat Club and the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown. For more information visit www.lagannavigationtrust.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast Exposed launch exhibition of works from the Arts Council’s Contemporary Art Collection

Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured launching the exhibition is Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive, Belfast Exposed with Joanna Johnston, Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Pictured launching the exhibition is Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive, Belfast Exposed with Joanna Johnston, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

A special exhibition at Belfast Exposed featuring selected photographic works from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s contemporary art collection is now open.  The exhibition has come about as part of the Arts Council’s new Art Lending Scheme, a free scheme which is open to curators, galleries, and organisations interested in putting works from the Collection on public display.

Inspired by the wealth of photographic works in the collection the curators wanted to ensure the photography works on show were reflective of the breadth, diversity and talent that Northern Ireland excels in.

There promises to be something for everyone, including a range of emerging and established artists dealing with topics such as life and death, domesticity and feminism, war and colonialism, as well as urban scenes and landscapes.

The exhibition features 21 artists including renowned photographers Paul Seawright, Donovan Wylie, Susan MacWilliam, Peter Richards, Ailbhe Greaney, Fergus Jordan, Laura McDowell, and Joanna Karolini. It also includes 3 video works from Mairead McClean, Adrian O’Connell and Angela Halliday.

Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“We are delighted to have works from the Collection exhibited at Belfast Exposed.  Many of the artists represented in the Collection have major national and international reputations and by offering the collection for public display, we are helping to showcase the work of our artists and to introduce the public to Northern Ireland’s wealth of creative talent. I would encourage everyone to go along and see this exhibition at Belfast Exposed which promises to be an impressive mix of emerging and established artists.”

Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive of Belfast Exposed and curator, added,

“Northern Ireland is home to some of the best photographers in the world. By hosting a selection of the work in our gallery, it allows us to celebrate the artists and acknowledges the contribution they make to the field of photography in a local and global context.” 

The Arts Council Collection Exhibition at Belfast Exposed continues until 16th March, visit, www.belfastexposed.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Daniele Rustioni to become new Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra

Friday 25th January 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Internationally-renowned Italian maestro, Daniele Rustioni Image: Internationally-renowned Italian maestro, Daniele Rustioni

The Ulster Orchestra is delighted to announce that Daniele Rustioni will be its new Chief Conductor to succeed Rafael Payare in September.

Rafael has collaborated with the Orchestra musicians for these past five seasons to build an exciting level of achievement in Northern Ireland, culminating in this season’s exploration of the large-scale Shostakovich symphonies. Of Daniele’s appointment Rafael said;

“I am sure that Daniele is going to have a great time with the wonderful artists of the Ulster Orchestra, as well as with their enthusiastic and receptive audience.  I have spent the last five years with this ensemble and it will always have a special place in my heart.  We have shared unforgettable experiences together, and the musicians as well as the greater community in Northern Ireland have always made my family and me feel at home.  I am confident that they will treat Daniele exactly the same way and I wish him all the luck in the world with this new chapter for the Ulster Orchestra.”

Richard Wigley, the Ulster Orchestra’s Managing Director, commented;

“Daniele is sought after by orchestras all over the world and in all the major international opera houses. He has all the musicianship and talent necessary to lead the Ulster Orchestra to build on and continue the outstanding trajectory begun with Rafael. His new partnership with the Ulster Orchestra’s musicians couldn’t come at a better time for our burgeoning audiences. I am personally delighted to welcome Daniele into the Ulster Orchestra family, and we have already formulated some great artistic plans together.”

Daniele Rustioni stated;

“I perceived a special connection with the Ulster Orchestra ever since I first set foot on the podium at Ulster Hall as a guest conductor a couple of years ago. Emotion and brilliance from the musicians combined with the Hall’s magical atmosphere allows the sound to soar from every instrument and envelope you completely. And what can I say about the touching and exhilarating reception from the wonderful Northern Ireland audience? My heartfelt thanks go to Rafael for his great work and for his warm support in “passing the baton”. I am delighted and profoundly grateful to take the position of Chief Conductor with this fabulous orchestra and I can hardly wait to get started, sharing inspiring music, and collaborating with all the exciting projects that are already taking shape. It will be a thrilling adventure for all of us.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Pádraic Fiacc (1924 – 2019)

Monday 21st January 2019 at 1pm 0 Comments Literature

Belfast poet, renowned for his writing on the Troubles, dies, aged 94.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with sadness of the death of the Belfast poet, Pádraic Fiacc, who died last night at the age of 94.

The young father is able himself to carry
The immaculate white coffin but
Stains it with a dirty-faced boy's
Fist-smudged tears
then suddenly cries
Out like a man being tortured by water.

Pádraic Fiacc, Tears/A Lacrimosa, 1986 (excerpt), recalling an incident in 1972 in which a child is killed by a ricocheting bullet.

 

Born Patrick Joseph O’Connor in Belfast in 1924, Pádraic Fiacc adopted his pseudonym in honour of his friend and mentor, poet Padraic Colum. (Loosely translated from the Irish, Padraic Colum means Padraic the Dove while Padraic Fiacc means Padraic the Raven.)

Pádraic Fiacc’s family emigrated to New York in the late 1920s. Raised in the notorious Hell’s Kitchen district of the city, he was educated at Commerce High School and Haaren High School. It was at this point that the young writer became acquainted with Colum and he produced four plays and a volume of poetry – since lost. He enrolled at St Joseph’s Seminary and studied for five years under the Irish Capuchin Order. Unhappy at the life of a prospective priest, he left the seminary and left for Belfast in 1946. In Belfast he immediately began forging a reputation as a poet, appearing in New Irish Poets (1948). His work also appeared in Irish Bookman, Poetry Ireland and the Irish Times.

In 1956 he settled in Glengormley with his new wife, the American artist Nancy Wayne. In 1957 he won the AE Memorial Award for his anthology Woe to Boy (Never published in its original form). During the 1960s he was a presence in the local literary scene but he was never truly established until his first full collection, By the Black Stream, was published by Dolmen Press in 1969.

Other volumes quickly followed: Odour of Blood (1973); Nights in the Bad Place (1977); The Selected Padraic Fiacc (1979); Missa Terriblis (1986); Ruined Pages (1994); Red Earth (1996) and Semper Vacare (1999). A miscellany of his critical and autobiographical work, My Twentieth-Century Night-Life appeared in 2009, which included two biographical pieces for radio: Hell’s Kitchen and Atlantic Crossing. Recent collections include Sea:  sixty years of poetry by Pádraic Fiacc (edited and illustrated by Michael McKernon, 2006) and In My Own Hand: poems written in the poet’s own hand (2012).

At the centre of his work are two overriding concerns: the correct poetic response to the moral, political and civil disintegration of Belfast in the face of violence and the re-imagination of a Celtic Twilight in a modernistic, self-expressive aesthetic.

In addition to Northern Ireland’s civic strife, the sectarian murder of his friend Gerry McLaughlin in April 1975 was a turning point in Fiacc’s response to the Troubles and this event deepened the poet’s concern with the impact of civil and personal violence for the rest of his artistic career. His ground-breaking anthology, The Wearing of the Black (Blackstaff 1974), remains a touchstone publication, presenting a vigorous and challenging gathering of diverse voices vexed by themes of grief, hurt and outrage. His own poems from this period are the bedrock of the enduring regard for his work among subsequent generations of readers and writers and the affection with which he is held among a public otherwise disengaged from poetry.

Fiacc was recognised for his contribution to Irish literature when he was elected a member of the Aosdana in 1981. He was honoured by Belfast City Council in 2012 with a special reception at City Hall.

Tributes have been paid by fellow poets and colleagues.

President Michael D Higgins, said: 

“He courageously raised crucial questions about the relationship between violence, poetry and language. His portrayal of the Troubles was stark and revealed an honesty like no other. It was a unique contribution at critical cost. His empathy for the frightened and maimed individuals on either side of the divide shone through his work. I had the privilege of visiting him last week and reading one of his poems to him, a poem dedicated to his friend Gerald Dawe. Padraic Fiacc leaves a legacy of particular intensity.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:
“Throughout his long career, Pádraic Fiacc established himself as one of the most distinctive voices of his generation. In our long and rich tradition of poetry, he ranks amongst the best, and his place in Northern Irish literary history is assured.  Because his honesty and drive to bear witness to his times is so direct, unflinching and uncompromising - no matter how hard these things are for us to hear - as a chronicler of the Troubles, he is unsurpassed.”

Poet and critic Gerald Dawe, who co-edited with the late Aodán Mac Póilin, Fiacc’s Selected Poems, recalls:
“One very distinct image remains in my memory of Padraic Fiacc – Joe as he was known back then. It’s 1974 and we are in the front room by the bay window of his house in Glengormley. Joe is playing ever so lightly on the piano Seosamh MacCathmhaoil’s (Joseph Campbell) ‘The Blue Hills of Antrim’. It has such a delicate easeful quality, almost effortless, the air carries the tune. His sense of home, nestled high up above Belfast which he knew like the back of his hand, would eventually succumb to a pitiless violence but Joe – as Padraic Fiacc – withstood miraculously the downward spirals to reach a stoical calm; his poetry becoming testament to both the light and the dark of his city’s history.”

Poet and writer Maria McManus, said:
“It is the work of a pure poet such as Fiacc, to speak the truth. He did so tenderly, sometimes brutally, and his truth is as a grain of sand in an oyster shell, uncomfortable, something gritty, and necessary in the transformation of suffering to beauty. We are the poorer for his passing, and all the more enriched for the legacy of his poetry.”

Tara McEvoy, a PhD student at Queen's University Belfast and co-editor of The Tangerine magazine, one of the best contemporary journals of new writing, based in Belfast, said:
“Pádraic Fiacc's passing marks the loss of an inimitable and vital voice in Irish poetry. His work stands as testament to a lifetime committed to capturing the ‘moment on the/ Margin’, to his empathy and compassion. He will be sorely missed.”

Poet Moyra Donaldson, said:
'I was first introduced to Pádraig Fiacc by the late Mairtin Crawford in the sanctuary that was Bookfinders cafe, a place where outsiders and anarchists were always welcome. I came to realise that Fiacc’s ‘Troubles’ poetry, though unwelcome to many, was a passionate and compassionate cry against the encircling darkness that was Belfast at that time.'

Michael McKernon, Fiacc’s most recent publisher, added:
“Poet Pádraic fiacc’s mesmerizing work both celebrated and challenged an imperfect world.”

Patrick Ramsey, Fiacc’s publisher for many years at Lagan Press, said:
“Pádraic Fiacc reminded us of the moral duties of the artist to witness, to record faithful to that witness and to endure. That he did so was in itself astonishing but to have also done so with such aesthetic and poetic brilliance is nothing less than a miracle of defiance and hope. His poems will last.”

A selection of poems by Pádraic Fiacc can be viewed at: www.troublesarchive.com

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Informal gathering in memory of Prof Elaine Thomas CBE (1950-2019)

Monday 21st January 2019 at 12pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Professor Elaine Thomas CBE Image: Professor Elaine Thomas CBE

Former Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design, University of Ulster

Following the sudden death earlier this month of the artist and lecturer Elaine Thomas, who joined the Ulster Polytechnic in 1973 as a Fine Art Lecturer and became Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design and Professor of Fine Art at the University of Ulster in 1990, past students and teaching colleagues are invited to an informal get-together in her memory.

The get-together is on Saturday 2nd February, 1.00pm at University of Atypical (formerly Arts & Disability Forum), 109-113 Royal Avenue, BELFAST BT1 1FF (opposite side of the street to Belfast Central Library).

This is a relaxed gathering of past students and teaching colleagues from Elaine’s time in Belfast. It’s in Elaine’s memory – but not a solemn affair – just an opportunity for people to see each other again, maybe after decades, and enjoy memories of an exceptional tutor and person.

There will be a book to record memories of Elaine. Please think of an anecdote to write in the book or add a message of sympathy for her family. Afterwards, it will be sent on to Elaine’s sister, Annette.

Recognising each other after many years may not be easy but should be enjoyable.

Please RSVP to Damien Coyle and Vivien Burnside at:

st.comgall@gmail.com

including your name and when you were a student or colleague of Elaine.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Northern Ireland writers take to the stage at prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival

Friday 18th January 2019 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Jan Carson and Paul McVeigh pictured with Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Jan Carson and Paul McVeigh pictured with Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Belfast-based writers Jan Carson and Paul McVeigh are representing Northern Ireland at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The writers have accepted invitations to read at the Festival with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and British Council Northern Ireland. Their stay in India will cover the five-day celebration at the end of this month.

Considered one of the most important events of its kind across the globe, the festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers on one stage to engage in thoughtful dialogue and debate.

Other programme speakers this year will include Sebastian Barry, Germaine Greer, Anuradha Roy, Mary Beard, Alexander McCall Smith and Belfast Book Festival and Lifeboat Readings veteran Kayo Chingonyi.

The invitation to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival is part of new links formed with key cultural institutions in India by the Arts Council as a platform for creating, sharing and promoting the creative arts.
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama, at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Jaipur Literature Festival is world renowned, a celebration of books and writing which draws together international publishers, writers and cultural figures from across the globe.  It’s a fantastic stage to showcase Northern Ireland’s rich literary talent and we are delighted to be able to support Jan and Paul at this important festival. They follow David Park and Glenn Patterson who have attended the Festival in recent years.”

During the festival, Jan and Paul will take part in a number of panel discussions and debates, including one together entitled, 'What Is Not Said: Celebrating the Short Story'.

Jan Carson is the author of the novel Malcolm Orange Disappears, a short story collection, Children’s Children, and a micro-fiction collection, Postcard Stories. Her novel The Fire Starters is forthcoming from Doubleday in April 2019.

"I'm so grateful for the opportunity to visit a country I've always been fascinated by and to have a chance to showcase my own work alongside a host of Internationally renowned writers. I'm really looking forward to making contacts, encountering new writers and exploring Indian culture."

Paul McVeigh’s debut novel, The Good Son, won The McCrea Literary Award and The Polari First Novel Prize. He is the co-founder of the London Short Story Festival and has written for stage, radio and television.  Speaking about the Festival Paul said:

“I'm looking forward to meeting authors from around the world and sharing Northern Irish stories with them. I’m hoping to learn a lot from the many different cultures and writing styles and seeing how they influence and inspire me.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Prolific Singer Ríoghnach Connolly Announced as Nerve Centre Musician-in-Residence

Thursday 17th January 2019 at 3pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Image:

Armagh-born singer and flautist Ríoghnach Connolly has been named as the new Musician-in-Residence at the Nerve Centre, where she will work on a number of exciting projects and collaborations in the community over the next year.

Following jazz artists Neil Cowley and David Lyttle, and most recently multi-instrumentalist Marty Coyle, Connolly will be the first Nerve Centre Musician-in-Residence who is primarily a vocal talent.
The ‘irrepressible, inimitable’ singer grew up as part of the Armagh Pipers Club where she had her eyes opened to the world of folk music and how it travelled into other countries and cultures. This would shape Connolly’s time studying and working as a community musician in Manchester, a vibrant city she would be actively involved with, broadening her horizons and helping others at a grassroots level. It was there where Connolly formed Honeyfeet, a ‘folk-hop’ collective who have played countless festivals over the last 12 years and have recently finished recording their third album.

Never restricted to one sound, Connolly has worked both in studio and live spanning across Irish traditional, folk, blues, jazz, electronica and more. Her formidable voice has been used to front a ream of musical projects, including her own 2012 album Black Lung which was recorded before her headline appearance at the Manchester Jazz Festival and adopts traditional Irish sean-nós singing. She is also part of collaboration-based project Beware Soul Brother, spawned from a previous residency in Brazil, regularly features with Afro Celt Sound System and is one half of The Breath with Stuart McCallum, which has released two albums to date.

The residency is supported by funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund.

Joanne Wright, Arts Development Officer for Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

'Congratulations to Ríoghnach on this terrific opportunity with the Nerve Centre. We are delighted to once again support the Nerve Centre’s Musician-In-Residence initiative with National Lottery funding and we look forward to seeing the many positive outcomes from the project as Rioghnach engages creatively with musicians, of all ages, from Derry and beyond.'

Having delivered a workshop and performed with Honeyfeet at the Nerve Centre in 2016, Connolly said she is ‘very proud and humbled at being invited back’ as Musician-in-Residence, adding that ‘it feels really exciting to be getting the opportunity to really dig into the communities here and help facilitate creatively in any way I can!’

Connolly will be tasked with producing new, original music during her tenure and using her diverse talents and experience to help educate and take young aspiring artists to the next stage in their learning.
Pearse Moore, Chief Executive of Nerve Centre, said ‘We’re delighted to welcome such an accomplished artist and presence to the Musician-in Residence role as Ríoghnach. Her talents, experience and enthusiasm will bring a new energy to our music initiatives this year and we can’t wait to see what she produces.’

Looking ahead to getting started, Connolly said ‘I intend to learn as much as I am going to pass on, and that is how I go into every musical situation.

‘In my opinion, so much is passed on through the oral traditions of a culture that cannot be written down that, it is important to attempt to document as much as possible. I just want to help investigate and musically capture that moment in time for everyone involved. It’s about investing in people with enough honesty that they can represent a bit of themselves musically in a safe space - and to show how liberating and fun that can be when you can really get your teeth into a project!’

To stay up to date with the latest news and opportunities to get involved with Ríoghnach Connolly’s residency at the Nerve Centre, visit www.nervecentre.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Community artists recognised with Arts Council of Northern Ireland legacy awards

Wednesday 16th January 2019 at 10am 0 Comments Community Arts , Circus & Carnival Arts

Pictured (L-R) are Mervyn Smyth, Gilly Campbell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Hannah Anderson. Image: Pictured (L-R) are Mervyn Smyth, Gilly Campbell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Hannah Anderson.

Mervyn Smyth, Community Engagement Manager at Belfast Exposed Photography and Hannah Anderson, circus artist, have each been awarded £5000 National Lottery funding by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  The career development awards are presented in memory of Mike Moloney, co-founder of the Belfast Community Circus School and Anne O’Donoghue, Director of Play Resource Warehouse, two of the arts sector’s largest figures, who sadly passed away in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The awards were established under the existing Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) as part of the Arts Council’s continuing commitment to support artists and create a sustainable arts sector.  Each awardee will now use the funding towards a project that will significantly impact their professional careers.

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented;

“Both Mike and Anne contributed a huge amount to the life and legacy of the arts in Northern Ireland and we are delighted to make these two awards available in their memory to artists in support of their artistic careers.  Congratulations to Mervyn Smyth and Hannah Anderson whom I know will benefit greatly from these awards.”  

Reflecting Mike Moloney’s passion for circus and street theatre and his work with young people, the Mike Moloney Award was established to support the development of young people from Northern Ireland working in the field of circus arts and street theatre.  Awardee and aerialist, Hannah Anderson, will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, for a six-month residency where she will be mentored by Yazmin Gonzalez, Artistic Director of leading aerial performance company, NMOR Espectaculos y Multimedi.  During the residency Hannah will focus on aerial hoop, fabrics, rope, aerial pole, trapeze, contemporary dance, flexibility and custom apparatus, helping to take her professional circus career to the next level.   

Anne O’Donoghue’s legacy is significant joining the Play Resource Warehouse in 1984 where she remained as a committed director for thirty years championing community arts practice.  With this commitment in mind, the Anne O’Donoghue Award was created to support an individual working in community arts by building their professional capacity through continuing professional development. 

Awardee, Mervyn Smyth, will use the Anne O’Donoghue Award to develop his skills working with people in the mental health sector using photography.  Specifically he will use the award for study visits and mentoring whilst engaging with people with complex mental health conditions, bringing this experience back to his role as Community Engagement Manager with Belfast Exposed. 

For information on all funding opportunities visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Own Art unveils new brand and website

Wednesday 16th January 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Visual Arts

New Own Art logo Image: New Own Art logo

Creative United’s Own Art scheme, which supports new buyers and collectors of contemporary art and craft, will unveil its new brand and website at the London Art Fair taking place at London’s Business Design Centre in Islington from 16 to 20 January 2019.

Originally launched by Arts Council England in 2004, over 50,000 customers across the UK have Own Art’s interest-free loan scheme to help finance the purchase of more than £40 million of contemporary art and craft.

Own Art is now the UK’s largest membership body for contemporary art and craft, helping to support the sector to develop and grow.

Funded by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the scheme has been hugely successful in growing and diversifying the UK’s base of art buyers and collectors, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds for whom buying art may otherwise have been out of reach.

Finance for the scheme is provided by Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance, offering customers the chance to purchase contemporary art and craft with a 10 or 20 month interest-free loan between £100 and £25,000. The amount borrowed –without any additional charges –is repaid in manageable, monthly instalments.

The new branding is part of Creative United’s long-term strategy to support contemporary artists and galleries by encouraging both public engagement with and appreciation of the arts.
Own Art’s new look and feel reflects the personality of the scheme and aims to strengthen its core mission: making contemporary art and craft accessible to everyone and bringing people closer to galleries and artists.

The new brand identity, designed by London-based Spy Studio, retains Own Art’s trademark pink while echoing the iconic form of the red 'sold' dot and comprises a clear graphic language. The bold typographic marque is inspired by transporting and moving art. The identity will be adopted across the entire Own Art network of over 300 galleries and digital platforms, activating an engagement strategy that will facilitate interaction between galleries and prospective buyers thanks to its immediate recognisability.

The accompanying website, developed by Brighton-based web agency Wolf cub Digital, has been designed to connect galleries, collectors and artists using a clear and informative structure and compelling editorial content.

Own Art member galleries will also become active content creators, directly promoting their own programmes to new potential buyers.
This new digital platform will help facilitate anyone starting out as a collector or interested in discovering exhibitions and artists in their local area.

Mary-Alice Stack, Chief Executive at Creative United said

“2019 is set to be an exciting year for Own Art, and we are very proud to be launching our new brand identity at the London Art Fair. As we continue to develop and grow the scheme in partnership with our network of members across the UK, we are looking forward to rolling out the new look and feel across all our platforms, and to introducing the benefits of the scheme to many more galleries, artists and buyers in the year ahead.

We aim to establish Own Art as an essential resource for anyone interested in collecting contemporary art or discovering more about the UK art market, and we are confident this brand refresh will help us to reach this ambitious goal.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said

“Own Art is an affordable way to begin or to grow a personal art collection. The scheme not only supports local artists through the sale of their works but also opens up the idea of buying artwork to people who may not have thought about buying art before. We now have nine galleries in Northern Ireland currently offering the scheme to buyers and I would love to see more galleries in the region get involved.”

Visit the new website www.ownart.org.uk

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

ABO Conference 2019: Cross Border

Tuesday 15th January 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Raphael Payare, conductor Image: Raphael Payare, conductor

The UK’s most prestigious classical music forum, the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) annual conference, will be hosted by the Ulster Orchestra at the ICC Belfast, from 23-25 January.

At a time of anxiety for the sector over Brexit, with potentially restricted access to talent and increased red tape in European touring markets, Director Mark Pemberton says:

“Brexit will of course be a topic, but with so little concrete information available even at this advanced stage, we will be taking the opportunity to look beyond geography and politics. What other boundaries exist? What are the barriers that inhibit reaching wider audiences? How can we make meaningful progress around diversity and inclusion? There is competition in our sector, but it is also an industry that’s incredibly good at sharing ideas and best practice. We’re proud of the reputation that the ABO Conference has built as the best forum of its kind for open discussion of all these issues.”

Delegates will be welcomed by Gavin Reid, Chair, ABO, Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE DL, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, with a keynote address by Sean Rainbird, Director, National Gallery of Ireland. Richard Wigley, Managing Director, Ulster Orchestra says:

“The Ulster Orchestra couldn’t be happier to welcome delegates from across the orchestral sector in the UK and beyond. We are proud to be part of Northern Ireland and its new-found flourishing place in the world. A warm Belfast welcome awaits.”

Visiting speakers Steve Brosvik of Nashville Symphony and John Kieser of New World Symphony will be giving updates on how programmes in the US are supporting and encouraging equity, diversity and inclusion. UK Disability Champion for Arts & Culture Andrew Miller will present a session, along with conductor James Rose, with updates on the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Change Makers project, which has created a disabled-led professional ensemble.

Other cross-border issues on the agenda will be the progress that is being made to counter the historic ‘us and them’ divide between musicians and management. The ABO’s ‘Find Your Way’ programme, now in its third year, aims to boost the careers for future leaders in the sector, and actively encourages orchestral musicians to participate. Graduate of the scheme Catherine Arlidge MBE – violinist in the CBSO and now Artistic and Educational Director of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain - and current participants, will present at the conference.

In the final session, conservative thinker and polemicist Sir Roger Scruton will address an audience who face the seemingly competing and incompatible demands of artistic excellence and public accessibility. He will defend the concept of elitism - a culture which distinguishes between knowledge and opinion - where knowledge must set standards and distinguish false from good: “…this is something which much concerns the advocate of classical music, because he knows that the classical tradition of music contains within it precious achievements, precious knowledge, and a precious world of feeling which requires a certain effort to enter.” Roger Scruton

The ABO is delighted to welcome back Principal Media Partner Classic FM, and to announce a new relationship with Help Musicians UK as Charity Partner, as well as welcoming International Arts Manager as Media Associate. Classical Music magazine, newly acquired by the Mark Allen Group, continues its long association as Print Media sponsor for the conference and the ABO/Classical Music Awards which will be hosted by Anne-Marie Minhall from Classic FM. The ABO is grateful for the support of Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and its hosts the Ulster Orchestra.

On the first evening, delegates will attend the ABO’s award dinner, with partner Classic FM, which will see the presentation of the ABO Award and the ABO/Classical Music Awards, which recognize excellence and innovation in orchestras concert halls, and artist management.  On the second evening, there will be a ‘cross-border’ concert with the Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Rafael Payare, bolstered by musicians from across Europe for a performance of Shostakovich’s huge Symphony No 4.  A pre-concert reception will be hosted by ISM. A post-concert event will be jointly hosted by Alan Davey CBE, Controller BBC Radio 3 with Peter Johnston, Director BBC Northern Ireland. The conference opens with the premiere of Béal by Ryan Molloy, especially commissioned for the Ulster Orchestra and performed by its brass musicians, followed by the Čhavorenge choir, part of a project by the Czech Philharmonic – and supported by British Council Northern Ireland – to rehabilitate the reputation of the marginalised and stigmatised Roma community in the Czech Republic.

Further details of the new partnership between Help Musicians UK and the ABO will be announced in the closing session of the conference.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast Children’s Festival turns 21!

Thursday 10th January 2019 at 12pm 0 Comments Comedy , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts , Youth Arts , Dance , Drama , Craft , Circus & Carnival Arts

Belfast Children’s Festival turns 21 Image: Belfast Children’s Festival turns 21

Belfast Children’s Festival has launched its 2019 festival programme. Now in its 21st year, this year’s theme is ‘Our Place in the World’.

From Friday 8th to Wednesday 13th March, over 90 events will take place in 12 locations across the city. Belfast Children’s Festival has become one of the largest children’s arts festivals on the island of Ireland and the UK, attracting over 31,000 people last year.

Eibhlín de Barra, Director Young at Art, unveiled the packed programme at earlier this week at Belfast Cathedral.  She said:

“The 2019 Belfast Children's Festival is a wonderful mix of theatre, dance, comedy, music, visual arts and literature for families. From the powerful Oorlog (War), to the madcap exploits of Expedition Peter Pan, and from Cahoots NI’s charming adaptation of Jon Agee’s Milo’s Hat Trick, to the hilarious The Alien’s Guide To Dance Gone Wrong, there really is something for everyone. On top of it all we're creating an inSPIREd family programme of events and activities in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter."

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is principal funder of Young at Art, and thanks to public and National Lottery funds, Young at Art is able to programme and deliver a wide range of artistic content, education and engagement programmes, and professional development throughout the year.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented

“As Young at Art’s main funder and its longest running partner, the Arts Council is pleased to support the 2019 festival programme. Now in its 21st year, the Belfast Children’s Festival continues to produce fresh, innovative and entertaining events tailor-made for young audiences. We know that inspiring the imagination at a young age can provide the building blocks for a creative and fulfilling life and there is no better way to introduce children to the arts than by offering them access to quality arts experiences from a young age.”

Young at Art will present several world, UK and Irish premieres, at this year’s festival including Oorlog (War), Loo, Removed, and The Alien’s Guide to Dance Gone Wrong.

While closing the festival on Wednesday 13 March is the high energy and playful Expedition Peter Pan (ages 7+) by Het Laagland (The Netherlands). This production promises a wild adventure of imagination, hilarious surprises, and rediscovery of the child in all of us.

On Saturday 9 March the inSPIREd family fun day will be bursting with exciting activities across the Cathedral Quarter including a one-off special Baby Rave ‘Rave in the Nave’ in Belfast Cathedral, free children’s art workshops exploring home and the urban landscape around us, DJ workshops with Bounce Culture, Acoustic Picnic in Oh Yeah Music Centre, digital animation with Can Do Academy, augmented reality workshops with Art Cart, theatre workshops with Northern Ireland Opera, and more, all supported by new sponsor Destination CQ BID.

Once again, the festival will also be hosting the TYANI (Theatre for Young Audiences NI) Showcase. The 4-day showcase will profile some of the finest performance work for young audiences being created right here and features performances, a unique work-in-progress from the Belfast Ensemble, a ‘scratch’ performance platform featuring four emerging individual artists, discussions and networking events. The festival will also welcome a group of international programmers and producers to the city.

For more information on this year’s festival programme or to purchase your tickets, go to www.youngatart.co.uk. The maximum ticket price is £10, and adults pay the same price as children. Many events are free.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Christmas gift for artists selected to represent Northern Ireland on Indian adventure

Wednesday 26th December 2018 at 9am 0 Comments Visual Arts , Literature

Visual artist Mairead McCormack and poet Emily S Cooper have been selected by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council to undertake working residencies in the prestigious Sanskritti Cultural Centre in Delhi. Image: Visual artist Mairead McCormack and poet Emily S Cooper have been selected by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council to undertake working residencies in the prestigious Sanskritti Cultural Centre in Delhi.

Two young emerging artists have been chosen to represent Northern Ireland on an Indian adventure of discovery.

Visual artist Mairead McCormack, who specialises in textiles, and poet Emily S Cooper have been selected by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council to travel to the prestigious Sanskritti Cultural Centre in Delhi where they will each undertake six week residencies in January and February 2019.

The residencies are awarded annually to artists to give them dedicated space and time to develop their artistic practice and are the result of new links forged with key cultural institutions in India by the Arts Council and British Council as a platform for creating, sharing and promoting the creative arts.

The Sanskritti Cultural Centre will offer a unique experience for the artists, unlike anything they will have experienced before. Designed as a serene environment to encourage innovative and interactive work, the five-acre campus houses three museums, a multi-purpose hall, an amphitheatre, artists’ studios, dormitories and workshop spaces.

Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Emily and Mairead to immerse themselves in a very different artistic community and to draw inspiration from another culture – the art, the people, the places they will visit.  These residencies are about providing new learning experiences for our artists, as well as giving them a platform to showcase the immense talent and creativity Northern Ireland has to offer. We wish them every success.”

Colette Norwood, Arts Manager, British Council Northern Ireland commenting on the opportunity said:

“British Council is delighted to continue to offer a series of artist residencies in India, in partnership with the Arts Council.  The festivals and Indian cultural organisations we are working with provide vital opportunities to celebrate our artists internationally.”

Emily S Cooper writes poetry that centres on ideas of identity and location. In 2018 she was awarded the Irish Times Hennessy New Irish Writing Prize and longlisted for Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing. She said: 

“I’m absolutely over the moon about going to New Delhi. To have the opportunity to spend six weeks researching and writing my project on female solitude is such a gift. I’m hoping to spend my time talking to artists and finding out how they find solitude impacts on their creative process and how their individual experiences of cultural and social pressures affect how they find that solitude. I’m excited to experience the hustle and bustle of the city as well as the oasis of the Sanskriti Centre.”

Mairead McCormack is a recent graduate and emerging textile artist, she believes her trip to India will allow her to learn new skills and benefit her future career prospects. Looking forward to her placement she said:

"I am very grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council for the opportunity to travel to India for a six week residency at the Sanskriti Foundation. I am looking forward to challenging my creative process during my time in India and hope to undertake lots of research exploring traditions of textiles, embroidery, natural dying and printing processes. I hope to draw parallels between cultures, technologies, the old and the new and from my own experiences on this creative journey."

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Calling all Curators, Galleries and Museums! Arts Council launches Art Lending Scheme

Friday 21st December 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has launched its Art Lending Scheme Image: The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has launched its Art Lending Scheme

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has launched its Art Lending Scheme, a free Art Lending Scheme for curators, museums and galleries across Britain, Ireland and Europe that are interested in exhibiting works from its rich, contemporary art collection.

The Arts Council’s collection holds 500 works by established and emerging visual artists working in, or from,  Northern Ireland.  The Loan Scheme provides an opportunity to bring works out of large collections, where they may not be seen.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “Many of the artists represented in the Arts Council’s contemporary art collection have major national and international reputations, such as two-times Turner Prize nominee, Willie Doherty;  Cara Murphy, whose work is included in the Downing Street Sliver Collection; and Colin Davidson, who painted the Queens’ portrait in 2016, Ian Cumberland, and Paul Seawright.

“By offering the Collection for public display, we are helping to showcase the work of our artists and to introduce the public to Northern Ireland’s wealth of creative talent. Curators can curate their own show or the Arts Council’s expert staff can help compile and theme an exhibition suitable for any space. We can provide works in all media, from painting, sculpture, crafts, print, photography and video through to digital art.”

The free public loan scheme is available to organisations and galleries, locally, nationally and internationally and covers loans of single art works up to full exhibitions.  It offers museums and galleries an opportunity to bring a new audience to contemporary works of art and to interpret the Collection material in new ways; potentially becoming a catalyst for education and outreach or bringing other aspects of a theme into play.

To view the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Collection you can see the full list of works available at artscouncil-ni.org/collection and for more information on the Arts Council’s Art Lending Scheme email: collection@artscouncil-ni.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Stone sculptor, Sheena Devitt, receives £15,000 Rosy James Memorial Trust craft award

Friday 21st December 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured is Sheena Devitt with Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Pictured is Sheena Devitt with Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Stone sculptor, Sheena Devitt, from Killyleagh, County Down, has been awarded the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, an annual craft bursary worth £15,000. The bursary, administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on behalf of the Rosy James Memorial Trust, aims to assist craft makers to develop their professional careers by developing a new body of work which might otherwise have been unattainable.

Sheena Devitt carves into stone and slate to create site specific sculptural artworks and her designs are inspired by and respond to a site’s topography and history, its orientation and present inhabitants. Her process of designing the sculptures starts with layers of drawings on paper and the transferred design takes on a new life as the work moves from a graphic image to a sculptural piece about shape, texture and light.

Sheena’s training in drawing and painting, combined with a one to one apprenticeship in stone letter carving, has given the artist an excellent grounding in using drawing to develop ideas, and the ability to practice a very specific craft to a high level.  Many of her works are sited permanently in private gardens, interiors and public spaces in both the UK and USA.

Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

"Congratulations to Sheena Devitt on receiving the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award.   This notable artist’s work is very impressive, requiring great skill and it has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.  I wish Sheena every success as she embarks upon producing new works using the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, a bursary which demonstrates the true power of philanthropic giving.”

Commenting on the award Sheena Devitt said,

“I’m delighted to receive the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award which will enable me to take my artistic practice in a new direction.   With this award I plan to combine hand working and stone machining processes.  I will collaborate with a leading stone machining specialist to design and develop a new range of limited edition marble lighting to add warmth and texture to interior spaces, for distribution in the UK and international markets.  My designs will be based upon my own drawings which are inspired by patterns formed by the movement of water and wind across the landscape and seascape of Strangford Lough.”

With this award the artist plans to collaborate with renowned, award-winning stone specialists, S McConnell & Sons Ltd, Northern Ireland.  Visit www.sheenadevitt.com

For information on all funding opportunities for artists and organisations visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Christmas events guide

Thursday 20th December 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Dance , Drama , Circus & Carnival Arts , Northern Ireland Music

Tumble Winter Circus, Writer’s Square, Belfast, runs until Tuesday 1st January 2019 Image: Tumble Winter Circus, Writer’s Square, Belfast, runs until Tuesday 1st January 2019

Got some free time over the Christmas break? Here’s a round-up of some of the many arts events happening over the festive holidays, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds…

Jack and the Bean Stalk, at the Grand Opera House, runs until Sunday 13th January
A firm family favourite, what better way to round of the year than visiting the annual pantomime at the Grand Opera House, Belfast? This year, veteran panto star May McFettridge stars as Dame May Trot in Jack and the Bean Stalk. Expect magic beans, loads of laughs and maybe even some audience participation.  Doomed to sell the family’s trusty cow this is the story of how Jack fights to save the beautiful Princess, outwit the evil giant and win the hand of the girl he loves. www.goh.co.uk

Tumble Winter Circus, Writer’s Square, Belfast, runs until Tuesday 1st January 2019
Never ones to conform, the Tumble Circus troop will treat you and your family to a Winter extravaganza unlike anything else on offer in Belfast. Visit the Big Top at Writer’s Square to see this all, human, all skill, all thrill event. This modern, spectacular show will entertain all, young and old, with acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and plenty of laughs. www.tumblecircus.com

Alice The Musical, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, runs until Saturday 5th January 2019
Featuring a host of Lewis Carroll's most infamous characters, Alice The Musical tells the story of Alice's adventures in Wonderland and her attempts to escape the clutches of the notorious Queen of Hearts. Tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice in pursuit of the elusive White Rabbit, to discover a fantastic realm where nothing makes sense. Can Alice and her new friends defeat the Queen of Hearts? www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

Vienna!, The Ulster Orchestra at The Braid, Ballymena, Saturday 5th January 2019
If you’ve never had a chance to hear the Ulster Orchestra, this could be your chance at The Braid in Ballymena. Part of the Ulster Orchestra’s On Your Door Step series, this concert will help you welcome in the New Year and transport you to the glittering world of Strauss for the waltz of your life! The concert will feature much-loved Viennese music from the Merry Widow to the Blue Danube – and not forgetting that all-time favourite, the Radetzky March. www.ulsterorchestra.org.uk

David C Clements and Arco String Quartet, Black Box, Belfast, Sunday 23rd December 2019
David C Clements and Arco String Quartet present an evening of original songs and Christmas classics with plenty of festive cheer thrown in for good measure. A fantastic way to be merry and celebrate the festive season with friends. www.blackboxbelfast.com

The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Mac, Belfast, on until Sunday 6th January 2019
Award-winning children’s theatre company Cahoots NI presents their very own version of classic magical fairytale The Elves and the Shoemaker.  This heartwarming festive show is suitable for all ages and is filled with lots of laughs and surprises. www.themaclive.com

Peter Pan, Millennium Forum, Derry/Londonderry, runs until Sunday 30th December
Join Peter Pan, Wendy and the Darling Family on their spine tingling adventures to Neverland where they meet Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, and his murderous motley crew.  Who will walk the plank on the Jolly Rodger pirate ship? With a powerful mix of music, dance and plenty of audience participation, it’s guaranteed to entertain and delight children of all ages. www.millenniumforum.co.uk

It’s a Wonderful Wee Christmas, Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, runs until Monday 31st December 2019
Writers Caroline Curran and Julie Maxwell return to Theatre at the Mill for their fourth festive show, with a hilarious Belfast twist on the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. When life takes a turn for Georgie, the manager of the Lower Falls Credit Union, can a strange visit from a less than angelic angel help him to find the true meaning of Christmas? www.theatreatthemill.com

Out to Lunch Festival, Belfast, 4th-27th January 2019
The ever popular Out to Lunch Festival features budget-friendly lunchtime and evening comedy, theatre, literature and music. Drawing acts and audiences from all over the world, the high-quality programme  this year features names like Scott Matthews, The Henry Girls, The Dodge Brothers, Marion Keyes and Lucy Porter. www.cqaf.com

Ulster Youth Orchestra 25th Anniversary Alumni Concert, Saturday 29th December, Ulster Hall
The Ulster Youth Orchestra will close 2018 with a special concert to mark its 25th anniversary, bringing players from across the years together for what promises to be an electrifying evening. The concert will include Michael McHale on Piano, leader Joanne Quigley and conductor Paul McCusker.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Top Ten Stocking Fillers

Wednesday 12th December 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Top Ten Stocking Fillers Image: Top Ten Stocking Fillers

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, picks out his top Christmas books for those last minute presents…

The almost half-million sales of Belfast-born Anna Burns’s novel Milkman (Faber £8.99), since it won the Man Booker Prize in October, should give us all pause for thought.

The amazing numbers give the lie to the idea that reading is on the decline, that good novels are old hat or that the public listen to snooty commentators who thought the book ‘difficult’, ‘brain-kneading’ and ‘baffling’.

Well, by the end of the festive season, the numbers of ‘baffled’ readers will have risen still further, as there is something about this dark tale of paramilitary stalkers, resistance, survival and the blackest humour which has struck a global chord, and will squeeze the story of Middle Sister firmly into many a Yuletide stocking.

It’s a good time to be reminded that, while Milkman is the most acclaimed book to reflect the peculiar cultural pressures of Northern Ireland, it sure isn’t the only one.

  1. 1. For those who prefer their fictions short and sweet, where better to start than Wendy Erskine’s Sweet Home (Stinging Fly £11.00), ten strikingly-ascetic stories of east Belfast life ranging from the wistful to the disturbing from the year’s top literary discovery.

  2. 2. Éilís Ní Dhuibhne’s Twelve Thousand Days: A Memoir of Love and Loss (£9.99) is sometimes unbearably moving, occasionally chilling, always fearlessly accurate, and is set to be something of a handbook of endurance and recovery in the face of grief.

  3. 3. Just off the press is Jamie Guiney’s The Wooden Hill (Époque Press £7.99), adroit, tricky and touching tales of the everyday and mortality from a writer also at the outset of a promising career.

  4. 4. For those under extreme seasonal pressure, Emergency Fiction Treatment can be obtained from the sparkling imagination of Ian Sansom, with his December Stories 1 (No Alibis Press £9.99), a gathering of wry, bizarre and eclectic Christmas narratives which will long outlast the troublesome season itself.

  5. 5. Meanwhile, Tyrone’s Anthony J Quinn swaps his border cop Celcius Daly for a whole other frontier – the Scottish borders – and a whole other gender, as Detective Carla Herron brings her formidable intelligence to bear on an especially grisly discovery in a Scottish forest (The Listeners, Head of Zeus £14.99.) Quinn puts another layer of wisdom on his already accomplished manner of exposing the moral duplicity of the margins.

  6. 6. With The Liar (Orion £8.99), Steve Cavanagh scooped the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award for the year’s best novel, a prestigious accolade but one which the quality of his writing has been inviting for several years. In Eddie Flynn, ex-con artist turned attorney, Cavanagh has built an anti-hero of enduring appeal and a perfect, if unsettling, companion for your snoozy fireside.

  7. 7. No less unsettling is Ricky O’Rawe’s James ‘Ructions’ O’Hare, mastermind of the bank robbery planned and executed in his debut fiction Northern Heist (Merrion Press £13.99). You’ll soon forget about parallels with the infamous Northern Bank bust of 2004 – O’Rawe has a racy, pacy style and aplomb with witty observation which make this tale of Celtic Tiger robbery a bit of a Belfast urban classic.

  8. 8. It’s not all boys and toys, though. The ten stories in Sophia Hillan’s long-awaited collection The Cocktail Hour (Arlen House £15.00) are small masterpieces of mood and character, ranging from a graceless USA to the coast of east Down, from glamour to disappointment and often unexpected grimness, to a sense that one can do much worse than live on with illusion.

  9. 9. Pauline Burgess’s novel for young people, Who Do You Think You Are? (Children’s Poolbeg £8.00), follows the trials of Magda, a Polish girl growing up in Belfast, with aged relatives behind her and a world of new opportunities and risks before her. Burgess proves herself again a flexible, inventive and compassionately engaged writer.

  10. 10. Finally, the punk revolution in Northern Ireland is the centrepiece of Stuart Bailie’s monumental and hugely-readable encyclopedia Trouble Songs: Music and Conflict in Northern Ireland (Bloomfield £14.99). Even if, like me, your role models were Mr Travolta and those chaps at Gibb Bros – less spit than polish – this publication will be a guide for decades to come and a hefty (and affordable) addition to any seasonal pile under the tree.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn (1946 – 2018)

Tuesday 11th December 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with regret of the death of Alexandra Hamilton, known as Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn, who has died at the age of 72. Sacha Abercorn is best known as the founder of the Pushkin Trust and for establishing the Puskin Prizes, a cross-community creative writing and arts programme in schools throughout Northern Ireland.

Sacha Abercorn, who was descended through her maternal line from the Romanovs and from Natalya, the youngest daughter of the novelist and playwright, Alexander Pushkin, settled in Northern Ireland in 1966 when she married James Hamilton, then MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. A professional counsellor in psychology, she became increasingly aware of the trauma being sustained by children living through the Northern Ireland Troubles. This provided her with the impetus to establish the Puskin Prizes in 1987. The annual creative writing competition, designed to place creativity at the heart of children’s education, was to encourage school children in all communities to find their voices and learn to express their thoughts and feelings through literary work. Ted Hughes, a long-time friend of the Duchess, was involved in the early years and the competition has since been judged by the likes of Doris Lessing, Roald Dahl and John Banville.

Seamus Heaney, a patron of the Pushkin Prizes, said in 2000 of Sacha Abercorn:

“Sacha Abercorn has been a passionate advocate of the value of creative writing in primary education, and for the past 12 years has been the inspiration of a cross-community, cross-border movement that has been its own reward, artistic and educational, for everybody.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland today paid tribute:

“Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn, made a considerable contribution to the creative development of schoolchildren in Ireland, especially in creative writing and expression, through her initiative of the Pushkin Prizes. A familiar figure in the broader culture, her work brought her into contact with the Arts Council many times over the decades and, on each occasion, the engagement was productive, community-orientated and inspirational.

Most recently, the Arts Council helped support the research and publication, with the Pushkin Trust, of Nearness of Ice: Arctic Convoys, complied from amazing interviews and memoirs with veterans by poet Kate Newmann and published in 2016. The book was launched by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UK in the Crescent Arts Centre who, in a moving ceremony, presented surviving veterans with the Ushakov Medal. It was a project and an event of very high grade and one typical of the Duchess’s passion for the interface between creativity and often difficult experience. She will be fondly remembered by many in the arts.”

The Duchess of Abercorn became a trustee of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation in 1998. She published a volume of poems, Feather from the Firebird in 2003 and, in 2008 was awarded an OBE for services to charity. In 2014 she was appointed Honorary Consul to the Russian Federation in Northern Ireland.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Ulster Youth Orchestra 25th Anniversary Alumni Concert

Monday 10th December 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Image:

2018 has seen the Ulster Youth Orchestra mark its anniversary with a showcase tour to Vienna and Bratislava ending with a thrilling concert at the Ulster Hall in August and to close this special year, on Saturday 29th December, it will bring players from every one of its past 25 years together for what promises to be an electrifying evening!

The formation of the Ulster Youth Orchestra 25 years ago arose from a partnership between Northern Ireland’s then five Education and Library Boards (now the Education Authority) and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The founding aim of the UYO was to bridge the gap between the work of the local education authority music services and tertiary level music education. 

The UYO strives to ensure that the activities and opportunities provided are relevant, affordable and that they empower young musicians to feel confident and prepared no matter which career path they take.  Over the years, over 2500 young musicians from all parts of Northern Ireland have had the opportunity to study with international conductors and some of the finest musicians in Europe and many have gone on to pursue highly successful professional music careers. 

The legacy of 25 years of high quality orchestral training and the camaraderie shared through our annual residential courses will be evident as the orchestra come together to perform the exhilarating Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

Paula Klein, UYO General Manager, says:

“We are thrilled to re-connect everyone for this special milestone event and to begin the next exciting chapter full of pride in what has been achieved over the past 25 years. It promises to be a fabulous evening and we are extremely proud to have this high quality of home-grown musical talent returning to the Ulster Hall stage.”

Michael McHale, although best known as an internationally renowned pianist began his UYO connection as leader of the cello section. In 2017 Michael McHale took up his position as Patron of the Ulster Youth Orchestra alongside Sir James Galway and Barry Douglas. Michael commented:

“Everyone who has been involved with and benefitted from the Ulster Youth Orchestra over the years is very proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary. As a patron and former member of the orchestra, I’m delighted to join a group of alumni of all ages to perform in the Ulster Hall on 29 December, and we hope you will join us there, to send UYO towards its next twenty five years in style!”

Leader Joanne Quigley McParland led the very first orchestra and returns to her seat, 25 years later, with a long and varied professional career to her credit.  She explains what the UYO means to her:

“The UYO has been a huge part of my musical life for the past 25 years. It afforded me my first outings as an orchestral leader and provided some of the most memorable musical experiences of my career. I feel privileged to have been a member of the orchestra when it was in its infancy and also to have been part of the tutor team since 2006. Such a wealth of musical talent has come through the ranks since the first UYO course in 1994 and NI should be proud to have an educational institution which provides world class artistic experiences for our young people. I am proud to be associated with UYO and look forward to the next 25 years!”

Conductor Paul McCusker was a violinist with UYO for seven years, remarked:

"It's a pleasure to be invited back to conduct the UYO alumni concert as it's a fabulous opportunity to celebrate all the talented people that have passed through the orchestra over the years. So many former members have gone on to have successful careers in music, with many others continuing to perform at a high level in their spare time. To have so many of these people back together will be a very special occasion, especially with Michael and Joanne at the forefront of proceedings!"


Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

“Congratulations to the Ulster Youth Orchestra on achieving 25 years as the foremost youth music provider in the training, development, and showcasing of our finest young musicians in Northern Ireland.  The Arts Council is proud to be principal funder of this important organisation and is also delighted to have been able to support the commissioning of a new composition by Ryan Molloy and tour to Vienna and Bratislava, earlier this year, to mark this special 25-year milestone.  I would encourage everyone to go along to the alumni concert which promises to be an evening of magnificent music.”

Tickets are on sale NOW for this unique performance on Saturday 29th December 2018 at the Ulster Hall, Belfast starting at the earlier time of 7pm.

£16.50/£6.00 concession, 028 9033 4455/ www.ulsterhall.co.uk and at the door.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council of Northern Ireland honours four major artists with £15,000 awards

Wednesday 5th December 2018 at 7pm 0 Comments Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Drama

Pictured are writer, Malachi O’Doherty, playwright, Carol Moore and writer, Rosemary Jenkinson who have been presented with Major Individual Awards (MIA) of £15,000 each Not pictured is composer, Ed Bennett, who has also been presented with a award. Image: Pictured are writer, Malachi O’Doherty, playwright, Carol Moore and writer, Rosemary Jenkinson who have been presented with Major Individual Awards (MIA) of £15,000 each Not pictured is composer, Ed Bennett, who has also been presented with a award.

Two writers, a composer and a playwright, have each been presented with Major Individual Awards (MIA), worth £15,000 each, from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the highest honour bestowed by the body responsible for the development of the arts in the region.

The recipients of the prestigious awards, given in recognition of the contribution each of the artists has made to creative life in Northern Ireland, includes writers Malachi O’Doherty and Rosemary Jenkinson, composer, Ed Bennett and playwright, Carol Moore.  The awards, funded through National Lottery, make it possible for these artists to produce a substantial, ambitious project that will make a significant contribution to the development of their artistic careers.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

“Congratulations to these four immensely talented artists who have already made an enormous contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland.  Each will benefit greatly from being able to take time out to concentrate purely on these innovative new projects with the financial backing they need to produce work of lasting value. This award will help to cement their national and international reputations as artists, and strengthen the positive cultural profile of Northern Ireland both home and abroad.”

Each of the artists will now use the award to develop a series of new works.

Carol Moore, who has worked in the creative industries for 40 years as an actor, theatre director, filmmaker and drama facilitator, will use her Major Individual Artist Award to produce and premiere her new play The Experience of Being. The play is a response to Carol turning 60 in 2016 and is a challenge to the ageism that is endemic in society.  It particularly focuses on the stereotyping of older women and its negative impact, but it ultimately offers a message that is positive and life-affirming.  The play has been in development since 2017, workshopping with associate artists Peter Sheridan, choreographer, Oona Doherty, and composer, Conor Mitchell, while Carol was Artist in Residence at the Mac Theatre.   The new play will be produced by An Griánan Theatre, Letterkenny, directed by Patrick J. O’Reilly with a music score by Conor Mitchell and the play will premiere in the Grand Opera House’s Baby Grand Studio in 2019.

Award-winning playwright, short-story writer  and the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Lyric Theatre, Rosemary Jenkinson, will use her Major Individual Award award to write a memoir.  The new work is inspired by the artist’s identity, family, her upbringing during the Troubles, her background as a female writer, and the writer’s life experiences as a self-imposed exile in England and abroad.   The project is an opportunity for Rosemary to develop her considerable skills in prose, already evident in three acclaimed collections of short stories.  

Composer, Ed Bennett, whose body of work includes large-scale orchestral works, ensemble pieces, solo works, electronic music, opera, installations and works for dance and film, will use his Major Individual Award to create 'Return'.  ‘Return’ is a substantial trilogy of inter-related compositions for soloists, amplified ensemble and electronic media. These will be ambitious, immersive works which take as their starting point early phonograph field recordings of Irish traditional song and will each explore narrative, poetic and geographical aspects of the original song material.  The project will culminate with performances in London, Dublin, Belfast, Amsterdam and Birmingham and also with the release of a new portrait CD featuring the completed works on the prestigious NMC label.

Writer, Malachi O’Doherty will use his award to write Nivedita and Me, a book about interweaving the story of Margaret Noble (b 1867 Dungannon) who travelled to India in 1895 and became a disciple of the Swami Vivekananda with his own story of his time as a disciple in India in the seventies.  Malachi is an accomplished memoirist particularly in I was a Teenage Catholic and Under His Roof. From 2010-2013 Malachi O’Doherty was the BBC Louis MacNeice Writer in Residence at Queen's University, Belfast.

The four join a distinguished list of artists who have previously benefited from the Major Individual Artist award including writers, Jimmy McAleavey, Anne Devlin, Carlo Gébler, Damian Gorman, Patricia Craig, Sinéad Morrissey, Glenn Patterson and Owen McCafferty; playwright Shannon Sickles (Yee), performance artist, Sinéad O’Donnell, visual artists, Mairéad McClean, Rita Duffy, Susan MacWilliam and Cara Murphy; composers, Piers Hellawell, Ian Wilson, Elaine Agnew, Conor Mitchell, Deirdre McKay, musicians, Michael McHale, David Lyttle and choreographer, Oona Doherty, among others. 

Major Individual Artist awards form part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) which is administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annually.  As part of its continuing commitment to supporting the development of individual artists, the Arts Council made 192 SIAP awards to individual artists in 2018/19 totalling £533K.  Visit www.artscouncil-ni.org for information on all funding opportunities.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Twins announced as recipients of prestigious jazz mentorship opportunities

Wednesday 5th December 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured are Conor and Michael Murray, the recipients of the Jazz Life Alliance music promoter mentorship and a jazz music mentorship Image: Pictured are Conor and Michael Murray, the recipients of the Jazz Life Alliance music promoter mentorship and a jazz music mentorship

Jazzlife Alliance, a new arts company under the artistic direction of MOBO Award- nominated jazz musician, David Lyttle, has announced twins, Conor and Michael Murray, as the recipients of two jazz mentorships including a music promoter mentorship and a jazz musician mentorship, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Conor Murray will take on the promoter mentorship which will provide hands-on experience in tour booking and tour promotion.  His twin, Michael Murray, a gifted saxophonist, will study with David Lyttle and internationally acclaimed saxophonist, Meilana Gillard to develop his professional musical career. 

David Lyttle says,

“Jazzlife Alliance is an exciting new organisation which is about encouraging artistic growth, inspiring and developing future jazz artists and looking differently at how jazz music is presented and taught.  Micheal and Conor are two of the most promising and hardworking young people in jazz today. They inspire those around them with their hard work as musicians and promoters and I'm very happy to welcome them to Jazzlife Alliance as our first young musicians."

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for young people to develop their musical careers.  We are delighted to support these important new initiatives from Jazzlife Alliance which offers young people the opportunity to be mentored by some of the finest jazz musicians working in Northern Ireland as well as developing new audiences for jazz.  “

Jazzlife Alliance will programme an ambitious jazz tour in 2019 aimed at bringing jazz to new audiences and stage performances across Northern Ireland by some of the jazz world's international icons.  Keep up to date at www.jazzlifealliance.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

American Poet Mark Doty celebrates month in Belfast as International Visiting Poetry Fellow

Friday 30th November 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Literature

Dr Philip McGowan (Queen’s University Belfast), International Visiting Poetry Fellow Mark Doty, Noirin McKinney (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), Glenn Patterson (Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry) and esteemed poet Michael Longley Image: Dr Philip McGowan (Queen’s University Belfast), International Visiting Poetry Fellow Mark Doty, Noirin McKinney (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), Glenn Patterson (Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry) and esteemed poet Michael Longley

Award-winning American poet Mark Doty celebrated his post as the first International Visiting Poetry Fellow at a special reading at the end of November.

The Fellowship was created as part of Queen’s and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's joint ten-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project and is offered to a distinguished poet of international repute.

Throughout November Mr Doty presented public readings, workshops and masterclasses for students at the University. He also took part in a number of outreach activities at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy, the John O’Connor Literary Arts Festival and the Outburst Queer Arts Festival.  His time in Belfast was brought to a close with an ‘in conversation’ style event in the Harty Room at Queen’s. The event was introduced by Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Glenn Patterson from the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, and hosted by Dr Philip McGowan from Queen’s University Belfast.

Speaking about his appointment, Mr Doty said:

“Seamus Heaney’s deep affection for the people and places of home struck a chord with readers around the world. It's a huge honour to be the first poet to receive this fellowship in his name. Belfast offers one of the great audiences for poetry; I don’t know that I’ve ever read to an audience that listened with such deep attention.”

Mr Doty is best known for his powerful work written in response to the AIDS epidemic and his nine books of poems include My Alexandria, which won the US National Book Critics Circle Award and became the first book by an American poet to win the T. S. Eliot Prize in the UK in 1995. A former Guggenheim Fellow and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, he currently lives in New York City.

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:  “We were delighted to welcome Mark Doty as the very first Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow. We hope he has enjoyed his time here in Belfast, as much as we have enjoyed having him here. During his residency he has had the opportunity to meet many local writers, poets and students as well as the wider public, through workshops, readings and lectures.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Five gifted young musicians awarded the BBC NI & Arts Council Young Musicians’ Platform Award

Thursday 29th November 2018 at 7pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured are four of the recipients, traditional music awardee, Martha Guiney, classical awardees, Andrew Douglas and William Curran with jazz awardee, Katharine Timoney. Image: Pictured are four of the recipients, traditional music awardee, Martha Guiney, classical awardees, Andrew Douglas and William Curran with jazz awardee, Katharine Timoney.

Five exceptionally talented young musicians from Northern Ireland have been awarded the Young Musicians’ Platform Award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and BBC Northern Ireland.  The five winners include classical awardees, William Curran (clarinet), Andrew Douglas (flute) and Brian McAlea (baritone), traditional music awardee, Martha Guiney (traditional flute) and jazz awardee, Katharine Timoney (singer).

The biennial awards which are run by the Arts Council in collaboration with BBC NI, aim to showcase and support the development of young musicians from the region by providing individual funding awards of £5,000. This funding enables the recipients to spend a sizeable amount of time learning from a master musician, mentor, teacher or composer either in Northern Ireland or abroad.  For the third time, the awards have been extended beyond the classical music arena, reaching out to musicians from traditional folk and jazz music backgrounds.

As well as this training opportunity, the awardees will receive two professional radio broadcast engagements, including one with the Ulster Orchestra, between January and December 2019. Performances at this level raise not only the professional profile of the young musicians but also give a boost to their performance experience.

Highlighting BBC Radio Ulster’s continuing commitment to specialist music and to developing new musical talent, two presenters from the station will mentor the new awardees in helping them prepare for their upcoming performances with the Ulster Orchestra which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle.  John Toal, a classical pianist and presenter of Classical Connections will mentor the three classical musicians while Folk Club presenter, Lynette Fay, will mentor the folk musician and jazz musician, Linley Hamilton, will mentor the jazz awardee.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, at the Arts Council, commented:

“The Arts Council is committed to providing valuable, meaningful development for our artists.  Congratulations to all five musicians on receiving this award which offers a unique opportunity for outstanding musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best and perform live with a professional orchestra.  All of the previous recipients of this award have gone on to have successful careers in music and I’ve every confidence that the new recipients will benefit greatly from this experience.”

Emma Dunseith, Executive Editor Arts, Music and Learning, BBC Northern Ireland, says: “At BBC Radio Ulster we are dedicated to providing our listeners with the best in specialist music and nurturing new talent is something we are extremely passionate about. We are delighted to be involved in finding new classical, jazz and traditional artists and to be able to have our listeners engage in their journey as they grow and develop with some help from John, Lynette and Linley, each of whom are extremely talented musicians with a deep love of music.”

Previous recipients of the Young Musicians’ Platform Award include acclaimed classical pianist, Michael McHale, soprano, Laura Sheerin, harpist, Richard Allen, violinist, Michael Trainor, folk artists, Conor Mallon and Niall Hanna and jazz drummer, Ed Dunlop, among others.

John Toal presents a special live edition of BBC Radio Ulster’s Classical Connections from the Ulster Hall on Sunday 13th January, featuring the 2018/19 classical winners of the BBC NI and Arts Council Northern Ireland Young Musicians' Platform Award.  For tickets visit www.ulsterorchestra.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

The Arts Council has closed applications to its Travel Awards Scheme

Thursday 29th November 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments

The scheme will re-open next financial year.

For enquiries, please email info@artscouncil-ni.org

Note to Musicians:
Artists, bands and managers who have been invited to play at an international showcasing festival or conference in North America or Europe (for example, SXSW, WOMEX, Folk Alliance International, Classical: Next or Jazz Ahead) should apply to the International Showcase Fund (ISF), delivered by the PRS for Music Foundation in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland. To apply to the ISF, please visit https://prsfoundation.com/funding-support/funding-music-creators/international/international-showcase-fund.  The ISF has rolling deadlines due to varying event organiser schedules.  We recommend you apply for funding as soon as you are invited to showcase. Applications must be received at least 8 weeks prior to the event (see PRS website for further details of submission times).

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

17 creatives from Northern Ireland scoop Arts Council ACES awards

Tuesday 27th November 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Dance , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

(L-R back) are Jack Warnock, Eoin O’Callaghan, Sarah Lyle, Shirley-Anna McMillan, Joan Alexander, Duncan Ross, Gary Rowntree-Finley, Gail McConnell, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, (L-R font) Mary McCabe, Emma Must, Dr Damian Smyth, Arts Council & Simon Murphy. Image: (L-R back) are Jack Warnock, Eoin O’Callaghan, Sarah Lyle, Shirley-Anna McMillan, Joan Alexander, Duncan Ross, Gary Rowntree-Finley, Gail McConnell, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, (L-R font) Mary McCabe, Emma Must, Dr Damian Smyth, Arts Council & Simon Murphy.

17 artists from Northern Ireland have been announced as the latest recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ACES awards 2018-19, a National Lottery supported funding grant bestowed upon Northern Ireland’s talented emerging artists to allow them to develop their professional, artistic careers through the creation of new work.

Awards under the Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) are made annually to professional artists working in music, visual arts, drama, dance, literature and participatory arts and are among the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Arts Council.  The artists include two drama awardees, two visual artists, five musicians, five literature awardees, two community artists and a dance awardee.

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, many of the 17 artists have been partnered with a professional organisation or leading artists, at home or abroad, to help each of them to deliver new creative work.  Some of these include; Maiden Voyage, Millennium Court, Spark Opera, Panarts/Belfast Nashville Festival and Belfast Exposed, among others.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“These 17 artists are already established and highly regarded in each of their fields. The ACES awards are given in recognition of their work to date and to provide them with support to take their careers to that vital next level. The ACES programme has been running successfully now for nine years and addresses the need for on-going training and skills development within the arts sector.”

The 17 artists awarded ACES funding include:

Drama
Caoileann Curry-Thompson
Sarah Lyle

Community Arts
Duncan Ross
Joan Alexander

Visual Arts
Martin Boyle
Mirjami Schuppert

Music
Dianne Cannon
Eoin O’Callaghan
Jack Warnock
Mary McCabe
Simon Murphy

Literature
Emma Must
Gail McConnell
Padraig Regan
Sheila Llewellyn
Shirley-Anne McMillen

Dance
Gary Rowntree-Finley

The Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES) forms part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) which is administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annually.  As part of its continuing commitment to supporting the development of individual artists, the Arts Council made 192 SIAP awards to individual artists in 2018/19 totalling £533K.  Visit www.artscouncil-ni.org for information on all funding opportunities.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council publishes review of ‘A Year in the Arts’, 2017-18

Friday 23rd November 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments

Northern Ireland Opera / Irish Chamber Orchestra co-production of Handel’s Radamisto. All Ireland tour, May 2017. Photographer: Patrick Redmond. Image: Northern Ireland Opera / Irish Chamber Orchestra co-production of Handel’s Radamisto. All Ireland tour, May 2017. Photographer: Patrick Redmond.

The Arts Council today published its Annual Review 2017-18, recounting many of the highlights of the Year in the Arts in Northern Ireland, supported by Arts Council exchequer funding from the Department for Communities as well as National Lottery funds. 2017-18 represented another outstanding year of accomplishment by artists and arts organisations, working hard against a backdrop of increasing funding pressures to continue to provide the full range of creative activities, from large-scale festivals to local-level community projects.

Our artists, writers and performers promoted Northern Ireland’s creative and cultural reputation abroad at a growing number of high-profile international showcase events, including Womex in Poland and the Jaipur Literary Festival in India. The legacy of Seamus Heaney was honoured with the establishment of the new posts of Children’s Writing Fellow and International Visiting Poetry Fellow in a partnership between the Arts Council and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast.

Twenty up-and-coming artists embarked on the ACES programme, which provides bursaries and career development/mentoring opportunities with professional arts organisations, and we acknowledged the contribution to Northern Ireland’s creative life of four mid-career Major Individual Artists, each of whom were awarded substantial grants to develop a new body of work of lasting value.

The Annual Review 2017-18 reminds us all of the breadth of contribution that a rich creative environment makes to the quality of everyone’s lives in Northern Ireland.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Funding boost for youth arts projects

Wednesday 21st November 2018 at 9am 0 Comments ARTiculate Young People & Wellbeing Arts Programme

Stage Beyond Theatre company, a theatre group for young adults with learning difficulties based in Derry/Londonderry, are one of 21 organisations to have been awarded funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Public Health Agency’s ARTicula Image: Stage Beyond Theatre company, a theatre group for young adults with learning difficulties based in Derry/Londonderry, are one of 21 organisations to have been awarded funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Public Health Agency’s ARTicula

Twenty-one youth groups are set to benefit from a funding investment from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agency to develop bespoke arts projects which promote positive health and wellbeing.

The investment of over £180,000 through the ARTiculate programme, will support projects in communities across Northern Ireland.  Many of the arts projects will work with vulnerable young people and will focus on mental health issues.

Recipients include, the Magnet Young Adult Centre in Newry, An Gaelaras in Derry, the Holywood Family Trust, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, and the Suicide Awareness and Support Group in Belfast, who have each received between £8,000 - £10,000 to deliver their projects over the next twelve months. All the groups will now have the opportunity to create their own bespoke arts project, working across a range of arts practices including, drama, dance, music, and visual arts.

The latest announcement brings the total amount invested in this programme by the Arts Council and Public Health Agency up to £600,000, over a three year period.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Arts Council and Public Health Agency have been working together to fund arts project which will help young people to find their voice and address some of the issues which affect them most, whether that’s depression, bullying, exam worries or pressures at home.

“The links between arts and wellbeing are now very well established and through these creative projects we can help young people learn new skills, grow in confidence, build resilience and improve their personal wellbeing.”

Brendan Bonner Assistant Director Public Health (Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement), said: 

“The Public Health Agency looks at innovative ways to improve people’s health and wellbeing. This programme with the Arts Council is a perfect example of using the arts to give a voice to young people and encourage help-seeking behaviour.

“The PHA recognises the positive impact that the arts can play in improving the mental health and wellbeing of our young people. Participants will benefit in a number of ways, such as making new friends and connections, developing new skills, gaining confidence in their abilities, and learning more about the help and support that is available on mental health.”

The 21 projects to have received funding are:

  • Ardoyne Shankill Health Partnership
  • Arts Care
  • The Conservation Volunteers
  • Crescent Arts Centre
  • Dove House Community Trust
  • Dunlewey Addiction Services
  • Extern Supporting Communities
  • Extern Northern Ireland
  • Foyle Down Syndrome Trust
  • Fresh Minds Education
  • An Gaelaras
  • Holywood Family Trust
  • The Hummingbird Project , C.I.C
  • Magnet Young Adults Centre
  • NIACRO
  • Stage Beyond Theatre Company
  • Start 360
  • Suicide Awareness & Support Group
  • Youth Action Northern Ireland
  • Open Arts
  • Waterside Theatre Company

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

PRS Foundation partners with Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland

Tuesday 20th November 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured launching the partnership are  Brian Dolaghan, Invest NI, musician, Ruth McGinley and Ciaran Scullion, Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Pictured launching the partnership are Brian Dolaghan, Invest NI, musician, Ruth McGinley and Ciaran Scullion, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development has today announced a new partnership, with Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest NI, to support its Momentum Music Fund and International Showcase Fund, initiatives to offer vital development opportunities to musicians from Northern Ireland.

The new partnerships means that talented Northern Ireland based artists can now apply to the Momentum Music Fund, for grants of between £5000-£15,000, to support bespoke development support such as recording, touring and marketing. Momentum boasts huge success stories including Anna Meredith, Years & Years, Novelist, Public Service Broadcasting, and Bugzy Malone.

Likewise, export ready artists from Northern Ireland are now eligible to apply for financial support, of up to £5,000, through the International Showcase Fund (ISF), to travel to and perform at, music industry facing showcase events including, SXSW, WOMEX, Folk Alliance, Classical:NEXT, Eurosonic, JazzAhead, Reeperbahn Festival and Canadian Music Week.  The International Showcase Fund (ISF) can support costs for international travel, accommodation and visas for those artists invited to perform at an industry event in a territory that will be beneficial to their career development. 

The International Showcase Fund is currently open for applications to those artists that have already been invited to SXSW.  Applications can be made at PRS Foundation website here until 23rd November 2018.

Vanessa Reed, CEO at PRS Foundation said,

“We’re delighted to announce this new partnership with Arts Council of Northern Ireland which will extend our vital career development and international showcasing opportunities to the talented music creators in Northern Ireland. 

Its fantastic news that from today, the whole of the UK is now eligible to apply to these two important initiatives for support which not only have a significant impact on music creators careers but have also shown to impact the success of the wider UK music industry also – every £1 invested through ISF generated an additional £8.90 in revenues and the Momentum Music Fund has generated £13million for the industry.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to partner with PRS Foundation and Invest NI in these important initiatives which enable our artists to take that all important next step in the development of their professional musical careers.  The Arts Council is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for our artists to develop and these funding programmes offer artists not only the opportunity to connect with the UK-wide industry, but also to showcase the tremendous talent that is inherent to Northern Ireland on an international stage.  Both funding programmes have seen huge success in other parts of the UK and we are thrilled to be able to offer these exciting opportunities now to artists here.”

Brian Dolaghan, Director of Technology & Services, Invest NI said:

“Northern Ireland has a strong base of musical talent which has been developed over many years with support from a wide range of stakeholders including Invest NI.

“By supporting this initiative we aim to help grow and develop this sector by supporting external markets and develop closer links within the global industry.”

Since 2013 the Momentum Music Fund has supported over 270 artists, over 160 new albums and more than 170 totalling over 1,000 UK live dates. Managed by PRS Foundation, the Momentum Music Fund awards grants of up to £15,000 using funds from PRS Foundation, PPL, Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and Creative Scotland. Spotify contributes additional funding and a reward package containing exciting promotional opportunities and a close working relationship between Momentum artists and the Spotify team. PRS Foundation and Arts Council England initiated The Momentum Music Fund in 2013. Arts Council England originally established the need for this specific fund and supported the programme from 2013-18.

The International Showcase Fund is run by PRS Foundation in partnership with Department for International Trade, Arts Council England, British Underground, Musicians' Union and more recently Creative Scotland, PPL and PledgeMusic. It offers support for artists to take their first steps into international territories by enabling them to perform at key showcasing festivals and conferences such as Canadian Music Week, SXSW, Reeperbahn, Zandari Festival, Womex, Eurosonic, Jazzahead and Mutek which attract thousands of people working in the music industry from every corner of the globe.

To find out more information please visit prsfoundation.com/funding-support/funding-music-creators/international/international-showcase-fund

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Young musicians and promoters invited to apply for prestigious jazz mentorship opportunities

Thursday 15th November 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Jazz Musician David Lyttle with fellow musicians Image: Jazz Musician David Lyttle with fellow musicians

Jazzlife Alliance, a new arts company under the artistic direction of MOBO Award- nominated jazz musician, David Lyttle, is offering two mentorships, one for a young promoter and another for a young jazz musician, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The first mentorship opportunity is suitable for a promoter under the age of 25, or promotions team with an average age under 25, and will provide hands-on experience in tour booking and tour promotion.  A second mentoring opportunity will be offered to a jazz instrumentalist, aged under 25, or a band with an average age under 25, who will study with David Lyttle and internationally acclaimed saxophonist, Meilana Gillard.

Jazzlife Alliance will then programme an ambitious jazz tour in 2019 aimed at bringing jazz to new audiences and stage performances  across Northern Ireland by some of the jazz world's international icons.

David Lyttle says,

“Jazzlife Alliance is an exciting new organisation which is about encouraging artistic growth, inspiring and developing future jazz artists and looking differently at how jazz music is presented and taught. I feel very privileged to be in the position of artistic director and very grateful for the generous support of the Arts Council.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for young people to develop their musical careers.  We are delighted to support these important new initiatives from Jazzlife Alliance which offers young people the opportunity to be mentored by some of the finest jazz musicians working in Northern Ireland as well as developing new audiences for jazz – terrific! “

Applications are now open and will close on 23rd November.  For more information visit www.jazzlifealliance.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Shortlist unveiled for the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards 2019

Thursday 8th November 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments

The Allianz Arts & Business NI 2019 Awards judging panel Image: The Allianz Arts & Business NI 2019 Awards judging panel

The 2019 shortlist for the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards has been revealed.

The partnerships making up the 2019 shortlist reflect strong creative connections between the worlds of arts and business. Showcasing the strength and success of commerce and culture when merged, creating something amazing together. The businesses shortlisted range from the worlds of accounting to transport and retail to insurance. Arts entrants cover a diverse variety of art forms ranging from theatre to festival and literature to visual art.

Commenting on the 2019 Allianz Arts and Business Awards, Sean McGrath, CEO Allianz said:

“2018 was yet another very productive year for NI’s Arts and Business organisations as evidenced through their extraordinary collaborative output, which is of significant value to themselves and to all of us in the wider NI economy. Cultural output not only reflects and defines who we are as a people, but when combined with the genius that exists within our commercial sectors, develops real financial and community benefits for us all.  We are really delighted and proud to acknowledge and promote their achievements through the 2019 Allianz Arts and Business NI Awards.”

Awards will be presented in ten categories, including the prestigious Business of the Year Award, which will be awarded to a business that has excelled through integrating arts & culture through different facets of its business strategy. Among the other categories are the Cultural Fundraiser of the Year, Arts Board Member of the Year and the Arts Award. The Arts Award will be presented to a local arts organisation which has consistently looked to develop and pioneer new ideas, whilst demonstrating a progressive and creative approach to a business partnership and is worth £3,000 to the winning arts organisation. Allianz will present the Allianz Community Art Award; the winner will be presented with a prize fund of £2,000.

Mary Nagele, Chief Executive, Arts & Business NI commented:

“This year we received a record number of entries so our judges had a huge task in selecting our shortlist; we thank them for their valuable time and insight. Many thanks also to Allianz for their continued and vital support for these important Awards. Allianz are an exemplary champion for the Arts. The Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards are a critical platform for showcasing what is possible when the cultural and corporate sectors come together and the huge impact of the arts across our society.”

The judging panel included representatives from the business world and the arts sector and was chaired by Chief Executive of Arts & Business NI, Mary Nagele.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

“It is really encouraging to see the bond between local businesses and arts organisations continuing to develop and grow, as our two sectors explore new ways of working together to deliver benefits to wider society. It’s proving to be a fertile relationship, each bringing a new dimension to the other’s work. As principal funder, the Arts Council is delighted to support the significant achievements of Arts & Business NI in bringing Northern Ireland’s artists and business people together, and we welcome this opportunity to celebrate some of those outstanding partnerships through the 2019 Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards.”

The winners will be revealed at the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards ceremony in January 2019.

Awards Shortlist:

Cultural Social Responsibility
Awarded to a partnership where the business uses the power of the arts to develop innovative and dynamic new connections with the wider community.
SHORTLIST
Arts Care & Farrans Construction
EastSide Arts & Translink
Grand Opera House & Dale Farm Ltd
Snow Water/ Atlantic Sessions & Proximo
Ulster Orchestra & JTI
Young At Art & Translink


Cultural Branding
Awarded to a partnership where culture and creativity is used in branding and marketing activity and is embedded in the identity of a business.
SHORTLIST
Belfast Photo Festival & Quilter Cheviot Ltd
Culture Night Belfast & Bank of Ireland
Culture Night Belfast & Power NI
EastSide Arts & Translink
PLACE & Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Snow Water/ Atlantic Sessions & Proximo
Young At Art & Translink


Staff Engagement
Awarded to a partnership that involves employees in the arts and incorporates creativity and innovation into the workplace.
SHORTLIST
Arts Care & Farrans Construction
Bounce Culture & Baker Tilly Mooney Moore
c21 Theatre Company & Doyle Shipping Group
Culture Night Belfast & Bank of Ireland
Millennium Forum & Ulster Bank

New Sponsor
Awarded to a business that has developed a new partnership with the arts to meet its business objectives.
SHORTLIST
Arts Care & Farrans Construction
Belfast Photo Festival & Quilter Cheviot Ltd
Bounce Culture & Baker Tilly Mooney Moore
Culture Night Belfast & Power NI
Grand Opera House & Phoenix Natural Gas
Replay Theatre Company & Translink


Long-Term Partnership
Awarded to a partnership maintained for over 3 years and continuing to set standards in creative arts-business collaborations.
SHORTLIST
Culture Night Belfast & Belfast Harbour
Replay Theatre Company & Firefly by Leckey
Sestina Music & Exitex Ltd
Ulster Orchestra & JTI
Young At Art & Translink


Arts Board Member of the Year
Awarded to an individual who, in a voluntary capacity, has added outstanding benefit to an arts organisation in a governance role, perhaps through a formal professional development placement such as Board Bank or Young Professionals on Arts Boards.
SHORTLIST
The Black Box, Colette Norwood
Kabosh, Richard Ross
Sestina Music, Jim Kelley
The John Hewitt Society, Tony Kennedy
The MAC, Joe O'Neill
Ulster Youth Orchestra, David Smyth

Cultural Fundraiser of the Year
Shortlist and Winner announced on the night of the Awards

Arts Award
Shortlist and Winner announced on the night of the Awards

Business of the Year Award
Shortlist and Winner announced on the night of the Awards

Allianz Community Art Award
Shortlist and Winner announced on the night of the Awards

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin - Musician and Composer

Thursday 8th November 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with regret of the death of renowned Irish musician, composer, academic, writer and broadcaster, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, who has died following a prolonged illness, at the age of 67.

Born in Clonmel, Co Tipperary in 1950, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin studied at University College Cork, before taking his PhD at Queens University Belfast in 1987. The late Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Limerick would go on to found and direct the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in 1994, attracting students from across the world, and was instrumental in the relocation of the Irish Chamber Orchestra from Dublin to its current home at the University of Limerick.

As a musician and composer, he was renowned for his unique piano style and for bringing together various strands of Irish traditional music with classical music. He recorded a series of pioneering solo recordings which repositioned his chosen instrument at the heart of Irish traditional music.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, paid tribute, saying: “Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin's rich artistic legacy and significant contribution to Irish cultural life was characterised by a great body of distinctive work full of vision, imagination and creativity, and by a warmth of character and an unfathomable ability to bring people together. Our thoughts are with Mícheál’s family at this sad time.” 

President Michael D Higgins expressed his regrets: "His music and outstanding work will for ever be enjoyed by countless people, celebrating his humour, his fearless sense of exploration and his talent for harmony, joy and mobilising the peerless power of music."

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Partnership at heart of sixth edition of Echo Echo’s international festival

Wednesday 7th November 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Dance

(Clockwise from top left): John Scott, Tonya Sheina and Zoe Ramsey, Mary Wycherley, Sahar Damoni, Tanzfuchs and Simonetta Alessandri company. Image: (Clockwise from top left): John Scott, Tonya Sheina and Zoe Ramsey, Mary Wycherley, Sahar Damoni, Tanzfuchs and Simonetta Alessandri company.

Echo Echo’s international Festival of Dance and Movement returns this week with a major series of over fifty dance and theatre performances and events for all ages in Derry and Belfast.

Local and international dance artists and musicians from Italy, Russia, Germany, UK and Ireland will be working with people of all ages and abilities in a busy community programme that involves over 25 community partners and hundreds of local participants including Fireworks Dance, Thornhill College, Sevenoaks Care, The Playtrail, and primary schools in Belfast, Claudy and Donemana, among many others.

Echo Echo Artistic Director, Steve Batts, explained:

“This year the whole outreach and participation element of the festival is at a much larger scale than before with a substantial programme of performances and workshops in schools, community centres and day care centres, working with local dance teachers and youth dancers, and dance related events such as ‘meet the artist’ events, symposia, and visual art exhibitions. The public and closed programmes of events take place in over twenty different locations and, for the first time, we will take some elements of the festival to Belfast.”

Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Gilly Campbell, Arts Officer for Drama and Dance at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“Echo Echo is a key part of Derry-Londonderry’s arts infrastructure and the wide range of dance-based activities that they deliver, including the annual international dance festival, is critical to the development and appreciation of dance in Northern Ireland. The Arts Council, as principal funder, very much welcomes the expansion of this year’s festival and the enhanced opportunities this creates for many more people to engage with and enjoy the best of contemporary dance and movement.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle has pledged his support for the Echo Echo International Festival saying:

“This is a fantastic event that really showcases the wealth of talent we have. It gives local and international dancers the opportunity to perform within a varied community based programme. The festival works very proactively to reach out towards a wide range of people by engaging with the community and voluntary sector and schools. I am particularly pleased that the event is supported financially by Council and believe it is important that we do all we can to promote and support events that provide new opportunities for our communities to engage and enjoy music, dance and the arts.”

The full programme for Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2018 is available now featuring performances by Simonetta Alessandri and company (Italy/UK), John Scott (Ireland), Tanzfuchs (Germany), Mary Wycherley (Ireland), two evenings of Short Works from an open call that attracted over 200 entries including new work from Northern Ireland, Europe, Asia, Canada and the Middle East, as well as family shows and Dance Picnic, Festival Symposium, workshop programmes, a visual art exhibition by John Deery, and closing festival concert by Basork. Tickets for all events are on sale now.

For more information visit www.echoechodance.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Fourteen arts organisations to participate in innovative Resilience Programme

Friday 2nd November 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments

Pictured launching the initiative are David McConnell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Bill Wolsey, Managing Director, Beannchor and Councillor Donal Lyons, Belfast City Council. Image: Pictured launching the initiative are David McConnell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Bill Wolsey, Managing Director, Beannchor and Councillor Donal Lyons, Belfast City Council.

Fourteen arts organisation in Belfast have been selected to take part in the Resilience Programme, an 18-month development programme aimed at supporting large-scale Belfast-based arts organisations adapt and change as the city grows.

The Resilience Programme has been jointly developed by Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its National Lottery funds.  The selected organisations will benefit from a customised support programme including one-to-one coaching, masterclasses and peer learning.  Participating organisations will then develop a change management plan to help them identify new opportunities for future development. 

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“Congratulations to the fourteen organisations selected to take part in this important initiative.  The Resilience Programme aims to support change development for some of Belfast’s key arts organisations, arming them with the skills, knowledge and training needed to adapt and thrive in Belfast’s fast-changing social and economic environment.  The arts sector here is a major contributor to the economy, generating £281m annually, as well as being a major employer of 44,000 people. It is vital that the Arts Council supports and strengthens the sector in partnership with Belfast City Council, not just to ensure citizens and visitors are able to access great art and be inspired in doing so, but to ensure they can participate too, benefitting from the sense of wellbeing that the arts bring to all.”

Councillor Donal Lyons, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said:

“Having a strong arts sector is key to our vision of a beautiful, connected and culturally vibrant city: somewhere people want to live and work and dream to visit. Belfast City Council already invests over £1.4 million each year in the city’s core arts organisations, which helps them reach audiences of just under four million. I am delighted that these 14 organisations are being further supported to develop their capacity, resources, skills and staff so that they can continue to thrive in the longer term."

The fourteen organisations selected to take part are:

  • Beat Carnival
  • Belfast Community Circus
  • Black Box Trust
  • Cahoots NI
  • Cathedral Quarter Arts festival
  • Crescent Arts Centre
  • Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich
  • The Lyric Theatre
  • The MAC
  • Northern Ireland Opera
  • Oh Yeah Music Centre
  • Prime Cut Productions
  • Ulster Orchestra
  • Young at Art

The Resilience Programme is delivered by Full Circle Management.  Visit  www.belfastcity.gov.uk/resilience-programme.aspx for further information

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Poetry Jukebox celebrates female Irish Poets as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival

Friday 26th October 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Literature

Poetry Jukebox, which is the first of its kind in Ireland was launched as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival in October 2017. Image: Poetry Jukebox, which is the first of its kind in Ireland was launched as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival in October 2017.

A shadow hid me
and I knew what it meant
not to be at all.
Rhoda Coghill

A Shadow Hid Me is the fourth edition of curated content on Ireland’s first-ever Poetry Jukebox and celebrates the contribution of Irish women to the canon of Irish poetry.  As part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival, members of the public are invited to a free unveiling event, hosted by the FIRED! movement, at 6pm on Friday 2 November at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, home of the Poetry Jukebox.

First launched at the 2017 Belfast international Arts Festival, the Poetry Jukebox is a free, on-street sound installation that provides an innovative platform for the public to listen to poetry by a variety of writers and is supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.   It is located in the grounds of The Crescent Arts Centre and the project is led by FIRED! Movement Artistic Director and poet, Maria McManus.

This special event on Friday 2 November will mark one year of the Fired! movement, which started in Belfast in 2017 and has since travelled all over Ireland, and also to Barcelona.  The new curation features 20 female poets reading poems and was compiled through a combination of open call and invitation.  Join the event for readings and performances by leading Irish poets, including Moyra Donaldson, Siobhan Campbell, Chris Murray, Alex Pryce, Maureen Boyle, Maria McManus and many more.

Maria McManus, Artistic Director of Poetry Jukebox and poet said,

“These women poets have bright, erudite opinions on everything and the poems demonstrate that. What they speak of includes the personal and the political, intimate things and global things, big questions, sharp wit and an acute scrutiny of the world, in all its beauty, its flaws and the misdemeanours of its citizens. Nothing gets past these women. They see it all. Clearly, and all across time.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Poetry Jukebox opens up the incredible world of poetry by providing a unique, fun and accessible platform for the public to hear from the best international and home-grown talent.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support this important initiative and would encourage everyone to go along to enjoy the latest curation featuring some of the best female voices from past and present.  Tremendous!”

For more information visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Neil Shawcross exhibition celebrating Belfast writers is now open at Titanic Belfast

Wednesday 24th October 2018 at 11am 0 Comments Literature , Visual Arts

Neil Shawcross exhibition celebrating Belfast writers is now open at Titanic Belfast. Image: Neil Shawcross exhibition celebrating Belfast writers is now open at Titanic Belfast.

A new exhibition which pays tribute to many of Belfast’s leading authors, playwrights, poets and composers, is now open as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival.

Neil Shawcross, one of Ireland’s most eminent artists, has gifted his complete ‘Writers of Belfast’ collection to Belfast City Council in appreciation of his ‘home’ city.  It features 36 dramatic 7ft-high paintings of book covers, posters and albums which are now on public display at Titanic Belfast, in the Andrews Gallery, until Thursday 1st November. 

Shawcross, whose previous portrait subjects have included former Lord Mayor of Belfast David Cook, was born in Lancashire, England, but has lived in Belfast since 1962.  He was awarded an MBE in 2014 for his services to the arts in Northern Ireland, and was a much respected lecturer in fine art at Ulster University until his retirement 10 years ago.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, recently met with Mr Shawcross at his Belfast studio to witness him at work. 

“Neil is one of our finest artists and I was absolutely thrilled to meet with him and see some of his work; he is an amazing talent.  I am delighted to accept Neil’s very generous and special gift on behalf of Belfast City Council and it’s fantastic that everyone will have an opportunity to see this collection, free of charge.  Writers of Belfast’ is as much a celebration of our home-grown talent – our city’s writers, books, our literature and drama – as it is an art exhibition.”

She added: “We feel this important collection will be of real interest to both citizens and visitors, and it’s also a great way of showcasing some of Belfast’s greatest writers down through the decades.”

The people featured in the collection range from the renowned CS Lewis, John Hewitt, Van Morrison and Marie Jones, to the perhaps lesser-known Thomas Carnduff, Forrest Reid, Padraic Fiacc, and Deirdre Ni Grianna.  Whilst not strictly a Belfast native, the late Seamus Heaney is also featured, given that he lived and worked in the city for so long, and with such distinction.

The exhibition is one of the highlights of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival and a special outreach programme has been arranged to give people an insight into the exhibition and Neil Shawcross’s art practice.

Festival Director and Chief Executive, Richard Wakely, said:

“Belfast International Arts Festival is delighted to partner with Belfast City Council to host this exhibition and in doing so, to celebrate the artistry of Neil Shawcross and the wealth of literary talent that is at its centre. The exhibition reminds us that authors, poets and composers are a crucial and valued part of the Belfast story.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Belfast International Arts Festival’s Principal Funder, added,

“This career-defining exhibition is set to be one of the highlights of the artistic year - a major artist in one art form pays tribute to artists in a range of others, focusing on writing, from fiction and poetry to music and lyrics, in a unique and accessible way, and in so doing illuminates the artistic trove Belfast gifts to the world. What a brilliant idea and what beautiful results!”

The accompanying outreach programme, specially curated by the Festival includes a number of events which are free but must be booked in advance:

  • Neil Shawcross in conversation with Prof Liam Kelly, Thursday 25 October, 1pm;
  • Writing the City: writing workshops, Saturday 27 October, 11am and 2pm;
  • Gallery tour with Dr Denise Ferran, Wednesday 24 October, 1pm;
  • Gallery tour with Dan Dowling (in Irish), Saturday 27 October, 4pm;
  • Writing Ourselves: Women Writers of Belfast, Tuesday 30 October, 6pm

 
‘Writers of Belfast’ will be on public display from Wednesday 24 October until Thursday 1 November, 9am-6pm and then go on tour while plans are made for it to have a permanent home.  For more information visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

American Poet Mark Doty takes up International Visiting Poetry Fellowship at Queen’s University

Tuesday 23rd October 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Literature

American Poet Mark Doty takes up International Visiting Poetry Fellowship at Queen’s University Image: American Poet Mark Doty takes up International Visiting Poetry Fellowship at Queen’s University

Award-winning American poet, Mark Doty, has taken up his post as the first International Visiting Poetry Fellow at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast.

The Fellowship was created as part of Queen’s and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's joint ten-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project and is offered to a distinguished poet of international repute.

Mr Doty will be based at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry for the month of November, presenting public readings, workshops and masterclasses for students at the University. He will also engage in outreach activities at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy, the John O’Connor Literary Arts Festival and the Outburst Queer Arts Festival

Speaking about his appointment and looking ahead to his time in Belfast, Mr Doty said:

“Seamus Heaney’s deep affection for the people and places of home struck a chord with readers around the world. It's a huge honour to be the first poet to receive this fellowship in his name.

“Belfast offers one of the great audiences for poetry; I don’t know that I’ve ever read to an audience that listened with such deep attention. I’m delighted to return here, and much looking forward to speaking with Irish readers, poets and audiences.”

Mr Doty is best known for his powerful work written in response to the AIDS epidemic and his nine books of poems include My Alexandria, which won the US National Book Critics Circle Award and became the first book by an American poet to win the T. S. Eliot Prize in the UK in 1995. A former Guggenheim Fellow and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, he currently lives in New York City.

Professor Glenn Patterson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s, said:

“We were delighted to work with the Arts Council on this prestigious Fellowship in tribute to Seamus Heaney, in whose memory the award is made. We look forward to welcoming Mark Doty to Belfast and to the Seamus Heaney Centre.”

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

“We are delighted to welcome Mark Doty’s appointment as the very first Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow. We are honoured to host him and we anticipate this appointment will benefit not only local writers and the academic community but the wider public, through workshops, readings and lectures.”

For more information on all of the events Mark Doty will be taking part in and to book tickets, please visit: https://seamusheaneycentre.com/Events/

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Open Arts Community Choir celebrate ‘Art Forever-For Everyone’ at Belfast Festival

Monday 22nd October 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Open Arts Community Choir will celebrate its 18th anniversary concert at Stormont on 2 November as part of Belfast International Arts Festival Image: Open Arts Community Choir will celebrate its 18th anniversary concert at Stormont on 2 November as part of Belfast International Arts Festival

Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Tina Turner and The Jackson 5 are just some of the artists whose music will be celebrated at ‘Something Inside So Strong’, the 18th anniversary concert of the Open Arts Community Choir which will take place at the Great Hall at Stormont on Friday 2 November as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival.

Formed in 2000, the choir features 35 members from all over Northern Ireland who have a range of disabilities: physical disabilities, visual impairment and mental health issues.  The choir is part of Open Arts, an arts and disability organisation which is based at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and whose vision is a society which actively values and promotes the creativity and artistic contribution of disabled people.

Over the past 18 years, the Open Arts Community Choir’s achievements have included performing on prime time TV and competing at the highest levels in the most prestigious of venues all over the UK, Ireland and the USA, winning hearts and competitions wherever they go.  In 2017 the choir represented Northern Ireland in the European Choir Games and won an impressive two gold medals, a gold diploma and a silver diploma. 

Reflecting on the choir’s work to date, Musical Director, Beverley McGeown says:

“Eighteen years ago when this group of singers first came together, they could not have dreamed of the things that were to come.  Open Arts Community Choir holds at its heart the belief that adversity is to be overcome and that with imagination and hard work, nothing is impossible.

“When you see us perform you may not be aware of the musical and practical challenges we’ve had to overcome to get us to the point of being on stage, but by being extraordinary through the standard of our performances, we demand to be treated equally and by doing so, challenge negative perceptions around the abilities of disabled people.”

The concert will be hosted by award-winning BBC NI broadcaster John Toal, who will interview choir members about their personal and musical experiences and memories in between performances.

The theme of the Belfast International Arts Festival this year – ‘Art Forever – For Everyone’ - chimes beautifully with the ethos of Open Arts, as the festival’s Artistic Director Richard Wakely notes:

"All of us at the Belfast International Arts Festival congratulate the Open Arts Community Choir on their 18th anniversary. We are delighted and honoured to be able to join with them in marking this achievement by hosting this special concert at Stormont. As a contemporary arts event with a strong civic sensibility, we believe it is important to celebrate the cultural diversity of Belfast and in particular to highlight the work of those artists who self-identify as disabled.”

Tickets for ‘Something Inside So Strong’ featuring the Open Arts Community Choir at the Great Hall, Stormont, on Friday 2 November at 7.30pm are £14/£12 and are available now at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com and Visit Belfast.

Open Arts is principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and receives core multi-annual funding from Belfast City Council.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Bernard Loughlin

Monday 22nd October 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Craft , Dance , Drama , Film & TV , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

Former Director of Tyrone Guthrie Centre dies aged 68

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with sadness of the sudden death of Bernard Loughlin, following an accident on Friday at his home in Catalonia.

Bernard Loughlin, originally from Belfast, was the founding director of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig. He ran this ‘labour of love’ with his wife, Mary, for 18 years, from 1981 to 1999. The Tyrone Guthrie Centre is a workplace and retreat for creative artists from the island of Ireland and from overseas, funded by the two arts councils on the island. Many of our best-known artists have made use of the centre’s facilities, including Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Brian Kennedy and Phil Coulter.

Bernard Loughlin laid the foundations and established the ethos of the centre, transforming the abandoned building and grounds into an international residential workspace for artists. He will be remembered by the arts community for this contribution to the fertile creativity that is associated with the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. The impact of this legacy will last for decades to come.

Following his departure from the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, he moved to rural Catalonia and, in 2003, published his memoir, In the High Pyrenees: A New Life in a Mountain Village.


President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Bernard Loughlin, saying:

“All of those who attended the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Monaghan, and indeed all of those in the creative arts in Ireland, will have been saddened to hear of the sudden death of Bernard Loughlin.

Bernard was the first director of the Centre in Monaghan that served as cradle to so much of the finest work in recent decades. He was not merely a great host to all those anxious to see the emergence, or the finish, of a piece of work, he was a source of inspiration and a fine artist in his own right.

Sabina and I would like to offer our deepest sympathy to all those who knew and loved Bernard.”

Bernard Loughlin is survived by his wife, Mary and children, Maeve and Eoin. He will be laid to rest in a secular funeral service conducted by author Michael Harding tomorrow, followed by burial in Farrera, Catalonia.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast writer, Anna Burns, wins 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Literature

Anna Burns, wins 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Image: Anna Burns, wins 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today joined its voice to the celebrations which greeted the award of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction to Belfast’s Anna Burns for her novel Milkman (Faber and Faber). The brilliantly-written novel, narrated by an unnamed 18-year-old girl living in 1970s Northern Ireland who is coerced into a relationship with a mysterious older married man with ties to a paramilitary group, was described by the Guardian newspaper as “original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique”.

Ms. Burns, who was born in Ardoyne, north Belfast, and now lives south of London, is the first Northern Irish writer to win the Booker in the prize’s history. She has published two previous novels and a novella; her first novel, No Bones (Flamingo 2001), which also takes place in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, was shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction and won the 2001 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize presented by the Royal Society of Literature for the best regional novel of the year in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“What I write about is absolutely and essentially interested in how power is used, both in a personal and in a societal sense,” Ms. Burns said in an interview with the Times Literary Supplement.

Writing in the Irish Times, Arts Council Major Artist Eoin McNamee said of Burns: “It’s not that she’s below the radar. It may be that when you’re talking about writing from Belfast, she is the radar, the finder of strange objects at a distance, the uncoverer of what moves unseen in the dark.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Council, said that the major award (worth £50,000) had “recognised Anna Burns’s truly exceptional gifts and drawn attention to all the good writing Northern Ireland produces. The huge goodwill on social media when her win was announced is a sign of how highly good writing is valued in our culture.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Older people across Northern Ireland to share in £144,000 arts funding to tackle loneliness

Tuesday 16th October 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Arts and Older People

Pictured are Andersonstown Community Theatre(ACT) members Teresa McKeown and Nora Toland, residents of Tearman Fold. Image: Pictured are Andersonstown Community Theatre(ACT) members Teresa McKeown and Nora Toland, residents of Tearman Fold.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced National Lottery funding and public funding from the Public Health Agency and Baring Foundation of over £144,000, for 19 organisations across the region, to deliver community-based arts projects benefitting older people.

The funding is part of the Arts Council's Arts and Older People’s Programme, a pioneering initiative which aims to promote positive mental health and well-being among older people through engagement with the arts whilst tackling issues of loneliness and isolation. 

The Arts and Older People’s Programme was  established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2010 and is now a cross-governmental partnership with funding from the Public Health Agency and The Baring Foundation. To date the programme has provided £1.8m funding to community organisations and voluntary groups across Northern Ireland in the delivery of 156 arts projects to older people.  The programme has been designed to challenge perceptions of what it means to be an older person.   

Lorraine Calderwood, Community Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, explained how the Arts and Older People’s Programme is making a difference to the lives of older people across the region: 

"Research has proven that engagement with the arts can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as aid in relieving stress, worries and also pain. The Arts and Older People’s Programme is committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in arts activities, enriching their lives for the better.  The arts have a vital role to play in helping older people find their voice and express the issues which can often affect them on a day-to-day basis, thus promoting positive physical and mental health.  The Arts Council is delighted to have supported 156 projects since the programme began.”

Sticky Fingers Arts Newry, the first arts space in Northern Ireland dedicated to children and young people, has received funding towards their intergenerational arts and older people programme, CONNECT.  The primary aim of CONNECT is to use the arts in developing intergenerational friendships between older people with dementia, their carers and school children in primary six and seven.  The project will work to tackle the loneliness of carers and older people living with dementia in nursing homes as-well as educate children about dementia. 

The project will provide much-needed respite to carers by providing them with a weekly two-hour break in the Friendship Café, a comfortable space where they can meet new people and share their experiences.  Whilst the carers are in the Friendship Café, the older people with dementia they care for will attend the Memory Café where they will engage in arts activities with professional artists and children.   At the end of the project there will be a celebratory exhibition. 

The 19 projects to be supported by the Arts & Older People Programme include:

  • ABC Community Network, Portadown
  • Action Mental Health, Newtownards
  • Arts & Disability Forum, Belfast
  • Arts Ekta, Belfast
  • BEAM Creative Network, Donaghmore, Tyrone
  • The Black Box Trust, Belfast
  • Dementia (NI), Belfast
  • Eastside Arts, Belfast
  • Echo Echo Dance Company, Derry-Londonderry
  • Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
  • Harmony Community Trust, Strandford, Down
  • Live Music Now (LMN), Limavady, Derry
  • Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership, Ballymena
  • Nellisbrook Fold Tenants Association, Randalstown
  • Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast
  • Open Arts, Belfast
  • Sticky Fingers Arts, Newry
  • Streetwise Community Circus, Belfast
  • Wheelworks, Belfast

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast teens launch film addressing mental health worries

Thursday 11th October 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments ARTiculate Young People & Wellbeing Arts Programme

Pictured are Lorraine Calderwood (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), Jade Hale (KIC), Sharon Curran (Public Health Agency) Nick Livingston (Arts Council of Northern Ireland) with some of the group involved in the project. Image: Pictured are Lorraine Calderwood (Arts Council of Northern Ireland), Jade Hale (KIC), Sharon Curran (Public Health Agency) Nick Livingston (Arts Council of Northern Ireland) with some of the group involved in the project.

A group of Belfast teenagers launched a short film on World Mental Health Day examining serious mental health issues, including online bullying and suicide and where young people can seek help.  

The film has been developed by west-Belfast based Suicide Awareness and Support Group and art organisation Kids in Control (KIC), and the makers hope it will help raise awareness, reduce stigma and build resilience among young people.

More than 80 teenagers from communities across Belfast have participated in the project, which looked at social media and the impact it can have on health and wellbeing.  The group, who were invited to take part through schools, youth clubs and community centres, decided on the film’s themes, created the script,  and perform in the 13-minute piece.

The project is one of 27 so far to have received funding as part of ARTiculate, a three-year £600,000 programme funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds and the Public Health Agency (PHA), which uses artists and the arts to give a voice to issues affecting young people.

The short film will be screened for the first time on the 10th October at a special reception in the Old Museum Arts for the teenagers and their families, before being released online through social media.

Melissa Seawright, Suicide Awareness and Support Group supervisor and trainer, explained.

“I am really proud of the work all the young people have done and how much passion they have to help prevent suicide.  This film brings to light real issues that young people are facing every day. We need to start educating them at a young age about these issues, their voices are a powerful source in the community.”

Kids in Control delivers physical theatre outreach programmes in the community, exploring and devising material around issues that are relevant and important to participants.  Jade Hale, Artistic Director, commented:

“The group has worked very hard over the past ten months, sharing their own personal stories and developing this film to ensure that the messages are on target and relevant to their peers. Everyone involved has shown excellent commitment, courage, team work, openness and creativity in tackling this urgent and important issue. The next step now is to launch it on social media to reach as wide an audience as possible.”

Lorraine Calderwood, ARTiculate Programme Manager, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The positive links between engagement in the arts and wellbeing are firmly established.  Working together with the Public Health Agency, the Arts Council is supporting a diverse range of projects right across Northern Ireland that open up opportunities for young people to engage in the arts and the many benefits that brings, such as promoting self-expression, and developing self-confidence and self-motivation.

“The young people involved in this programme have bravely come together to address some very difficult issues head on. Working with Kids In Control they’ve been able to take part in a really enjoyable project, bond together as a group, and develop some really valuable life skills.”

Fiona Teague, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager with the PHA, said:

“The ARTiculate programme is a great example of how the arts can be used by young people to explore difficult issues that are important to them and their peers. The PHA recognises the positive impact that the arts can play in improving the mental health and wellbeing of our young people. The film highlights these issues vividly and honestly, and shows the importance of speaking to a friend or family member.  We are delighted that this film stresses the importance of young people reaching out for support when needed.” 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Hit the high notes with the return of BBC Northern Ireland School Choir Of The Year

Thursday 11th October 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Presented by John Toal and Kerry McLean, BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year, which returns as a yearly event, is organised in association with the Ulster Youth Choir and supported by the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland. Image: Presented by John Toal and Kerry McLean, BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year, which returns as a yearly event, is organised in association with the Ulster Youth Choir and supported by the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland.

The search begins as applications are now open to find the very best primary and post-primary school choirs in Northern Ireland in 2019.

Presented by John Toal and Kerry McLean, BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year, which returns as a yearly event, is organised in association with the Ulster Youth Choir and supported by the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland (ACNI).

It is part of the BBC Music NI, initiative supporting local talent alongside a wave of new programmes, creative collaborations and ground-breaking music initiatives.

During early 2019 the production team will be out across Northern Ireland with a series of heats which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle, culminating in a grand final, which will be screened for the first time on BBC NI television.

Emma Dunseith, Executive Editor Arts, Music and Learning, BBC Northern Ireland, said:

“BBC Northern Ireland is proud to be at the forefront of showcasing and developing new, young musical talent. And I suspect we will have even more schools participate this year in our BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year which should make for a thrilling final.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year Competition through National Lottery funding. This popular competition, in association with the Ulster Youth Choir, has nurtured a love of singing and inspired hundreds of school children throughout Northern Ireland since its establishment, helping to bring great art to all. I would encourage every school to take part in this very exciting competition and look forward to discovering new talent over the coming months.”

Shane Farren, Manager, Ulster Youth Choir, said:

“The Ulster Youth Choir is delighted to see the return of BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year competition. The series of programmes provides an excellent platform for young singers across Northern Ireland and showcases the high quality of music provision in our schools.”

Details on how to enter BBC Northern Ireland School Choir Of The Year and full terms and conditions can be found at: bbc.co.uk/musicni

Entries are invited from all primary and post primary schools in Northern Ireland only. There will be two age categories: Primary Schools up to and including 11 years of age and Post Primary Schools up to and including 19 years of age (The children’s ages are taken to be as on 1st September 2018). The maximum number of choir members is 60 and teachers may not form part of the school choir.

Initial entry will entail submission of an MP3/WAV recording of their choir singing two contrasting pieces of their choice. The pieces can be either accompanied or unaccompanied. The combined recordings must not exceed eight minutes.  Entries are to be received by Wednesday 12 December 2018 at midday, and those shortlisted will be notified accordingly.

Recordings of the choir must be of one take. Entries showing evidence of editing or digital enhancement such as layering and the use of auto-tuning will be disqualified. If a school chooses to use pre-recorded accompaniment this must be purely instrumental and not contain any vocals. Recordings must be of the current school choir and not of choir members who have now left the school.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Magical arts centre dedicated to children and young people officially opens in Newry

Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Craft , Dance , Drama , Literature , Youth Arts

Pictured at the Imaginarium launch event is (L-R) Grainne Powell, Sticky Fingers, Noirin McKinney, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Alfie Pentony age 6 and  Jim Russell, Sticky Fingers play worker. Image: Pictured at the Imaginarium launch event is (L-R) Grainne Powell, Sticky Fingers, Noirin McKinney, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Alfie Pentony age 6 and Jim Russell, Sticky Fingers play worker.

The Imaginarium Arts Centre in Newry is the first dedicated arts venue for children and young people in Northern Ireland and has officially launched with an exciting new autumn-winter programme curated by Sticky Fingers Arts.

Supported by principal funder Arts Council of Northern Ireland, BBC Children In Need and Ulster Community Trust, the Imaginarium is an inspirational and unique venue that provides exciting and highly imaginative arts and creative activities for children from 0 to 17 years, six days per week.  From exploring the atmospheric space to taking part in sculpture, drawing, painting, dressing up, and writing stories, there’s something to inspire all imaginations. Indeed the innovative organisation has just won the prestigious JM Barrie Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Arts. 

The Imaginarium was created by Sticky Fingers Arts for children to have a space where they have the freedom to play and all creative activities are facilitated by a highly-skilled team of professional artists and play workers to ensure that each child gets the best experience possible.

Located on Edward Street in the heart of Newry city centre, the Imaginarium also boasts a unique Arts Café providing drop-in arts activities every day, workshops, the Imagination lab for little explorers and the Imaginarium Story Centre, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Grainne Powell, Chief Executive, Sticky Fingers Arts, said,

“The Imaginarium is a magical space where children are free to use their own creativity and curiosity to let their imaginations run wild.  It’s a space that welcomes every child regardless of ability so that they can play and engage at their own pace and just have fun!  Every day we welcome hundreds of families, from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, who enjoy our programmes for early years, primary school children and teenagers.” 

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“It’s widely understood how important early intervention is to children’s development, in shaping the choices and directions they will go on to take as they grow.  Early exposure to the arts and creative experiences is a vital part of that process, opening up a whole new world of possibilities.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud of Sticky Fingers Arts and what they have achieved with the Imaginarium which will ensure the delivery of high-quality arts programmes for thousands of young children.”

The Sticky Fingers team are busy working on phase two of the Imaginarium which will include new exhibition spaces, additional workshop spaces and a 250-seat theatre space.  For details on programmes visit www.stickyfingersarts.co.uk

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Jean Duncan RUA, Artist Printmaker (1933 – 2018)

Thursday 4th October 2018 at 9am 0 Comments

Jean Duncan, ‘The Fly’. Part of a visual and aural installation incorporating William Blake's words and their musical interpretation by Co. Down composer Deirdre McKay Image: Jean Duncan, ‘The Fly’. Part of a visual and aural installation incorporating William Blake's words and their musical interpretation by Co. Down composer Deirdre McKay

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with regret of the death on Tuesday 2nd October 2018 of Jean Duncan, artist, printmaker and joint founder of Seacourt Print Workshop in Bangor, Co. Down.

Jean Duncan was a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, completing an advanced diploma in printmaking at the Ulster Polytechnic Art and Design Centre. In 1981 she co-founded Seacourt Print Workshop in Bangor with fellow printmaker, Margaret Arthur, and in 1994 was elected to the Royal Ulster Academy.

Her paintings and prints have been widely exhibited in Ireland, the UK and internationally, notably at the 2001 International Biennial in Portugal and the 2005 Tokyo International mini-print Triennial. Most recently, in 2016, she exhibited alongside Paula Rego at the Lotte Inch Gallery in York. Her work is held in many private and public collections, including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Department of Culture, Arts and the Gaeltacht, and the UTV collection.

Music provided a constant source of inspiration throughout Jean Duncan’s life and much of her major work was produced in collaboration with composers and musicians. Following the 1994 commission by Manchester’s Goldberg Ensemble to produce images based on John Taverner’s ‘Protecting Veil’, she worked in Northern Ireland with composer Piers Hellawell to create images to accompany live performances of Hellawell’s ‘The Still Dancers’ and, in 2002 and 2005, she worked with Deirdre McKay to produce exhibitions in Belfast based on McKay’s musical compositions, ‘The Fly’ and ‘A Pale Yellow Sky’. The collaboration with McKay continued, even after Duncan’s relocation to France in 2010, where she lived for four years before moving to York.

Jean Duncan is survived by Jane, Anna, Simon and Alistair. Her husband, Roderick, who also played an important role alongside Jean in developing the cultural scene in Northern Ireland, died at the end of September 2018. The funeral is at York Crematorium on Friday 12th October.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

NI students celebrate pioneering arts programme and creativity in the classroom

Wednesday 26th September 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Drama , Visual Arts , Youth Arts , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Film & TV

Pictured are DJ Kwame Daniels from Bounce Culture with Katie Jones and Jodie McCune from Ashfield Girls. Image: Pictured are DJ Kwame Daniels from Bounce Culture with Katie Jones and Jodie McCune from Ashfield Girls.

Almost 200 pupils from secondary schools in Belfast and Derry came together today to celebrate a pioneering arts programme called the Creative Schools Partnership, a unique pilot project designed to drive educational outcomes for students by bringing more creativity into the classroom.

Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds, the Education Authority and Urban Villages Initiative, the scheme was launched as a pilot programme earlier this year, working with 10 schools and communities where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension. Each school worked with professional artists to develop their own individual projects, including film-making, script writing, music production, ceramics, digital fabrication and animation.

The programme is based on research that demonstrates that access to quality arts experiences in school can benefit all aspects of learning. These include better engagement and attendance levels, improving results in other school subjects, increasing confidence and self-motivation, creative thinking and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

Today’s event at the Ulster Museum gave all the students involved the opportunity to come together for the first time to hear about each other’s experiences and sample some of the skills other groups have been learning at arts workshops. Year 9 pupils from Girls Model also celebrated the launch of an arts exhibition of their work in the Arts Zone at the Ulster Museum, officially opened by guest speaker Nuala McKeever and Anu Sundralingham, the artist who led the project.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the positive impact this initial pilot project has had on the schools and students involved. We believe creativity is essential to optimising success in the classroom. Through an independent review of the programme,principals, teachers, and pupils have told us how this programme has helped students grow in confidence, learn new skills and energise the wider school body.

“Working together with the Education Authority and Urban Villages Initiative, £120,000 was committed to this pilot scheme and we want to reach out to those in government who can help this valuable programme continue across even more schools in Northern Ireland.”

Sharon O’Connor Chair of the Education Authority commented:

“It’s been a pleasure to hear the wonderful feedback from all the schools involved in the programme. Each of the groups have worked with professional artists to develop and deliver a unique arts project linked to school development priorities. Those involved have told about the sheer happiness students felt when they were engaged in the workshops. That’s a very important message for us in education and one that we wish to take forward.

“We congratulate all the schools who have been involved in the programme and hope that they continue to utilise the creative skills they have developed back in the classroom.”

Linsey Farrell, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative said,

“The Creative Schools Partnership has supported young people from schools in Urban Village areas to learn about other cultures andstrengthen community networks. It has also promoted an understanding of other perspectives and issues which connect our communities.

“Working in partnership with the Arts Council and the Education Authority, this programme has shown the value and the potential of creative and innovative collaboration. These partnerships can supportcommunity cohesion, deliver on government priorities and reduce educational inequalities.”

The ten schools awarded funding to take part in the first phase of the programme were:

Malone College
Mercy College
St Vincent’s Centre
St Colm’s High School
Blessed Trinity College
Belfast Model School for Girls
Ashfield Girls’ High School
Ashfield Boys’ High School
St Joseph’s Boys’ School, and
St Cecilia’s College

To access the Creative Schools Partnership programme final Evaluation Report, visit artscouncil-ni.org/cspevaluation

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Boredom and staring into space must be allowed says Lauren Child at BookTrust NI event

Tuesday 25th September 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Myra Zepf, Lauren Child, Mare-Louise Muir and Bruce Ingman at Queens University Belfast for the BookTrust NI event Image: Myra Zepf, Lauren Child, Mare-Louise Muir and Bruce Ingman at Queens University Belfast for the BookTrust NI event

On Friday 21 September 2018 Lauren Child visited Queen's University Belfast for the first time as UK Children's Laureate for a special BookTrust Northern Ireland event. She was joined by Bruce Ingman and Myra Zepf for a lively discussion on creativity chaired by Mare-Louise Muir.

Speaking at the BookTrust NI event Lauren Child said:

“We need to be able to fail in our lives.  If we don’t take risks and fail, we will never make anything spectacular. I also think boredom and staring into space must be allowed.  These spaces are the beginning of the imagination.”

BBC Radio Ulster presenter Mare-Louise Muir chaired an inspiring conversation on how to get children turning pages and the joy reading and creativity can bring to children’s lives. The authors and illustrators discussed the types of literature to share with children to help get them hooked on books and the importance of children’s writing and illustration as an artform.

Myra Zepf, Northern Ireland Children’s Writing Fellow on inspiring a love of reading:

"When trying to inspire a love of reading, those children who don’t want to read can be the most interesting. I hope this event helped shine a spotlight on the challenges of cultivating creativity in children's lives - something we are arguably more in need of than ever. "

Children’s author and illustrator Bruce Ingman said: “Give a child some paint and a brush and see the pure joy it brings. They let us into their world, how exciting is that? I’ve learned so much from reading and drawing with kids.”

Guests at the event included Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap NI, children’s illustrator Paul Howard, children’s author Pauline Burgess and Damian Smyth Head of Literature Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  The event took place at Queen’s University Belfast and was hosted by BookTrust NI who is supported through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's National Lottery funds.

Liz Canning, Head of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said:

“We are delighted Lauren Child made a special visit to Northern Ireland as The Waterstones Children’s Laureate. We hope this BookTrust hosted event helped inspire families and practitioners in Belfast to get reading and get creative!”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland:

“Working closely with Booktrust in Northern Ireland means that the Arts Council can help with events such as this one – a unique opportunity to experience Lauren Child, the Waterstone’s UK Children’s Laureate, in conversation with Bruce Ingman and Myra Zepf about the importance of the artform of children’s writing and illustration. It’s a message we are delighted to endorse for all children and young people in the company of such excellent practitioners.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

A Great Big “X” for Culture Night Belfast!

Friday 21st September 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts , Comedy , Craft , Drama , Dance , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

Pictured is Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust with Davy Watson and Triona who will peform live at the Cool FM stage outside Castle Court from 7pm on Culture Night Image: Pictured is Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust with Davy Watson and Triona who will peform live at the Cool FM stage outside Castle Court from 7pm on Culture Night

The biggest evening in Belfast’s cultural calendar is set to celebrate its tenth birthday in super-psychedelic lovin’ style!  The programme for the 10th Culture Night Belfast has over 250 FREE family friendly, free events set to take place on Friday 21 September across the spaces and places of the city centre and beyond.

Last year, over 100,000 people flocked to attend Culture Night Belfast and this year, a similar figure is expected.  The theme of this year’s Culture Night  is “Love”, with the evening falling upon the UN International Day of Peace, and accordingly, the programme is packed with “extra love”!

From Street Countdown and the Camper Van of Dreams to the Culture Night PWU Wrestling Championships, circus performers to ballroom dancing and street flamenco, the city is set to come alive for an evening of exploration and adventure.  This year, Culture Night has not one, but two world stages, urban sports, a tap-dancing world record attempt, Culture Bites galore,  live music, talks, tours, walks, children's activities and weird and wonderful events aplenty from The Big Fish to City Hall and Royal Avenue to St Anne’s Cathedral, with organisers promising "something new and surprising around every corner”.

This year also sees the launch of the first ever Culture Night Belfast App, with goodies, extras and a brand new Culture Night Belfast planner, to design your very own personalised Culture Night experience!

Kerry Rooney, Manager of Culture Night Belfast said:

“We are hugely excited to be celebrating Culture Night’s tenth birthday – they grow up so fast! We have a jam packed programme this year that really shows off what a rich and diverse arts and cultural scene we have here in Northern Ireland.  Our new Culture Night App will make it easier than ever for visitors to check out what’s on offer from family friendly events, to music and dance, to the usual mix of the weird and wonderful, Culture Night has got it all.”

Susan Picken the director of Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust, who present Culture Night said:

“We’re immensely exciting that Culture Night Belfast is now reached its 10th edition and we’re really proud to present our best prog ever. Bring the city together and remember love is all you need!”

Addressing the launch, Nick Livingstone, Director of Strategic Development & Head of Policy and Research at The Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: 

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to be a principal funder of Culture Night Belfast 2018 through our National Lottery funds. The popularity of this irresistible creative showcase has grown beyond all original expectations to become one of the undisputed annual highlights of the city’s life. It underscores the power of the arts to entertain, to enrich people’s lives, and to transform places into genuinely shared spaces to be enjoyed by everyone. We hope your experience of CNB 2018 will be a memorable one that will inspire you to go on to explore the amazing creativity that is happening all around us, day-in, day-out, at our arts centres, galleries, theatres and venues.”

Culture Night Belfast takes place on Friday 21 September from 1-10pm. Download the app and visit www.culturenightbelfast.com for full details

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Margaret D’Arcy (1918 – 2018)

Thursday 20th September 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments

Image: Photo: http://www.ulsteractors.com/ Image: Image: Photo: http://www.ulsteractors.com/

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with sadness of the death of Margaret D’Arcy, versatile stage actor and doyen of the Group Players, who has died at the age of 100.

Born in Belfast in 1918, Margaret D’Arcy enjoyed a long and distinguished stage career. As a member of the Group Players throughout the 1940s and ’50s, she appeared in many Group classics, including Joseph Tomelty’s ‘Is the Priest at Home?’, Louis MacNeice’s ‘Traitors in Our Way’, and title roles in St. John Greer Ervine’s ‘Martha’ and CK Munro’s ‘Diana’. She joined the Lyric Players in 1976, starring alongside a young Liam Neeson in Brian Friel’s ‘The Loves of Cass Maguire’, and went on to feature in a raft of Lyric productions, notably Graham Reid’s ‘The Hidden Curriculum’ and Christina Reid’s ‘Tea in a China Cup’. Ms D’Arcy appeared in numerous BBC Northern Ireland productions, in the 1990s reuniting with her Group contemporary, James Ellis, in Graham Reid’s Belfast-set televised drama, ‘The Precious Blood’. Film appearances included ‘Wild about Harry’ (2000) and the 2002 film adaptation of Spike Milligan’s ‘Puckoon’.

The Belfast Telegraph has published its tribute to Margaret D’Arcy’s life in local theatre, written by Ivan Little, here.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast Exposed hosts major photographic exhibition, by international photographer, Dana Lixenberg

Tuesday 11th September 2018 at 1pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured is photographer, Dana Lixenberg, with Belfast Exposed Chief Executive, Deirdre Robb. Image: Pictured is photographer, Dana Lixenberg, with Belfast Exposed Chief Executive, Deirdre Robb.

Belfast Exposed is delighted to present Imperial Courts 1993-2015 by Dana Lixenberg, winner of the 20th Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2017). This solo exhibition is the first showing of the award-winning photographer's work on the island of Ireland, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

In 1992, Dana Lixenberg was commissioned to document the areas of Los Angeles affected by the ‘Rodney King riots’, which erupted following the acquittal of four LAPD officers for the use of excessive force in the arrest of Rodney King. This visit inspired Lixenberg to return to LA and start her own project in 1993, which led her to the Imperial Courts housing project located in Watts, Los Angeles.

In contrast to an often one-dimensional, sensationalized journalistic approach, Lixenberg employed a controlled and collaborative photographic approach, using the communal areas of Imperial Courts as her studio. She began to create large-format, black and white portraits of the residents, using natural light. These photographs, taken at a pivotal time in the history of the community, form the basis of her largest body of work to date.

In following years, the photographer stayed in contact with the community, returning in 2008 to revisit the series, capturing individual and collective personal stories. Over the years, lives had been lost, people had disappeared or gone to jail, and children of early photographs had grown up and had families of their own. Lixenberg’s photographs became valued mementos for those she photographed and for the community as a whole. During these visits, she began to make audio recordings of people’s reactions to the images, which can be heard in the gallery alongside the final publication of the photobook entitled Imperial Courts (ROMA Publications, 2015). As a further response the photographer also created a web documentary which can be accessed at www.imperialcourtsproject.com

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, is pleased to support this contemporary photographic exhibition by award-winning artist, Dana Lixenberg, at Belfast Exposed. The impressive work spans 22 years presented across a range of platform and I would encourage everyone to go along”.

Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive, Belfast Exposed Photography, added,

“Dana Lixenberg has expertly captured a portrait of the Imperial Courts housing project creatively using photography to challenge stereotypical notions and empowered a community to have a direct voice and made visible issues ignored by society. There is a powerful drama to Lixenberg’s work that engages the audience to consider issues surrounding equality and representation”.

Spanning 22 years (1993-2015), Imperial Courts subtly addresses issues of inequality and injustice while avoiding stereotypical representation. Using multiple platforms, from silver gelatin prints, a carefully edited publication, video installation, and an online web documentary, the project serves as an evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community. The power of Lixenberg’s work can be found in the intimacy, compassion and quiet confidence of her images, and of the individuals we meet through the series.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

NI Music Prize shortlist announced

Monday 10th September 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Joshua Burnside, Winner NI Music Prize 2017, photo by Carrie Davenport Image: Joshua Burnside, Winner NI Music Prize 2017, photo by Carrie Davenport

The NI Music Prize shortlist for 2018 has been announced. The event, which will take place on November 15th at the iconic Ulster Hall, is now in its 6th year and includes the return of three categories that formed part of the very first NI Music Awards back in 2011.

Over 80 industry and media cast their vote for the best Album of the last twelve months. They were also invited to nominate for Best Live, Best Single and the Oh Yeah Contender Award for best emerging act.

There will be a second round of voting for all but Best Single, which will go to public vote later this week. The winners of all four categories will be announced on November 15th.

Oh Yeah is also pleased to announce that the winners of each category will be awarded a cash prize. Best Single, Best Live Act and Oh Yeah Contender will receive £1,000 and £3,000 will go to the winner of Best Album.

The NI Music Prize is coordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre and is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council, PRS (Performing Rights Society), PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), Help Musician’s Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

Further details are to be announced in the coming days, but for now, here is the shortlist....

Album of the Year

And So I Watch You From Afar - The Endless Shimmering
Ash - Islands
Bicep - Bicep
Brand New Friend - Seatbelts For Aeroplanes
Ciaran Lavery - Sweet Decay
Girls Names - Stains on Silence
Hannah Peel - Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia
Malojian - Let Your Weirdness Carry You Home
Robocobra Quartet - Plays Hard To Get
Ryan Vail - Distorted Shadows
Snow Patrol - Wildness
The Wood Burning Savages - Stability

Best Single

Arvo Party - Liberté
Ash - Buzzkill
Brand New Friend - Girl
Cherym - Take It Back
Hot Cops - Decay
Joshua Burnside - A Man of High Renown
Kitt Philippa - Human
Robocobra Quartet - You’ll Wade
ROE - Hey Thomas
Rosborough - Burn Blue
Snow Patrol - Life on Earth
The Wood Burning Savages - I Don’t Know Why I Do It To Myself

Oh Yeah Contender Award

Cherym
Hand Models
Hunkpapa
Rebekah Fitch
Roe

Best Live Act

And So I Watch You From Afar
Brand New Friend
Robocobra Quartet
Ryan Vail
The Wood Burning Savages

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

BBC Northern Ireland and Arts Council seeking gifted, young musicians

Thursday 6th September 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured are previous classical awardees, Dawn Burns and Marcella Walsh. Image: Pictured are previous classical awardees, Dawn Burns and Marcella Walsh.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, is now calling for young, exceptional musicians from across the region to apply for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians' Platform Award.

These prestigious and valuable biennial awards aim to showcase and support the development of five exceptional young Northern Ireland musicians by providing funding awards, worth £5000 each, to three classical musicians, one jazz musician and one traditional musician.  This financial award enables recipients to develop their musical aspirations by spending a sizeable amount of time learning from a master musician, mentor, teacher or composer either in Northern Ireland or abroad. 

In addition to this training opportunity, recipients receive two professional radio broadcast engagements with BBC Northern Ireland, including one with the Ulster Orchestra.  Performances at this level raise not only the professional profile of the young musician but also give a boost to their performance experience.

The music genres covered by the award includes three classical awards, one jazz award and one traditional music award.

Highlighting BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle’s commitment to specialist music and developing new musical talent, three presenters from the station will mentor the young awardees as well, follow their progress on their programmes and help them prepare for performances with the Ulster Orchestra for live BBC Radio Ulster.  John Toal, a classical pianist and presenter of Classical Connections will mentor the three classical awardees; Folk Club presenter, Lynette Fay, will mentor the traditional awardee; and Linley Hamilton jazz musician and presenter of Jazz World will mentor the jazz awardee.

Previous traditional music awardee, Niall Hanna, was able to use the award to record and release his debut album, Autumn Winds, in 2018.  Commenting on his experience Niall said,

“As soon as I found I had got the Young Musicians’ Platform Award, I started to plan my album with my producer, Donal O’Connor.  As part of the award I was also able to play a series of solo concerts, something new for me, and try out material before it was released.  My BBC mentor, Lynette Fay, was also wonderfully supportive in helping get the music out there and played on radio. ”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, at the Arts Council, commented:

“The Young Musicians’ Platform Award is a tremendous opportunity for our outstanding young musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best in their genre and receive professional experience of playing with a professional orchestra.  All of the previous recipients have gone on to have successful, professional careers and I’ve every confidence that their experience received through this award acted as an exceptional platform to shaping their development.”

Emma Dunseith, Executive Editor Arts, Music and Learning, BBC Northern Ireland, says:

“At BBC Radio Ulster we are dedicated to providing our listeners with the best in specialist music and nurturing new talent is something we are extremely passionate about. We are delighted to be involved in finding new classical, jazz and traditional artists and to be able to have our listeners engage in their journey as they grow and develop with some help from John, Lynette and Linley, each of whom are extremely talented musicians with a deep love of music.”

Applications for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Awards are open from Thursday 6 September and will close on Thursday 25 October.  Visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/young-musicians-platform-award 

Applications will be assessed by a specialist panel and shortlisted applicants will then be invited to audition at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast in early November 2018, where they will be asked to perform three contrasting pieces in style and period.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Musicians Ciara O’Neill and Matt McGinn bring the magic of Culture Night to Brussels

Thursday 6th September 2018 at 1pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music , International Arts

Singer-songwriters, Matt McGinn, from County Down, and Ciara O’Neill, from Portadown, will bring the magic of Culture Night to Brussels on Friday 21 September, as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Brussels Platform. Image: Singer-songwriters, Matt McGinn, from County Down, and Ciara O’Neill, from Portadown, will bring the magic of Culture Night to Brussels on Friday 21 September, as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Brussels Platform.

Singer-songwriters Ciara O’Neill, from Portadown, and Matt McGinn, from County Down, will bring the magic of Culture Night to Brussels on Friday 21 September as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Brussels Platform.

Hosted by the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels, Culture Night will attract an audience of officials from the EU Institutions, across the diplomatic community and beyond.

Brussels guests can expect to hear songs from Arrow, the second album from songstress, Ciara O’Neill, released in May 2018. From Belfast to Nashville and back again, Ciara has written with some of the best in the business and performed in the famous Bluebird Cafe and to a US TV audience of 60 million.

Hailing from the foot of the Mourne Mountains, the power of Matt McGinn’s voice is matched by the sentiments in his songs. In March of this year, Matt released his third studio album, ‘The End of the Common Man’ to critical acclaim and it’s songs from this album that he’ll perform on Culture Night.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said

“The Brussels Platform is all about providing a stage for our local artists to showcase their immense talent and to share the culture and creativity that is inherent to Northern Ireland.  Both Ciara O’Neill and Matt McGinn are wonderful musical ambassadors for the arts here and the Arts Council is delighted to support their showcase in Brussels this Culture Night.”

Andrew Elliott, Director of the Northern Ireland Executive office in Brussels said:

"This region produces far more than its fair share of talent and musical brilliance.  We will continue to showcase our home-grown talent on a European stage and to highlight Northern Ireland’s ever growing reputation as a centre of excellence in the arts. I look forward enormously to welcoming Matt and Ciara to Brussels for Culture Night.”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is involved in a range of international platforms including the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris and artist residencies in Indian, at Ramgarh Shekawati, Rajasthan and Sanskriti. 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Talented new voices in theatre showcased at Belfast International Arts Festival

Monday 3rd September 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Drama

Pictured are playwrights, Breman Rajkumar, Shirley-Anne Bonner, Martha Barnett with Belfast International Arts Festival’s Sarah Nelson and playwrights Meghan Tyler, Alice Malseed and Lee Coffey. Image: Pictured are playwrights, Breman Rajkumar, Shirley-Anne Bonner, Martha Barnett with Belfast International Arts Festival’s Sarah Nelson and playwrights Meghan Tyler, Alice Malseed and Lee Coffey.

The Belfast International Arts Festival, 16 October – 3 November, will showcase new work from six playwrights as part of the Lyric Theatre’s New Playwright’s Programme, a six-month writing development programme, aimed at emerging playwrights to create new work, an initiative supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year six writers were awarded a place on the prestigious programme and will now reveal their new works at the Lyric Theatre this autumn in a series of performed readings showcasing their exceptional talents. 

Playwrights, Alice Malseed, Breman Rajkumar, Lee Coffey, Martha Barnett, Meghan Tyler and Shirley-Anne Bonner were selected from a record breaking number of submissions to take part in the programme, developing new work with the support of the Lyric’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs.  Festival audiences will have the chance to see these new works for the first time, presented in dynamic double-bill readings on consecutive evenings – an exclusive opportunity to be the first to experience these new voices.

Richard Wakely, Artistic Director, Belfast International Arts Festival, commented:

“Belfast International Arts Festival is once again delighted and honoured to partner with the Lyric Theatre to present the New Playwright’s Programme.  This is the second edition of an important development platform that champions new writing and writers for the stage.  Each year the Festival includes new works and theatre companies from home and abroad, allowing audiences the opportunity to see the very best pieces of contemporary theatre from across the world on the Belfast stage.”

Executive Producer of the Lyric Theatre, Jimmy Fay, added:

“New writing is the lifeblood of any producing house theatre. Theatre is always about making the moment new and all theatres should search for extraordinary, inquisitive and vibrant voices that play with and understand the art and craft of theatre. Here in the Lyric we are exceptionally lucky to have a brilliant scout in Rebecca Mairs, someone who understands and can seek out the most extraordinary voices. Not every voice can make it to the stage but everyone who takes part in the New Writing Programme Rebecca coordinates and curates is offered exceptional insight, craft and inspiration to take on their journey.”

Gilly Campbell, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council, commented:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities to support new writing from emerging talent.  We are delighted to support this important initiative through National Lottery funding and to partner with the Lyric Theatre on the New Playwrights Programme for the second year.  We warmly congratulate all six new playwrights and look forward to seeing their work on the Lyric stage at this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival.”

Performed readings from the Lyric’s New Playwrights Programme will take place as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival from 1-3 November, Lyric Theatre, with tickets costing £10.  Visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Northern Ireland’s premier craft celebration due to end on a high

Tuesday 28th August 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Craft

Northern Ireland is celebrating the wealth of exceptional craft talent on its doorstep during August Craft Month Image: Northern Ireland is celebrating the wealth of exceptional craft talent on its doorstep during August Craft Month

Northern Ireland has been buzzing with workshops, exhibitions, studio opening, insightful talks and much more as part of August Craft Month. As the month-long celebration draws to a close, make sure to get involved at the stand-out events that are continuing to thrive.

Across all pockets of Northern Ireland, over 100 hands-on and intimate events have been well attended as they showcase the excellence, diversity and exceptional wealth of craft talent on its doorstep.

August Craft Month, enabled by CRAFT NI and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through National Lottery funding, has been providing opportunities for the public to make, see, learn about and buy craft.

The month-long celebration, now in its 12th year, has reflected the blossoming interest in and commitment to the talented artists, designers and makers in Northern Ireland.

Don’t miss out and enjoy the rest of August Craft Month :

  • Thrifty Threads Exhibition; Carrickfergus Museum, until 1st September: Featuring quilts from the Carrickfergus Museum collection, as well as the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, this colourful exhibition celebrates the traditional art of Ulster quilt-making.
  • Glitched Exhibition; Randalstown, until 31st August: Glitched is an exhibition by artist Mairead McCormack, exploring the Old Bleach Linen factory in Randalstown - its impact, influence and forgotten tales.
  • Puffin Gallery Exhibition ‘10x10’; Ballycastle, until 31st August: More than 40 established and emerging artists have responded to the 10x10 or 10x10x10 challenge. Sculptures, paintings, ceramics, glass, textiles, jewellery and more are all part of this very unique show.
  • Silver Metal Clay Taster Workshop, Dromore, until 31st August: Explore the alchemy of silver metal clay in a taster workshop led by certified Art Clay Instructor Pat Wilson and learn the basics of jewellery making
  • Artists at the Mill, Conway Mill Belfast, until 31st August: Artists at the Mill is a collaborative exhibition in the old Drying Room of the former flax spinning site. The exhibiting artists have drawn upon the linen history of the mill as inspiration for their work.
  • Flax Field; Belfast until 31st August: This exhibition by Josephine McCormick comprises of paintings, prints and cyanotypes of the landscape of flax and the creative industry of Linen. Working in partnership with the Flax Mill Textiles at Dungiven, McCormick has produced a visual celebration of linen as the fabric of Ireland.
  • Weaving Workshop; Belfast 30th August: Explore weaving with Textile Artist Cecilia Stephens. Participants will learn to weave on a simple frame loom using Linen, thread, paper, rag and in combination with other materials.
  • Meet the Makers at Made in Mourne; Kilkeel, until 31st August: For the month of August Made in Mourne will be featuring its makers. Pop in and hear their story and learn more about how they make their products.
  • Knit and Natter; Saintfield, until 31st August: At Knit and Natter in Saintfield Library throughout August you can learn to knit from scratch, improve your skills or teach others what you know. From novice to expert, everybody is welcome! Bring needles and any surplus wool you have and join this friendly group who also make items to sell at local sales for charity fundraising.

For more information on the remaining events across Northern Ireland, visit www.augustcraftmonth.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Craft Makers encouraged to apply for the £15,000 Rosy James Memorial Trust Award

Tuesday 21st August 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Craft

Ceramicist, Anne Butler and furniture designer, Brian McKee were the fourth recipients of the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award in 2017. Image: Ceramicist, Anne Butler and furniture designer, Brian McKee were the fourth recipients of the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award in 2017.

An annual craft bursary, the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, worth £15,000, is now welcoming applications.  This unique bursary aims to assist craft makers to develop their careers by creating a new body of work which would otherwise have been unattainable without the funding award.

Administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, established in 2014, came about thanks to the generosity of Rosemary James (Rosy), a local patron of the arts.  Originally from Belfast, Rosy had a lifelong commitment to the arts and following her death in 2010, bequeathed over £500,000 to help artists and craft makers pursue their careers. 

Previous recipients of the prestigious award include glass artist, Scott Benefield (2015), silversmiths, Stuart Cairns (2014) and Cara Murphy (2016) and in 2017 two awards were made to ceramicist, Anne Butler and furniture designer, Brian McKee.

Ceramicist, Anne Butler, used the award to enable her to create more ambitious work by researching methods of producing scaled up models through digital technologies and innovative mould making techniques.

Furniture designer, Brian McKee, used his award to bring to fruition a long cherished ambition to use steam bending as a creative process for building contemporary design rocking chairs and associated products.

Silversmith, Cara Murphy, whose work is held in several private and public collections, including the Silver Trust Collection at 10 Downing Street, used the funding to buy time to develop enamelling skills with the aim of creating a new body of work.  She learnt these enamelling techniques from famed enamellist, Deirdre McCrory, who also happens to be Cara’s mother.  The new works have been exhibited at the Ulster Museum in Belfast and also at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Glass artist, Scott Benefield was the second recipient of the bursary in 2015.  Scott used the funding to develop a series of works using hand-blown glass and cabinetry, travelling to the Creative Glass Centre of America for a six-week residency to research and develop his ideas and elements of his technique.  This was followed by a week’s study in Venice before bringing the learning back to his studio in Randalstown.

Silversmith Stuart Cairns was the first craft-maker to receive the bursary in 2014 using the funds to enable him to extend and develop his practice through an extended period of regular research and investment into new equipment.  The bursary enabled Stuart to produce a new body of work, for exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally, which explored landscape, process and object through the reinterpretation of domestic forms.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented:

“The Rosy James Memorial Trust Award demonstrates the power of philanthropic giving to create lasting impact.  Rosy James leaves an incredible legacy.  Her passion for craft led her to leave the bequest that will allow new work of really high quality, and of international interest, to be produced by local artists.  It will give our artists the chance to devote time to their practice over the course of a year and to develop their ideas.  We look forward to receiving the next round of applications.”

Applications are now open and will close on Thursday 18 October 2018.  For information on how to apply visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/the-rosemary-james-memorial-trust-award

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

91 of NI’s most talented young musicians showcased in Vienna, Bratislava and Belfast concerts

Monday 20th August 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured at rehearsals are Ulster Youth Orchestra principal violinist, Suzie Griffin, principal clarinettist, Russell Coates and Ciaran Scullion, Arts Council. Image: Pictured at rehearsals are Ulster Youth Orchestra principal violinist, Suzie Griffin, principal clarinettist, Russell Coates and Ciaran Scullion, Arts Council.

Vienna and Bratislava will welcome 91 of Northern Ireland’s most talented, young musicians in concerts on 21 and 22 August as part of the Ulster Youth Orchestra’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The tour, which is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will culminate in a spectacular performance at Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Saturday 25th August featuring new work by Northern Irish composer, Ryan Molloy, which has been specially commissioned for the anniversary and supported by Arts Council National Lottery funding.   

The Ulster Youth Orchestra is one of the jewels in the crown of the local arts sector with a reputation for excellence in all its performances.  Following rigorous auditions, 91 young orchestral players were selected to attend the annual summer course in preparation for the concerts in Vienna, Bratislava and Belfast.  As part of the experience, the aspiring musicians receive coaching by a team of highly-experienced professional tutors. 

Paula Klein, UYO General Manager, commented,

“The Ulster Youth Orchestra has been providing access to excellence for 25 years and we are thrilled to be able to mark this special anniversary by promoting local musical talent in Vienna, Bratislava and in the Ulster Hall, Belfast.  We are grateful for the substantial funding we receive from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to support our work alongside all of the other Trusts and Foundations, Corporate Sponsors and private donors who have made this significant celebration possible.  The UYO staff and board have worked tirelessly this year to ensure that these talented young musicians get the recognition and cultural experience that they deserve and we can’t wait to get started!”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

“Congratulations to the Ulster Youth Orchestra on achieving 25 years as the foremost youth music provider in the training, development, and showcasing of our finest young musicians in Northern Ireland.  The Arts Council is proud to be principal funder of this important organisation and is also delighted to have been able to support the commissioning of a new composition by Ryan Molloy and tour to Vienna and Bratislava to mark this special 25-year milestone.  I would encourage everyone to go along to their performance in the Ulster Hall which promises to be an evening of tremendous music.”

Public concerts will be given at the Museums Quartier, Vienna on 21st August, at the Slovak Radio Hall, Bratislava on 22nd August and at the Ulster Hall, Belfast on 25th August 2018.  Visit www.uyo.org.uk for tickets.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

A ‘Grand’ unveiling of the 2018 Belfast International Arts Festival Programme

Friday 17th August 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Dance , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

Damian Smyth, Head of Drama & Literature ACNI, Chairman of Tourism NI Terence Brannigan, Cllr Deirdre Hargey Lord Mayor of Belfast, Chairman Professor Jackie McCoy, Artistic Director, Richard Wakely of BIAF & Jonathan Stewart, Director of British Council Image: Damian Smyth, Head of Drama & Literature ACNI, Chairman of Tourism NI Terence Brannigan, Cllr Deirdre Hargey Lord Mayor of Belfast, Chairman Professor Jackie McCoy, Artistic Director, Richard Wakely of BIAF & Jonathan Stewart, Director of British Council

The Belfast International Arts Festival has launched a spectacular programme of over 120 events from home and abroad, including 12 premieres, running from the 16 October to the 3 November, at the city’s newest iconic hotel, the Grand Central.

The biggest contemporary arts festival in Northern Ireland, the 56th edition will bring a world class and eclectic fusion of theatre, dance, music, visual art, literature, films and talks to venues across Belfast this autumn.

Hosted by Festival supporters, Hasting Hotels, the official unveiling of the programme was followed by a performance from Olivier nominated actress Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE, star of ‘Nina – A Story about me and Nina Simone’, one of the many critically acclaimed shows to be brought to Belfast as part of the 2018 Festival.

Alongside Josette, this year’s Festival sees a strong star studded female line-up including Italian actress and screen siren Isabella Rossellini with her one woman show Link Link, former Irish President Mary Robinson discussing her forthcoming new book, Climate Justice, and 3 time Grammy award winning singer Angelíque Kidjo playing her version of the iconic Talking Heads album Remain in Light tour.

With 120 events to choose from, it’s difficult to highlight just a few but with several UK, Irish and world premieres not to be missed, other highlights include:

Stroke Odysseys, a cathartic and colourful show of music and dance, uncovering what it means to live your life after suffering a stroke.

Facing the Sea, for Tears to Turn into Laughter is a beautifully sculpted contemporary dance piece from Tunisia and a curious, heart-warming and fun packed show for all the family, Handle with Care, arriving from Catalonia.

Local theatre companies will also present new and exciting work with award winning Marie Jones’ brand new play Dear Arabella staged in the Lyric Theatre, darkly humorous Freak Show taking place in the MAC and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon, with his new translation of the greatest love poem in the Irish language The Lament for Art O'Leary with music by members of the original Irish Celtic Rock Band, Horslips, and featuring acclaimed actress, Liz Dwan.

Add to this world class blues music, a unique classical screening in St Anne’s Cathedral and a diverse range of talks to include Conservative MP Dominic Grieve and the curators of the Repeal the 8th Anthology and we are set for a very exciting few weeks of events.

Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Richard Wakely said;

“Art has the power to generate ideas, inspire revolutions, and change the way we view ourselves, the world around us and our place in history. Nowhere is this power more clear than in our 2018 programme which brings together artists and audiences, from home and abroad in a genuine celebration of arts and culture”

Principal Funder and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Head of Drama and Literature, Damian Smyth, added:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is immensely proud to be Principal Funder of the Belfast International Arts Festival which continues to bring world-renowned acts to Belfast as well as offering a platform for our own impressive artists and performers. The importance of staging an international arts festival in Belfast cannot be overestimated and the Arts Council recognises this festival’s enormous contribution to arts and culture in return for a relatively small amount of public investment.  I would encourage everyone to check out the Arts Council’s Embrace section in this year’s programme, which highlights an exciting range of free events and workshops on offer.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey said of the festival;

“Belfast City Council is proud to invest in the Belfast International Arts Festival.   It continues to inspire and energise us through its innovative programming of world-class acts and home-grown talent. And Belfast’s creative reputation is ever expanding. Our artists help us to make sense of, and navigate the world around us – and they’re also helping to position Belfast as a must visit destination. I wish everyone involved in the Festival the very best of luck."

The Belfast International Arts Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and British Council.

Tickets are available now at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com or via the official Festival Box Office at Visit Belfast.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Antrim teens head into the studio for unique mental health project

Friday 10th August 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments ARTiculate Young People & Wellbeing Arts Programme

Mentors Shannan Barrett, Antrim Grammar School and Hannah Brennan, Sperrins Integrated College are pictured with Aidan Tracy (7), Cailin Simpson, (9), with Una McCann, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader Image: Mentors Shannan Barrett, Antrim Grammar School and Hannah Brennan, Sperrins Integrated College are pictured with Aidan Tracy (7), Cailin Simpson, (9), with Una McCann, Professional Musician, Songwriter and Community Choir leader

A group of young people living around Rathenraw estate in Antrim have been putting the finishing touches to their recording debut for a unique music project tackling mental health issues.

The project organised by Fresh Minds Education is one of 27 to have received funding as part of ARTiculate, a three-year £600,000 programme funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds and the Public Health Agency (PHA), which uses artists and the arts to give a voice to issues affecting young people.

Working with professional artist Una McCann, the group attended a series of workshops to explore emotional health themes through music and song writing. Involving young people from primary and secondary schools, the project was spearheaded by seventeen 12-18 year olds who worked with the younger children to draw out the emotions which affect them most, including feeling angry, sad, anxious, worried or low. By taking a creative approach, the group was able to explore the feelings and learn the AMBER approach, which is a structure that supports children to develop coping mechanisms in a safe and relaxed environment.

To mark the end of their project, Red Box Media visited the group to record some of the music they have been working on.

Aine Wallace who developed the project on behalf of Fresh Minds Education explained:

“This is the first time that this group of teenagers have been engaged in an arts based mental health programme.  Over the past two months we have watched their confidence grow and their real selves shine. 

“This isn’t a programme where we simply talk about issues. In this programme we talk about our feelings and our relationships. We talk about the brave work of being open to fail, yet courageous enough to rise again.  These teenagers came with a view to support younger children and have left with a sense of hope and optimism for the future and a sense of belonging in the community where they live.” 

Lorraine Calderwood, ARTiculate Programme Manager, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The positive links between engagement in the arts and wellbeing are firmly established.  Working together with the Public Health Agency, the Arts Council is supporting a diverse range of projects right across Northern Ireland that open up opportunities for young people to engage in the arts and the many benefits that brings, such as promoting self-expression, and developing self-confidence and self-motivation.

“It is fantastic to be here today and see how all the young people have bravely come together to address some of the difficult issues identified head on. Working with musician Una McCann they’ve been able to take part in a really enjoyable project, bond together as a group, and develop some really valuable life skills.”

Amanda O’ Neill, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer with the PHA said:

“This programme is a great example of how arts can be used in an innovative way to give a voice to young people and encourage help-seeking behaviour. The PHA recognise the positive impact that the arts can play in improving the mental health and wellbeing of our young people. The participants benefit in a number of ways such as making new friends, learning new skills, gaining confidence in their abilities. They also learn about the mental health support that is available to them.”

The ARTiculate programme was launched in January 2017. The programme will run over three years and it is anticipated that approximately 35 projects will be supported as a result of the funding. The programme is delivered by artists and arts organisations working in partnership with youth and community organisations linked to the PHA across a range of health improvement themes.

Further information is available from http://artscouncil-ni.org/the-arts/participatory-arts1/articulate 

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Students gather for Armagh Old Boys’ Summer School

Thursday 9th August 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured are: Julie- Anne Stevenson, (cornet); Ivor Stevenson MBE, (euph);  Richard Poole, (cornet); Andrew Milligan, (bass); Cathryn Lynch, (percussion);  Reece Moore, (baritore); Sophie Hueston, (horn) and Matthew Kingston, (cornet). Image: Pictured are: Julie- Anne Stevenson, (cornet); Ivor Stevenson MBE, (euph); Richard Poole, (cornet); Andrew Milligan, (bass); Cathryn Lynch, (percussion); Reece Moore, (baritore); Sophie Hueston, (horn) and Matthew Kingston, (cornet).

Armagh Old Boys’ Silver Band this week hosted its annual week-long Summer School, led by tutors from the world-famous Foden’s Band.

Welcoming more than 80 participants, from 7 years old up, the summer school brings together people of all ages and abilities from across Northern Ireland and further afield to be trained under the guidance of nine highly talented Foden’s tutors. Now in its 18th year  the Summer School, supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Funds, is going from strength to strength.

Participants can choose between two bands, the Sterling Band for beginners or the Sovereign Band for a more challenging programme. The repertoire is designed to support all abilities and includes a wide range of genres, from film and pop-music, to more classical works and extended brass band pieces.

Ivor Stevenson MBE, from Armagh Old Boys’ Silver Band, commented:

“The Summer School is a wonderful opportunity for folk of all ages to develop their knowledge, technical playing skills, team ethos and individual achievement as well as building the Brass Band family network across the province.”

Participants will perform two concerts this week. On Thursday night there will be a Young Soloists Evening in Armagh Old Boys Silver Band Music Centre at 7pm. On Saturday at 7pm in  First Presbyterian Church Armagh, the two bands will have the opportunity to perform individually, before merging together to perform for the Grand Finale.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council, commented:

“This is a superb summer school, offering first class tuition and important development for instrumentalists of all ages and abilities. As well as the masterclasses and workshops, participants can also look forward to hearing their tutors perform, so that they can see for themselves the standards which can be achieved through practice and dedication.  The Arts Council is pleased to support this year’s summer school through our Small Grants National Lottery programme and wish all the students the best of luck with this week’s performances.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast musician, unveils plans for incredible one-off rhythm & blues show with the Ulster Orchestra

Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Belfast singer-songwriter, Davy Watson, will perform with the Ulster Orchestra in the magnificent surroundings of Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Friday 31 August. Image: Belfast singer-songwriter, Davy Watson, will perform with the Ulster Orchestra in the magnificent surroundings of Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Friday 31 August.

Belfast singer-songwriter, Davy Watson, will perform with the Ulster Orchestra in the magnificent surroundings of Belfast’s Ulster Hall on Friday 31 August.  The performance is part of the Ulster Orchestra’s On Your Doorstep series, an initiative which aims to grow new audiences by collaborating with artists of various genres.

This special one-off performance sees the musician’s work arranged for full orchestra by renowned composer Graeme Stewart.  The project is supported by National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES), a funding grant bestowed upon the region’s exceptional artists to enable them to develop their professional, artistic careers.

Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Davy has a rich musical background and has performed with some of the biggest names in international music including Madonna, Philip Lynott, Bob Geldoff, Jack Lancaster, Hazel O’Connor and Vivian Campbell, during his time living in both Ireland and LA.  He has performed on some of the world’s biggest stages including the Glastonbury and the Royal Albert Hall.
Davy Watson said, “Performing your own music with your national orchestra is a privilege for any musician, and to do so in the iconic Ulster Hall is incredible.  It will be a special night and I have a few guests joining me for what will be, for me, the gig of a lifetime.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“Davy Watson is a tremendous talent who has an impressive career touring internationally, recording and lecturing.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support this fresh and exciting project between Davy and one of our leading flagship organisations, the Ulster Orchestra, through our Artist Career Enhancement Scheme.  This performance afforded by the Ulster Orchestra, as part of its innovative On Your Doorstep outreach initiative, is a fantastic platform for the composer to showcase his work to a new audience and to further enhance the potential to raise his already considerable profile as a singer-songwriter.”

Richard Wigley, Managing Director, Ulster Orchestra, commented,

“The Ulster Orchestra is absolutely delighted to collaborate with Davy Watson for this special On Your Doorstep performance.  On Your Doorstep is an initiative designed to get to reach artists, styles of music and audiences that perhaps you’d not normally associate with the orchestra.  It’s allowed us to work with many different artists in a range of settings and I like to think that this performance with Davy will be the first of many artists that we work with longer term.  Davy is an exceptional talent.   The stories that he tells about himself through music transcends genre and that’s why I thought that he would work very well with the orchestra.  This performance on 31st August is a terrific mix of strong, Northern Irish, raw, yet brilliant talent alongside everybody’s orchestra and I would encourage everyone to come along.”

Tickets for this special event cost £12 and can be purchased at www.waterfront.co.uk/what-s-on/all-events/rhythm-and-blues/

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

August Craft Month launches with top Northern Ireland artistic talent

Monday 6th August 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Craft , Visual Arts

Suzanne Lyle (Head of Visual Arts at Arts Council NI) with local artists Sandra Turley, Damian Magee and Jill Phillips and Jan Irwin (Craft NI) at the launch of August Craft Month Image: Suzanne Lyle (Head of Visual Arts at Arts Council NI) with local artists Sandra Turley, Damian Magee and Jill Phillips and Jan Irwin (Craft NI) at the launch of August Craft Month

Northern Ireland is celebrating the wealth of exceptional craft talent on its doorstep during August Craft Month, which officially launched on Friday evening at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown.

Northern Ireland is at the forefront of the burgeoning craft movement across the globe. With internationally renowned makers, artisan craft start-ups and increasingly popular craft activity-led tourism, the vibrant craft sector is thriving. There is a blossoming interest in and commitment to products that are made as opposed to manufactured and that are made locally, and the talented artists, designers and makers in Northern Ireland are meeting the demand.

This year’s launch event coincided the opening of the stunning ‘LINEN’ exhibition, which will be hosted at the Millennium Court Arts Centre until Wednesday 29th August. The enlightening exhibition is a celebration of Europe’s oldest textile and features work from local artists Damien Magee, Jill Phillips and Sandra Turley as well as international talent Mylene Boisvert and Christine Mauersberger.
The month-long celebration, enabled by CRAFT NI and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through the National Lottery, showcases the excellence and diversity of craft in Northern Ireland and provides a fantastic opportunity for everyone to make, see, learn about and buy craft.

Jan Irwin of CRAFT NI said,

“We are thrilled to be co-ordinating the 12th annual August Craft Month and what a fantastic start we have had at the Millennium Court Arts Centre. The events are a wonderful opportunity to highlight the remarkable quality of our artists, designers and makers in Northern Ireland. The public and our visitors are encouraged to engage with our makers, to enjoy the experiences and to learn more from some of our top talent. The dedicated August Craft Month website holds all the information regarding when and where these exceptional events will take place.”

Across all pockets of Northern Ireland there will be over 100 hands-on and intimate events including workshops, exhibitions featuring world-class artists, fun festivals, studio grand openings and insightful talks. August Craft Month boasts a host of new offerings for 2018 including workshops that vary in focus from wellbeing to genealogy tracing, and glass bead design to dress making.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said,

“CRAFT NI is back with another impressive programme of events and workshops taking place across Northern Ireland.  Now in its 12th year, August Craft Month has been steadily growing each year with more and more people taking part and trying something new.  The Arts Council is delighted to support this terrific celebration of craft, which offers an important platform to showcase the talent of our local craft makers and helps to bring great art to everyone.”

August Craft Month provides a network for makers and the public to create, share and meet, and the immersive nature of a wide range of events ensures that August Craft Month offers such variety to suit a multitude of interests.

Highlights of August Craft Month 2018 include:

  • Artists at the Mill in Conway Mill, West Belfast, is a collaborative exhibition in the old Drying Room of the former flax spinning site. The exhibiting artists have drawn upon the linen history of the mill as inspiration for their work.
  • At Top Floor Art Gallery in Saintfield, the Family Tree Textile Panel Workshop invites participants to explore their genealogy and delve into their family history, before artist Emma Whitehead assists in creating a beautiful textile family tree from the findings.
  • ‘Contained’ exhibition takes place in a former cow-milking stone byre in Cloughmills. The unique location complements the individuality of each exhibiting artist, exploring the theme of how hand-made objects contain the time, skill and inspiration behind their creation.
  • Benefield Spencer Glass are inviting the public to witness their glassblowing demonstrations, opening their studio to the public for the second time during August Craft Month. This will provide an opportunity to witness the process behind the works and to purchase art directly from the makers.
  • Adam Frew’s new ceramics studio was part-funded by a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. The grand opening will take place on 18th August.

For more information on the events across Northern Ireland, visit www.augustcraftmonth.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Backpack UK launched at the National Theatre

Saturday 4th August 2018 at 1pm 0 Comments

Image:

On Saturday 4 August 2018, Action for Children's Arts (ACA) launched the Arts Backpack UK at the National Theatre. This is a project which, if implemented, will ensure that every primary school child in the UK has at least five cultural experiences in the school year.

It has been proposed to government ministers, representatives from Arts Council England and key individuals within the sector as a way to combat the diminishing role that arts subjects play in schools across the UK.

The idea is inspired by similar schemes worldwide: the Norwegian Cultural Rucksack, the Israeli Cultural Breadbasket and the German Culture Rucksack in Nuremberg. The principle is to offer every primary school child in the UK a digital rucksack, where they can collect their Arts, Cultural, Heritage and Library experiences throughout the year. The aim is to collect a minimum of five experiences.

At the National Theatre launch of this project, ACA put out the call for an individual to carry out a feasibility study. Those wishing to apply can find more information on www.childrensarts.org.uk. The feasibility study has been generously funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Cambridgeshire Music, Fife Council and two generous donors; and match-funded by ACA.

The Arts Backpack is championed by ACA patrons including Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, David Bintley CBE, Michael Foreman, Jamila Gavin, Anna Home OBE, Michelle Magorian, Roger McGough CBE, Philip Pullman CBE, Lynne Reid Banks, Sir Tony Robinson and Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

When adding his support, Michael Foreman said:

"Art was my boyhood 'magic carpet' to a world of Wonder.  It has been all my life.  Every child should have the opportunity to go on this ride."

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Artsland Artist in Residence Programme Launches

Friday 3rd August 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Community Arts , Craft , Film & TV , Literature

Image:

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council’s Arts Service has just launched its Artsland Artist in Residence programme, bringing distinguished artists to the district to undertake a wide range of activities engaging with local schools, businesses, community groups and local artists.   Two satellite centres have been selected for the delivery of the Artsland artists in residence programme: Aughlakillymaude Mummers Centre, Knockninney, Fermanagh & an Creágan Arts & Cultural Centre, Omagh.

Artists from seven different countries have been selected to participate in the International Residency programme these include Thailand, Canada, USA, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Ireland & Scotland.  Art forms represented include installation, literature, film & photography, community cinema, folk music, storytelling, puppetry, folk embroidery, print, textiles and bookmaking.

Artsland,  co-funded by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Local Government Challenge Fund is currently being delivered under three themes: ‘Arts for All’ concentrating on health and well-being, active ageing and inclusion; ‘Multiple Identities’ focusing on musical cultural traditions; and ‘Loughs, Bogs & Mountains’ addressing rural arts, traditional skills and the environment. The programme, which will run until October 2019, is being delivered in partnership with a number of organisations including South West Age Partnership, Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (NI) and Dún Uladh - one of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann’s seven regional centres, Sliabh Beagh Arts, An Creagán arts & Culture centre and a number of other venues, local organisations and individual artists.

Artsland - now fully programmed is actively delivering a total investment of £250,000 across the district & each of the programme themes will also provide a series of arts, crafts, performance and training workshops and activities for various groups in local communities. The activities will result in the creation of new artworks, development of new skills and expertise, exhibition and performance opportunities and increased capacity across the arts and cultural sector in the Fermanagh and Omagh.  Finally, a programme of technical and theatre training will take place across the district for local voluntary, community and amateur drama groups and young people.

The Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton said,

“Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is excited to be delivering this International Artist in Residence programme as part of the Council’s Artsland programme.  We are keen to see the profile of the arts being raised as well as utilised as a tool for socially engaged practice in the district.  I would hope this programme will open up the arts for all as well as respond to the needs of our local communities as well as raise the profile of the arts in the Fermanagh & Omagh District.”

Lorraine McDowell, Operations Director, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“We are delighted to see £125,000 of Arts Council National Lottery Funding being used to support such a fantastic Challenge Fund programme. The Artsland Artists in Residence stream of activities is doing exactly what the Arts Council’s Challenge Fund was designed to do – to bring great art within everyone’s reach. We thank the Council for taking up the Challenge Fund which is helping to strengthen the arts infrastructure in the area through international and local artist residencies, capacity building programmes with existing cultural groups and providing new, exciting community arts programming for all.”

Further information on the Artsland Programme can be found at www.fermanaghomagh.com or by email culture@fermanaghomagh.com or telephone 0300 303 1777

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Bangor businesses set to draw more customers through Open House Festival scheme

Friday 3rd August 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured (L-R) are Ken Sharp, owner of the Salty Dog, artist Steph Hanlon from Boom! Studios, and Festival organiser Alison Gilmore. Image: Pictured (L-R) are Ken Sharp, owner of the Salty Dog, artist Steph Hanlon from Boom! Studios, and Festival organiser Alison Gilmore.

Coffee houses, bars, butchers and boutiques are embracing the festival spirit and getting creative at this year’s Open House Festival Bangor (1st August-31st August).

One hundred-plus local businesses have pledged their support as Festival Friends, offering deals and discounts for ticket holders, with dozens also opening their doors to host events.

The start of the Festival sees a focus on visual art, with three exhibitions opening this week, beginning with the launch of the artists-in-residence scheme at the Salty Dog, followed by Boom! Studios’ Anarchy Art Exhibition, and the launch of A Chorus of Georgeousses – an exhibition of new figure drawings and grotesqueries by Sam Finnegan at Hell Yeah Custom Tattoo Shop.

Five local collectives have put forward participants for the artists-in-residence scheme including social enterprise Boom! Studios, Angie’s Art Studio, North Down and Bangor Camera Club, Bangor Art Club and Seacourt Print Workshop. More than 40 local artists are exhibiting original work in town centre businesses from bars to banks, including Bangor Train Station and the Spectator newspaper offices. A vinyl cutting created by more than a dozen artists that will grace the windows of retail businesses on Bangor Main Street. The Salty Dog Hotel launch event will include more than 30 pieces by local artists ranging from photography and printmaking to painting and papercutting.

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funding, this year’s programme will include 144 events in around 40 venues.

Festival Director Kieran Gilmore, says:

“Creativity isn’t exclusive to the arts – it extends to many other businesses, including food, retail and technology.  We’re committed to transforming Bangor into a creative town and a vibrant seaside destination, and we are delighted that more than 100 businesses have signed up this year to bring us closer to achieving that vision.

“We know that the Festival has a really positive impact on the local economy. In 2017 we welcomed more than 40,000 visitors to Bangor and this year we’re expecting at least 50,000. The economic impact of the festival on the town in 2017 was £1.7m for the month of August alone, and this year we’re hoping to hit the £2m. ”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The visual art initiatives are a fantastic addition to the programme, creating public galleries across the town for all to enjoy. Festival-fever has really gripped Bangor this year and it is wonderful to hear that so many businesses are getting involved and recognising the important role that the arts play in economic regeneration. ”

The 2018 Open House Festival programme features musicians, actors, authors, exhibitions and much more. Highlights still to come include outdoor concerts on Bangor seafront by the Waterboys, John Grant, Public Image Limited and the Undertones, plus interviews with Martin Bell and Helen Pankhurst.

For more information go to www.openhousefestival.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Eight exciting new music projects supported to tour through PRS Foundation’s Beyond Borders

Thursday 2nd August 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Benyounes Quartet received Beyond Borders funding in 2017 for their UK tour of NonZeroSum where they performed with Acoustronic at the Walled City Music Festival Image: Benyounes Quartet received Beyond Borders funding in 2017 for their UK tour of NonZeroSum where they performed with Acoustronic at the Walled City Music Festival

PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, announces today which UK and Ireland-based organisations, music groups and composers will be receiving funding through the co-commissioning and touring programme Beyond Borders.

The eight exciting cross-border projects are:

  • AC Projects – Their flagship Counterflows event in partnership with Oto Projects and Chapter will commission arts collective Katz Mulk to create a new multi-disciplinary music work
  • Berkeley Ensemble – World premiere tour of ‘The Mare’s Tale’, A music theatre piece by Mark Bowden & Damian Walford Davies inspired by a ghostly Welsh folk tradition
  • East Neuk Festival – Composer Huw Watkins will create a duo for piano and his longtime musical collaborator, percussionist Colin Currie
  • Kings Place – A collaboration with RCS, RWCMD, RNCM alongside additional presentation partners to produce a multidisciplinary tour of Rakhi Singh & Vessel's 'Written in Fire'
  • Knockengorragh – A tour of original work created during a multi-lingual residency in Scotland, featuring Irish, Scottish and Welsh traditional and digital artists, exploring commonalities and differences
  • North West Cultural Partnership – New music devised and commissioned for Sid Peacock and The Surge Orchestra with three guest musicians, performing in England, Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • Sound Festival – A collaboration between Christopher Fox, Angharad Davies, Tom Jackson, and the composer/sound designer Georgia Rodgers, creating an installation that explores the great stone circles of Brodgar (Orkney), Drombeg (Ireland), Stonehenge (England)
  • Theatr na nÓg – A new country musical for young people following a young carer’s dream of becoming a storm chaser in America

Beyond Borders was established in 2010 to support high quality co-commissions and tours, stimulating collaboration between composers, performance groups and music organisations across the four different UK countries and, since 2014, the Republic of Ireland.

Previous Beyond Borders successes have included Songs of Separation, a collective of 10 female English and Scottish folk musicians whose album won ‘Best Album’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017, and David Fennessy's ‘Panopticon’, commissioned by Hebrides Ensemble and Psappha, which won the Scottish Award for New Music for Small Scale work. Martin Green’s ‘Flit’, combining live music and animation which reflects on first hand stories of migration, also won over audiences and critics nationwide in 2016, and was funded through Beyond Borders.

Beyond Borders is a co-commissioning and touring programme run in partnership with Creative Scotland, supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

Arts Council Northern Ireland’s Head of Music, Ciaran Scullion, added;

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support this important artist development programme. Beyond Borders offers a tremendous opportunity for talented musicians from Northern Ireland to collaborate with other artists and organisations across the UK in new projects, gaining a platform for their music to tour and to be heard by new and wide-ranging audiences.”

To find out more about the programme, visit prsfoundation.com/funding-support/funding-for-organisations/beyond-borders

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

University of Atypical celebrates Arts and Access

Thursday 2nd August 2018 at 11am 0 Comments

Left to right: Brian Kielt, Alice McCullough, Stacie Sheeran, Chris Ledger (Univeristy of Atypical), Jacqueline Wylie, Steph Harrison and Damien Smyth (Arts Council of Northern Ireland) Image: Left to right: Brian Kielt, Alice McCullough, Stacie Sheeran, Chris Ledger (Univeristy of Atypical), Jacqueline Wylie, Steph Harrison and Damien Smyth (Arts Council of Northern Ireland)

The high quality work of disabled and deaf artists and of arts venues working to improve disabled and deaf access has been celebrated and recognised at a ceremony in Belfast.

The University of Atypical, formerly known as the Arts and Disability Forum, hosted a celebration of artists’ talent and venue commitment at the Atypical Gallery in Royal Avenue.

Thirteen of Northern Ireland’s leading disabled artists have received individual Disabled/Deaf Artists Awards (iDA) awards totalling £17,000 to develop their work. The majority of those artists were part of the celebration, with playwright Shannon Yee speaking about her experience of iDA and poet, Alice McCullough performing a poem to illustrate the effect of her iDA award.

As well as focusing on artistic talent, the event also presented Arts and Disability Equality Charter awards to venues that have worked to improve access and facilities for disabled and deaf people in all areas of their work.

Strule Arts Centre was again credited with the Excellence award, having worked closely with Omagh Access Group to enable deaf and disabled people to participate freely in the arts. Gerry Knight spoke about the venue’s hard work.

Enniskillen Castle and the Millennium Forum received Arts & Disability Equality Charter plaques to commemorate reaching Charter status, and the Ardhowen Theatre was presented with a certificate as evidence of its commitment to working towards Charter status.

The awards were presented by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey. The Lord Mayor praised the great work taking place to advance the cause of disability arts in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland.

She added: “I’m delighted to be part of these celebrations, highlighting the fantastic work being done to advance disability arts in Belfast and beyond. It showcases our cultural diversity and highlights the importance of building inclusion within our city. Congratulations to all of the award winners.”

Artists receiving the iDA grants work in a range of disciplines, including visual arts, music, multi-media, poetry, comedy, theatre and dance.

The iDA scheme is managed by the University of Atypical and funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with funds designed to help artists establish their careers in the arts. Some of the past recipients of iDA have built international reputations with the help of these grants. The big difference between this and other types of funding is that artists are supported right through the process, from the initial idea to project delivery.

University of Atypical CEO Chris Ledger said:

"Northern Ireland's Arts and Disability work is respected and admired not just in the UK and Ireland but on an international level. The University of Atypical is run by disabled people, whose dedication to promoting artistic excellence and working towards cultural equity contributes to the growing reputation of the work carried out here.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“Congratulations to all of today’s award recipients.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to have been able to support both the iDA Awards and the Arts & Disability Equality Charter Awards over the years and we look forward to continuing to work with the University of Atypical to encourage the involvement of disabled and deaf artists in the arts.”

Those present also looked forward to this year's Bounce Arts Festival Weekender, which this year will run from September 13-16 September, presenting an entertaining and thought-provoking mix of skilled work by disabled and deaf artists from the UK and RoI.

For more information about the work of the University of Atypical, visit universityofatypical.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Festival Brings Hollywood Royalty Rossellini to Belfast Stage

Tuesday 31st July 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Drama

Belfast International Arts Festival is thrilled to be welcoming Italian actress and screen siren Isabella Rossellini to the Grand Opera House on the 31 October 2018 Image: Belfast International Arts Festival is thrilled to be welcoming Italian actress and screen siren Isabella Rossellini to the Grand Opera House on the 31 October 2018

Belfast International Arts Festival is thrilled to be welcoming Italian actress and screen siren Isabella Rossellini to the Grand Opera House on the 31 October 2018 with her new one-woman show Link Link.

An Irish premier, the brand new one-woman (and one dog) show by Golden Globe-nominated actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her, Fearless, Joy), Link Link is a monologue inspired by the animal world, based on scientific research with a comic twist.

The audience will get to see enduring style icon Rossellini transforms herself into Aristotle, René Descartes, a medieval theologian, Harvard Professor BF Skinner and Charles Darwin to explore, in her own intriguing way, what distinguishes humans from animals.

Rossellini's monologue will be accompanied by projections of her short comic films, home movies, photos, and drawings whilst her dog Pan, an outstanding supporting artist plays various animals assisted by puppeteer and animal handler Schuyler Beeman.

Isabella Rossellini is “Impossible to resist” – The Hollywood Reporter
“… it is hard to deny how pleasurable Ms. Rossellini’s company is.” – The New York Times.

Rossellini has had an amazing career, and is known for making brave choices in the roles she plays.  Her previous show Green Porno received rave reviews and was hailed as ‘hilariously weird’.

Belfast International Arts Festival Director, Richard Wakely, says:

“The Festival is honored to host one of Europe’s most versatile and celebrated female performers.  Isabella Rossellini has graced the screen and stage for many years and her new work, Link Link is an exquisite and comical tour de force that is also thought provoking in its approach to enhancing our appreciation of the animal world.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the Belfast International Arts Festival in bringing the internationally renowned performer,  Isabella Rossellini, to Belfast with her show Link Link.  The importance of staging an arts festival of this magnitude in Belfast cannot be overestimated and with something to suit all tastes and budgets in this year’s terrific programme, I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”

The Belfast International Arts Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and British Council.

Tickets are available now at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com.  With over 120 event including 12 premiers make sure to check out the full programme launch on the 16 August 2018.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Surprise symphony for shoppers

Monday 30th July 2018 at 3pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

The Ulster Youth Orchestra performed a pop-up performance and music school at Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon on Saturday 28th July. Image: The Ulster Youth Orchestra performed a pop-up performance and music school at Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon on Saturday 28th July.

The Ulster Youth Orchestra performed a pop-up performance and music school at Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon on Saturday 28th July.

Showing thanks for the centre’s sponsorship of the organisation, hundreds of shoppers, visitors and employees were treated to the soaring sounds of Handel’s Sarabande, Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky and ‘Tale as old as time’ from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, as they echoed off the walls of Rushmere’s central mall.

A shout out went out from the Orchestra in recent weeks for talented young musicians across Northern Ireland to sign up for the experience of rehearsing with the Orchestra’s cellist David McCann and some of its regular musicians.

With performers ranging in age from 5 to 75, the response was huge with over 40 signing up within days from those proficient in the violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba.

Ruth McCann, Ulster Youth Orchestra Administrator, said;

“We are delighted with the response that we had to this exciting initiative and even more so with the unforgettable experience for both these young musicians and their families, friends and the shoppers of Rushmere.

“On behalf of the UYO, I want to extend my thanks to Rushmere Shopping Centre for its ongoing support of our organisation and we look forward to a wonderfully productive period of support.”

Rushmere is committed to providing new experiences for its patrons through education, interaction, innovation and fun.

The sponsorship arrangement with the orchestra will also benefit customers with various craft and entertainment activities taking place on-mall, including making toy instruments or providing a general introduction to classical music.

Martin Walsh, Centre Manager, said;

“Our relationship with the Ulster Youth Orchestra is one borne out of a desire to bring the stunning sounds of classical music to the mall for the enjoyment of locals or have made the journey to visit us in Craigavon.

“To witness the enthusiasm and professionalism these young musicians displayed during the rehearsal and through the performance was testament to their dedication and the tutelage of David and his team from the Orchestra.”

Throughout 2018/19, Rushmere will have visibility on the Ulster Youth Orchestra’s programmes at their various events, promotional flyers and at their 25th Anniversary concert at the Ulster Hall in Belfast on 25th August 2018, strengthening its supportive message of the arts across Northern Ireland.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Leading poets meet to discuss international appointment

Wednesday 25th July 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Pictured are Noirin McKinney (Arts Council) and Fran Brearton (Queen’s University Belfast), with Leontia Flynn, Paula Meehan, Gerry Dawe, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson and current Ireland Chair of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. Image: Pictured are Noirin McKinney (Arts Council) and Fran Brearton (Queen’s University Belfast), with Leontia Flynn, Paula Meehan, Gerry Dawe, Michael Longley, Ciaran Carson and current Ireland Chair of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

Top poets from across the island of Ireland met on Friday 29th June to discuss the appointment of an International Visiting Poetry Fellow, as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s and Queen’s University Belfast’s joint ten-year Seamus Heaney Legacy project.

Now in its second year, the annual bursary is worth £20,000 and will be made to a distinguished poet of international repute. The appointed poet will be invited to Northern Ireland where they will be based for several weeks in the autumn of each year.

The distinguished selection panel assigned to make the appointment includes, poets Ciaran Carson, current Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Gerald Dawe, Leontia Flynn, Michael Longley and Paula Meehan, plus Glenn Patterson, representing the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, and Nóirín McKinney from the Arts Council.

Key responsibilities for the nominated poet will be:

  • To undertake the writing of poetry;
  • To offer guest workshops and masterclasses in Queen’s;
  • To give a public reading at the close of the residency;
  • To engage in outreach activity at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy (workshops/reading) for groups visiting the new facility


Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“We are honoured to be joined today by some of the most respected and best known names in poetry from across Ireland to begin the process of selecting an International Visiting Poetry Fellow for 2019. Today’s meeting follows the appointment of our very first Visiting International Poet, Mark Doty, who we look forward to welcoming from America in September.

“This important fellowship is part of a wider project of work undertaken by the Arts Council in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast in honour of Seamus Heaney and his contribution to literature. Through readings, workshops and talks we hope the International Visiting Poetry Fellow will help inspire a new generation of readers and poets. ”

Glenn Patterson, Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, commented:

“We are delighted - and privileged - to be hosting six of Ireland’s most distinguished poets as they select the 2019 International Poetry Fellow, as part of the Seamus Heaney Legacy Project.

“This Fellowship represents the commitment of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s to the encouragement and celebration of poetry and creative writing. It is also a precious opportunity for students, writers, and poetry devotees in Ireland to work with poets of international reputation from across the world.

“We are particularly grateful to The Atlantic Philanthropies for supporting the Fellowship and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize.”

The appointment of the 2019 fellow will be announced by the end of this year.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Stephen Sexton picks up 2018 Authors’ Award

Thursday 19th July 2018 at 8pm 0 Comments Literature

Northern Ireland poet Stephen Sexton has picked up a top literary honour at this year’s prestigious 2018 Authors’ Awards. Image: Northern Ireland poet Stephen Sexton has picked up a top literary honour at this year’s prestigious 2018 Authors’ Awards.

Northern Ireland poet Stephen Sexton has picked up a top literary honour at this year’s prestigious 2018 Authors’ Awards.

Writers and poets from across the globe came together tonight (Thursday 19th July) as the 2018 Authors’ Awards were announced by the Society of Authors at a ceremony at RIBA. Hosted by Stephen Fry with an introduction by the President of the SoA, Philip Pullman, eight awards were presented to 31 writers with a host of debut names joining recognised writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to share a prize fund of £98,000.

Uniquely judged by writers for writers, this year’s winners join an illustrious line of previous award winners including Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, Helen Dunmore, Hari Kunzru, Carol Ann Duffy and Mark Haddon.

Stephen Sexton was one of seven poets presented with the Eric Gregory Award, for his collection The Animals, Moon.  Worth £4050 each, the prizes are awarded for a collection of poems by a poet under 30.

Stephen Sexton’s poems have appeared in Granta, Poetry London, and Best British Poetry 2015. His pamphlet, Oils, published by The Emma Press, was the Poetry Book Society’s Winter Pamphlet Choice. He was the winner of the 2016 National Poetry Competition and the recipient of an ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He lives in Belfast where he teaches at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, where he completed a PhD in 2017.

Congratulating him on his award, Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The exceptional quality of Stephen Sexton’s poetry has been recognised for some time in Belfast and Ireland and it is no surprise that it has been repeatedly acknowledged with awards and prizes. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is pleased to have been associated with a gift of this calibre and adds its congratulations to Stephen as his work finds new readers and new advocates at the highest level.”

Inua Ellams, Judge for the Eric Gregory Awards says:

"The poems in Stephen Sexton's 'The animals, moon' would turn line after line, burrowing into themselves. Surprising and funny, they show Stephen Sexton's ability to construct resonant myth and narrative out of the everyday nothing."

Speaking about the Authors’ Awards Joanne Harris, Judge, SoA Council and Management Committee Member, said: “The Authors’ Awards are among the most exciting and important literary awards around, and I'm honoured to be a part of them. Awarded to authors by authors, they're not designed to showcase celebrities or promote high-profile sponsors; just to honour writers and to bring their talent to the public's attention.”

David Donachie, Chair of the Society of Authors Management Committee says of the Awards, 

“These awards are unique for being uncommercial, funded to the tune of nearly £100,000 by bequests from writers working in every form, judged by their present-day heirs and awarded to the best in each category. They celebrate, as well as promote, writers and writing and nothing else.”

The judges for each award, including Joanne Harris, Samantha Shannon, Frances Fyfield, Abir Mukherjee, Irenosen Okojie, Sameer Rahim, Jen Campbell, Pascale Petit and Paul Bailey, were united in their praise for the ‘compelling, challenging, original and emotionally charged’ writing with every facet of human experience, both worldly and other-worldly, home-grown and international, explored.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Musicians and Music Promoters invited to apply to attend WOMEX World Music Expo

Wednesday 18th July 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Musicians and Music Promoters invited to apply to attend WOMEX World Music Expo Image: Musicians and Music Promoters invited to apply to attend WOMEX World Music Expo

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Culture Ireland are offering delegate bursaries to WOMEX World Music Expo taking place in Las Palmas, The Canary Islands from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th October 2018.

WOMEX is one of the most important international professional market for world music of every kind including folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music. The four-day event attracts in excess of 2,000 delegates from over 90 countries, including hundreds of concert and festival bookers, labels, publishers, distributors, managers and the world's media. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has led a delegation of musicians, agents and promoters to WOMEX since 2010 and supported selected bands to perform at this key showcase event.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is offering a limited number of delegate bursaries aimed at artists and promoters who have a track record of touring internationally, have excellent promotional material available and who would benefit from attending the event to promote their work at this unique music industry marketplace as part of the Irish delegation.

Ciaran scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“Womex is an outstanding, unique platform for talented musicians and promoters to network with key influencers and showcase the high-quality music scene of Northern Ireland internationally. The Arts Council is delighted to now welcome applications.”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s presence at WOMEX is as a partner in Horizons, an initiative of music export and cultural agencies from England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Selected delegates will participate in the national stand to promote their work to the international arts industry presenters and promoters attending WOMEX.

The deadline for submission of completed applications for a delegate bursary is 4pm on Thursday, 16 August 2018.

To apply please visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/SIAP

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Cast announced for Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy

Wednesday 18th July 2018 at 11am 0 Comments Drama , Northern Ireland Music

Pictured are Sam Gibson from Killinchy, Co. Down and Erin Ryder from Laghey, Co. Donegal who will play Young Tony (Paperboy) and his girlfriend Sharon. Image: Pictured are Sam Gibson from Killinchy, Co. Down and Erin Ryder from Laghey, Co. Donegal who will play Young Tony (Paperboy) and his girlfriend Sharon.

Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT) the leading music theatre company for young people, announces the cast for their brand-new musical adaptation of Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy, to be performed at Lyric Theatre Belfast 26-29 July. The cast includes 35 talented performers aged 11-19 years, including 19 aspiring performers from the Island of Ireland, 9 from Scotland and 7 from England.

Paperboy is produced and commissioned by Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT) and presented in association with Lyric Theatre Belfast and commissioned with funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Adapted from Tony Macaulay’s internationally acclaimed memoir, Paperboy tells the story of Tony, a 12-year-old boy, growing up against the gritty backdrop of 1970s Belfast. Creative duo, writer-comedian Andrew Doyle and Belfast singer-songwriter Duke Special, have captured in the making of the musical a vivid tapestry of Belfast and Tony’s world - one full of Rock Music, Doctor Who and youthful energy - recreating the vibrancy, comic timing and sense of discovery that is so enjoyed in the memoir. Directors Steven Dexter and Dean Johnson have been working closely with the cast to develop a feel for the era.

Rehearsals began on the 9th July and the production will come together in just three weeks. Young people were selected by Youth Music Theatre UK from their national auditions tour earlier this year, where over 1,000 young people auditioned across the UK and Ireland to join the company. Special auditions were held on Shankill Road to draw in young people from the local area where the book is set. Auditions were also held on the Falls Road.

Young Tony (Paperboy) and his girlfriend Sharon are to be played by Sam Gibson from Killinchy, Co. Down and Erin Ryder from Laghey, Co. Donegal.

Author of paperboy, Tony Macaulay said:

“I’m excited to see Paperboy on stage at the Lyric. I can’t wait to see and hear how Duke Special and Andrew Doyle have adapted the book into a musical. I expect I’ll feel quite emotional the first time I see the talented cast of young people performing my story on stage.”

Jon Bromwich, Executive Producer Youth Music Theatre UK, added:

“Youth Music Theatre UK has trained and nurtured over 8000 up-and-coming young performers, musicians and creatives, and produced over 80 new musical works of the highest quality. Our prestigious alumni includes Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. Sam took part in our 2007 production in Belfast. This year we are delighted to present the extraordinary new musical production of Tony Macaulay’s Paperboy, from a top-flight creative team, as part of our 15th anniversary season.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

“The Arts Council is delighted to support this production of Paperboy  at the Lyric Theatre through National Lottery funding.  It is vitally important that young people here are given opportunities to broaden their creative experiences and, to perform on the stage of the Lyric Theatre will be an experience that stays with them throughout their lives.  Youth Music Theatre UK has assembled an impressive creative team and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”

The YMT Company of 2018 is made up of 300 talented young performers and musicians. YMT offers young people the opportunity to work with exciting composers, established directors and innovative movement specialists, developing the music theatre of the future. YMT’s aim is the personal and creative development of young people through the creation and performance of music theatre. Paperboy continues Youth Music Theatre UK and Lyric Theatre Belfast’s successful partnership.

For booking details visit lyrictheatre.co.uk/event/paperboy and for details on Youth Music Theatre UK visit www.youthmusictheatreuk.org

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Millennium Court Arts Centre hosts banner exhibition celebrating the centenary of the women’s vote

Monday 16th July 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured is Jackie Barker, Director of Millennium Court Arts Centre, with some of the banners on display. Image: Pictured is Jackie Barker, Director of Millennium Court Arts Centre, with some of the banners on display.

Thousands of women took to the streets of Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London in June to take part in a mass participation living artwork.  Entitled PROCESSIONS, the large-scale arts project marked the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave the first UK women the right to vote.  Now Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, will exhibit a selection of the banners created especially for the Belfast PROCESSIONS event alongside suffragette items from the museum services dating back to the time of the suffragette movement.

14 arts and community organisations from across Northern Ireland were commissioned by Artichoke, the company behind PROCESSIONS, to create banners to be used during the vast artwork, supported by funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  These groups worked alongside professional women artists in a series of banner-making workshops which focused on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign and the power of the vote today.  The banners represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds around Northern Ireland. 

Jackie Barker, Director of Millennium Court Arts Centre, said,

“This wonderful exhibition features the work of women’s groups from across Northern Ireland who partnered with 14 arts organisations here including Millennium Court Arts Centre, Golden Thread Gallery, CCA  and R-Space among others.  The idea behind the exhibition is to enable people to come and see the incredible detail of these banners close up in one space.  We’re delighted that the banners from Northern Ireland will travel to London later this year to be showcased alongside those PROCESSIONS banners from Edinburgh, Cardiff and London, adding a terrific legacy to the project.”    

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, 

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland was proud to support PROCESSIONS 2018 and all that the project stood for.  We have a rich history of women from Northern Ireland who led the way in fighting for female emancipation, for the right to be heard and for the right to vote.  Funding allowed professional female artists from Northern Ireland to work on creating PROCESSIONS banners with fourteen community and women’s groups across Northern Ireland, making this a truly regional and unifying event. We are delighted that the Millennium Court Arts Centre is now showcasing these wonderful banners and would encourage everyone to go along to view them.”

The PROCESSIONS Banner Exhibition at Millennium Court Arts Centre is now open and will continue until 25 July.  Visit www.millenniumcourt.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Lisburn gallery launches largest international linen festival in Northern Ireland

Wednesday 11th July 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured are Professor Jane McCann, Suzanne Lyle, Arts Council Northern Ireland and Founders of R-Space Gallery and Linen Biennale, Anthea McWilliams and Robert Martin, launching the inaugural Linen Biennale. Image: Pictured are Professor Jane McCann, Suzanne Lyle, Arts Council Northern Ireland and Founders of R-Space Gallery and Linen Biennale, Anthea McWilliams and Robert Martin, launching the inaugural Linen Biennale.

The inaugural Linen Biennale & Conference will stimulate new thinking about Ireland’s oldest textile attracting visitors and conference delegates from across the globe.

Friday 6 July saw the launch of Northern Ireland’s largest and most ambitious promotion of linen with the announcement of the inaugural Linen Biennale, a three-month festival celebrating the past, present and future of this versatile cloth starting on 1st August – 31st October and culminating with a two-day international conference on 3rd and 4th October 2018 in the Island Centre Lisburn.

The brainchild of Robert Martin and Anthea McWilliams of R Space Gallery in Lisburn, the programme of over 100 events supported by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council NI and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, will see the whole of Northern Ireland come alive with an exciting array of exhibitions, workshops, tours and talks based around the 2018 themes of Recall, Rethink and Reform.  The Chairman, Alan Clarke and the board of Trustees for R-Space are delighted to support this ambitious project.

Robert Martin, R-Space Gallery explains,

“Whilst our linen heritage is already well-documented, we wanted to create a festival that would explore its rich and colourful history whist demonstrating that linen is very much alive and well in Northern Ireland.  The Linen Biennale celebrates new approaches to linen as a communicator of messages -messages about tradition, longevity, sustainability, creativity, identity, documentation, feelings, industrialisation, production, process and design."

Sheila McClelland, Committee member of HLF Northern Ireland, said:

“Linen is an integral part of our heritage in Northern Ireland and it is thanks to National Lottery players we can support fantastic projects such as the Linen Biennale.  These events are a welcome addition to the interactive initiatives that so effectively promote and celebrate the rich array of our history and the impact it has had both locally and on a worldwide stage.”     

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support the inaugural Linen Biennale which celebrates the past, present and future role of this important textile through an impeccably curated  programme featuring local and international artists.  With something to suit all tastes and interests, I would encourage everyone to get involved.” 

Colette Norwood, Arts Manager, at the British Council in Northern Ireland

“We are delighted that the International Conference will welcome speakers from around the world who represent some of the leading minds in contemporary textiles, industry and creative design.  The Linen Biennale importantly brings their work and contributions together with Northern Ireland’s foremost artists, educators, scientists and design leaders stimulating new thinking about Northern Ireland’s oldest textile – a wonderful celebration to Recall, Rethink and Reform”.

Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Leisure and Community Development Committee at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council said:

“We are delighted to be able to support such an innovative and creative initiative. “Linen production was one of the pivotal industries in the development of Northern Ireland’s economy and still plays an important role especially in the international promotion of tourism to our region. The Linen Biennale is the perfect platform through which we can celebrate one of the great successes of both our history and our future.”  

The Linen Biennale Conference in October will play host to 200 international delegates from a diverse range of interests and specialisms including textiles, art, design, fashion, academia, technology.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Poet, Colin Dardis, unveils new poem to mark NHS 70th Anniversary celebrations in Northern Ireland

Thursday 5th July 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

The Northern Ireland Clown Doctors bring smiles, laughter & fun to children & young people undergoing medical treatment in hospitals & other health care settings as part of Arts Care’s programme, supported by the Arts Council's National Lottery funding. Image: The Northern Ireland Clown Doctors bring smiles, laughter & fun to children & young people undergoing medical treatment in hospitals & other health care settings as part of Arts Care’s programme, supported by the Arts Council's National Lottery funding.

The Northern Ireland Confederation of Health and Social Services is hosting a reception in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings to mark the 70th anniversary of the Health Service today, Thursday 5th July.

Northern Ireland Poet, Colin Dardis will perform his brand new poem, “Confidence”, commissioned with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, especially for the occasion and colleagues will be welcomed to Stormont by a big “Carpet of Care” - an art work created by Arts Care working in partnership with the Pushkin Trust, involving over 300 clients and volunteers from Strabane.

To formally mark the occasion, representatives from across the political spectrum, patients, clients, staff and charities have been invited to join together at Stormont to celebrate.  As part of the celebrations guests will hear stories from across the generations about how the Health Service has touched their lives. There will be dancing from Orbit Dance Company, a group of service users and healthcare staff from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, singing from a children’s choir from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, and everyone will help eat a big “NHS” letters cake. 

Heather Moorhead, Director of the Confederation of Health and Social Care, hosting today’s event explains,

“Today we are delighted to join colleagues all over the UK in celebrating the Health Service and all it has done for us over the last 70 years.  It is the jewel in our crown – it supports people at their time of greatest need and touches everyone at some time in their lives. We have so much to be thankful for.”

“We would like to pay tribute to staff and partners for their commitment to Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. As we know, there are many challenges ahead of us looking to the next 70 years. But there is no doubt that while the challenges are significant, so is our capacity to find solutions and new ways of working as we reform and transform our services for generations to come. Today, reflecting on our past inspires confidence and commitment for the future”  

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

"Of course the arts have their place in the well-being of our society, bringing grace to physical movement, easing the mind, helping to free the spirit through private expression and group engagement. It is fitting that NICHSS has reached out for words to convey the importance of the great initiative the NHS was and remains. Poet Colin Dardis has risen to the challenge and the subject memorably, capturing both the big benefits of the NHS and the often small overlooked contributions and sacrifices which make them possible. The Arts Council is delighted to be associated with the celebration and this new artwork in its honour.”

At the reception Sharon Gallagher, Deputy Secretary for Transformation at the Department of Health, will present seven people from Northern Ireland with certificates. These staff were nominated by their peers in a UK wide campaign, ‘Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars’ and were successful in being included in the overall list of 70 out of 236 nominations.

Sharon said:  “Today’s event reinforces the importance of our people in delivering real change. Seventy years ago, the NHS brought together people like those here today, for the first time, as one giant UK-wide organisation. That was a huge forward-thinking, innovative and collaborative step. Seventy years on, we have re-committed to that founding principle of integration, and I have no doubt that it will help us to create a new system which delivers first class services which will be sustainable for another 70 years and beyond.

“The serious challenges and problems we face are well documented. But we have grasped a great opportunity - through our work on transformation - to make things better and to set an example for others to follow.”

This celebration is one of hundreds right across the UK.  Across Northern Ireland, each Health and Social Care organisation will be hosting their own celebration and 1000s of people will be drinking tea and eating cake.  Many partner organisations will also be showing their support– some even lighting up their buildings in NHS blue when it gets dark later this evening.

“Confidence”
by Colin Dardis


1948: the idea that good health
should be free to all, regardless of wealth;
a vision of comprehensive purpose,
our own unified medical service,
and at its heart, a radical statement:
we will meet the needs of every patient.
2018: when I say N-H-S,
what do these three simple letters suggest?
Nations uniting to heal the nation,
multicultural conglomerations
worth celebrating, worth recognising
just what those letters are symbolising,
from the system esteemed as the world’s best
to the person who answers your SOS.

It’s the locum making calls door to door,
every blue siren you’ve pulled over for,
the donor cards checked in times of distress
when we rise up to think of someone else,
the giving of time, a match located,
blood transfusions, pints donated.
It’s the elderly couple holding hands
in the waiting room, after having scans,
the young couple testing out baby names
in between the scans and the labour pains.
It’s the vigils you make at each bedside
and the staff that take it all in their stride,
the bedrock we turn to in our illness,
that extra pillow while we convalesce.

It’s the bad news broken, thoughts and prayers,
the comfort in knowing that someone cares,
cures written down on a prescription sheet:
take two in the morning; at night, repeat.
It’s the cooks, cleaners, admin staff, porters,
it’s future proofing, from sons and daughters
at break time playing doctors and nurses
to growing up, signing up to courses,
the power to train the next generation
of carers and healers to aid the nation
It’s real life, where the Hippocratic oath
means seven more secured decades of growth.
Larger than us all, yet we all possess
this jewel in our crown, it’s the N-H-S.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council awards almost £1million of National Lottery funding to local projects

Thursday 5th July 2018 at 8am 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts , Comedy , Community Arts , Craft , Dance , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts , Youth Arts

Artists from Beyond Skin's, Orchestre des Réfugiés et Amis. The company has been awarded £ 21, 500 under the latest round of Lottery Project funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Artists from Beyond Skin's, Orchestre des Réfugiés et Amis. The company has been awarded £ 21, 500 under the latest round of Lottery Project funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Thirty-nine (39) arts organisations across Northern Ireland are set to benefit from almost £1million of Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding, to bring a series of high-quality arts projects to people across the region.

The funding will be used by groups to support the development and creation of events, exhibitions, performances and workshops across all areas of the arts, including community arts, literature, visual arts, music and theatre.

The announcement represents a decline in project funding this year of over £500,000, a result of increasing pressures on National Lottery funding and decreased public investment in the arts over the last six years of almost 40% in real terms.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, explained, 

“Today we are announcing an investment of almost £1million of National Lottery funding for arts projects across Northern Ireland. Over the next year, these projects will deliver a diverse programme of high-quality activities and events to communities across Northern Ireland.

“However, I must set out our concerns regarding the reduction in public funding available to our arts organisations and the loss of creative programming to the people and audiences this supports across Northern Ireland. Regrettably, the amount of annual National Lottery Project Funding available has also decreased, by 33%, and consequently demand exceeded the available resources – we were simply unable to fund work we would otherwise have supported”.

Commenting on the impact of reduced funding, she said, “To add perspective, today’s announcement is the second round of cuts to arts organisations this year. In combination, the cuts to both exchequer and National Lottery funding resources are producing a significant and negative impact on arts organisations in Northern Ireland.

“Like our colleagues in other parts of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, I want to encourage all our politicians to look urgently at a new strategy for Arts and Culture here. One that seeks to reinvest in the arts in order to deliver more benefits for the economy, for society and for personal wellbeing - benefits that the arts are recognised for and which other nations readily value.”

Over the last 25 years, National Lottery funding has contributed vastly to the socio-economic and cultural growth of Northern Ireland.  It is a vital source of funding that allows the Arts Council to support organisations that are bringing quality arts events and programming to all. National Lottery funding helps make extraordinary things happen and touches the lives of many individuals, families and communities; capturing the imagination of Northern Ireland through great arts activities.

This year the Arts Council received 69 applications requesting over £2.5M, all of them worthy of support; unfortunately not all applicants could be funded.  Among the 39 successful applicants offered National Lottery Project Funding were:

  • Obon on the Foyle Festival Group has been awarded £25,000 to support workshops in taiko drumming, manga art and Japanese dance in Derry, Claudy, Whitehead and Carrickfergus. The funding will also support festival running costs, including the travel of international artists.
  • Quotidian are the only new entry this year to the Arts Council’s National Lottery project funding. It has been awarded £12,610 to bring a series of literature projects into public spaces. This includes four new curations in 2018/19 for the Poetry Jukebox and support for the Label Lit micro-poetry project.
  • Brassneck Theatre has been awarded £20,000 to support a new production entitled 'Alternative Ulster'. Written by Brenda Murphy this creative twist on the 'hands across the barricades' love-story will chart the last fifty years of civil unrest, against the unifying backdrop of the Northern Irish music scene.

You can view the list of successful 2018 National Lottery Project Funding #NationalLottery applicants here

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Oh, Vienna

Monday 2nd July 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Flautist, Kris Swain, from Enniskillen and Trumpeter, John Kerr, from Omagh, tune up ahead of their performance at the 2017 Clandeboye Festival’s, Young Musicians of the Future Concert Image: Flautist, Kris Swain, from Enniskillen and Trumpeter, John Kerr, from Omagh, tune up ahead of their performance at the 2017 Clandeboye Festival’s, Young Musicians of the Future Concert

The Clandeboye Festival in August will be a celebration of all things from the great musical city of Vienna.

Barry Douglas, Artistic Director of the Clandeboye Festival and Camerata Ireland, and one of the leading performers amongst the international artists at this, the 17th Festival, said:

“It is very exciting for us at the Clandeboye Festival to be welcoming artists from the US/Chile, Finland, France, England, Scotland and Ireland.  Extended over two weekends we will have evening concerts, afternoon concerts and lunchtime one-hour concerts. We will be concentrating on the music of composers associated with Vienna such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms, and our guest quartet, The Lir Quartet, will be playing string quartets by Mozart and Beethoven.  Each of our concerts will feature great music including works by Britten, Schubert, and Schönberg. And don’t forget the great traditional music of these islands with the group I created, Celtic Orbit, playing a new set of tunes with award winning duo Scottish musicians, Catriona McKay and Chris Stout and the wonderful local flautist Eimear McGeown”.

This year the Festival also celebrates the artistry of the young musicians who have attended the Clandeboye Academy for Young Musicians over the years with two of them, Ruth Gibson and Jessie Grimes now tutors as well as playing in a number of concerts; and Mairéad Hickey and Ed Creedon soloists at the Closing Gala concert.

“The Clandeboye Festival is also a homecoming of the all Ireland chamber orchestra, Camerata Ireland. Since the last Festival Camerata has enjoyed great success at home and abroad including our debut in India in April and earlier this month our third trip to Finland.  The orchestra also had very successful performances in France in March including our debut at the Opera Royal of the Place of Versailles. The Clandeboye Festival is a great chance for music lovers to hear an orchestra of some of the finest musicians in Ireland, many of whom came through our Academy at Clandeboye and I also recommend the concert that our young musicians attending the Academy this year will perform on the 21st August.

“We will also feature the best from young fashion designers, in a fashion by Maureen Martin, accompanied by Camerata Ireland musicians on the 23rd August.  All this creative activity in nine days in the charming surroundings of the Courtyard at the Clandeboye Estate outside Bangor, courtesy of Lady Dufferin”.

Concluding his remarks Barry said:

“Once again we are very grateful to our principal funder, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Randox Health, Ards and North Down Borough Council, the Clandeboye Estate and Courtyard, Winemark, Moonlighting and our media partner the Belfast Telegraph and all our volunteers and supporters that make a festival like this possible”.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said,

“The Arts Council is delighted to support the Clandeboye Festival through National Lottery funding.  This Festival continues to offer audiences world-class, international artists alongside an impeccably curated programme of classical music.  It also showcases our most exceptional young musicians, providing them with vital mentorship opportunities.  The Arts Council wish the team at Clandeboye Festival continued success and would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”

Tickets are on sale from the Grand Opera House box office see www.goh.co.uk/clandeboye-festival for further details or phone 028 9024 1919. Tickets also available on the night on the door.

View the full festival programme

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Ashfield Boys have something to write home about

Thursday 28th June 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Literature , Youth Arts

Pictured are Kyle Livingstone (age 12, year 8), Ethan Frazer (age 12, year 8) and Jude Rainey from Ashfield Boys. Image: Pictured are Kyle Livingstone (age 12, year 8), Ethan Frazer (age 12, year 8) and Jude Rainey from Ashfield Boys.

Inspired by the local landscape, the history of East Belfast and its strong connection with arts and literature, pupils at Ashfield Boys have been putting pen to paper as part of a new project to develop their creative writing skills.

Ashfield Boys is one of 10 post-primary schools taking part in a new £120,000 pilot programme focused on bringing more creativity into the classroom, in order to improve educational outcomes for students. Jointly funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds, Education Authority and Urban Villages Initiative, the programme is supporting projects in communities where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension.

The group of 18 boys aged 11-14, from year 8, 9 and 10, have visited a whole host of local landmarks over recent weeks to encourage them to think imaginatively about their local area, including Thompson Dock and the Pump House in the Titanic Quarter, and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.  Working with Fighting Words Belfast, which runs free creative writing workshops for 6-18 year olds, the group have been busy developing their own characters, story settings and ideas.

Jude Rainey, who works within the Learning Support Department at Ashfield Boys, commented:

“Our project is entitled ‘Write Down Your Street’ and it is inspired by the fact that right down the street from our school is the childhood home of CS Lewis. That was really the starting point for us to learn more about someone from our local area who was hugely influenced by the things around him in his local environment.

“It’s so important that our boys come out of school with a good education and English is a very important part of that. This project has been a great way to get the boys to use their imaginations to think creatively and to really get excited about writing.”

Nick Livingston, Director of Strategic Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Creative Schools Partnership programme is based on research which indicates that access to quality arts experiences in school can improve all aspects of learning. These include better engagement and attendance levels, improving results in other school subjects, increasing confidence and self-motivation, and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

“Listening to the feedback from Ashfield Boys, it’s clear that the pupils have really enjoyed this project. Working with the highly skilled team of staff and volunteers at Fighting Words Belfast they have been given a fantastic opportunity to explore their creativity while developing valuable life skills which they can take forward into many other aspects of their learning.”

The Executive Office provided £52,000 funding for this programme through the Urban Villages Initiative. Linsey Farrell, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative said:

“This innovative partnership between the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Education Authority and the Urban Villages initiative enabled 10 post primary schools to think differently and in a very practical way work more creatively in the classroom.

“I commend and congratulate the students from Ashfield Boys for taking part in the programme. I have no doubt their experiences in this will serve them well in the future.

“The Urban Villages initiative is proud to be associated with this programme and thank all the partners and everyone in the Ashfield School community for making it a resounding success.”

The project is set to conclude at the end of June when the students will each receive a printed copy of their stories to take home, as well as sharing their experiences with pupils from Holy Trinity College, Cookstown.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

New Resilience Programme launched for large arts organisations in Belfast

Monday 25th June 2018 at 11am 0 Comments Dance , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts , Craft , Film & TV , Circus & Carnival Arts

Pictured launching the initiative are David McConnell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Bill Wolsey, Managing Director, Beannchor and Councillor Donal Lyons, Belfast City Council. Image: Pictured launching the initiative are David McConnell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Bill Wolsey, Managing Director, Beannchor and Councillor Donal Lyons, Belfast City Council.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council have today, Monday 25 June, launched the Resilience Programme, an 18-month development initiative aimed at supporting large-scale Belfast arts organisations adapt and change as the city grows.

The Resilience Programme has been jointly developed by Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its National Lottery funds.  The programme will work with a number of Belfast-based arts organisations that have city-wide reach and only those organisations that are in receipt of Arts Council of Northern Ireland Annual Funding and Belfast City Council Core Multi-annual Funding (CMAF) are eligible to apply.     

Participating organisations will benefit from a customised support programme including one-to-one coaching, masterclasses and peer learning.  Arts organisations will then develop a change management plan to help them identify new opportunities for future development.   Financial assistance may also be made available to support organisations as they implement their new plans. 

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“The Resilience Programme is an important initiative supporting change for some of Belfast’s key arts organisations, arming them with the skills, knowledge and training needed to adapt and thrive in Belfast’s fast-changing social and economic environment.  The arts sector here is a major contributor to the economy, generating £281m annually, as-well as being a major employer of 44,000 people. It is vital that the Arts Council supports and strengthens the sector in partnership with Belfast City Council, not just to ensure citizens and visitors are able to access great art and be inspired in doing so, but to ensure they can participate too, benefitting from the sense of wellbeing that the arts bring to all.”

Councillor Donal Lyons, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said:

“Our long-term vision in the Belfast Agenda is for a city re-imagined and resurgent: a great place to live; a magnet for talent and business and admired around the world. Belfast is an emerging creative and cultural hub and has a growing reputation as a city which is transformed and welcoming - and much of that is due to our vibrant and varied culture and arts offering.  Our core-funded arts organisations attract audiences of just under four million people year on year. Many of these organisations have been bringing joy and creativity to Belfast for decades.  That they continue to thrive is essential to our vision for Belfast, and I’m very pleased that Council is part-funding this initiative which is aimed at helping arts organisations become more resilient to social, economic and environmental changes.” 

The Resilience Programme is delivered by Full Circle Management Solutions and is now open for applications and will close on Friday 31 August at 12 noon.  

Visit www.fullcircle.eu.com/resilience-programme for further information on how to apply.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

It’s all happening at the Eastside Arts Festival 2018!

Monday 25th June 2018 at 9am 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts , Dance , Drama , Craft , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

Getting ready for the EastSide Arts Festival were, from left, Eastside Arts Festival performers Clarke Wilson from Celtic Soul, Henrik Gard and Ali Stranger from Tumble Circus, Rachel Kennedy, EastSide Arts Festival Director and Mimi Turtle from Strand Ar Image: Getting ready for the EastSide Arts Festival were, from left, Eastside Arts Festival performers Clarke Wilson from Celtic Soul, Henrik Gard and Ali Stranger from Tumble Circus, Rachel Kennedy, EastSide Arts Festival Director and Mimi Turtle from Strand Ar

EastSide Arts Festival is back with an exciting programme for everyone to enjoy, supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  From 2-12 August, places and spaces across east Belfast will come alive with a wide range of arts activities celebrating the creative energy of the eastside. Offering new experiences and little surprises along the way, make sure you don’t miss the chance to be part of something very special!

Here’s a taster of what’s in store this year:

Parkfest - Two days (4&5 August), two parks and lots of FREE fun for families to enjoy. Take part in the first ever Parkfest at C.S. Lewis Square and Orangefield Park, featuring arts, crafts, performances, tandem bikes plus lots more!

Music and Words – Across the festival enjoy a wide range of live music, storytelling, poetry and literature from well-known Northern Ireland artists and east Belfast residents such as Anthony Toner, Jan Carson, Ken Haddock, Stuart Bailie, and Andrea Montgomery.

Theatre - Lots of exciting and interesting performances are on offer including a special rehearsed reading of Jimmy Ellis: Home Again, an autobiography by the late east Belfast actor James Ellis, of his childhood years spent in Park Avenue (2&4 August). Look out for other gems including Jade City (3-5 August) and East Belfast Boy (7 & 8 August).

Comedy - Back by popular demand is the hugely popular Murder She Got Wrote off, budding Jessica Fletchers required (10 August)!  Plus check out Ruairi Woods live at Strand Arts Centre (10 August) and Those Who Can’t comedy trio (3 August).

Events at the Big Top - A big hit last year and back for 5 days this year is the Big Top at C.S. Lewis Square. Lots of great family fun events include circus workshops, performances (8,9,11 &12 August) and the Big Fish Little Fish family rave (11 August)! Featured music includes Celtic Soul, the definitive Van Morrison tribute, playing the iconic album Astral Weeks (8th August), Hothouse Flowers (9 August) and Camille O’Sullivan (11 August). Also look out for a special screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (12 August) and a late-night Circus Cabaret celebrating 250 years of Circus (10 August).

Visual Art -  Visit a wide range of venues including Framewerk, EastSide Gallery and Old Belfast Met Tower Street were you will be treated to some extraordinary visual art experiences from a range of local artists. A key highlight is a sleepover at St Martin’s Church, Ballymacarrett, hosted by Framewerk (11 August).
Film - As well as hosting theatre and music events the iconic Strand Arts Centre will show a range of  film screenings such as G.I. Blues featuring Elvis Presley ( 2 August) and The Court Jester featuring Angela Lansbury (9  August).

Workshop & Classes – If you’ve been itching try something creative, here’s your chance! Come to one of the art-themed workshops with Maitri Studio (2-12 August) or join east Belfast based writer Jan Carson and write your own piece of magical realism fiction (6 August).

Tours & Talks - Whether it’s by bus, foot or bike there is a tour to suit all interests. From photos of days gone by to musical and literary icons to walks in glens or greenways, or a visit to well know places, you will be surprised by what you see and hear. Back by popular demand is the Translink East West Bus Trip with Stephen Beggs and Paddy McDonnell (5&12 August). New for this year is a unique and entertaining trip on the new Glider (6, 7 &9 August), a partnership with Culturlann and Feile 30, which offers you the chance to be entertained by artists and storytellers and nourished by delicious food from across the city, all from the comfort of your Glider seat.

EastSide Emerging -  As part of EastSide Arts commitment to new and upcoming talent we invite you to come along and support our young musicians and producers (3 & 9 August).

Special events –  From a special film screening of Cocoon at Knockanagoney Community Centre (8 August) to Artful Ageing Exhibition (2-12 August) featuring creations from older east Belfast residents, to performances from artists involved in the Home Project 2018 (8 August), you are guaranteed to uncover something new about the eastside.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

“Once again the team at EastSide Arts Festival has delivered an excellent programme of arts activities, bringing the arts direct to the communities of east Belfast and encouraging local artists, writers, musicians and performers to develop and promote their talent. The eclectic range of arts events this year – from story-telling to drama to dance, from song to parks to pastries – reflects a new confidence in the city’s east. As principal funder, through our Exchequer and National Lottery funds, the Arts Council is proud to be associated with a programme which so successfully provides opportunities for people to participate in high-quality arts, in what is a key element now in the creative, cultural and economic life of the city as a whole.”

EastSide Arts Festival Director, Rachel Kennedy added:

“We are delighted to be back with yet another fantastic programme for the EastSide Arts Festival 2018.  This really is an exciting time for east Belfast.   We invite everyone from across east Belfast and beyond to join us to celebrate and enjoy the creative energy flowing from this part of the city. The programme offers excitement, entertainment as well as a few little surprises along the way. We would like to thank our principal funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and funders Belfast City Council and Arts & Business Northern Ireland for their vital continuing support. Sincere thanks also to our key sponsors, Translink, Hewitt & Gilpin, The British Council, Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, Forestside Shopping Centre and Ulster Bank for their invaluable contribution to the festival and ongoing commitment to the creative regeneration of east Belfast.”

For the full festival programme visit www.eastsidearts.net and follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest18.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Lighting designer, Rachel Fitzpatrick, exhibits at the prestigious VENICE DESIGN

Thursday 21st June 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Designer and artist Rachel Fitzpatrick showcased her work at VENICE DESIGN, the largest Design Exhibition held during the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. Image: Designer and artist Rachel Fitzpatrick showcased her work at VENICE DESIGN, the largest Design Exhibition held during the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Designer and artist Rachel Fitzpatrick, from Northern Ireland, was presented by the Global Art Affairs Foundation to showcase her work at VENICE DESIGN, the largest Design Exhibition held during the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Rachel’s work was displayed at the European Cultural Centre based in one of the city’s historic palaces, Palazzo Michiel, located off the Grand Canal and in the heart of the Venice Biennale. 

She designed and created an exquisite sculptural chandelier, called “Fionn", in her signature style using industrial materials.   The sculpture was specially crafted for the exhibition using over 650metres of hook and loop fastening tape.

Rachael Fitzpatrick commented,

“I was delighted to showcase my work at VENICE DESIGN. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet with other international artists, designers, architects and the media.  Through the influential contacts I have made here, I hope to collaborate with curators on important future international projects.  This of course would not have been possible with the support and encouragement from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and British Council – thank you.”

The artist works at the interface between art and design using a variety of tactile materials to create one-off installations and limited edition pieces for corporate and private interiors and special events.  Taking much of her inspiration from the magnificent sea and landscapes of her native Ireland, Rachel Fitzpatrick’s objects have a fluid, often amorphous visual quality redefining their purpose and shapes whether they are used as decorative lighting, wall and floor coverings, body adornment or children’s toys.

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Rachael Fitzpatrick following her invitation to showcase at VENICE DESIGN as part of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.  The Arts Council is committed to providing meaningful opportunities for the work of our artists to be showcased at home and abroad, enabling artists to develop their professional careers whilst shining a light on the incredible talent we have in the region.  Congratulations to Rachel.”

For more information visit www.rachelfitzpatrickdesign.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

New Spaces brings contemporary art to businesses in Derry City and Strabane

Tuesday 19th June 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

The four curators, Edy Fung, Rebecca Strain, Mirjami Schuppert and Alice Butler Image: The four curators, Edy Fung, Rebecca Strain, Mirjami Schuppert and Alice Butler

Sixteen contemporary art exhibitions will be brought to life across four venues in Derry and Sion Mills in July for a project entitled, New Spaces.

Visual Artists Ireland is collaborating with Derry City & Strabane District Council on New Spaces to make contemporary art more accessible in the region. Four curators were selected from a competitive open call to each produce four exhibitions inside a brewery, a café, a thatched cottage and a renovated 19th Century stables.

The project has been made possible thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery Challenge Fund.

Nick Livingston, Director of Strategic Development and Research, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“The New Spaces project is a perfect example of how the Arts Council’s National Lottery Challenge Fund, combined with investment from Derry City and Strabane District Council, can help deliver a joint strategic objective; to increase the provision of gallery space in the North West.

“Not only have new gallery spaces emerged in wonderful venues such as The Walled City Brewery, but in the process, new skills have been developed. The benefits have been felt by those emerging curators and artists employed by the programme to bring high quality, contemporary artwork to new and existing audiences. Well done to all involved.”

The region has impressive art galleries, showing exceptional artwork from around the world, but it is often hard for emerging local artists to find places to show their work. Rob Hilken of Visual Artists Ireland writes that “artists need to exhibit their work and this programme aims to create new exhibition opportunities by giving local business the skills to show great art for years to come”.

John Kerr, Arts & Culture Manager, Derry City and Strabane District Council, said:

“New Spaces provides an excellent model for local business and cultural venues to engage and be active partners in the development of the district’s well respected arts and cultural offer. The project is made possible by the commitment of Void Gallery, the Centre for Contemporary Art and Nerve Visual, who are valued partners in this project.”

The four curators, Edy Fung, Rebecca Strain, Mirjami Schuppert and Alice Butler will create exhibitions that will bring diverse new work to the region from artists across Ireland and further afield. The four venues are The Walled City Brewery in Ebrington, Derry; Gwyn's Cafe and Pavilion, Brooke Park, Derry; The Cottage in The Craft Village, Derry and Sion Stables in the heritage village of Sion Mills. The first exhibitions across all the venues will open on 14 July 2018.

New Spaces is coordinated by Visual Artists Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council with the support of Principal Funder the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, National Lottery Challenge Fund, Arts and Business Northern Ireland and our partner venues, The Walled City Brewery, Gwyn's Cafe and Pavilion, The Inner City Trust in Derry and Sion Stables in Sion Mills.

This project:

  • Engages with the private sector to create opportunities for local artists
  • Allows people to experience exciting and challenging contemporary art in new ways
  • Develops the skills of local arts professionals to create work in alternative public spaces

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Identity, culture and change explored in 31st John Hewitt International Summer School Programme

Monday 18th June 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Hilary Copeland and Tony Kennedy from the John Hewitt Society are pictured with Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Hilary Copeland and Tony Kennedy from the John Hewitt Society are pictured with Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The John Hewitt Society has launched the programme for the 31st John Hewitt International Summer School, taking place in The Market Place Theatre, Armagh from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 July.

This year’s summer school focuses on ‘Facing change: shifting borders and allegiances’ with over 35 events from more than 60 writers, artists, commentators and lecturers, examining how changing political circumstances affect how we think and behave, and how relocation, enforced or voluntary, shapes our life chances.

Artists, writers, and speakers will also consider the impact of anniversaries on our allegiances, including the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement, and the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, and what we can learn from past or different experiences.  The festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds.

The 2018 programme features gala events from poets Michael Longley and Imitaz Dharker, both recipients of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and readings from celebrated novelists such as Patrick Gale and Liz Nugent.

Musical performances include the renowned collaboration from trad supergroup from Ulaid and Duke Special, and Edges of Light with iconic dancer Colin Dunne (Riverdance) with celebrated musicians Tóla Custy, Maeve Gilchrist and David Power.

A double bill of theatre comes to Armagh, written and performed by the acclaimed Mikel Murfi, with international sell-out show The Man in the Woman’s Shoes and its sequel, I Hear You and Rejoice.

The 2018 Summer School provides opportunities for new and established writers to develop their talents, with three-day writing workshops from Nessa O’Mahony, David Wheatley, Siobhán Campbell, Mary O’Donnell, Bernie McGill, Ferdia Mac Anna and Eoin McNamee.

The Summer School will be officially opened by former Irish Fianna Fáil politician Dr. Martin Mansergh who served as Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Minister of State for the Arts from 2008 to 2011.

Tony Kennedy, chair of The John Hewitt Society, said:

“In a year that marks a number of significant anniversaries, and when debate continues on the impact of Brexit on the Irish border and relations in Ireland and throughout Europe, this year’s John Hewitt International Summer School is particularly topical.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said;

“John Hewitt’s own contribution to the cultural life of Ireland has been well-documented and his work and spirit lives on through this annual, landmark festival. Once again, we have an impressive array of exceptional artists and events to look forward to. We wish the John Hewitt Society all the very best with this year’s programme.”

More information on the Summer School programme is available at www.johnhewittsociety.org

Tickets on sale now: call The Market Place Theatre on 028 3752 1821 or book online www.marketplacearmagh.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Community Circus Lisburn recognised by Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Tuesday 12th June 2018 at 2pm 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts

Pictured are Anna Broderick, Peter Gray and Harry Kane from Community Circus Lisburn Image: Pictured are Anna Broderick, Peter Gray and Harry Kane from Community Circus Lisburn

The Arts Council offers many congratulations to the volunteers of Community Circus Lisburn, who have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of exceptional work done by volunteer groups in their communities. Equivalent to the MBE, this is the highest such award made to volunteer groups in the UK.

Community Circus Lisburn has been creating opportunities since 2002 for children and young people of all abilities, from all community and ethnic backgrounds in the Lisburn area, to participate in inclusive circus skills which contribute to their personal, social and creative development. The Arts Council is proud to have provided the principal funding support, via our National Lottery funds, for the development of this excellent arts organisation and the significant contribution that it makes to the local communities. The commitment of the volunteers has enabled Community Circus Lisburn to improve not only the physical health but also the mental wellbeing and self-confidence of hundreds of young people through the acquisition of impressive new performance skills.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

St Colm’s students get creative in the kitchen as part of pioneering arts programme

Monday 11th June 2018 at 12pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured are students Raicheal Brady, Tierna McLaughlin and Kiah Rafferty with artist Kelly Morris from Wheelworks. Image: Pictured are students Raicheal Brady, Tierna McLaughlin and Kiah Rafferty with artist Kelly Morris from Wheelworks.

St Colm’s High School in the Colin Urban Village area is one of ten schools taking part in a new pilot programme focused on bringing more creativity into the classroom, in a bid to improve educational outcomes for pupils.

Students from year 8 and 9 have been working over the last number of weeks with a professional chef and arts organisation Wheelworks to develop healthy meal plans and produce an online cookbook. 

The project is part of a £120,000 Creative Schools Partnership programme, jointly funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds, Education Authority and Urban Villages Initiative, supporting 10 post-primary schools and communities in Urban Village areas across Belfast and Derry~Londonderry, where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension.

A digital cookbook, produced by the students at St Colm’s, will be made available to the wider school community, with step by step instructions on creating healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes at home. Working alongside professional artists from Wheelworks, the students have been learning graphic design, desktop publishing, photography and filming skills to develop the online resource. All the meals included are nutritionally balanced, affordable and use simple, everyday ingredients.

Adrian Walsh, Vice Principal of St Colm’s High School, explained

“The programme has given the girls the opportunity to visit St George’s Market to research local, fresh produce with a view to creating healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that can be made from scratch at home.  In addition, the girls have been able to develop their skills in video editing and desktop publishing, but more importantly the programme links to our School Development Plan where our priorities are to raise confidence, self-esteem and promote pupil mental health and wellbeing.”

Year 9 student, Katie McNally, explained what the project has meant to her:

“I’ve really enjoyed making healthy and delicious meals with all my friends. I think this project has taught me to be prepared and to be more confident.”

Linsey Farrell, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative in the Executive Office said:

“The pupils have made the most of the opportunity to work closely with professional chefs, food experts and IT professionals. It has clearly been an experience they have both enjoyed and learned from. I congratulate the pupils from year 8 and 9 in St. Colm’s High School that participated and their teachers for their assistance and support.

“The £52,000 funding which The Executive Office provided through Urban Villages Initiative is clearly making a positive difference which will extend beyond the gates of St. Colm’s. The pupils are a credit to their school and their families and I wish them all continued success for the future.”

Nick Livingston, Director of Strategic Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

The Creative Schools Partnership programme is based on research which indicates that access to quality arts experiences in school can improve all aspects of learning. These include better engagement and attendance levels, improving results in other school subjects, increasing confidence and self-motivation, and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

“The pupils at St Colm’s are clearly really benefitting from the project. Working with professional artists they’ve been given an opportunity to explore their creativity while developing transferable life skills which they can take forward into many other aspects of their learning.”

The project is set to conclude at the end of June when the students involved will host a launch event for their parents, where they will showcase the online cookbook and present some of the meals included.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Stage Beyond brings the magical tale of Gulliver’s Travels to the Millennium Forum Derry-Londonderry

Wednesday 6th June 2018 at 11am 0 Comments Drama

Pictured (L-R) at rehearsals with Gilly Campbell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, are Stage Beyond members, Frank Nelis, Bernadette Shiels and Bryan Sutherland. Image: Pictured (L-R) at rehearsals with Gilly Campbell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, are Stage Beyond members, Frank Nelis, Bernadette Shiels and Bryan Sutherland.

Stage Beyond, a theatre company for adults with learning difficulties, based in Derry-Londonderry, will bring the magical story of Gulliver’s Travels to life this weekend, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Under the expert direction of award-winning director, Conall Morrison, the company is tackling this 300 year old story in a stylised and energetic production.

Stage Beyond is rising to yet another theatrical challenge in their upcoming production of Gulliver’s Travels.  There will be two performances of this classic Jonathan Swift tale at the Millennium Forum on Saturday 9th June including a relaxed performance at 3pm and another 7pm show. 

Using multi-media and a simple set, the company will take audiences on the epic and outrageous journey to Lilliput where Lemuel Gulliver finds himself stranded - a giant amongst a nation of tiny warriors. They even have Jonathan Swift himself, creator of this literary treasure, to narrate the story throughout.

Stage Beyond has also developed their diversity and inclusion through outreach projects with school pupils from Lisneal College and St Cecilia’s College who also will be performing in Gulliver’s Travels

Gilly Campbell, Arts Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“Stage Beyond is a remarkable theatre company and is vital, not least because it provides opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to access and participate in theatre, but also because it provides a platform for people to make friends, to learn new skills and to increase confidence and self-esteem.  It’s amazing that Stage Beyond members have been working with one of the country’s leading theatre directors, Conall Morrison and I look forward to seeing the energy, commitment and creativity that the members will bring to the Millennium Forum stage this weekend in Gulliver’s Travels.”  

Performances take place at the Millennium Forum, Derry-Londonderry this Saturday 9th June at 3pm (relaxed performance) and 7pm.  Tickets are priced £8 and £10, visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

World-class musicians gather for the second Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music

Tuesday 5th June 2018 at 4pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured at the launch are Alex Walsh, Glengormley School of Traditional Music, Chloe McGregor, Music Services for Pipes and Drums, Maria McAlister, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Ronan Poots, Glengormley School of Traditional Music. Image: Pictured at the launch are Alex Walsh, Glengormley School of Traditional Music, Chloe McGregor, Music Services for Pipes and Drums, Maria McAlister, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Ronan Poots, Glengormley School of Traditional Music.

Following hot on the heels of the stupendous TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards in Belfast earlier this year, the city is set to come alive again to the sounds of traditional music, when the second Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music returns from 30 July until 3 August.   The School is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland and brings together both the Ulster-Scots and Irish musical traditions in a shared celebration of both heritages.

A host of renowned traditional musicians, including four former winners of the prestigious Gradam Ceoil awards - Harry Bradley, Edel Fox, Mary Bergin and Dermot Byrne of Altan, will descend upon the city in a series of concerts, masterclasses, workshops, talks and sessions, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Ulster University.

For five days, hundreds of budding traditional musicians, of all ages, will get the chance to learn from traditional music royalty at the Ulster University, York Street, in a series of masterclasses across 18 instruments.  In addition the School will bring jigs and reels to all four corners of Belfast with concerts, demos and talks taking place at EastSide Arts Centre, East Belfast, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, West Belfast, The Duncairn Centre, North Belfast and An Droichead in South Belfast- with the heart of the School located in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. 

Co- founder and Musical Director of the Summer School, renowned traditional musician and producer, Dónal O’Connor, said,

"Every year, hundreds of traditional musicians from the North travel West to attend traditional music summer schools such as, The Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, or The South Sligo Summer School in Tubbercurry, County Sligo. Demand is always high and these summer schools attract thousands of participants and audiences from across the country and internationally. But at present, no similar summer schools exist in the North and our aim is to create the unique experience of these summer schools right here in the heart of Belfast.  Not only has it been proven that musical ability soars following attendance at a summer school, but life-long friendships are made and old friendships renewed, while unforgettable experiences are had by all who attend."

The Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music is also breaking new ground with the Ulster-Scots community. Pipers, drummers and fifers will have a chance to learn and perform without having to travel to the Republic of Ireland, Scotland of further for access to world-class tutors.

Co-Founder, Ray Morgan, added,

"Pipe Band musicians have never been involved directly in traditional Irish music summer schools and to this end the involvement of Highland bagpipers, fife players and snare drummers in a trailblazing new initiative that will provide fun as well as meaningful interaction between cultural traditions. One of our aims is to encourage and build tolerance, trust, respect and understanding among all cultural communities while having a whale of a time!"

Maria McAlister, Arts Development Officer for Traditional Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland  is delighted to once again support the Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music through National Lottery funding.  The School shines a light on and celebrates the shared, rich musical traditions we are fortunate to have in Northern Ireland.  The line-up of masterclass tutors and programme of events is truly world-class and appeals to all ages and abilities.  I would encourage everyone to get involved.”

As well as masterclasses, there are plenty of other ways to get involved including lectures, talks, workshops, performances, demonstrations, recitals, sessions and showcase concerts.  The Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music is open to everyone, visit www.belfasttraditionalmusic.com for full details and to register for classes.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment
Continue