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

Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, patron of the arts, 1941-2020

Tuesday 27th October 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council has learned with sadness of the death of the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, who has died at the age of 79.

Lady Dufferin, Lindy Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, was an accomplished artist in her own right, painting as Lindy Guinness. She was taught by Bloomsbury group member, Duncan Grant, studied under the great Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka, attended Slade School of Art and Chelsea School of Art, exhibited in London, Dublin and Belfast, and kept company with some of the foremost artists of her time, including David Hockney and Lucien Freud, when she and her husband were at the heart of the London art scene.  It is, however, as a committed patron of the arts that she will, perhaps, be best remembered by the arts community in Northern Ireland. The Ava Gallery, which she opened at Clandeboye, the family estate in Bangor, Co. Down, regularly hosts exhibitions drawn from the most important collections of Irish Art, from the 18th century to the present day; and her enthusiastic support for the annual Clandeboye Festival provided the opportunity for internationally-renowned pianist Barry Douglas and the Camerata Ireland chamber orchestra to showcase and teach young local music talent in the company of the world’s finest musicians. Memorials are to be held at a later date at both Clandeboye and in London.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

242 artists set to benefit from National Lottery support to develop new work

Friday 23rd October 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Dance , Drama , Visual Arts , Community Arts

Pictured is visual artist Kathryn Graham who has been awarded funding from the scheme Image: Pictured is visual artist Kathryn Graham who has been awarded funding from the scheme

The Arts Council has announced details of 242 artists to receive funding through its Support for Individual Artists Programme (SIAP). The funding package worth almost £475,000 has been made possible thanks to the National Lottery and will provide vital support to artists working across all disciplines including visual arts, literature, music and community arts.

Artists awarded grants through the SIAP programme will receive General Arts Awards worth between £1,000-£2,500 each. This funding will be used to help purchase new equipment and to develop of new projects, as well as travel grants and residencies.

Today’s funding announcement will be welcome news to artists who have faced unprecedented hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and is in addition to awards of £3.8m announced earlier this week under the Emergency Resilience Programme for individuals working across the creative sector (This funding was made available by the Department for Communities, click here for full details).

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

“The Support for Individual Artists Programme Is designed to help artists develop their practice and embark on new creative projects. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on an already fragile arts sector here but we hope interventions like this will help to bolster the sector, enabling individual artists to develop new ideas, to adapt their practice and find new and engaging ways to present their art.

“Thanks to National Lottery players 30 million pounds is raised for good causes every week. That means that today we are able to give 242 artists that vital lifeline they need to keep working, to stay creative and continue on with their careers.”

Among those to benefit from the programme are:

Rachel Lawell, Visual Artist
First award from the Arts Council

Rachel Lawell is an emerging painter and Artist Board Member of QSS, where she recently curated and participated in 'Four Female Painters' to celebrate International Woman’s Day 2020.  Since 2016, she has been working as an art facilitator part time, teaching art to adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues and has recently began running workshops with Queens Street Studios as part of her voluntary contribution to the studio. This funding will support the artist’s personal development and help with the purchase of high quality equipment and materials that will support the production of a new body of 10-20 works for two scheduled exhibitions in June and August of 2021.

Gillian Pencavel, Musical Theatre
First award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Gillian Pencavel is a specialist in musical theatre and libretto writing. This funding from the Arts Council will allow her to work on a new musical song cycle for a theatre production based on the story of the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. From being lost and only found thirty years later, to the exceptional prices they achieved at auction and their mysterious theft from the Judy Garland museum, Gillian’s project will explore the extraordinary story of the famous shoes through music.

Travis Gilbert, Singer Songwriter
First award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Travis Gilbert is a singer songwriter from Belfast, best known under the moniker Travis is a Tourist and Travi the Native. Travis released new music in March 2020 and his two singles ‘Heavy Love’ and ‘Still Hurting’ have continued to receive national radio support across Cool FM, RTE and BBC Radio Ulster. He has also received positive reviews from The Irish Times, RTE, Chordblossom, The Unsigned Guide, Nialler9, Golden Plec and The Irish Jam. In addition his music has been streamed over 400k times on Spotify. Travis proposes to use this funding to produce a debut EP. He will also work with a videographer to create a documentary and music video to capture the highs and lows of self-releasing music.

Kathryn Graham, Visual Artist
Kathryn Graham is a visual artist who has exhibited locally at the Royal Ulster Academy, as well as in London, Sweden and Hong Kong. In 2019 she was awarded an Arts Council residency in India and spent four weeks in January at Ramgarh Shekhawati. As a result of this funding she will create a new body of mixed media work influenced by her childhood in Northern Ireland and time spent in India.

Hannah Anderson, Aerial Acrobatics/Dance
Hannah Anderson is an aerial acrobatics/dance artist. She has trained and performed locally and internationally in Canada, Mexico and Spain and in 2018 was awarded the Arts Council’s Mike Moloney Award. Her SIAP award will enable her to buy specialist rigging, crash mat, and equipment, to support her to progress her career as an internationally recognized professional aerialist.

Viviana Fiorentino, Writer and Poet
Viviana Fiorentino is an Italian writer and poet now living in Belfast. Her proposed project will see her present poems on the theme of prisons of life and how we can overcome them. As part of her project she will research poets who have written in Irish and English on similar themes and hopes to later present her new poems at readings and festivals. The funding she has been awarded from the Arts Council will buy her time to work on this project and to develop collaborations with artists from other backgrounds and languages.

Please Note Total funding awarded to 242 artists is £473,810. Any offers not accepted will be recorded and the final list of accepted offers amended and shared online on www.artscouncil-ni.org.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Martin Lynch and Margo Harkin elected to Aosdána

Wednesday 21st October 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments

Aosdána Image: Aosdána

Northern Ireland playwright Martin Lynch and visual artist Margo Harkin have been elected to Aosdána, the esteemed Irish association of artists.

Twelve new appointments were announced in total, including the two from Northern Ireland. Also successfully nominated were Kevin Barry (Literature); Gerard Byrne (Visual Art); Pat Collins (Visual Art); Jim Doherty (Music); Gina Moxley (Literature); Valerie Mulvin (Architecture); Mairead O’hEocha (Visual Art); Arthur Riordan (Literature); Liz Roche (Choreography); Jennifer Walshe (Music). The new appointments bring current membership up to 249 members.

Margo Harkin (Visual Art) Margo Harkin is a filmmaker based In Derry. After graduating in Fine Art she first worked as a teacher and art tutor for a number of years until her career changed direction in 1980 with the founding of Field Day Theatre Company in Derry during a highly volatile period in Northern Ireland’s politics. Its founding board members were Brian Friel, Stephen Rea, Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, Tom Paulin and David Hammond. Their intention was to create a space, a ‘fifth province,’ that transcended the crippling oppositions of Irish politics. This had an influence on Margo Harkin’s future direction as an artist and most particularly as a filmmaker. Award winning films include Mother Ireland; Hush-a-bye-Baby; 12 days in July and The Hungerstrike. Over 12 years from 1998 she made Bloody Sunday – A Derry Diary which was nominated for the Prix Europa and screened on ZDF, Arte and RTE. Waveriders (2008) won the Audience Award at Dublin International Film Festival and the Irish Film and Televison George Morrison award for Best Irish Feature Documentary. In 2019 Margo was the first recipient of the Belfast Film Festival Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Documentary.

Martin Lynch (Literature) Martin Lynch was born and brought up in the docks area of Belfast. His career spans over 30 years, from resident playwright at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 1980 to 1988 to the present day with Lynch continuing as an active playwright. Works include celebrated landmark productions such as Dockers (1981); The Interrogation of Ambrose Fogarty (1982); Lay Up Your Ends (1983-1985) (co-written with Marie Jones & Charabanc Theatre Company) amongst many others, including most recently 1932 – The People Of Gallagher Street (2017) co-written with Gary Mitchell; We’ll Walk Hand In Hand (2018); The Miami Showband Story (2019) (co-written with Marie Jones). As well as writing for the stage, Lynch has written several plays for BBC Radio 4 and a screenplay A Prayer ForThe Dying for Sam Goldwyn Films. Lynch is recognised as a pioneer of theatre in the community and has written many plays in collaboration with communities, creating a unique mix of professional and community participation. He co-founded New Belfast Community Arts Initiative, is a former member of Community Arts Partnership’s Board and now a Patron of Community Arts Partnership.

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

“Congratulations to Martin and Margo. To be elected to Aosdána is among the highest honour an artist can receive, nominated by your peers in recognition for the contribution your work has made to creative life in Ireland. It is wonderful to see two more artists from Northern Ireland included this year. Both have devoted their lives to their practice and continue to be an inspiration to all those who have the pleasure of knowing them and their work.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council announces £3.8m emergency funding to support 1089 individuals in the Creative Economy

Tuesday 20th October 2020 at 5pm 0 Comments

Image:

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland on behalf of DfC and in collaboration with Future Screens NI, has announced details of 1089 individuals, working in the Creative Economy, who are set to benefit from £3,852,000 of emergency funding as part of part of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP).

More than £3m of this funding is coming from the £29m Executive allocation that was made to the Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by Covid-19.

The IERP is designed to support those working in the Creative Economy including freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers during the COVID-19 crisis.  The IERP, worth £3,752,000 from the Department for Communities and £100,000 from Future Screens NI, offered individuals the opportunity to apply for grants of £1,200, £3,000 or £5,000 each. 

IERP provides much-needed financial support and employment, a lifeline to individuals working within the wider Creative Economy, at a time when essential elements of the arts sector have been decimated due to venue and gallery closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.  The IERP builds on the initial, Artist Emergency Programme (AEP), a fund that was opened by the Arts Council in April 2020 and was heavily oversubscribed. 

IERP is one element of the wider £29m funding package recently announced by Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Department for Communities, to support the arts, creative industries and cultural sector during the current pandemic. Within weeks of opening the IERP, the Arts Council received a high number of eligible applications.  In response, an additional £2,752,000 funding was recently made available from the Department for Communities to allow the maximum number of eligible awards to be made. This brings the total amount now awarded through the scheme up to £3,852,000.

Successful awards extend across all aspects of the creative industries and arts including: a blacksmith; a milliner; a wedding stationer; a transcriptionist, stage technicians; stage managers; event and venue crew; animators; costume makers; workshop facilitators; graphic designers/creative content designers; photographers; videographers; film-makers and illustrators; musicians, visual artists, actors, circus performers, designer-makers, sound/audio/AV engineers and technicians; lighting technicians; session musicians; DJs and freelance musicians (singer songwriters/live musicians/musical entertainers). 

Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Department for Communities, commented,

“It is vital to remember that when we talk about the arts, language, culture and heritage sectors, we aren’t just talking about institutions and buildings and sites; we are talking about the people who are at the heart of all the work that goes on.  So it is vital that people are at the heart of our response to the restrictions and hardship that the pandemic has wrought.  I am delighted to have been able to ensure that the first £3 million funding from the Executive allocation will be focused on providing support for people whose creativity, effort and hard work underpin our creative economy and make such a contribution to the quality of life of all people here.”

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

“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for 1089 individuals working in the Creative Economy thanks to the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme.  Many of these awards are going to individuals who have never received Arts Council support before and we thank the Minister for making extra funding available to enable so many applicants to receive much-needed financial support at this time.  The scale of the crisis within our fragile arts sector is unlike anything we’ve known before.  The arts are something which we all enjoy, be it through film, concerts, exhibitions or books but the behind the scenes, the work and skills which go into making those things happen are too often unseen and undervalued.”

“IERP is designed to support those artists and freelance creatives who were left struggling with serious financial hardships since their livelihoods disappeared practically overnight as a result of the pandemic. Demand on our previous Artists Emergency Programme for creative workers outstripped capacity by 3:1.  The Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme provides critically-needed support and will help to bridge the gap over the coming months until the Executive has an opportunity to consider and agree a more comprehensive, long-term government support package for arts, culture and heritage in Northern Ireland.”

Professor Paul Moore, Director Future Screens NI said,

“Future Screens NI welcomes the release of £3,852,000 to 1089 eligible applicants within the arts and the creative industries.  We commend the Minister for Communities for the additional allocation ensuring that the maximum number of awards could be made at this time.  The awards will provide freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers with a much-needed lifeline during these difficult times while investing in the future of the arts and creative industries in the region.  We are delighted to work in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities to provide this much-needed stimulus to the Creative Industries.”

“Moving forward, Future Screens NI welcome the opportunity to continue to work in collaboration with both the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities to target resources for the sector.  Since the outset of the crisis Future Screens has provided much-needed resources and support to the creative Industries to address some of the most severe implications of Covid-19.  We will continue to do so throughout the ongoing crisis.”

Individuals offered funding include:

Nandi Jola, performer, writer, singer, actor
Nandi Jola, who is originally from South Africa, has been active in the NI arts community as a writer, artist and facilitator for more than ten years where she has been engaged in cultural awareness workshops, poetry, memoir and drama.  She has been involved with the Irish Writers Centre XBorders project; Women Aloud and Terra Nova Productions, an arts organisation that creates intercultural productions with professional artists from around the world. 
Nandi’s work has been showcased at the Duncairn arts centre in North Belfast and also in Armagh alongside leading writer and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay MBE, the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics.  Her work reflects both her origins as an African artist and as someone bedded into the culture in Northern Ireland. Her work has also been showcased on the Poetry Jukebox, an on-street sound installation that celebrates poetry.   Nandi Jola project managed the ‘Home neither here nor there’ exhibition at Stormont to mark Africa Week, in May 2013, and is one of the leading artistic presences in the African community here in Northern Ireland, taking a prominent role as an arts voice and presence in the on-going Black Lives Matter campaign.  Nandi has a one-person show of monologues and dance opening at the International Literature Festival in Dublin on Thursday 22 October, directed by Jo Egan of Macha Productions. 

Rebecca Cooney, sign-language interpreter, writer and director
First award from the Arts Council

Rebecca Cooney is a freelance creative who holds a degree in D/deafness and Sign Language, and uses this training and expertise to create more inclusive work for theatre, with GCSE and A-Level students, and also with the public.  Rebecca has written, directed and produced work for D’Sign Arts, an organisation which aims to give the Deaf community in Northern Ireland access to arts, performance and media training.  With the support of her IERP award, Rebecca will explore the potential to create a new form of performance by using BSL in choreography and has set up a new company, New City Productions, which will create truly inclusive and accessible performances for all. 

Daniel Millar, recording engineer, producer, musician and music teacher
First award from the Arts Council

Daniel Millar has been working in the creative sector for the past nine years in a number of different roles whilst also studying music production to degree level.  The artist has been teaching guitar and music lessons to students through the Nerve Centre in Derry-Londonderry and to young people through various community outreach programmes. As a recording engineer and producer, he collaborates with artists to produce their own original material or to create promotional material for cover artists and entertainers.  As a result of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the artist hasn’t been able to access studios to carry out his work.  With the support of his IERP award Daniel aims to invest in equipment to enable him to set up a professional, semi-portable studio to allow him to continue working as an artist, recording engineer and music producer.

Ryan MacFarlane, DJ, producer, music collective founder
First award from the Arts Council

Ryan MacFarlane is an electronic artist known as, Optmst, as well as a music producer, label owner, music reviewer and promoter.  His music was release on R&S Records in May 2020, receiving 6,000 combined streams across Spotify, Soundcloud and on Youtube.  Ryan has been selected for performances at key electronic industry and showcase events including, Horst Festival’s Music Lab, Belgium (Red Bull Elektropedia Festival) and Celtronic’s 20th Anniversary as part of their emerging artist showcase and also as a festival opener for the AVA Festival in Belfast.

In 2018 Ryan launched, Born Sleepy, to collaborate and give opportunities to other artists across Ireland and as a music reviewer Ryan is known for this work with Soundspace, promoting not only local but international music to an audience of over 50,000.  Ryan is a tenant of Vault Artist Studios and is current developing his latest project, Ayeland, a performance and broadcast space.  With the support of his IERP award, Ryan will develop the Ayeland space and continue his work as Optmst.

Please Note that any offers not accepted will be recorded and the final list of accepted offers amended and shared online on www.artscouncil-ni.org

The Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme is now closed, with all available funds now allocated. It remains the Arts Council’s key priority to offer as much support as possible with the resources it has to individual artists and creative practitioners at this stressful time. We continue to look for new ways of funding and supporting their work.

Details of the Arts Council’s SIAP (Support for the Individual Artist Programme) recipients are expected to be made later this week.

Visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Individual artists first to benefit from £29m funding package

Monday 19th October 2020 at 8am 0 Comments

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín pictured with Charlotte Dryden, CEO Oh Yeah Music Centre Image: Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín pictured with Charlotte Dryden, CEO Oh Yeah Music Centre

Individual artists will be the first recipients to benefit from the £29m funding approved by the Executive earlier this month to support the arts, heritage, culture and language sectors as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has given the green light for £3m of the funding to be immediately distributed to individual artists through an existing programme administered by the Arts Council.

The Department for Communities funding will allow more than 1,000 individual artists to be supported through grant funding of up to £5,000.
In addition, Minister Ní Chuilín has confirmed that a number of other funding streams, for other sectors also struggling as a result of the impact of Covid-19, will be launched before the end of the month.

The Minister said: “I wanted to get financial support on the ground at the earliest opportunity and I am therefore delighted that three weeks after the Executive announced that the Department would be receiving £29m for the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors, that 1,000 individual artists will receive vital assistance.

“Using this existing funding mechanism means that freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers within the creative economy will receive much needed financial support as health restrictions continue to severely curtail the arts sector – a sector that is a beacon in terms of the contribution it makes socially, creatively and economically to the lives of individuals, communities and wider society.”

The Minister added: “My officials are working at pace and in close collaboration with the arts, heritage, culture and language sectors to ensure the remaining £26m is made available without delay.

“I understand the difficult situation individuals and organisations across these sectors find themselves in at this extremely vulnerable time and I can assure them that final preparations are being made for these new funding streams and I expect to be able to make further announcements before the end of the month.”
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) will be issuing letters of offer this week to individuals who had applied to the Individual Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP) in August, which was heavily oversubscribed.

Roisin McDonough, ACNI Chief Executive explained:

“The Arts Council welcomes today’s news of extra funding to support individuals working in the creative sectors and thanks the Minister and her Department.  This is a year like no other and the massive volume of applications we received for financial support from individuals usually employed in the arts, culture and creative sectors spoke for itself.

“Covid-19 has severely damaged the arts and culture eco-system and left the people who normally contribute to it and nurture it, without work or the means to create new work.  As a result, the Individual Emergency Resilience Fund (IERP) was heavily oversubscribed.

“However, thanks to today’s announcement of an extra £3m of public funding for individuals, we are now able to provide IERP funding of £3,852,000 to so many applicants, reaching 1,089 people within these sectors and offer them the support to develop new skills and create new work. Offers of IERP awards will be communicated this week.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice

Friday 16th October 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Image:

This page contains the latest guidance for the arts sector on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We will update this page as the situation develops.

 

Updated: 23rd October 2020

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has given the green light for financial support to be released this week to support the creative and heritage sectors.

The Covid support funding will be distributed by Arts Council NI (ACNI), and partner bodies in the heritage and indigenous language sectors.

Full details of the £15.75m will be announced on Wednesday by the Department’s delivery partners:

  • £7.75m will be made available to arts organisations through the Stability and Renewal Programme for Organisations, administered by ACNI
  • £5.5m is being provided for a Heritage Recovery Fund
  • £2.5m will be shared among the Irish Language, Ulster Scots and Sign Language sectors

The aim is to stabilise these sectors and preserve the vibrancy and important benefits delivered by organisations and individuals working in culture, languages, arts and heritage.

Read the full news release here

 

Updated: 23rd October 2020

European Investment Bank Institute 2021 Artists Development Programme

The European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute is looking for emerging European artists and collectives to join the 2020 edition of its Artists Development Programme (ADP), a 6-8 weeks long residency programme in Luxembourg, under the mentorship of renowned Finnish photographer Jorma Puranen.

The EIB launched two calls for applications targeting visual artists (EU nationals, aged less than 35) with a thematic focus on:

The deadline for applying is 10 January 2021 at midnight (GMT+1).
For more information about the programme visit https://institute.eib.org/whatwedo/arts/artists-residencies/

 

Updated: 20th October 2020

Arts Council announces £3.8m emergency funding to support 1089 individuals in the Creative Economy

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland on behalf of DfC and in collaboration with Future Screens NI, has announced details of 1089 individuals, working in the Creative Economy, who are set to benefit from £3,852,000 of emergency funding as part of part of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP).

More than £3m of this funding is coming from the £29m Executive allocation that was made to the Department for Communities to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by Covid-19.

The IERP is designed to support those working in the Creative Economy including freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers during the COVID-19 crisis.  The IERP, worth £3,752,000 from the Department for Communities and £100,000 from Future Screens NI, offered individuals the opportunity to apply for grants of £1,200, £3,000 or £5,000 each.

Read the full news release here.

 

Updated: 19th October 2020

Individual artists first to benefit from £29m funding package

Arts Council Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough, welcomes today’s news of extra funding to support individuals working in the creative sectors and thanks the Minister for Communities and her Department.

Thanks to today’s announcement of an extra £3m of public funding for individuals, we are now able to provide IERP funding of £3,852,000 to all eligible applicants, reaching 1,089 people within these sectors and offer them the support to develop new skills and create new work. Offers of IERP awards will be communicated this week.

Read the full news release here

 

Under the new Health Protection Regulations approved by the NI Assembly which came into force on Friday 16th October, Businesses subject to immediate closure include:

‘museums and galleries’;
‘cinemas (but not cinemas at which visitors remain in a vehicle)’; and
‘indoor visitor attractions’. 

‘Dance’ has been specifically added to the list of activities which are restricted with immediate effect during the current restriction phase. The new regulations define a sporting event as: “Sporting event” means a gathering for the purpose of exercise, competitive sport, recreational sport or sport training, and “dance of any type shall be deemed to be a form of exercise or sport for the purposes of this schedule”.

The restrictions that now apply as a result of the regulations are set out below:

Restrictions on sporting events
(1) A person shall not organise, operate or participate in an indoor or outdoor sporting event.
(2) Sub-paragraph (1) shall not prohibit or prevent a person from organising, operating or participating in—
(a) an indoor sporting event if all participants are elite athletes;
(b) an indoor sporting event if the participants are one individual and one coach or trainer and there is no contact between participants who are not members of the same household;
(c) an outdoor sporting event, provided all participants are elite athletes; or
(d) an outdoor sporting event if there is no contact between participants who are not members of the same household, provided that the gathering consists of no more than 15 persons.

For more information on restrictions, visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you 

 

Updated: 12th October 2020

New Conversations 2020

UK-Canada artistic partners are invited to apply for funding of up to £3,500 GBP / $6,000 CAD to explore how they can develop new creative ideas, exchange knowledge and practice without meeting in person. The fund is open to Canada and UK-based individual artists, collectives, independent companies and organizations of theatre and dance. Cross art form collaborations are also welcomed. Deadline: 27 November 2020. http://theatre.farnhammaltings.com/portfolio/new-conversations/

 

Open Call for Commissions for Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company is planning the next edition of its annual festival of dance and movement, which will run 20th - 27th February 2021. As part of the programme, the company will award three small commissions for works that are 'adaptable' to Covid-19 circumstances and restrictions. The work should be created on the island of Ireland and creation and performance of it should not involve any international travel which might put the project at risk should restrictions apply. https://echoechodance.wordpress.com/2020/10/06/open-call-for-commissions-for-echo-echo-festival-of-dance-and-movement-february-20th-27th-2021-derry/

Application deadline: Friday 23rd October.

 

Updated: 29th September 2020

Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund
For artists and freelancers in Northern Ireland in partnership with a-n The Artists Information Company. The Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund is supported by the Freelands Foundation, as part of a landmark commitment of £3m towards emergency funds for artists and freelance creative practitioners across the UK affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Funds will be available for Northern Ireland based practitioners. Applications opened on Friday 25th September 2020.

Who can apply: Freelance creative practitioners based in Northern Ireland who work in the visual arts and are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
What: Grants of £1,500 – £2,500
Deadline for applications: Applications are accepted from 2:00pm on Friday 25th September 2020 and decisions will be made on a monthly basis. You can apply at any time. Applicants will be informed of decisions within approximately 5-6 weeks of submitting an application. We encourage applicants to make a submission early due to the limited funds available.

Enquiries: emergencyfund@a-n.co.uk
https://www.a-n.co.uk/about/freelands-foundation-emergency-fund-2/

 

Updated: 24th September 2020

Allocation of funding to arts and culture

The Arts Council welcomes news from the NI Executive that £29m has been allocated to help the arts and cultural sectors in Northern Ireland endure the Covid-19 pandemic.
There have been devastating financial consequences for all working in and around the arts because of venue closures, the restrictions of social distancing placed on audiences and staff, and the massive loss of earned income since lock-down began.

We are heartened to see that the majority of the funding announced today is aimed at helping our core arts and cultural organisations, as well as artists and creative practitioners, get through this crisis to year-end, in the hope we can press a reset button and open our venues, festivals and cultural activities safely to the public as quickly as possible.

Read full news release here

 

Updated: 21st September 2020

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Arts & Business Northern Ireland, was launched today, 21 September. The Fund will distribute a total of £840,000 between 2020 and 2022, and is designed to support artists and arts projects across the island of Ireland.  Today’s announcement brings the Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together community investment to €3million. 

The Arts Fund will support or commission artists and arts organisations to develop arts projects, enhancing the wellbeing of the participants, audiences and communities involved. All art forms are eligible and the aim is for the projects to benefit a range of audiences. The Fund will also support arts projects that have been adapted due to COVID-19, or are inspired by / respond to COVID-19.

Applicants can request funds between c. £2,500 – £8,400, and average grants will be £4,200, with maximum grants of £8,400. Arts projects with larger budgets that have secured funds elsewhere are encouraged to apply. With each grant round, the Fund aims to provide funding to an arts project in each county on the island of Ireland.

Closing date for the first round of applications is Wednesday, 4 November at 5pm. The second round will open in April 2021. Go to www.businesstoarts.ie/artsfund/bank-of-ireland for information on the application process and to complete the online application form.

 

Updated: 21st September 2020

£25 million Weston Culture Fund to open on 5th October.

The Garfield Weston Foundation is finalising details of a one-off Weston Culture Fund, to launch on 5th October. This £25 million fund will support mid- to large-scale cultural organisations in the UK to restart work, re-engage with audiences, adapt to changed circumstances and generate revenue. The fund is specifically for charitable organisations with a pre-Covid regular annual income of £500,000 or greater; smaller organisations will be able to apply for the Foundation's regular grants programme via its website as usual. Closing date for applications will be 9th November and decisions will be announced by the end of January 2021.

Further details: https://garfieldweston.org/new-weston-culture-fund-coming-soon/

 

Updated: 10th September 2020

£500,000 fund to support the safe re-opening of the arts and culture sectors

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday 10th September 2020) opened the Health and Safety Capital Programme, a new fund, worth £500,000, designed to support arts and culture organisations as they prepare to re-open after the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Health & Safety Capital Programme is open for online applications and will close at 4pm on October 1st 2020. To be eligible, organisations must demonstrate the purpose of the requested equipment or minor works to be clearly focused on the arts.   For further information on eligibility, guidance notes and to apply, please visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/health-and-safety-capital-programme

Read the full news release here

 

Updated: 3rd September 2020

Arts Council re-opens Organisations Emergency Programme for applications

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP) in a second call to arts and cultural organisations across Northern Ireland.

The fund allows those organisations which did not receive support in the first call made in June, to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each. It is hoped this support may help alleviate the significant financial pressures they are facing as result of Covid-19, while preparing to re-open safely and contribute successfully to the economy.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the wider £5.5 m Creative Support fund supported by the Minister, the Department for Communities and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; the priority is to protect the arts and wider cultural sectors from the impact of the current pandemic.

Closing date for applications is 4pm on Thursday 17th September 2020. Further information at http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/organisations-emergency-programme

 

Updated: 2nd September 2020

Covid-19 Update on the reopening of arts venues

It was disappointing but understandable to hear on August 27th that the NI Executive could not relax Coronavirus restrictions and allow our theatres and venues to reopen.

An Executive Office spokesperson said,

“The Executive has been condition-led in its relaxations of Coronavirus restrictions. It has made relaxations when it has been right to do so and also consistently stated that it will be prepared to re-introduce restrictions if it is necessary to control the spread of the virus.

“With the increased transmission rate of the virus in the community and the R number at around 1.3, the Executive agreed that no further restrictions will be lifted at this time. The indicative date of September 1 for the opening of wet pubs, private members clubs and audiences returning to theatres has not been ratified by the Executive. Officials have engaged with the different stakeholder bodies and no new indicative dates have been set.”

Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín said in response to the NI Executive’s deferral, 

“We are working in collaboration with other Executive Departments, grassroots groups, industry organisations and others to make preparations for the future. We are listening to people from across the sectors to ensure safe re-opening of venues, when the scientific advice is that we can do so.”

 

Updated: 28th August 2020

Support our Arts

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín outlines the support measures that have been put in place and future plans to help our local arts and cultural sector who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the Minister’s news release here.

 

Updated: 7th  August 2020

Dates agreed to allow the re-opening of theatres and concert halls in Northern Ireland

Following a meeting of the Executive on (Thursday 6th August 2020) it was announced that Theatres and Concert Halls can re-open from 8th August 2020.

The Department for Communities has worked closely with other administrations, including the Arts Council NI (ACNI), to put forward proposals to the Department of Health and the Executive to bring forward these dates.

The Department recognises that theatre and concert hall staff will need time to prepare for the safe return of their audiences, therefore, they will initially re-open on a restricted basis. During August staff will be able to return to work to make preparations for the return of live audiences and performers can start rehearsals.

To support the safe reopening of performance venues, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland recently published a comprehensive guidance manual, which can be downloaded at http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/In-the-Bubble-of-Our-Making-Reopening-the-Arts-in-Northern-Ireland-July-2020.pdf

Read the full news release here

 

Updated: 5th August 2020

Arts Council publishes manual for the safe reopening of performance venues

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today, Wednesday 5th August 2020, published a comprehensive guidance manual to support the safe reopening of arts performance venues, closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking its title from lines of a poem by Northern Ireland poet, Miriam Gamble, In the bubble of our making: reopening the arts in Northern Ireland, commissioned from Slua health and safety specialists, provides an extensive range of practical measures that will enable performance spaces, including theatres, arts centres, galleries, studios and arts hubs, to re-open to the public safely and in full compliance with current NI Executive and UK Government guidelines and regulations.

The guidance sets out the protocols, adjustments and equipment that will be required by venues to maintain social distancing and protect the health and wellbeing of audiences, performers, staff and participants. It covers all aspects of reopening, including risk assessments, staff training, capacity considerations and special provisions, so that audiences can be reassured that all the appropriate measures are in place and the environment they are entering is safe.

There is also a special section within the manual, ‘Creating Work’, which offers guidance for organisations, arts groups, individual practitioners and everyone engaged within the arts in taking those important steps back into working together safely to present public performances.

Read the full news release here.

Download the manual, In the bubble of our making: reopening the arts in Northern Ireland, here

 

Updated: 31July 2020

Arts Council opens £1.1m emergency funding programme for individuals working in the Creative Economy

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Future Screens NI, has opened a new funding programme designed to support those working in the Creative Economy including freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers during the COVID-19 crisis. The Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP), worth £1m from the Department for Communities and an additional £100,000 from Future Screens NI, offers individuals the opportunity to apply for grants of £1,200, £3,000 or £5,000 each.

The IERP provides much needed financial support and employment, a lifeline to individuals working within the wider Creative Economy, at a time when essential elements of the arts sector have been decimated due to venue and gallery closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.  The IERP builds on the initial, Artist Emergency Programme (AEP), a fund that was opened by the Arts Council on 27th April 2020 and was heavily oversubscribed.

Read the full news release here

Further information about the programme including guidance notes and application form is available from http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/individuals-emergency-resilience-programme Closing date for applications is 4pm, Monday 17th August 2020

 

Updated: 23 July 2020

Minister announces reopening of the Creative Support Fund

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has today announced the Creative Support Fund will reopen on 31 July with a £4m support package for the arts, creative industries and cultural sector.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, welcomed the announcement by Minister Ní Chuilín, saying:

“The announcement of the Creative Support Fund is welcome news for everyone in the arts and cultural sectors, and particularly for those many artists and freelance creatives who were left struggling with serious financial hardships since their livelihoods disappeared practically overnight as a result of the pandemic. Demand on our previous Emergency Fund for creative workers outstripped capacity by 3:1. The Arts Council emergency funding programmes for individuals and organisations that we will now be able to open, will therefore provide critically-needed support for the creative sector. The funds will help to bridge the gap over the coming months until the Executive has an opportunity to consider and agree a more comprehensive, long-term government support package for arts, culture and heritage in Northern Ireland.”

Read the Minister’s news release here

 

Updated: 9 July 2020

Arts Council’s Box Office Survey shows true impact of Covid-19 on the arts

New research released this week by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland shows the severity of the crisis facing the arts sector as box office income grinds to a halt amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A survey of box-office organisations by the Arts Council, in collaboration with thrive, has revealed that cultural organisations have on average lost 72% of their box office revenue, equating to a projected loss of £9.5 million this year.

The research brings together responses from 42 organisations, including festivals, venues and other arts organisations. Of the different groups which took part, venues will be hit hardest with expected losses of £8.3 million. In addition to losing out on ticket sales, organisations will also be impacted by the loss of £5.3 million in ancillary income, from food and drink, sponsorships, donations, merchandise and other revenue streams.

Read the full news release here

Read the full report here

 

Updated: 6 July 2020

Arts Council’s statement in response to Chancellor’s lifeline for the Arts

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland stated Monday July 6th 2020:

The Chancellor’s announcement is most welcome and we are delighted that the arts and cultural sectors in Northern Ireland are to get lifeline support;  it signals just how important the arts are to our economy, to our society and to our mental health and wellbeing.

We must view this injection of support against the context of the dire need the arts sector faces and the creative practitioners who work in it. The Minister for Communities is aware of the size of the need within the sector and the near decimation experienced by those working in it. As the primary funding and development agency for the arts, the Arts Council has estimated that the funded  sector in NI is facing an estimated initial loss of box office income of £25 million, while Arts organisations have identified an initial deficit total of £5 million this year alone. We are aware too of the needs of our partners in local authorities which run arts and cultural venues as these have also been seriously affected.

The creative sector in Northern Ireland is projected to lose 20% (6,000) of its creative jobs and see a 23% (£300 million) drop in creative industries Gross Value Added*, while the funded arts sector currently supports approximately 7,500 jobs as per the Annual Funding Survey 2018/19 published by ACNI**. There is an urgent need to save those staff who have been furloughed as well as underwrite risk for the safe reopening of our venues and theatres which will welcome reduced audiences and will need help to breakeven on box office income in that context. We must encourage audiences back to the arts, invest in outdoor events in the interim and increase the digital capacity of the sector.

We must also ensure that support reaches the creative  freelancers who are part of the arts environment and the wider creative industries and who have been badly affected by the loss of events and the closure of venues.

The initial emergency fund opened by the Minister and the Arts Council in April and  May  for artists was massively oversubscribed; applications outstripped the budget available by 3:1 and similarly the Organisations Emergency Programme has been placed under intense pressure in the face of a need that cannot be met by the funding available.

In summary, there are immediate survival needs along with a need for major reinvestment in the arts in Northern Ireland. This will enable the Arts Council to help our artists, musicians, freelancers, venues, theatres and core arts organisations deal with the immediate challenges faced by the arts sector as a result of COVID-19.

The Arts Council estimates that it could take up to a year-and-a-half for the arts sector to recalibrate itself after the crisis. This immediate injection of funding into the sector plus increased sustained investment will enable the Arts Council to introduce the stimulus measures that the sector so badly needs.

The Arts Council looks forward to discussing these priorities with the Minister and the Department for Communities.

* from Creative Industries Federation commissioned from Oxford Economics
https://www.creativeindustriesfederation.com/news/press-release-cultural-catastrophe-over-400000-creative-jobs-could-be-lost-projected-economic

** Official Statistics by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/ACNI-2018-2019-AnnualFundingSurvey-Report.pdf

 

Updated: 1 July 2020

Minister announces £4 million lifeline for the arts

Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, today (Wednesday 1st July 2020) announced a major £4 million lifeline for the arts sector as part of the Executive’s June Monitoring round.

The additional funding will provide a much needed boost for the sector including musicians, performers and cultural workers, arts venues and museums as they rebuild for the future following the devastating impact of Covid-19.

Read the Minister’s news release here

 

Updated: 29 June 2020

Culture and Heritage Destinations Venues - Department for Communities' Guidance for a Phased Return

To support the reopening of our culture and heritage venues and destinations, the Department for Communities has developed a guidance note to sit under the Working Safely in the Visitor Economy guidance being produced by the Department for the Economy.

The document offers high-level guidance for organisations in Northern Ireland that manage culture and heritage destinations and venues that are open to the public. These include museums, art galleries, libraries, archives, historic buildings, historic gardens, historic monuments, cinemas, concert halls, art centres and theatres.

 

Updated: 23 June 2020

Arts Council of Northern Ireland today opened its Support for the Individual Artist Programme and is accepting applications for General Art Awards. 

Artists of all disciplines and in all types of working practice, who have made a contribution to artistic activities in Northern for a minimum of one year within the last five years, may apply.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the exceptional circumstances this has created, applications are welcomed from artists who are currently in receipt of Arts Council’s support through its existing Support for Individual Artists Programme. Applications can be made for project assistance up to a maximum award of £3,000. Applicants are asked to give careful consideration to the feasibility, timing and presentation of their project given current Covid-19 restrictions. Deadline for applications: Friday 24th July 2020 at 4pm

http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/SIAP

 

Updated: 9 June 2020

£15.5m COVID-19 Charities Fund to help NI charities facing financial difficulties as a result of the current public health emergency, to open on Monday 15th June 2020.

The funding programme will provide financial support to charities which have lost income due to the impact of COVID-19 and are unable to cover unavoidable costs until September 30th 2020.

The programme will provide up to £75,000 for eligible organisations and will be administered on behalf of the Department for Communities by The National Lottery Community Fund.  The amount of funding required to cover immediate costs and prevent short term closure will vary for each organisation.

https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/ps155m-fund-support-charity-sector-during-covid-19-crisis-open-monday

 

Updated: 8 June 2020

UK Businesses: COVID-19 support packages & guidance
The Arts Council's auditors, ASM, have produced a summary report to help our clients navigate the COVID-19 support provided by government.  The information is for guidance purposes and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or arts organisation.  ASM can be contacted at caroline.keenan@asmbelfast.com.

The Arts Council is offering organisations free advice sessions on government support available for arts sector, with the expertise of ASM. Sessions will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays over the coming weeks. Please email s.hanna@artscouncil-ni.org now to request a 30-minute slot, starting this Wednesday.

Approaching deadlines

NI Micro-business Hardship fund
Micro businesses and social enterprises have until 6pm on Friday 12th June to make an application to this scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Businesses and organisations have until Wednesday 10th June to furlough employees for the first time.

 

Updated: 2 June 2020

Arts Council opens Organisations Emergency Programme for applications.

The Arts Council has co-designed this emergency support programme which reflects the Minister’s priorities with financial support from the Department for Communities to support the wider cultural sector. The primary objective of the programme is to support the continuance of creative work AND assist operational costs where necessary.  The programme seeks to assist small to medium scale organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances. It will also aim to assist organisations most in need due to loss of income or operational capacity up to 31 March 2021, enabling them to continue to develop and/or deliver activities. Closing date of 4pm on Friday 12 June 2020. Further information at http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/organisations-emergency-programme

 

Updated: 27 May 2020

Arts Council Chief Executive gives Covid-19 update to Communities Committee, Stormont

The Arts Council of NI (ACNI) was invited to apprise the Communities Committee of the NI Assembly today (Wednesday 27th May 2020) of the impact of Covid-19 on the Arts in NI. In both a written submission, and an opening statement  Roisín Mc Donough, Chief Executive, outlined the severe impact of Covid-19 on an arts sector that previously generated £53 million in income and employed an estimated 7,500 people - income and jobs which had been seriously damaged by the pandemic. She evidenced sectoral surveys undertaken during Covid-19 lockdown which revealed significant loss of earnings to both organisations and artists, the majority of whom are self-employed in a gig economy and most vulnerable of all.

Continue reading http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/arts-council-chief-executive-gives-covid-19-update-to-communities-committee

Updated: 26 May 2020

Creative Support Fund announced for Small to Medium sized organisations

Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, has announced a new Creative Support Fund worth £500,000 of public funding to support Small to Medium sized arts organisations in Northern Ireland during the Coronavirus crisis.

The fund will open for applications on Monday.

More information will be available on June 1st 2020 from artscouncil-ni.org/funding

Updated: 14 May 2020

Arts Council of Northern Ireland - Box-Office Survey

The sector wide survey carried out by the Arts Council in March established the immediate impacts of Covid-19 on the whole sector.  It found that a number of organisations were heavily reliant on box-office sales, an income stream which has been hit hard since the lockdown.

To demonstrate the vital role they play in the sector and the wider Northern Ireland economy, in 2018/19, core funded organisations combined to generate £12.3m through box-office income, by far the largest since source of income.

It is important we find out more about the scale and nature of box-office losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus, so we can engage with government and the philanthropic sector in an informed way.

We invite all organisations generating income through their box-office to complete this survey which is targeted at venues (run independently or via local authorities), producing and touring theatre companies, festivals, non-venue based organisation and organisations providing courses for educational activity.

The Arts Council will publish findings in an aggregated and anonymised form to avoid disclosure and respect the commercial confidentiality of participating organisations.  The survey will be open until Monday 1st June.

Updated: 12 May 2020

The Artists Emergency Fund is temporarily closed due to a high level of interest.

Thank you to everyone who submitted an application. The response to date is significant; we received over 300 applications requesting over £1.2m of funding. The Arts Council is currently moderating round 1 of eligible applications received and hopes to respond to all requests within a two to four-weeks timeframe.

The second round of AEP applications will be assessed before the end of May. The Arts Council continues to work with Minister Hargey to determine the level of need within the sector and we aim to offer as much support as possible to individual artists and creative practitioners at this stressful time.

Updated: 6 May 2020

Arts Council publishes final report on the impact of Coronavirus on NI Arts sector.

  • financial impact on NI artists is ‘severe and immediate’
  • average anticipated loss of earnings for NI artists over 3-month period (March-May) is £3,756
  • average anticipated loss of earnings for NI arts organisations over 3-month period is £36,714
  • total anticipated loss of earnings to NI arts organisations over 3-month period is £3.97 million
  • immediate and direct impact on provision of all arts services. 

Updated: 27 April 2020

Emergency Funding announced for NI Artists and Arts Organisations 

Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, today (Monday 27th April 2020) announced a new Creative Support Fund totaling £1.5 million to support the arts sector in Northern Ireland during the Coronavirus crisis. 

The Department for Communities is contributing £1 million to support arts organisations and the Arts Council is contributing £500,000 from its National Lottery Fund to support freelance artists, creative practitioners and performers. 

The Creative Support funding package comprises two strands. Both funds will be administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

  • The Artists Emergency Programme OPENS TODAY.
  • The Organisations Emergency Programme is scheduled to open for applications in May 2020.

Read the Arts Council news release here

Read the Minister's news release here.

Artists Emergency Programme

  • £500,000 Arts Council National Lottery funds to support artists and freelancers
  • Individual grants of up-to £5,000
  • This programme supports the research, design and future presentation of events, performances and other artistic projects, including resources to help artists develop their artistic practice.
  • AEP will buy artists creative time to develop their skills and practice during these difficult times, for future presentation of work.
  • This is a rolling programme, opening today until further notice, for proposals ending March 2021.

Application forms and Guidance Notes for the Artists Emergency Programme are now available from the Arts Council here.

Organisations Emergency Programme

  • £500,000 to support small- to medium-sized arts organisations with individual grants of up-to £25,000
  • £500,000 held to monitor demand across the Organisations and Artists Emergency Programmes and allocated as projects develop.
  • This is a rolling programme, co-designed by the Arts Council and DfC.
  • Programme opens: May 2020

Application forms and Guidance Notes for the Organisations Emergency Fund will be available from the Arts Council in May. Please watch Arts Council website and social media for application opening announcement.

Updated: 16 April 2020

Arts Council publishes key findings of survey on financial impact of Coronavirus on NI Arts sector. 

  • Financial impact on NI artists is ‘severe and immediate’
  • average anticipated loss of earnings for NI artists over 3-month period (March-May) is £3,756
  • average anticipated loss of earnings for NI arts organisations over 3-month period is £36,714
  • total anticipated loss of earnings to NI arts organisations over 3-month period is £3.97 million
  • immediate and direct impact on provision of all arts services. This includes arts-led community engagement work, placing at greater risk vulnerable groups in NI society, such as older people with dementia and young people with poor mental health and well-being, and potentially compromising important peace-building work.

Updated: 3 April 2020

UK Government Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

Each individual arts organisation and its board must decide how and whether to apply for the JRS furlough funding. Organisations funded by ACNI may do so; however, they must follow the government's advice. There will be variations across funded organisations with regard to the levels of ACNI funding of core staff.

Please note:

  • organisations must ensure that JRS financial support must not duplicate public grant funding (there can be no double funding)
  • organisations will be eligible for JRS so long as you do not receive public funding that is explicitly designed to cover the costs now being claimed for
  • in addition, payments received as a result of the JRS must not, when combined with your existing public funding, mean that you are receiving total public funding that exceeds your anticipated level of income for this period (the total of grants and JRSA payments should not represent more than 100% of your level of total income which you would have expected to receive during this period in a non-Covid-19 scenario).

 

Updated: 3rd April 2020

The Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland posted a video message today to the arts sector. Roisin McDonough said she wanted to let people know that she and her staff are doing their utmost to bring as much support as possible, as quickly as possible to those who need it most.

She stated she was very aware of how much individual artists and creative practitioners in particular, were hurting in these uncertain times. Her reading of initial returns from the Arts Council's recent online survey asking how artists are dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, made 'a bleak picture'.

Support for Northern Ireland's hard-pressed artists and creative practitioners is absolutely essential and the Arts Council is working on a quick response to their needs. The Artists' Emergency Programme will be a flexible and 'light touch' scheme with an emphasis on making a speedy and flexible response to the hardship many are under; the programme should open by mid-April. The Council is also planning to reprofile existing budgets which will augment the work of those same artists in the months ahead.

Flexibility and liquidity are key to the whole sector at the moment; flexibility in how funding is deployed and used this year, and the use of upfront payments and support for the sector as they manage cash flow.   

Finally, Ms McDonough reiterated the work that her staff were undertaking alongside the Department for Communities to ensure the Minister's recent announcement of £1m of aid would make a difference to the wider cultural sector in Northern Ireland as soon as possible, including those working with museums, libraries and languages.

For further information on these support measures please continue to visit the Arts Council's website where updates will be regularly posted.

 

Updated: 30 March 2020

A message from the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, welcoming £1m emergency Creative Support Fund, announced on Friday by Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA. Plus our update on COVID-19 - http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/message-from-arts-council-chief-executive

Updated: 27 March 2020

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today welcomed the announcement by the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to put in place funding of £1m to support the arts sector in Northern Ireland.

The Chief Executive of the Arts Council, Roisin McDonough said,

"The arts sector in Northern Ireland is under immense pressure at the moment. The Council has moved quickly to distribute year-end funding earlier than usual to our core arts organisations but we knew more resources were needed to support the high number of individual artists and freelancers in our sector.  After much discussion last week with the Department for Communities we submitted a bid to the Minister for extra support and we welcome her announcement today. Minister Hargey has stepped in with an initial package to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland worth £1m of much-needed support for creatives and individual artists working here. It is a bit of good news in the midst of the Corona Virus epidemic  which has caused the near decimation of many livelihoods within the arts and culture sectors in a short period of time."

https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/communities-minister-announces-support-artists-performers-and-creative-producers-across-arts-and

UK government has announced that it will pay the self-employed or a member of a partnership, who have suffered loss of income due to the conronavirus outbreak, a taxable grant of 80% of their profits, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 and with a full year of accounts. Payments through the scheme will begin in June.
Further details here
 

Updated: 26 March 2020

We have designed a short survey designed to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of coronavirus have had on artists and arts organisations in Northern Ireland.

We will work closely with colleagues in Government to share the impacts arising and make the case for additional resources to help mitigate against the short, medium and long-term effects of this situation.

Complete the survey - https://forms.gle/xB6a3f2qFMhrvmfQ8

Updated: 25 March 2020

The Arts Council has been in productive discussions with Minister For Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA about an emergency rescue funding package for local artists and arts organisations. Details to be announced in the coming days.

Updated: 23 March 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a package of support measures for businesses and employees on Friday 20th March. This package includes support for businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where HMRC will reimburse 80% of workers wage cost, up to £2,500 per month
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses to reclaim pay for sickness absence due to COVID-19

Visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses for more information on eligibility.

The Department for Communities has also published new information on Universal Credit. New claims to Universal Credit can still be made online with additional telephone support available if you need help with a new claim. Visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-and-benefits for more information.

Updated: 21 March 2020

On Friday 20th March, the UK government instructed cafes, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close. This applies to Northern Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer simultaneously announced package of support measures for businesses and employees. Full details at www.gov.uk

Updated: 19 March 2020

Under the current guidance from the UK Government on COVID-19, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has taken the following steps to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, clients and their families:

  • No on-site or off-site face-to-face meetings.
  • Our staff will be working from home from 5pm on Thursday March 19th until further notice. We advise that you contact staff by email, using the online staff list, which you can find here: http://artscouncil-ni.org/about-us/staff-list

Our aim is to provide a business as usual response in these difficult times however, it is likely that you, and Arts Council staff, will experience a delay in receiving responses to enquiries and decision-making. We ask for your patience and remind you that not all Arts Council staff will be available by phone, but we hope to have everyone accessible by email; our preferred channel of communication.

Please note if your enquiry is urgent and is about a payment, an application or an administration issue, please contact our main number 028 9262 3555 and your call will be redirected to an appropriate member of staff. If you have an urgent media enquiry outside of working hours only (9am-5pm) please contact one of the media team on (+) 44 07738543593.

Updated: 16 March 2020

UK Government Advice
The current advice from the UK Government is that it is more or less ‘business as usual’. There are no immediate bans on live events or public meetings, although gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled where there is likely to be an implication for the emergency services.

The government’s action plan for Coronavirus (published 3 March 2020) has more information about the stages we are moving through. Population distancing strategies such as school closures, encouraging more home working and reducing the number of large-scale gatherings in order to slow the spread of the disease may be introduced in the future.

The latest information and guidance on the situation in Northern Ireland is available from the Public Health Agency website.

Plan and prepare
However, the Government has raised the risk rating for Coronavirus in the UK to high, and the situation is constantly evolving. We would therefore advise everyone in these very uncertain times to prepare and to consider adjustments to your business plans to take into account the latest guidance and the level of disruption that might be caused.

You may have to cancel planned events, close down for a period of time or take action if staff become ill. This will have serious implications for artists, arts organisations and staff.

Arts Council Support
Our priority is to support people who work in the arts through the challenges they may face over the coming months as a result of Coronavirus.

Existing funding awards:

  • We will honour all grants already made in 2019/20 (including but not limited to: Annually Funded Programme, Lottery Project Funding, Small Grants, Rural Needs and Support for the Individual Artist) and will work flexibly with you should you need to reschedule events and/or tours.
  • We will aim to issue any remaining balance of payments for 2019/20 as a matter of urgency.
  • We will work flexibly with you on contracts for next year, 2020/21 (for example Annually Funded Programme and organisations in receipt of Lottery Programme funding). This may include advancing grant payment to assist with cashflow.
  • Funded arts organisations, in exchange for Arts Council support, are asked to continue as far as possible to honour agreed contracts with artists and freelancers.
  • Our Arts Officers and Assistants are currently talking to arts organisations to ascertain the impacts and cost implications for organisations.
  • We are in discussion with our parent department, the Department for Communities, and we are assessing what additional support might be offered to the arts sector.

Applications currently submitted for assessment:
Applications are currently being assessed following the usual published processes and timeframes. Successful applicants whose activities take place predominantly over the next three months (April, May, June 2020) will be contacted to ascertain how their project may be impacted. We aim to take a pragmatic and flexible approach should plans be required to change due to Coronavirus.

New funding applications:
We would ask all future applicants to ensure that any applications being proposed are not in conflict with the current government advice. For example, projects involving international travel to areas already affected are unlikely to be supported at present.

Keeping you updated
We will continue to update this web page and keep our social media channels updated as and when guidance and information changes.

 

Useful Links:
Public Health Agency guidance:
https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus

UK Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) action plan:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

Independent Arts Projects:
Covid-19 Links to Advice and support for Arts Workers

HM Treasury: Budget 2020 - Support for those affected by COVID-19:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/872618/Covid-19_Budget_fact_sheet_FINAL__1_.pdf

UK Music Advice to Businesses on Coronavirus
https://www.ukmusic.org/help-and-advice/uk-music-advice-to-businesses-on-coronavirus/

Equality Commission NI - advice for employers
https://www.equalityni.org/Home

Creative Industries Federation - summary of available government support
https://www.creativeindustriesfederation.com/news/covid-19-support-government

ACAS - advice for employers and employees
https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Arts Professional - CovidCulture - articles relating to the COVID-19 crisis and the arts
https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/covidculture

Invest NI - advice for businesses 
https://www.investni.com/xcovid19response

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Fighting Words and Libraries NI challenge primary school pupils to create ‘Fantastic Fictions’

Thursday 15th October 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments Literature

Mylie and Luke from Wheatfield Primary School Belfast pictured with Jim O’ Hagan, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, Glenn Patterson, author, patron & founder of Fighting Words NI and Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education at the Arts Council Image: Mylie and Luke from Wheatfield Primary School Belfast pictured with Jim O’ Hagan, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, Glenn Patterson, author, patron & founder of Fighting Words NI and Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education at the Arts Council

Fighting Words NI and Libraries NI are partnering for the first time this Autumn to deliver a creative writing initiative to up to 20 primary schools across Northern Ireland.

The initiative titled, ‘Fantastic Fictions – new writing inspired by books we love’ invites Primaries 5, 6 and 7 children to write short stories sparked by their favourite books, with the aim of encouraging teachers and pupils to engage with creative writing and reading. New characters, unexpected plots and surprises are anticipated!

Welcoming the initiative, Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council Northern Ireland said:

“It is important that funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is supporting new collaborations like this one between Fighting Words NI and Libraries NI.  It is all about increasing access to reading and to creative writing for our young children, a top priority for the Arts Council and Fighting Words is just the organisation to support. It’s a pleasure to know that this programme, aided by first class authors like Glenn Patterson, will reach primary pupils in up to twenty schools across the region. I am really looking forward to reading their fantastic fiction when it’s published this autumn, what a treat!”

Glenn Patterson, author, patron and founder of Fighting Words NI commented;

“I just love seeing how Fighting Words constantly evolves and innovates to forge new collaborative relationships.  Thanks to Libraries NI for the opportunity to work with them.  We’re all really looking forward to reading the stories which will no doubt be bursting with originality and imagination and every single one of them will be published on our website.  I’m so excited to see where ‘Fantastic Fictions’ takes us.”

Libraries NI Chief Executive, Jim O’ Hagan said;

“I am very pleased to be partnering with Fighting Words and local primary schools to deliver the Fantastic Fiction creative writing project over the coming months. This initiative is the perfect opportunity for young people to use their imaginations and develop their creativity and writing skills. Reading and writing for pleasure can have an important impact on children’s literacy and their creativity. I am very much looking forward to reading the short stories the children create inspired by their favourite books or literary characters.”

The online submissions portal will be open until 31st October 2020. Every young person's work will be published online and Fighting Words and Libraries NI will showcase Fantastic Fictions throughout October with a selection of the young writers' readings posted online at www.fightingwords.co.uk

This initiative is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland (Exchequer) and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland through the New Needs Fund.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Gifted teenagers receive awards to work with David Lyttle

Thursday 15th October 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured L-R: Conor Marcus (15) and Dara McNicholl (13) Image: Pictured L-R: Conor Marcus (15) and Dara McNicholl (13)

Northern Irish teenagers Conor Marcus (15) and Dara McNicholl (13) have each won one of Northern Ireland's most prestigious arts accolades, not-for-profit organisation Jazzlife Alliance's Exceptional Young Musician Award, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. They will work with MOBO and Urban Music Award nominated musician, producer and composer David Lyttle over the coming months. Both are singer-songwriters who have already reached an audience of millions in The Voice Kids, and they are committed to becoming professional performers and finding their own unique sounds.

Lyttle has worked with the elite of the arts world, collaborating in jazz with legends of today, in hip hop with some its icons and in spoken word with film great Liam Neeson. His latest album was described by Rolling Stone as 'one of the best listening experiences you're likely to have all year' and David holds the rare distinction of receiving radio play on both commercial and specialist radio, from BBC Radio 1 to Jazz FM. Pre-Covid he was performing around 200 concerts a year in fifteen countries and he has run independent record label Lyte Records on the side since 2007.

Dara McNicholl, from Draperstown, stunned the judges on this year's The Voice Kids when he sang Whitney Houston's 'I Have Nothing', later revealing he had only been singing for three years and that his parents first heard him sing at a school play. He became the first Northern Irish contestant to reach the finals last month.

“The Voice was a great opportunity for me to work with quality vocal coaches - I hadn’t really done that before. To stand on those big stages and learn to deliver to huge audiences was class. It was a great look into the TV and music industry. I am over the moon to get the chance to work with Jazzlife and explore different genres of music and to be experimental. It's great to work with David - he has such a broad background in music and I am looking forward to see what we can create!”

Last year Conor Marcus, from Ballynahinch, became the first performer on The Voice Kids to perform an original song, receiving praise from will.i.am, Pixie Lott, Jessie J and Danny Jones, who became his mentor through to the semi-finals. He has since recorded several singles which have received radio play in Ireland. He will release his new single 'Xs and Os' on Friday.

“I’m totally blown away to have received this prestigious award. I had my first session with David last week and it was awesome. I know I’m going to learn so much from working with him. Getting through lockdown, like for everyone, was tough, but one thing that really kept me going, was being asked by Hot Press to take part in the Rave On Van Morrison 75th birthday celebrations. It was great to see everyone else’s performances, including David’s version of 'On Hyndford Street' with Liam Neeson. It really opened my eyes to a whole new genre of music that I’m just not familiar with.”

Lyttle says, “My role as artistic director at Jazzlife Alliance has introduced me to some exceptional talent over the past few years. I'm proud to call Northern Ireland home and feel privileged to be part of the lives of some of our most gifted artists. I am so impressed by Conor's musical depth as a singer and songwriter, as well as his love for music and his excitement in exploring new directions. Dara sings with such maturity and soul, as if he's been doing it for years. He lives for it. The sky is the limit for these gifted young men.”

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

“Congratulations to Dara and Conor in receiving these awards in recognition of their exceptional musical gifts.  The Arts Council is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for young people to develop their musical skills.  Thanks to National Lottery players, we are delighted to support Jazzlife Alliance in providing this important opportunity for these two young musicians to be mentored by David Lyttle, one of the finest jazz and crossover musicians working in Northern Ireland.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts for All celebrate Cityside expansion with opening of new exhibition

Wednesday 14th October 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Elsewhere – An exhibition of paintings by Fiona Rainey Image: Elsewhere – An exhibition of paintings by Fiona Rainey

Arts for All celebrate opening of second retail space in Cityside Retail Park with the opening of a new exhibition.

Elsewhere will showcase work by Fiona Rainey, a Belfast artist who gained a degree in fine art in 1990 at Ulster University.  Since then she has exhibited her work at home and abroad whilst also basing herself at King Street and Fourth Floor Art Studios, Belfast.  Primarily an abstract painter, Fiona is inspired by the ever-changing and uncontrolled aspects of Donegal landscapes.  During the lockdown, she focused on the idea of occupying that other place…. Elsewhere.

Fiona commented, “The paintings on display are all new works created by me during the lockdown. The difference in the scale of the pieces is designed to challenge our perspective and viewing position concerning each piece.  I strive to create a moody, ethereal place where you get lost, off roads, no boundaries and endless time.”

Arts for All’s work is supported through the Arts Council’s National Lottery Funds. Jill McDermott, Arts Coordinator at Arts for All said they were delighted to host Fiona’s exhibition of newly created work. 

“Fiona is not only a talented professional artist but has been a valuable member of the Arts for All team, for 5 years passing on skills to local art class participants in a fun and engaging style.  Much of Fiona’s facilitation work is teaching and helping others to create and make pieces of art.  At last, we can celebrate the wonderful artworks by Fiona herself! Well done Fiona!

Jill went on to comment. “Fiona has created wonderful new paintings that provide a feast for the eyes with bold brushstrokes, murky colours on large canvases.  And if you are worried about heading out currently, we have all the Covid-19 safeguards in place with track and trace/ temperature checks at Arts for All & The Pod in Cityside.”

The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times. Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes many of whom will be supporting the most vulnerable in communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.

Elsewhere, an exhibition of paintings by Fiona Rainey opens on Thursday 15 October 2020 6-8 pm at Arts for All, Cityside Retail Park, Belfast BT15 1WA. ADMISSION FREE

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Young People in Northern Ireland & Afghanistan Join Together in Music

Tuesday 13th October 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments Community Arts , Northern Ireland Music

Image:

Music prevails! Over the past three months an unprecedented music collaboration has been happening involving young musicians from Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Despite Covid-19 and security challenges there has been no half measures to fulfill an ambitious vision to create three shared music productions. At the helm, a team of producers and logistic managers have enabled the young musicians to record and perform together resulting in three music videos accompanying visual diaries documenting the journey.

The project is part of a wider partnership that was started between the organizations Beyond Skin Northern Ireland and Afghanistan National Institute of Music when both Directors Dr Ahmad Sarmast and Darren Ferguson met at the Batuta International Seminar on Music and Social Transformation conference in Bogota, Colombia in 2016. Over the past three years there have been various Northern Ireland Afghanistan shared activities with Dr Ahmad Sarmast visiting Northern Ireland in 2017. Educational workshops exploring Afghan culture have also taken place in Northern Ireland with youth groups facilitated by partners Yallaa & Unique New Adventure Ltd. This year the Traditional Arts Partnership South Armagh have joined the consortium with young girls from their network participating in the music productions along with members from the Afghan Women’s Orchestra, also known as Zohra Ensemble.

The project has been supported by private donors with The WOMAD Foundation and Arts Council Northern Ireland & Factor Law as principal funders.

“The WOMAD Foundation is so proud to have supported this wonderful collaboration across continents that has taken place in spite of all the adversities that we face today.  To see young women playing music that reflects their separate Irish and Afghani cultural heritages and also creates a seamless uplifting whole, affirms the universality of music and human experience. It is tremendously powerful.” Mandy Adams Trustee, WOMAD Foundation.

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

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Beyond Skin with this wonderful international collaboration project, thanks to National Lottery players. We know that music and the arts bring people and communities closer together and I’d like to congratulate Darren at Beyond Skin and everyone involved and look forward to seeing the music videos created by these impressive young musicians very soon.”

The first of the videos will be released as part of the One World Festival Northern Ireland 17th October and 18th October for Share Music Day Japan managed by Min-On Music Concert Association.

Darren Ferguson CEO of Beyond Skin said

“Do not underestimate the vast achievement producing these music videos. I cannot commend the production, logistics team and all the musicians enough for navigating through many challenges during a global pandemic and when security risks for the young girls in Kabul are still very real.  I am immensely proud of this collaborative triumph.”

Director of Afghanistan National Institute of Music Dr Ahmad Sarmast commented

“This collaboration between young musicians from Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, in a time that peace talks on Afghanistan is well underway and it might lead to the return of the Taliban back to power, is significant in rising awareness about the future of music in Afghanistan,  given the past draconian policies of the Taliban against music . Taliban did not only violated the musical rights of the Afghan people, but banned music entirely and the people of Afghanistan were not allowed to listen, learn or play music”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

World Mental Health Awareness Day, 10th October 2020

Friday 9th October 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

Pictured are: Danielle McLaughlin and Alicia Kelly  from St Cecilia’s College with DJ Kwame Daniels from Bounce Culture Image: Pictured are: Danielle McLaughlin and Alicia Kelly from St Cecilia’s College with DJ Kwame Daniels from Bounce Culture

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with funding from the National Lottery and Department for Communities, is working across government to help improve mental health and wellbeing through the arts.

Over the past five years, appreciation of how arts and culture can support the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities has grown rapidly. Statistics from the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Well-being in their 2017 report, ‘Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing’, found that arts and social activities can help meet major challenges facing health and social care. These include issues like ageing, loneliness, mental health, and other long-term health conditions. The report also concluded that the arts can help keep us well, aid recovery and support longer lives and the arts can help save money for the NHS and social care system.

Arts Council funding supports people and organisations to develop creative programmes for the whole of society and, as part of our work, we have developed a series of landmark initiatives which use the arts as tools to enrich lives and promote positive health and wellbeing. These include, the Arts and Older People’s Programme, ARTiculate ‘Young People and Wellbeing Programme’ and the Creative School’s Partnership.

Key Facts and Figures:

Arts and Older People’s Programme
The Arts and Older People’s Programme has now been running for 10 years. Developed in partnership with Public Health Agency and the Baring Foundation, the programme has invested £2million in projects and activities that help older people engage and participate in the arts to combat poverty, isolation and loneliness. So far over 28,000 people have benefitted from the programme and it is now internationally recognised for its pioneering approach. Activities range from intergenerational storytelling, to musical reminiscence for people living with dementia, to stilt walking.
Of those who have taken part in an Arts Council funded project, 88% said they felt empowered by their achievements and 82% said they now want to participate in more arts activities.

ARTiculate ‘Young People and Wellbeing Programme’
Funded by the Arts Council and PHA, The ARTiculate programme was set up in 2016 to support the five local Strategic Suicide Prevention Implementation Groups. Its aim was to engage young people throughout Northern Ireland in custom-made creative activities designed to strengthen their voice and empower them to articulate their story through words, drama and the visual arts. Over the past four years 49 projects have been funded, supporting activities for 2,839 young participants. Each project engaged with vulnerable young people and targeted those at higher risk of suicide or self-harm.  Feedback from the groups showed that:

  • 83% said their self-confidence has improved and they have more belief in themselves as a result of their participation
  • 77% said they are now more confident in expressing themselves
  • 71% said they are now better able to cope with a setback


Creative School’s Programme
The Arts Council, in partnership with the Education Authority and Urban Villages Initiative and Education Authority, launched the three-year Creative Schools Partnership in Spring 2018. Its purpose is to bring more creativity into the classroom in order to improve educational outcomes throughout the curriculum for students from disadvantaged areas or backgrounds, reduce educational inequalities, improve community relations and contribute to delivering the TBUC strategy. Eleven schools have participated in the programme and 306 pupils have participated so far. Feedback from the schools has been overwhelmingly positive. All of them said the programme supported their school development priorities, that pupils gained in confidence and participants attitudes towards their education had improved.

To find out more about the Arts Council’s programmes and funding support sign up to the Arts Council’s weekly newsletter http://artscouncil-ni.org/signup

For advice and information on how to take care of your mental health go to www.mindingyourhead.info

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

BIAF & the Irish Arts Center New York to co-host showcase feat leading theatre & dance work from NI

Thursday 8th October 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Dance , Drama

BRINK 2020 Maiden Voyage Dance Company (Photo credit: Luca Truffarelli) Image: BRINK 2020 Maiden Voyage Dance Company (Photo credit: Luca Truffarelli)

Thanks to National Lottery Funding Belfast International Arts Festival will feature leading theatre and dance work from Northern Ireland in a virtual showcase for North America

Seven major works, created by some of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre and dance artists and arts organisations, are due to be showcased at a special online industry event, on 19th October, organised by Belfast International Arts Festival, Theatre and Dance NI, with support from British Council NI and National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  The event, Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from Northern Ireland, is being co-hosted with the Irish Arts Center in New York and aims to offer a platform to network and promote tour-ready work from Northern Ireland to global programmers and industry leaders in the USA and Canada. 

This event will include a showing of video extracts from the selection of new performance pieces from Northern Ireland followed by a livestreamed and interactive Q&A with the creators and artists.  The theatre and dance works taking part in the showcase event include:

Abomination - A DUP Opera by Conor Mitchell. Originally produced by The Belfast Ensemble and Outburst Queer Arts Festival

BRINK choreographed by Eileen McClory. Produced by Maiden Voyage Dance

Körper & Leib choreographed by Oona Doherty. Produced by Maiden Voyage Dance

Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Produced by Big Telly Theatre Company

Politics of Comfort written and performed by Janie Doherty. Directed by Alessandra Celesia

Questions of a Man devised and performed by Dylan Quinn and Jenny Ecke. Produced by Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre

Removed written by Fionnuala Kennedy. Produced by Prime Cut Productions

The online event will be co-hosted by Richard Wakely, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of  Belfast International Arts Festival, who commented,

“BIAF are delighted and honoured to be working with our partners in Northern Ireland and New York to highlight the great and often innovative practice and works from our own local artistic community. It reflects our on-going commitment to provide professional development opportunities for NI talent. Moreover, in these uncertain times for artists, it is vital that we help them to develop their practice and earn income by identifying and creating opportunities for them to share their work with audiences in other markets”.

Niamh Flanagan, Executive Director, Theatre and Dance NI said,

''It is with great pride that we see the continued development of ‘Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from Northern Ireland’ as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival. Following the success of the presentations at the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we have continued to work with our partners to platform the incredible home-grown talent of theatre and dance in Northern Ireland. The performances are testament to the versatility, talent, and ambition of our professional artists and creators who have produced high-quality work for presentation. The screening of the film, followed by a live streamed Q&A is an opportunity to view the breadth of this work and to hear directly from the gifted artists and creators themselves. We are so proud of them all and want to share their work and talent as far and as wide as possible.”

Jonathan Stewart, British Council Northern Ireland Director, said,

“The performing arts sector has been challenged by Covid-19 both economically and in terms of how audiences connect and interact with festivals, venues and events. Despite these challenges, the Irish Arts Center in New York is providing innovative ways to showcase creative works from Northern Ireland to audiences online, including those presented in the superb Spotlight from Northern Ireland programme.  Our partnership with Belfast International Arts Festival, Theatre & Dance NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland demonstrates a shared commitment to support artists and to continue championing Northern Ireland’s performing arts sector internationally, both digitally and physically.”

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

“It’s vital that our artists and arts organisations are given opportunities to showcase their tour-ready work to industry leaders and programmers outside of Northern Ireland.  Thanks to National Lottery players, it’s incredibly exciting that high-quality work from here is being showcased to USA and Canadian industry leaders in partnership with the Irish Arts Center through the Belfast International Arts Festival.  This platform opens up the potential for these world-class works to be toured internationally and to be seen by thousands of people, helping to put Northern Ireland on the map for all the right reasons.”

For further details of this event visit https://belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Appointment of a Chair, Vice-Chair and three Members to the Board of the Arts Council

Thursday 8th October 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Image:

The Minister for the Department for Communities invites applications for the appointment of a Chair, Vice-Chair and three members to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The Arts Council is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland. It has a key role to play in developing and improving the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts, and increasing public access to, and participation in, the arts.

Details
Applications are welcome from a wide range of people who have an interest in public service, including those who are looking for an opportunity to use their skills and experience. We would particularly welcome applications from women, people with a disability, young people and people from minority ethnic groups for these positions. A Guaranteed Interview Scheme is in place for those applicants with a disability. You do not need to have previous experience of serving on a board to apply.

Further information on the competition including the criteria for the positions can be found in the Candidate Information Booklet.

The closing date is 12 noon on Friday 30 October 2020. Late applications will not be considered.

How to Apply

Due to the current situation, the office is currently not manned so we would request that you please send:

  • a completed application form and
  • equal opportunities monitoring form

via e-mail to publicappointments@communities-ni.gov.uk

If you are unable to return your completed forms via e-mail, and wish to either post or hand-deliver them, grateful if you could advise the Department via the above e-mail address in advance or call (028) 90 819 417. The office address is:

Public Appointments
Governance Unit
Department for Communities
Level 5
NINE Lanyon Place
Belfast
BT1 3LP

Documents

 

For more information, please visit https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/dfc-public-appointments

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Gifted musicians and songwriters invited to apply to NI Young Musicians’ Platform Awards

Friday 2nd October 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music – Funding , Northern Ireland Music

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

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, are calling for young, exceptional musicians from across Northern Ireland to apply for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians' Platform Award, supported by National Lottery funding and BBC NI.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, are calling for young, exceptional musicians from across Northern Ireland to apply for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians' Platform Award, supported by National Lottery funding and BBC NI.

These prestigious biennial awards, supported by the Arts Council’s National Lottery funds, aim to showcase and support the development of six exceptional musicians from Northern Ireland by providing funding awards, worth £5000 each, to three classical musicians, one jazz musician, one traditional musician and for the first time, one contemporary singer-songwriter.  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, each recipient receives 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.

Highlighting BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle’s commitment to specialist music and developing new musical talent, four 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 broadcast on 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, Linley Hamilton jazz musician and presenter of Jazz World will mentor the jazz awardee and Stephen McCauley, presenter of The Stephen McCauley Show, will mentor the singer-songwriter awardee.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, at the Arts Council, commented: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support the Young Musicians’ Platform Award through our National Lottery funds.  We are committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities for our most exceptional young talent to develop and excel.  The Young Musicians’ Platform Award offers a tremendous opportunity for outstanding young musicians to develop their musical skills, learn from the best in their genre and receive experience of playing with a professional orchestra.  All of the previous recipients have gone on to have successful, musical careers and I’ve every confidence that their experience received through this award acted as a powerful catalyst in shaping their development.”

Paul McClean, Executive Editor, Music, Arts and Events, BBC Northern Ireland, says, “We truly believe that BBC Radio Ulster and Foyle is ‘Where Music Matters’ and we are dedicated to providing our listeners with the best in specialist music. Nurturing new talent is something we are extremely passionate about and we are delighted to be involved in finding new classical, alternative, jazz and traditional artists. Being able to have our listeners engage in these young musicians’ journey will be incredible to watch as they grow and develop with some help from John, Lynette, Stephen and Linley, all of whom are music evangelists.”

Previous recipients of the Young Musicians’ Platform Award include acclaimed classical pianist, Michael McHale, soprano, Laura Sheerin, harpist, Richard Allen, violinist, Michael Trainor, baritone, Brian McAlea, folk artists, Conor Mallon, Martha Guiney and Niall Hanna and jazz musicians, Ed Dunlop and Katherine Timoney, among others.
Applications for the Northern Ireland Young Musicians’ Platform Awards are open from Thursday 1 October and will close at 4pm on Thursday 29th October.  Applications will be assessed by a specialist panel and shortlisted applicants will then be invited to audition between 1-3 December in Belfast, where they will be asked to perform two contrasting pieces in style and period, one of which will be contemporary.  For full eligibility and application details visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/young-musicians-platform-scheme

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Derek Mahon (1941-2020)

Friday 2nd October 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Literature

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with great sadness of the death of one of our leading poets, Derek Mahon, who has died, aged 78.

Born in Belfast in 1941 to Ulster Protestant working class parents, he attended Skegoneil Primary school and then the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. At the institute he encountered fellow students who shared his interest in literature and poetry. The school produced a magazine for which Mahon produced some of his early poems. According to the critic Hugh Haughton, his early poems were highly fluent and extraordinary for a person so young. He went on to study French literature at Trinity College Dublin and the Sorbonne. His early works, including the collection, Night Crossing (1968), written while teaching at English at Belfast High School, distinguished him as one of the most talented of the younger generation of poets that emerged from Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s. Describing himself as an ‘aesthete’ with a penchant for ‘left-wingery’, many of his early poems explore elements of the Northern Ireland Protestant psyche, and his Northern Irish background is powerfully evoked in poems such as North Wind: Portrush:

I shall never forget the wind
On this benighted coast.
It works itself into the mind
Like the high keen of a lost
Lear-spirit in agony
Condemned for eternity.

Mahon, a member of Aosdána, and residing in Kinsale, Co. Cork since the 1980s, experienced a remarkable late flowering, publishing four highly-acclaimed collections in just five years in the 2000s. Harbour Lights (2006) and Life on Earth (2008) both won Irish Times Poetry Now Awards and, in 2007, in recognition of his lifetime achievement, he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature. This late body of work has been hailed by the Guardian as “one of the most significant developments in poetry this century”.

A distinguished poet, Mahon also produced work for the theatre, including versions of Moliere’s The School for Wives and High Time, Racine’s Phaedra, The Bacchae (after Euripides), Cyrano de Bergerac, which was produced at London’s National Theatre in 2004 and Oedipus (after Sophocles) which was published in 2005. In 2013 his collected plays, Theatre, was published.

Derek Mahon is regarded as one of the most accomplished of contemporary Irish poets, and his work has influenced a generation of younger of British and Irish poets.

His final collection, Washing Up, is published this month.

Derek Mahon’s poem, Everything is Going to Be All Right, captured the national mood in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The lines flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart;
the sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

(Derek Mahon, from New Selected Poems 2011, Gallery Press)

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, paid tribute:
“In the twelve months in which Irish poetry suffered the loss of Ciaran Carson and Eavan Boland, now Derek Mahon’s departure is a poignant and equally bothersome removal. He wrote some of the great poems of the twentieth century, not just out of Ireland but internationally. His work will be a permanent presence in the anthologies from here on, alongside those of his contemporaries Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley, with whom his work sustains a fruitful and brilliant dialogue. Among his classic poems, several such as On A Disused Shed in County Wexford, A Garage in County Cork, The Chinese Restaurant in Portrush, the radiant Antarctica, Everything Is Going To Be Alright (which took on sustaining relevance during the COVID-19 lockdown of the soul), across many high-grade collections, reveal him as the poet par excellence of the spirit under pressure, the seeker for reassurance in a frequently glacial social environment, the deliverer of lines which live in the memory. Once more today, we find ourselves, without knowing it, with one friend less in the world.”

He takes leave of the earthly pantomime
Quietly, knowing it is time to go.
"I am just going outside and may be some time."
At the heart of the ridiculous, the sublime.

You can watch Derek Mahon reading ‘Everything is Going to Be All Right at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNGU11lK_5E

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

£500,000 fund opens to support Small Capital purchases

Thursday 1st October 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

Image:

The Arts Council is now inviting applications to its Small Capital Programme, thanks to an investment of £500,000 from the Department for Communities.

The programme, which opened today (1st October), has a total available budget of £500,000 and has been designed to enable organisations to purchase equipment and carry out minor works to their premises which will enhance their artistic services.

The scheme is open to a wide range of arts and non-arts organisations, although the primary purpose of the requested equipment and/or minor works to premises must be clearly focused on arts activity and provide a public benefit.

Particular priority will be given to applications which:

• address Covid-19 requirements in working remotely;
• improves the accessibility of the arts;
• improves the direct delivery of arts provision;
• enhances or broadens the audience/participants’ experience of arts programming; or
• raises the quality of the artistic work produced

Organisations can apply for any minor work or item of equipment for an arts-related activity such as, lighting equipment, stage equipment, sound equipment, minor building works, transport and office equipment. Although organisations can apply for funding to support the purchase of more than one item, applicants should be mindful that the budget for this programme is strictly limited and demand for funds is likely to be extremely high.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín commented: “I am delighted that the Small Capital Programme has opened today allowing arts organisations to purchase equipment and carry out minor works to their premises.  It is important that we ensure that our arts and cultural organisations have the right assets to support the delivery of their work and enhance their artistic services.”

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “With much appreciated investment from the Department for Communities, the Arts Council is pleased to announce the opening of this new funding programme today. This vital funding will make a real difference to organisations in need of new equipment and allow them to make improvements to their premises. All the information about how to apply is available on the Arts Council website and we would encourage any organisation interested in finding out more about this scheme to visit the Arts Council website for more details."

Full details of the scheme and how to apply can be found at http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/Small-Capital-Programme.

This programme will close for applications at 4pm on Thursday 15th October, with decision made on Tuesday 1st December.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Privacy Notice

Thursday 1st October 2020 at 9am 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

Participants in the National Fraud Initiative must inform individuals in a privacy notice that their data will be processed, as required by the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). Privacy notices were previously known as Fair Processing Notices (FPNs).

The Comptroller and Auditor General audits the accounts of the Arts Council. The Comptroller and Auditor General is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under his powers in Articles 4A to 4G of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found, it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The Comptroller and Auditor General currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Comptroller and Auditor General for matching. Details are set out in the NIAO’s website, www.niauditoffice.gov.uk

The use of data by the Comptroller and Auditor General in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Data matching by the Comptroller and Auditor General is subject to a Code of Practice. This may be found at www.niauditoffice.gov.uk For further information on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s legal powers and the reasons why he matches particular information, see the Level 3 notice on the NIAO website at www.niauditoffice.gov.uk

For further information on data matching at the Arts Council contact James McCumiskey, jmccumiskey@artscouncil-ni.org, 028 92 623532.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

New chapter for Belfast bookshop thanks to National Lottery boost

Tuesday 29th September 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Literature

Pictured are David Torrans and Emma Warnock, No Alibis Press. Image: Pictured are David Torrans and Emma Warnock, No Alibis Press.

No Alibis bookshop in Belfast’s Botanic Avenue is preparing to pen its next chapter, thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The much-loved independent book store, which made its name as a haven for crime-fiction lovers and a champion of local writers, has been awarded funding through the Arts Council’s National Lottery funds to develop the publishing wing of its business, No Alibis Press.

As a new publisher to the market, the grant of over £8,000 will be used to help secure the publication of new titles from No Alibis Press, starting with Seed, by acclaimed Dublin-based writer Joanna Walsh. The experimental novel from the award winning columnist and commentator will be supported by a free series of public talks and events.

The award is one of five made this month to arts organisations through the Arts Council’s Small Grants Programme, with a total investment of £35,000 going to local arts organisations. The programme is designed to support the development of creative community-based projects across Northern Ireland. 

Grants are awarded by the Arts Council on a monthly basis and organisations can apply for up to £10,000 to support projects in any art form, including music, drama, dance, literature, visual, and participatory arts.

Commenting on the award, David Torrans from No Alibis Press, commented:

“Considering the challenges within the sector, this timely award will help support our authors, editors, designers, along with others working in the hands-on roles of book production. As a bookseller, I spend a great deal of time thinking about the books that readers will enjoy; with this award, No Alibis Press can put such books into readers’ hands.”

Noirin McKinney, Head of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Small Grants Programme is supporting arts projects across Northern Ireland, proving that sometimes a small investment can have a tremendous impact.

“We are pleased this month to be able to support five fantastic projects to the value of £35,000. This money will support new publications from No Alibis Press; a virtual edition of the annual Royal Ulster Academy visual arts exhibition; music tuition for young people through Glengormley School of Traditional Music and Murley Concert Band in Fivemiletown, and a brilliant socially engaged series of arts projects in Belfast’s Sailortown district.

“These projects are made possible thanks to the money raised for good causes through the Arts Council’s National Lottery funds.”

September Small Grants Funding will support:

Glengormley School of Traditional Music
Glengormley school of Traditional Music received £9,900 through the Arts Council’s Small Grants Programme. For 18 years the school has provided training in all areas of Irish traditional music skills and musicianship. The funding received will go towards providing high quality and affordable music tuition with skilled tutors in a range of instruments including fiddle, tin whistle, flute, uileann pipes, button accordion, concertina, banjo, mandolin, bodhran, guitar, harp, and ballad singing, with classes moving online during the pandemic.

Household Belfast C.I.C
Household Belfast C.I.C was awarded £7,965 through the Arts Council’s Small Grants programme. The funding will enable the organisation to bring three socially engaged arts projects to the public between now and June 2021. The events will be held in the buildings, streets and surrounding areas of Sailortown, Belfast and will connect the stories of the people and history of the area, past present and future.

Murley Concert Band
Murley Concert Band in Fivemiletown received £2,000 from the Arts Council’s Small Grants Programme to support free music tuition for young music players. The concert band set up in 2018 is the junior bnd of the highly commended Murley Silver Band. This funding will help to provide valuable opportunities for younger players and those wishing to develop their talent to join the senior band, Murley Silver Band.

Royal Ulster Academy
The Royal Ulster Academy received £7,300 from the Arts Council’s Small Grants programme to support the creation of a virtual edition of its annual visual arts exhibition for 2020, which will run alongside the physical exhibition in the Ulster Museum. Organisers hope bringing the exhibition online will attract new audiences and participants to the arts, with a particular focus on young people who have missed out on months of school attendance because of Covid 19.

No Alibis Press
No Alibis Press received £8,255 from the Arts Council’s Small Grants programme to support a series of publications and initiatives around the publication of Joanna Walsh’s Seed. The project includes a standard publication in paperback, a limited edition box set including a paperback and six pamphlets. They will include artwork by the author using experimental techniques of image development via digital technologies.

Funding from the Small Grants Programme is awarded to organisations by the Arts Council on a monthly basis. Application forms and guidance notes are available to download at http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/small-grants-programme

List of organisiations that received funding through the Small Grants Programme in September 2020: http://artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/news-documents/Sept_SGP.xls

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Allocation of funding to arts and culture

Friday 25th September 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Image:

The Arts Council welcomes news from the NI Executive that £29m has been allocated to help the arts and cultural sectors in Northern Ireland endure the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been devastating financial consequences for all working in and around the arts because of venue closures, the restrictions of social distancing placed on audiences and staff, and the massive loss of earned income since lock-down began.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, who will now determine how the allocation is to be spent, confirmed that, “The funding is to support the arts, culture, heritage, languages and the wider creative industries sectors and also includes support for libraries, museums, comedy, music and cinema.” (DfC statement here)

The Arts Council is heartened to see that the majority of the funding announced today is aimed at helping our core arts and cultural organisations, as well as artists and creative practitioners, get through this crisis to year-end, in the hope we can press a reset button and open our venues, festivals and cultural activities safely to the public as quickly as possible.

However we must also consider how government funding can help renew our fragile arts ecosystem beyond this financial year, through a programme of strategic reinvestment.

It is our hope that future reinvestment by government will strengthen the resilience of this important sector over the next few years and provide our arts and cultural organisations with resources to develop innovative, creative ways to bring great arts to all, be that digitally, outdoors, in-person or through live performance.
We thank the Minister and her Department for their help in making the case to government that our arts and culture infrastructure is of value to Northern Ireland and is worth saving.

The Arts Council provided a carefully researched bid to the Department for Communities which evidenced the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the sector and offered expert advice on how to both mitigate against permanent damage to an arts and cultural sector that is of considerable value to our economy, and how to sustain and renew that sector beyond the pandemic. 

We also recognise the campaigning efforts of the many arts organisations, artists and audience members, including MLA’s and many commercial  and cultural business leaders, who took the time to speak up and convey the message of how important a strong arts and culture ecosystem is to our society in Northern Ireland.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Art galleries safely reopen to the public across Northern Ireland

Friday 18th September 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Pictured (L-R) is Patricia Lavery, Arts Council of Northern Ireland with Deirdre McKenna and Damien Coyle from the University of Atypical. Image: Pictured (L-R) is Patricia Lavery, Arts Council of Northern Ireland with Deirdre McKenna and Damien Coyle from the University of Atypical.

Stuck for something to do this weekend?  Why not go along to your local public art gallery and enjoy some great art!

A number of the region’s public art galleries have begun to reopen following a significant period of closure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  From R-Space in Lisburn, Millennium Court in Portadown to VOID in Derry-Londonderry and Belfast Exposed, Craft NI, The MAC, Golden Thread Gallery and University of Atypical, all in Belfast, there is a wealth of visual art on display to get out and enjoy safely this autumn!

Whilst we all need to remain vigilant with regard to health and safety during this pandemic, the public can take confidence that every safety measure is in place within those galleries that are open.  All galleries are running a booking system, available on their websites, to ensure that the number of people in the gallery at any one time is fully controlled.  Mask wearing is essential and there are a number of sanitizing stations throughout the spaces.

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

“Whilst we await a date for the reopening of performance venues and theatres, it’s heartening to see parts of our arts sector reopen and welcome people back.  Our galleries have been working very hard to put in place all the health and safety measures required to open their doors safely to the public.  Indeed, the very nature of public art galleries allows for vital social distancing during these challenging times.  I would encourage everyone to go along and support your local gallery this autumn and enjoy great art!

Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive, Belfast Exposed, added,

“Belfast Exposed is delighted to be open and welcoming people back to enjoy our photography exhibitions.  We went through a number of processes to make sure the building was safe to open to the public.  We have sanitizers around the building, we have masks available for people and gloves for anyone wanting to browse through the book shelves.  We currently have an MFA graduate exhibition called Anthology and it really is a reflection of people and places in everyday life with themes similar to what we’re all going through right now – it really is a fantastic exhibition.”

Public art galleries currently showing exhibitions include:

The MAC: Ulster University BA and MFA Fine Art Graduate Show
From now until 11th October, The MAC presents the popular, Ulster University BA and MFA Fine Art Graduate Show, across all three MAC galleries.  The MAC is open from 10am-4pm Wed-Sun and you must book to attend the exhibition at www.themaclive.com

Golden Thread Gallery:  More Bad News and Dissolving Histories Exhibitions
More Bad News – showing now until 19th September
A solo exhibition by Dougal McKenzie.  To book visit: https://www.goldenthreadgallery.co.uk/events/more-bad-news-dougal-mckenzie/?v=79cba1185463

Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence – showing until 30th September
Co-curated by Mary Cremin and Peter Richards, featuring artists: Bassam Al Sabah; Liliane Puthod; Michael Hanna; and Stuart Calvin.  To book visit: https://www.goldenthreadgallery.co.uk/events/dissolving-histories-an-unreliable-presence/?v=79cba1185463

University of Atypical: Brian Kielt Exhibition
University of Atypical is showing Brian Kielt’s exhibition, Confessionals.  Brian Kielt is a painter based in Mid-Ulster who makes work about memory, trauma and anxiety. In 2012 Kielt co-founded the LOFT collective and continues to collaborate with members on numerous projects. This is Kielt’s fifth solo exhibition and his work has featured in several group shows and has work in private collections in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the USA.  Conscious that many people may continue to shield, they have also organised an online event for those who can’t make it to see the exhibition. A Studio Visit with Brian Kielt will take place on Saturday 3rd of October 2020 from 2pm to 3pm.  Register your interest and receive the Zoom link at https://www.facebook.com/universityofatypical

VOID: echoes are always more muted
VOID in Derry-Londonderry is showing an exhibition by artist, Alan Phelan, echoes are always more muted, from 5th September until 31st October.  To book visit www.derryvoid.com

R-Space: Re: New Wallace #3 and MMM#8 – Obvious
R-Space in Lisburn present two exhibitions including:

Re: New Wallace #3, Robert Peters, 12 September - 16 October 2020 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.  Augmented reality and mixed media by Robert Peters casting an eye on the fraught relationship between Britain and Ireland in the 19th century; absentee landlords, rent strikes, decadent aristocrats, the Famine and Home Rule.  Re: New Wallace #3 is the much anticipated third in their series of Re:New Wallace Collection exhibitions, in collaboration with The Wallace Collection, London.  To book visit: https://www.rspacelisburn.com/

MMM#8 – Obvious, Aimée Nelson, Aoife O'Connor, Gary Shaw, Jill Phillips, Mr. Papers, Pauline Clancy, 7 November - 11 December 2020  11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.  Six artists based in Northern Ireland have been selected from an open call as part of our Materials, Messages and Meaning series. Now in its eighth year, these exhibitions explore artists’ different approaches to materials, methods of production and messages within their work.  The works include interactive screenprinting, mixed media installations, digital imaging, and folk art.
To book visit: https://www.rspacelisburn.com/

Craft NI: presents regular exhibitions of the work of craft makers from around Northern Ireland and also a gallery retail space where you can buy from local craft makers.  Visit http://www.craftni.org/

Millennium Court Arts Centre: No Time
Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown, is showing their current exhibition, NO TIME, by Martin Boyle.  To book visit http://millenniumcourt.org

Belfast Exposed: present two exhibitions highlighting the work of a selection of recent graduates from the MFA Photography and BA in Photography and Video at Ulster University.  The exhibitions are:

Anthropology (MFA Exhibition) - 3rd September - 24th October
The works presented are universally human and deeply personal navigations of current climates and a response to exactly this moment in time. The exhibition sits with the process of grief and walks along the borders of small towns and fallen cities. Artists reckon with the aftermath of abuse and make sense of fluctuating architecture and the human effort to heal our natural environment. Perception is questioned and subverted to understand home, gender, and community. Exhibition link: https://www.belfastexposed.org/exhibitions/anthropology/

Human Condition (BA Exhibition) - 3rd September - 24th October
The works presented are a broad exploration of human existence plunging into topics from water quality to fluid gender expression and roles. Further observations on mental health spanning youth to retirement, isolation, healing, and recreational space.  Exhibition link: https://www.belfastexposed.org/exhibitions/human-condition/

To support organisations to safely prepare to reopen the Arts Council recently announced the Health & Safety Capital Programme which is now open for online applications and will close at October 1st 2020. To be eligible, organisations must demonstrate the purpose of the requested equipment or minor works to be clearly focused on the arts.  For further information on eligibility, guidance notes and to apply, please visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/health-and-safety-capital-programme

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Bàrd, File, Bardd

Thursday 17th September 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments Literature

Bàrd, File, Bardd Image: Bàrd, File, Bardd

This Friday (18th September), Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich will present Bàrd, File, Bardd,  delving into indigenous Celtic languages in the company of leading poets working in the Irish, Scottish and Welsh language as part of this year’s Culture Night celebrations.

Working with Ciara Ní É (Writer in Residence DCU & Ambassador for Áras na Scríbhneoirí), Ifor ap Glyn (National Poet of Wales & television presenter) and Pàdraig Mac Aoidh (Lecturer in Literature, University of St Andrews), Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich held a series of community engagements looking at mother tongues, their impact on us as a people and the feelings they arouse, particularly within a bilingual context.

The event this Friday, will be presented online. Drawing on the community workshops, the poets will present exciting new work from from Irish, Scots Gaelic and Welsh perspectives, directed by Ian Rowlands.

Brónagh Fusco, Events Manager, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich said:

“As Celts, it is not only wonderful to look at our own mother tongue, her importance and what it means to us through the medium of poetry, but to also look at the mother tongues of our Welsh and Scottish cousins. Now is the time for further coordinated conversations among stakeholders and communities and we look forward to their continuation.”

Gavin O'Connor, Youth and Community Arts Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:

"The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support this wonderful multi-lingual poetry project, Bàrd, File, Bardd developed through an impressive collaboration between Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This project demonstrates the power of the arts in bringing people and communities closer together, helping us to understand the world around us and to really celebrate our differences and our similarities!"

Bàrd, File, Bardd will begin at 8:30pm on Friday the 18th September on Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich’s YouTube and Facebook channels. This project is funded through Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Literature Wales and Creative Scotland. Creative Team: Tom Clarke (Scots Adaptations), Ifor ap Glyn (Artist Co-ordinator), Pól Mag Uidhir (Animator), Jason Lye-Phillips (Composer and  Film Editor), Ian Rowlands (Media Director).

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Culture Night returns this Friday with a packed online programme to enjoy from home!

Wednesday 16th September 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments

Pictured are Susan Picken, Cathedral Quarter Trust, Gilly Campbell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and performance artist, Sinead O’Donnell. Image: Pictured are Susan Picken, Cathedral Quarter Trust, Gilly Campbell, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and performance artist, Sinead O’Donnell.

Culture Night is one of the most hotly anticipated cultural celebrations in Belfast every September when the streets fill with excited people enjoying everything the Arts have to offer.  Whilst the event cannot be presented in the same way for 2020, due to the challenges of the pandemic, the team at Culture Night has designed a fantastic, jam-packed programme of music, debates, exhibitions and films to be enjoyed online on Friday 18th September, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Belfast Harbour.

Streaming across a number of virtual platforms, this year’s programme will see venues such as St Anne’s Cathedral, Black Box, the Oh Yeah Centre and The MAC act as the backdrop to what is set to be an exciting evening of entertainment.  Among the performers taking part this year are , Ulster Orchestra, Lyric Theatre, The MAC, Cherrie On Top, Susie Blue, Sinead O’Donnell, tenx9, Charles Hurts, Becha, Stephen Beggs, Paul Currie, George Quinn, Rachael McCabe, Bounce Culture, The Swing Gals and many more.  The programme will also include a specially commissioned piece by filmmaker, Will McConnell, called, We’re Still Here, two documentaries from Trocaire and the premiere of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission film, It Seems, along with a discussion chaired by NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby.

Culture Night Online 2020 is one of 150 arts organisations in Northern Ireland who recently received funding from the Department for Communities through the Arts Council’s Organisations Emergency Programme.  This programme aims to offer a much-needed financial lifeline to arts organisations to enable them to continue producing creative work, assist with operational costs and to help plan for recovery.  The programme is part of the wider £5.5m funding package announced by Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Department for Communities, to support the arts, creative industries and cultural sector during the current pandemic.

Susan Picken, Director, Cathedral Quarter Trust, commented, 

“This year’s online programme is very different from what you may be used to but we hope it captures the varied and eclectic mix of arts and culture you have come to know and love about Culture Night.  There are three main strands for you to enjoy, Core, Showcase, and Gallery. Core is a special programme of performances from iconic venues across the Cathedral Quarter, Showcase is an opportunity to highlight a wide selection of artists, performers, creatives and cultural organisations and Gallery will shine a light on the work of visual artists from the region.”

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

“Despite the enormous challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, Culture Night is back with an impressive digital programme thoughtfully designed against a backdrop of iconic locations in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and featuring a wealth of Northern Irish talent from across the artistic spectrum.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support Culture Night through the Organisations Emergency Fund, supported by the Department for Communities, and I would encourage everyone to get online on 18th September and show your support for our tremendous arts community which contributes so much to our health and wellbeing and to our night-time economy. So, until we can all fill the streets of Belfast safely, in celebration of culture once again, please do log-on and enjoy Culture Night.” 

For more information on this year’s programme go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20 #CNBonline on social media.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Organisations join up to promote Seven inclusive principles for disabled people in Arts & Culture

Tuesday 15th September 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Arts & Disability

Seven Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations working safely through COVID-19 Image: Seven Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations working safely through COVID-19

Campaigning cultural organisations We Shall Not Be Removed, Ramps on the Moon, Attitude is Everything, Paraorchestra and What Next? have joined together to create a new guide for the arts and entertainment sectors to support disability inclusion.

Today they launch Seven Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations working safely through COVID-19 to complement the suite of guidance documents already issued by UK Governments and sector support organisations.

The focus of this unique initiative, which has been broadly welcomed by the sector, is to ensure deaf, neurodiverse and disabled people are not discriminated against as creative work begins again and as venues re-open. The Seven Principles offer practical guidance to arts and cultural organisations to support disabled artists, audiences, visitors, participants and employees.

The Principles highlight the importance of: legal obligations, combating ableism in the sector, consulting directly with disabled people, comprehensive public information on Covid measures, remapping the customer journey, engagement of disabled artists and celebrating disability in the workforce.

The Seven Principles are applicable across all art forms and across all 4 UK nations and come with endorsement from a wide range of leading sector bodies including: British Council, British Film Institute, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Museums Association, Royal Philharmonic Society, Equity and UK Theatre.

Andrew Miller, UK Government Disability Champion for Arts & Culture and co-founder of #WeShallNotBeRemoved said,

“Disabled people’s continued participation in culture at all levels has been severely threatened by this pandemic. The Seven Principles offer an essential new resource to promote an inclusive cultural recovery and to ensure the UK remains a global leader in disability and inclusive arts through and after Covid-19”.

Michèle Taylor, Director for Change at Ramps on the Moon said, “Disabled and deaf people play a vital role in a flourishing theatre industry, both front and back of house, and this has become increasingly evident in the last five years. The Seven Principles will support organisations to ensure that this trajectory continues and that theatre re-emerges even richer and more diverse than before.”

Jonathan Harper, Chief Executive of Paraorchestra said, “Inclusivity cannot be treated as a project that is cast aside as the cultural sector reopens following the pandemic. I wholeheartedly welcome the Seven Principles and Paraorchestra is proud to have played its part in creating them. This document offers context and the practical steps so that anyone within the sector can have the confidence to ensure that disabled artists, workers and audiences can return safely”.

Lizzie Crump, National Strategic Lead for What Next? said, “This document gives clear, practical guidance and support to everyone working in our sector, from grassroots community projects to large venues. It details everything from our legal obligations to the ways we can access the right help and support. These principles give us the framework we need to champion equity and access, and ensure the quality of our arts and culture over the next decade”.

Jacob Adams, Head of Campaigns at Attitude is Everything said, “The arts sector is a vital positive force in the UK, strengthened immensely by inclusive practice and the participation of Deaf and disabled people at every level. Attitude is Everything is proud to have joined this initiative to support the sector as we rebuild a better and more accessible ‘normal’ together.”

A wide range of organisations from across the arts, museum and film sectors have welcomed the Seven Principles initiative as follows:

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland offers its full and unconditional support to the Seven Principles announced today. They provide a practical and meaningful tool for all cultural organisations in Northern Ireland to ensure disabled people are at the centre of decision-making processes as we navigate our way out of these difficult times”.

Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England said, “ Arts Council England welcomes and fully endorses the Seven Inclusive Principles announced today which incorporate the social model of disability at their core and ensuring disabled people are directly informing plans to reconnect with Creative Practitioners, Colleagues and Audiences. The principles provide a strong catalyst to combat and eliminate ableism supporting our ambition to develop a more inclusive and relevant sector that offers everyone equitable opportunities to enjoy and participate in culture and creativity”.

Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive of The Arts Council of Wales said, “The Arts Council of Wales offers its unreserved support to this new set of Inclusive Principles for the UK arts & cultural sector. The adoption and implementation of these principles will make a huge difference to disabled people in Wales as they once again engage with arts as participants, audience members and creatives. A fair and equitable approach of this kind is essential to ensure that ALL people enjoy the same opportunities in the arts and cultural sector in Wales.”

Cortina Butler, Interim Director of Arts at the British Council said: “The British Council is committed to ensuring that people of all abilities, genders and ethnicities can take full advantage of opportunities in the creative sector. We welcome initiatives such as the Seven Principles, which continue to put inclusivity at the forefront of conversations around the future of arts and culture both in the UK and internationally.”

Jennifer Smith, Head of Inclusion at British Film Institute said, “The BFI wholeheartedly support and endorse these important principles that give such clarity and structure for cultural venues to work to. They lay helpful foundations for the whole sector, to enable us to re-open our venues safely and inclusively for all cinema lovers.”

Sharon Heal, Director, Museums Association said, “ We wholeheartedly support the Seven Principles which are a timely reminder that museums need to work hard to support staff, visitors and community members that have a disability and that we need to be inclusive now more than ever”.

Jon Morgan, Director of Theatres Trust said, “It is vital that the pandemic doesn't result in a step backwards for accessibility. Theatres Trust fully supports the Inclusive Principles, which will help theatres reopen accessibly and inclusively.

James Murphy, Chief Executive, Royal Philharmonic Society said, ‘We heartily encourage all colleagues in the music profession to make time now to read and act upon these timely and vital Principles. They are packed with positive leads, guidance, ideas and insights for us all to draw upon, not just in light of the pandemic but in helping us advance and embolden our ongoing shared commitment to inclusivity.’

Toki Allison, BFI Film Audience Network Access Officer, Inclusive Cinema said, “ These inclusive principles are invaluable for independent cinemas looking at how they can minimise the destructive impacts of Covid on D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent audiences & workers”.

Dr Ian Manborde, Equalities and Diversity Organiser at Equity said, “ Equity welcomes the opportunity to endorse the call for the creative and cultural industries to adopt the Seven key Principles for a recovery which engages with D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences. We look forward to supporting this initiative as part of the union's own focus on activity to support a diverse, inclusive sectoral recovery”.

Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians Union said, “It’s essential that work to reopen the music industry considers access and inclusivity from the very beginning. We have the opportunity to rebuild a sector that works for all musicians and the Seven Inclusive Principles help enable us to facilitate that”.

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Jazzlife Alliance announces opportunities for gifted young musicians

Monday 14th September 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

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

Not-for-profit Northern Irish arts organisation Jazzlife Alliance has announced its third wave of opportunities for exceptional young musicians.In this edition it will select a young jazz musician aged 14-24, either early professional or showing strong potential in jazz, and a gifted young music creator again aged 14-24 wishing to broaden their skills.

Both will work with artistic director David Lyttle, a MOBO and Urban Music Award nominated artist who has been performing worldwide for ten years. He has collaborated with some of the arts world's most iconic artists, including jazz legends Joe Lovano and Kurt Rosenwinkel, hip hop stars Talib Kweli and Soweto Kinch, and, recently, film star Liam Neeson, in a much-publicised spoken-word/music collaboration honouring Van Morrison, who he has also worked with.

Previous winners of Jazzlife Alliance awards have toured with David, received mentorship from their heroes and taken part in innovative masterclasses with globally respected artists. Twin brothers Micheal and Conor Murray, described by the Independent as “Irish jazz stars on the rise”, first met David at the age of 15 and became Jazzlife's first young musician award winners in 2018. They now regularly perform with David, joining him in Morocco, Poland, Austria, Belgium and Bulgaria in the coming months, and run their acclaimed Falcarragh Winter Jazz Festival in Donegal each December.

“Jazzlife Alliance allows me to maintain close ties to Northern Ireland and be part of the next generation's development. In the recent years I have got to work with some exceptional talent and watched a healthy jazz scene begin to grow from almost nothing. But these are tough times for the arts and support is essential, not just in jazz. We are very grateful to the Arts Council for its continued support of our work.”

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 offer 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 25th September. For more information email info@jazzlifealliance.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

£500,000 fund to support the safe re-opening of the arts and culture sectors

Thursday 10th September 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments

Health and Safety Capital Programme Image: Health and Safety Capital Programme

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday 10th September 2020) opened the Health and Safety Capital Programme, a new fund, worth £500,000, designed to support arts and culture organisations as they prepare to re-open after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Many arts and culture organisations are among the last phase five groups eagerly awaiting permission from the NI Executive to re-open. The Health and Safety Capital Programme is one element of the wider £5.5m funding package announced by Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Department for Communities, to support the arts, creative industries and cultural sectors during the current pandemic.

Communities Minister Caral Ní Chuilín said,

“I am delighted that the Health and Safety Capital Programme has opened today allowing our arts venues and cultural spaces the opportunity to make preparations for their safe re-opening.  This is a vital step towards recovery for the sector while also ensuring its future resilience.

“In addition to this, the Department has submitted a bid to the Executive for £33m to secure financial support here to support culture, language, arts and heritage organisations, local musicians, freelancers and artists at a time when they are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

This programme will fund necessary adjustments and protective equipment required by venues and organisations to ensure that social distancing is maintained and that audiences, performers and staff are kept safe.

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

“The Arts Council welcomes the public funding partnership and support shown by Minister Ní Chuilín for the arts and culture sectors. The vital health and safety capital programme opened today will bring us closer to re-opening our venues and cultural spaces safely.  It was developed in response to Covid-19 and much needed to help our arts and cultural organisations weather the current adverse conditions.

“Theatres as well as cultural and live performance venues, all play a vital economic and social role in Northern Ireland; it is here where many artists and creative practitioners develop their skills and their craft and most importantly, it’s where they collaborate, creating great art that inspires us, improves our wellbeing and supports our local economy.

“We want to ensure that organisations have proper measures in place to welcome the return of their staff, artists and audiences. The Arts Council provides expert advice on how to do that in our comprehensive guidance manual to re-opening the arts in Northern Ireland.”

The Health & Safety Capital Programme is open for online applications from Thursday 10th September and will close at 4pm on October 1st 2020. To be eligible, organisations must demonstrate the purpose of the requested equipment or minor works to be clearly focused on the arts.   For further information on eligibility, guidance notes and to apply, please visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/health-and-safety-capital-programme

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council re-opens Emergency fund for Arts and Cultural organisations

Thursday 3rd September 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson Image: The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thurs Sept 3rd) opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP) in a second call to arts and cultural organisations across Northern Ireland.

The fund allows those organisations which did not receive support in the first call made in June, to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each. It is hoped this support may help alleviate the significant financial pressures they are facing as result of Covid-19, while preparing to re-open safely and contribute successfully to the economy.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the wider £5.5 m Creative Support fund supported by the Minister, the Department for Communities and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; the priority is to protect the arts and wider cultural sectors from the impact of the current pandemic.

Carál Ní Chuilín, Communities Minister said,

“The first round of OEP provided over £1.9m to 150 arts organisations impacted by Covid-19, from festivals and community arts groups to music, circus and theatre companies. I would encourage all creative organisations, from every creative sector, to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Our cultural sector is hugely important for social wellbeing, health and education, as well as for our economy. As a society, now more than ever, we must recognise its value and protect it. This latest round of funding will provide much needed support to many more arts organisations in these difficult times, and I am committed to ensuring that we continue to sustain the sector as we move towards recovery together.”

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

“The Arts Council welcomes the funding for cultural organisations announced today by Minister Ní Chuilín. It is very much needed to strengthen the durability of the wider sector in these adverse conditions. Our research clearly evidences that more funding is needed to help arts and cultural businesses re-open and flourish over the next few years, so that they may continue to contribute fully to our economy and to our society.

“The OEP fund first opened in June, and provided much needed financial support, a lifeline to 150 arts and cultural organisations which had been decimated under the Covid-19 lock down. The closure of theatres and venues, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences has been devastating to those who work within these sectors, those who helped drive the regeneration of our local economy. This second call to organisations is absolutely necessary.

“Meanwhile, the Arts Council continues to provide expert advice to our partners in government, making the case for the needs of a sector, still on its knees and facing significant financial challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Key to the future health of the sector will be the distribution of the £33m Barnett consequential for arts, culture and heritage which the NI Executive will decide later this month.”

The Organisations Emergency Programme closes to applications on 17 September at 4pm. Further details, including eligibility Guidance Notes and FAQs, are available at http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/organisations-emergency-programme

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

‘Unlocked’ exhibition winner reflects the ‘fragility of life’

Thursday 27th August 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments

Pictured is maker Andrea Spencer with Craft NI Chair, James Toland Image: Pictured is maker Andrea Spencer with Craft NI Chair, James Toland

An ethereal piece of sculpted glass which embodies the observations of its maker as she took her daily exercise along the North Antrim coast during lockdown has been named the winner of Craft NI’s ‘Unlocked’ exhibition.

Andrea Spencer’s piece of work, entitled ‘Return’, was inspired by nature and the natural materials she found along the shoreline close to her Ballintoy home.

The 'Unlocked' exhibition is one of the highlights of this year’s August Craft Month. It is open to the public throughout August and September at Craft NI’s gallery on Royal Avenue, Belfast.

Craft NI has commissioned a film celebrating the craft pieces which were submitted to the Unlocked exhibition. Craft makers were invited to submit pieces of work which were inspired by the lockdown period.

Craft NI Director, Katherine McDonald said the exhibition has been a great platform to showcase the level of expertise within Northern Ireland’s craft community.
She said:

“The work is exceptional, and I have greatly enjoyed viewing the pieces at our gallery. I would encourage anyone to come along and view them but if that is not possible you can watch the film on our website.

“A lot of our programme this year has moved online due to the restrictions, but we have viewed this as an opportunity to promote the work that goes on in Northern Ireland to an international audience.

“We have held webinars with leading figures in the craft world, along with studio tours with some amazing local makers, overall, August Craft Month has been very successful. Many of our videos, webinars and studio tours are still available online for people to enjoy for the rest of August and beyond.

August Craft Month is coordinated by Craft NI on behalf of the craft sector and funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

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

The Arts Council is delighted to support this wonderful celebration of craft, which offers an important platform to showcase the talent of our local craft makers, bringing great art to all.

“The work from our makers in the exhibition has been excellent and a real joy to see.”

Speaking about her inspiration for ‘Return’ and the impact lockdown had on her studio, Andrea said:

“For my practise, this meant an immediate cessation to the supply of compressed bottled oxygen, the fuel source essential to operating the bench torch that I use to create my flameworked glass pieces.

“This seemed an uncanny metaphor for what was happening around the world, people with severe symptoms of Coronavirus, unable to breathe, literally gasping for breath.”
Andrea was able to borrow equipment which allowed her to sustain a level of practise throughout the height of the lockdown and complete her piece of work for the exhibition.

Exhibition judge, Audrey Whitty who is Head of Collections and Learning at National Museum of Ireland (NMI) described Andrea Spencer's work as ‘stunning’.
Audrey said:

“The combination of glass and mixed media in Andrea Spencer’s Return is refreshingly honest in its execution of the fragile with the robust, thereby reflecting what in essence the pandemic implies, i.e. the fragility of human life, but the strength of our resolve and communal effort to confront and ultimately triumph.

“Return is an expression of the human need for oxygen at a time when rather ironically the world is affected by the ravages of a disease in its targeting of the lungs.”

The film features all the submitted pieces of work including:

Cara Murphy, ‘Bubble Cup’: During lockdown Cara created a series of videos for social media which gave viewers a glimpse into the making process. Her entry, ‘Bubble Cup’ was the result of making during lockdown.

Natasha Rollinson, ‘Unlocked/Locked’: Natasha created an interlocking ring set which unites to frame nature’s most valuable gem with a halo of golden sunshine.

Celine Traynor, ‘Counting Days’: Natasha made a pendant and earring set in silver and gold depicting tally marks. They represent a countdown to a better time in our future and have been made poignant by our present.

Egle Banyte, Curious Construction No. 9: Egle created a 32-segment necklace which represents the unlocking of the circular form. It is joined using fragile hinges. The necklace is unlocked by the wearer and how the hinge piece sits also depends on the wearer.

Patrick Colhoun, Barbed Wire Fence: Patrick’s piece used hardwood salvaged from his late father’s workshop. The lockdown gave him time to evaluate lots of things which would not be possible without his ability to work with clay.

Irene McBride, Escape from Lockdown: Irene painted a stained-glass panel inspired by a photo she took at St Dunstan’s in the East, London. It expresses how she felt during lockdown and her desire to escape.

You can view the Unlocked exhibition film at Craft NI’s website where you can also watch the webinar series hosted by well known BBC broadcaster, Marie-Louise Muir. You can also watch the Studio Tour films which give a glimpse into the processes and inspirations for a number of local makers.

Visit www.craftni.org or follow Craft NI on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can share your own craft stories with #augcraft #supportnicraft

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Ulster American Folk Park launches new tourism experience, Folk Park Live

Tuesday 25th August 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

The new experience features musical talents such Niall Hanna Image: The new experience features musical talents such Niall Hanna

Tourism NI and Arts Council of Northern Ireland team up with award-winning arts organisation, Snow Water, to bring visitors on a 300 year musical journey

The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone, launches ‘Folk Park Live’ this week on 27th August, taking visitors through a 300 year musical journey. This is an exciting new tourism experience by Snow Water, an award-winning arts organisation that celebrates NI’s finest artistic talent.

Snow Water has gathered together some of Northern Ireland’s most talented and versatile musicians to take visitors on a journey through music and song that charts the stories of emigration. Visitors will enjoy an immersive audiovisual tour of the museum, with songs that tell of the lives and plight, the hardships and the successes of those who had to leave Ulster over 300 years.

A partnership between Tourism NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, ‘Embrace the Place’, was established in 2019 to animate key tourism sites across the region by using the arts to tell the stories of that particular area, offering visitors something new and inspiring to enjoy. Following an investment by Tourism NI, Snow Water was commissioned to present a collection of original art work that reflects the heritage of the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh. 

Rosemary Lightbody, Experience Development Manager, Tourism NI, said:

“Embrace the Place has been an opportunity to collaborate innovatively with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland across some of our most iconic visitor destinations including experiences at Belfast's Maritime Mile, Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Navan Fort in Armagh and now, Folk Park Live at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

“Snow Water’s Folk Park Live, the final project in this initiative, delivers a whole new layer of emotion to the visitor experience at the Ulster American Folk Park and a deep connection with the place and its stories of emigration. This new interactive visitor trail also compliments Tourism NI’s new experience brand, Embrace a Giant Spirit, as through the tremendous musical talent of the participating artists and the emotional stories within the songs, visitors are taken on a journey that truly engages with the authenticity of the destination and the spirit of its people.”

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

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to see the final project from the Embrace the Place programme of events, Folk Park Live, launch at the Ulster American Folk Park, where it will be enjoyed not only by visitors to the museum but also to digital audiences around the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our venues and tourism sites have had to close their doors and it’s heartening to once again see this wonderful space reopen and present this terrific new musical experience that we can all engage with and be inspired by.

“We are proud to partner with Tourism NI on the Embrace the Place initiative which has been a tremendous success and has breathed new life into some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic and iconic locations by re-telling stories of those areas through the arts. Huge congratulations to Snow Water who now present an incredible line up of some of the region’s top musicians to take audiences on an immersive, thrilling musical journey charting the story of Ulster emigration.”

This new experience features musical talents such as Neil Martin, Jack Warnock, Gemma Bradley, Niall Hanna, Maurice Leyden, Eilidh Patterson, Gareth Dunlop, No Oil Paintings, Cathal Hayden, Mary Dillon and ROE.

A live performance from each musician was filmed at 12 locations across the Ulster American Folk Park to create a musical experience that can be enjoyed both online and on site at the Ulster American Folk Park. It includes songs from home and songs written from afar about home; Scottish-influenced fiddle music and piping; Appalachian music; religious songs; fast, lively energising music and slower reflective pieces.

Aaron Ward, Head of Audience Development, National Museums NI, added:

“We are very excited to give a warm welcome back to visitors at the Ulster American Folk Park and to launch this new partnership project, Folk Park Live. This immersive music trail is a great way to creatively and authentically explore new ways of bringing the heritage at the museum to life. The artistry from Snow Water combined with the museum expertise from National Museums NI has created a unique experience that our visitors will greatly enjoy, both from home and while they are visiting.”

Book tickets online in advance to guarantee your timeslot, with a range of ticket options available. The new visitor experience is included in the cost of the ticket. Visit www.nmni.com/whats-on/ulster-american-folk-park-tickets for more information. The experience is also available to view at www.folkparklive.com.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Children’s theatre show tours Northern Ireland

Thursday 20th August 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Youth Arts , Drama

Replay Theatre Company's latest production, COCO Image: Replay Theatre Company's latest production, COCO

A converted transit van isn’t the normal setting for the theatre but one local arts organisation has taken this unusual approach to bring a very special performance to children at home.

Founded over 30 years ago, Replay Theatre Company creates all kinds of shows for the youngest of children right up to teens, it’s probably best known for its work with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex needs. Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, its ambitions are driven by the belief that all children should have access to high quality theatre experiences.

Its latest production COCO is a story about a small koala and his adventures through the jungle. Written and performed by Mary McGurk and directed by Andrew Stanford, who also composed the sound design for the show, it is a full sensory experience, set against a brightly colored, feathery backdrop, designed to immerse the audience into COCO’s rainforest home.

Throughout August Replay has been touring Northern Ireland in their van to bring COCO to children at home. Each performance is for just one child and their family, creating a very different and intimate theatre experience.

Andrew Stanford explains:

“This show is unique in how it’s been put together. It’s quite something to see the van pull up outside a house and within a few minutes it become a stage.”

Each performance lasts 25 minutes and to minimise the Covid-19 risk, a Perspex screen separates the performer from the audience, who is seated in cosy area beneath a covered gazebo.

“We been very mindful of COVID-19 in all of our planning,” says Andrew. “This is a pioneering show and it’s allowed us to explore a new format for delivering the high-quality, inclusive experiences our audiences have come to expect from Replay. We are very proud inclusive practice remains at the forefront of innovative thinking within the arts, especially since our young audiences are among the most at-risk members of society and are likely to feel the ongoing impact of social distancing restrictions longer than most.”

Replay receives annual funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to support its year round programme of activities. Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Dance and Drama Officer at the Arts Council, says supporting organisations like Replay to find new ways of working while still delivering quality arts experiences for all is now more important than ever:

“It’s widely acknowledged that the arts can have a really positive impact on our emotional wellbeing and our mental health. So it is vital, particularly during the pandemic, that the Arts Council continues to support organisations like Replay to develop new ways of working to ensure everyone can benefit from the arts.”

COCO will conclude its current tour this week and reflecting on the production Andrew says he believes this show will leave a lasting impression on the company: “Over the last number of months, we’ve had to think about how we can continue to produce high-quality, meaningful theatre experiences during the pandemic and I think we’ve done that with COCO and now we are thinking about using this new way of working in future productions. It’s been challenging but I think we have all learnt a lot from this experience.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Edinburgh Fringe 2020 showcases leading theatre and dance work from NI to global industry leaders

Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Dance , Drama

Removed written by Fionnuala Kennedy. Produced by Prime Cut Productions Image: Removed written by Fionnuala Kennedy. Produced by Prime Cut Productions

Ten major works, created by some of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre and dance artists and arts organisations, are due to be showcased at a special online industry event organised by Edinburgh Fringe 2020, Belfast International Arts Festival and Theatre and Dance NI, with support from British Council NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Fringe, which is the biggest arts marketplace in the world, makes this an unparalleled opportunity for Northern Irish artists to network with international arts industry figures.

Four events have been specially selected for the Fringe Marketplace, a dedicated online showcase platform Edinburgh Fringe has created in response to Covid-19. Its aim is to connect international programmers, presenters and commissioners with professional artists and tour-ready work that was due to appear at this year’s Fringe, based on the trusted curatorial reputation of Fringe venues and programmers. NI artists and events included on this platform include:

  • My Left Nut by Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney. Produced by Prime Cut Production
  • Removed written by Fionnuala Kennedy. Produced by Prime Cut Productions
  • Two Fingers up by Seón Simpson and Gina Donnelly. Supported by  Tinderbox Theatre Company
  • Ireland Calling by Kat Woods

 

Theatre and Dance NI have partnered with Belfast International Arts Festival on a Fringe Exchange event which has been curated and supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and British Council NI. This event will include a showing of video extracts from the selection of new performance pieces from Northern Ireland outlined below followed by a livestreamed and interactive Q&A with the creators and artists.

The theatre and dance works below have been included in the Fringe Exchange:

  • Abomination - A DUP Opera by Conor Mitchell. Originally produced by The Belfast Ensemble and Outburst Queer Arts Festival
  • BRINK choreographed by Eileen McClory. Produced by Maiden Voyage Dance
  • Körper & Leib choreographed by Oona Doherty. Produced by Maiden Voyage Dance
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Produced by Big Telly Theatre Company
  • Politics of Comfort written and performed by Janie Doherty. Directed by Alessandra Celesia
  • Questions of a Man devised and performed by Dylan Quinn and Jenny Ecke. Produced by Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre
  • Removed written by Fionnuala Kennedy. Produced by Prime Cut Productions

 

The online event will be hosted by Richard Wakely, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Belfast International Arts Festival, who commented,

“BIAF are delighted and honoured to be working with our partners to highlight the great and often innovative practice and works from our own local artistic community. It reflects our on-going commitment to provide professional development opportunities for NI talent. Moreover, in these uncertain times for artists, it is vital that we help them to develop their practice and earn income by identifying and creating opportunities for them to share their work with audiences in other markets”.

Niamh Flanagan, Executive Director, Theatre and Dance NI said,

“We are pleased to have worked on the continued development of the ‘Spotlight on Theatre and Dance from Northern Ireland’ as part of the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and to see so many more theatre and dance artists from NI have the opportunity to have their work highlighted on such a prominent platform this year.  With support from Arts Council of Northern Ireland and British Council NI, we are proud to help deliver this support to our talented artists and organisations in partnership with Belfast International Arts Festival. Thanks also to our colleagues in Edinburgh Fringe Festival who have helped drive and support this initiative from the outset.”

Jonathan Stewart, British Council Northern Ireland Director, said,

“Covid-19 has damaged the performing arts sector both economically and in terms of how audiences connect and interact with festivals, venues and events. Despite these challenges, Edinburgh Fringe and International Festivals are providing meaningful ways to showcase creative works to audiences online, including those presented in the Spotlight from Northern Ireland programme.  Our partnership with Belfast International Arts Festival, Theatre & Dance NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland demonstrates a shared commitment to support artists and to continue championing Northern Ireland’s performing arts sector.  It is encouraging to see the creative sector opening up again this August. Working closely with Edinburgh Fringe, we’re beginning to see new opportunities develop for Northern Ireland work to tour nationally and internationally, both digitally and physically.”

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

“It’s vital that our artists and arts organisations are given opportunities to showcase their work to industry leaders and programmers outside of Northern Ireland.  It’s incredibly exciting that high-quality work from here is being showcased at the Fringe Marketplace industry event which for 2020 has moved online due to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.  This platform opens up the potential for these works to be toured nationally and internationally and to be seen by thousands of people, helping to put Northern Ireland on the map for all the right reasons.”

Programmers and industry representatives wishing to join the online Fringe Marketplace showcase must register at https://bit.ly/3kTkfyc

Register for the Fringe Exchange event on Thursday 20th August at 11am at https://bit.ly/3kBBQKX

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council awards £1.9million emergency funding for 150 arts organisations across Northern Ireland

Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Dance , Drama , Community Arts , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts , Literature

AVA Festival (Photographer Credit: Tremain Gregg) Image: AVA Festival (Photographer Credit: Tremain Gregg)

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Tuesday 18th August 2020) announced funding of £1,949,113, from their Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP), to support 150 arts organisations affected as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

150 small and medium sized arts organisations will benefit from funding grants of up to £25,000 each, from the Arts Council OEP fund, to enable them to continue producing creative work, assist with operational costs and to help plan for recovery.

The OEP fund provides much-needed financial support, a lifeline to arts organisations, at a time when essential elements of the arts sector have been decimated due to venue and gallery closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the Creative Support Fund through the  Department for Communities, to support the arts and wider culture sectors during the current pandemic. 

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

“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for 150 arts organisations who will now be able to continue to programme work and prepare for recovery.  21 of these awards are going to arts organisations who have never received Arts Council support before and we are looking forward to seeing the wonderful projects that they have planned in the coming months.”

“Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland was already in a fragile state pre-Covid-19 and we estimate that since the pandemic, organisations are facing deficits of over £6m; a figure which may increase as the year progresses. These organisations are among the most creative, flexible and inventive in our society and many are already finding imaginative and innovative ways to deliver online content. However the impact of the lockdown on their earned income has been both severe and immediate.”

“The Organisations Emergency Programme will support arts organisations by helping them buy creative time to produce new ideas for programming, plan for recovery and also aid them withstand the shock to their organisation of substantial loss of income during lockdown.  We hope now with outdoor opportunities opening up, to see even more engagement with live audiences and participants in a safe and meaningful way.”

Organisations offered funding include:

Maywe, drive-in entertainment company
Maywe specialises in the ‘drive-in’ experience and offers a unique, live experience of the arts in a safe, outdoor setting.  Maywe will use their OEP funding to produce a project entitled, Lough Down, a festival weekend of music, comedy and arts, which will take place in the iconic setting of Belfast’s Titanic area.  Audiences will be invited to attend in their cars, with sound sent through car radios with on stage action fed live to a large LED screen.

The weekend will consist of 3-4 shows each day with room for 400 cars per show.  Lough Down Festival will give a platform to a variety of established and emerging talent and performances will range from open mic shows for local musicians, to bluesy lunches, concerts, comedy and theatre – all live from the comfort of your own car!

Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics
First funding award from the Arts Council

Imagine! Festival of Ideas and politics organises an inspiring, annual, week-long programme of performances, discussions and debates.  The company aims to provide a high quality showcase for new ideas on politics, culture and activism in Northern Ireland and to encourage the participation of under-represented groups in political and cultural debate and discussion.  The popular festival attracts over 25,000 audience members annually and this year adapted to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic by moving the festival online in March 2020, attracting over 12,000 people and over 1m in social media impressions.  Their OEP funding award will support the costs involved in running the organisation to enable them to plan for their next Festival.

AVA Festival and Conference
First funding award from the Arts Council

AVA is an annual audio visual arts festival and conference that takes place in Belfast every May which celebrates and develops electronic music and digital visual arts through commissioning, conferencing, programming and broadcasting of emerging and established talent.  The 2020 Festival is postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in a significant loss and the organisation will now use their OEP funding to support running costs, plan for recovery and programme their next festival.

Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre (DQDT)
Based in the rural south west of Northern Ireland, Fermanagh’s DQDT occupies a very special position in our arts and dance scene. Synthesising cutting edge contemporary dance practice and community participatory work, DQDT uses dance to reach across the many divisions in our society, bringing the remarkable benefits of this bodily performance mode to a huge range of people, participants and spectators alike.  During lockdown this innovative company embraced technological tools to continue their wonderful work online, and put together an inspirational and multi-disciplinary arts festival, Inside Outside Festival.

DQDT will use their OEP funding award to continue and develop their online adult participation activities, develop an online youth dance programme, support the develop of the next Inside Outside Festival and to support the ongoing development of the company’s professional dance practise.

Greater Shantallow Community Arts and Studio 2
Great Shantallow Community Arts and Studio 2, based in Derry-Londonderry, is a community arts charity dedicated to making the arts accessible for all, serving a community that is based in an area of high deprivation.  

Greater Shantallow Community Arts will use their OEP funding award towards the core costs of running the organisation, planning for recovery and long-term sustainability as-well as creating a programme of weekly arts activities to their community, developing an outreach programme, taking part in local arts festivals and developing a Social Prescribing Programme.  Greater Shantallow Community Arts also celebrates their 20th anniversary in 2020 and so will develop a programme of celebratory events in the local community.

Seacourt Print Workshop
Seacourt Print Workshop is an open access printmaking studio, based in Bangor, with fantastic resources, courses and workshops.  They plan to use their OEP funding award to run more workshops at the Print Workshop based on serving smaller groups to ensure social distancing and they also wish to develop a new series of online workshops targeted at people who cannot attend Seacourt in person due to having to shield as a result of the pandemic.

For more information on the financial impact of the Coronavirus on the NI Arts Sector visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice

To read the Arts Council’s survey on financial impact of Coronavirus on NI Arts sector (April 2020) visit http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/ACNI-Coronavirus-Survey-Report-April2020.pdf

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

King of East Belfast welcomes audiences back to theatre

Monday 10th August 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments Drama

Image:

Kabosh’s latest production 'The King of East Belfast' welcomed audiences back this weekend for the first indoor theatre performance since lockdown in March.

Directed by Paula McFetridge from Kabosh and written and performed by Stephen Beggs, it tells the story of East Belfast bookmaker Clark Groves. Supported through the Arts Council’s National Lottery funds, the socially distanced performances, will all take place inside a shop unit at Connswater Shopping Centre, the site of the old Belfast Ropeworks Company, where many of Clark’s customers would have worked.

Stephen Beggs explained: “My father-in-law is called Clark Groves and ‘The King of East Belfast’ is based on the true life story of his grandfather, also called Clark Groves.  Before gambling was made legal in Northern Ireland, Clark Sr. was a legendary East Belfast bookmaker who strived to be both a successful bookie and a good man.  Through his generosity to local people from what he called ‘this deadly business’, it was said that Clark Sr. ‘married and buried them on the Newtownards Road’.  Clark’s funeral in 1957 was one of the biggest seen before or since in Dundonald Cemetery as hundreds of people came out to pay their respects and to thank him for his help.

“I’ve been really fascinated by the stories I have heard about Clark Sr. from my family for many years and I’m looking forward to breathing life into a forgotten period in the history of East Belfast.”

The performance is one of dozens events taking part this week as part of the Eastside Arts Festival (6th-16th August). Featuring music, theatre, literature, story-telling, visual art, talks and tours under the theme, Moments of Joy, this year’s events can be enjoyed online from the comfort of your own home, outdoors in person, or in a small number of east Belfast locations as part of a live, socially distanced audience.

For the full festival programme and ticket information visit www.eastsidearts.net. Follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest20

Watch the Arts Council's short video featuring 'The King of East Belfast' and EastSide Arts Festival 2020 at https://youtu.be/B_hVbXwZD1c

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Dates agreed to allow the re-opening of theatres and concert halls in Northern Ireland

Friday 7th August 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

Theatres and Concert Halls can re-open from 8th August 2020. Image: Theatres and Concert Halls can re-open from 8th August 2020.

Following a meeting of the Executive on (Thursday 6th August 2020) it was announced that Theatres and Concert Halls can re-open from 8th August 2020.

The Department for Communities has worked closely with other administrations, including the Arts Council NI (ACNI), to put forward proposals to the Department of Health and the Executive to bring forward these dates.

The Department recognises that theatre and concert hall staff will need time to prepare for the safe return of their audiences, therefore, they will initially re-open on a restricted basis. During August staff will be able to return to work to make preparations for the return of live audiences and performers can start rehearsals. 

To support the safe reopening of performance venues, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland recently published a comprehensive guidance manual, which can be downloaded at http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/In-the-Bubble-of-Our-Making-Reopening-the-Arts-in-Northern-Ireland-July-2020.pdf

The Arts Council is also currently developing new funding programmes to support any adjustments required in making venues safe for reopening.  These programmes are expected to be announced in mid-August. 

It is hoped that audiences will be able to return to venues on 1 September, as long as the appropriate social distancing measures are in place.

Welcoming the announcement, Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said:

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on all those who work in the creative industries. Our theatres and concert halls are at the heart of our cultural life and the safe reopening of these venues is a welcome step towards a return to live performances.

“There is nothing quite like the buzz of live performance, over the past few months audiences have missed the opportunity to support our artists and enjoy the rich, eclectic and unique arts experiences they share with us.

“It is hoped that some venues can return to hosting live performances at the beginning of September, although we remain mindful of the ongoing challenges we face in dealing with the restrictions of Covid-19.  The final decision to reopen will be dependent upon the safety of our theatre staff and the public”.

Also welcoming the announcement, Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

"The Arts Council is delighted to welcome the news from the NI Executive that theatres and concert halls can re-open from tomorrow, 08 August.

This is the day everyone in the arts has been working steadily towards since the onset of the global pandemic closed the doors of arts venues across Northern Ireland. As part of the preparation for re-opening our venues safely to staff, artists and the public, the Arts Council published a comprehensive guide to re-opening which covers all the up-to-date recommendations for safe opening. It can be found here http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/In-the-Bubble-of-Our-Making-Reopening-the-Arts-in-Northern-Ireland-July-2020.pdf

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland will soon be opening two new Capital programmes to support organisations in preparing for the safe reopening of their venues.  We will inform the public when these programmes open on our website and social media.

Of course, there are major challenges still facing these venues – while social distancing remains, it will be very difficult for arts organisations to gather the vital box office revenue from paying customers which is necessary to keep them running properly. This will also have an impact on the very many freelance professionals these venues employ to bring the best of the arts to the public – hardship in that sector remains a serious problem for all of us to address.

But the good news is that the road ahead is at least now visible and the Arts Council will work with colleagues and partners in the arts and the wider society to safeguard both the public and the arts providers.”

In April, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey launched the £1.5m Creative Support Fund to support individuals and organisations in the Arts Sector in response to COVID-19. The fund reopened on 31 July with a further £4m support package for the arts, creative industries and cultural sector.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Clandeboye At Home: Beethoven 250

Friday 7th August 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Clandeboye at Home 2020 Image: Clandeboye at Home 2020

The Clandeboye Festival is going digital, with a series of online concerts celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

The festival will premier online from the 18 - 22 August via the Camerata Ireland website. Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its National Lottery funds, stay-at-home audiences will be treated to five concerts showcasing the full cycle of Beethoven’s magnificent piano concertos, with Artistic Director Barry Douglas as soloist and conductor.

Barry Douglas, Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland said:

“Initially, we were disappointed that it would not be possible to host a live festival at Clandeboye this year. We will sorely miss performing live for our supportive and committed audiences. However, we were determined to use this time to create something new, something special that encapsulates Beethoven’s spirit of creativity and ingenuity.

“As an orchestra, Beethoven holds such a special place in our hearts. We regularly play his music all over the world, and always relish in how it transcends barriers and creates connections. It’s vivacious, intense, and powerful, but also has a strong sense of personality and charm. During this difficult and testing period, many of us have been turning to art and music for comfort. We hope that our online Beethoven series will give audiences all over the world a sense of connection and joy during this isolating and difficult moment in time.”

Hosted by presenter John Toal, and recorded on site at Clandeboye Estate, Co. Down by a socially-distanced orchestra, Camerata Ireland have created a vibrant celebration of Beethoven’s music adapted for the world in the time of COVID-19. Despite the challenges of bringing an orchestra together in a socially distant environment, the musicians of Camerata Ireland were delighted to return to the concert hall after a four month hiatus.

Continuing his remarks, Barry Douglas said: “It has been such a privilege to perform alongside my colleagues and friends for the first time in months. We are grateful to both the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, our principal funder, and Randox our Global Sponsor for their support in making this project happen. There were a lot of practical considerations to be made while planning our set up: 2 metre spacing between each player, making face-masks available, and of course, liberal applications of hand sanitiser! The socially-distanced layout felt slightly unusual to begin with but we quickly relaxed into the joy of making music together once again. The result is really quite special, and we’re excited to share the finished product with you all in August.”

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

“The Clandeboye Festival is an annual musical highlight of summer in Northern Ireland, offering audiences the chance to hear world-class artists perform an impeccably curated programme of classical music. Due to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, many arts organisations, venues and festivals have had to adapt and bring their work online. We are delighted that Camerata Ireland is bringing the 19th Clandeboye Festival to audiences digitally and look forward to a series of concerts celebrating the music of Beethoven. The Arts Council is proud to once again support the Clandeboye Festival through National Lottery and public funding and wish the team every success for this year’s festival.”

This innovative recording project from the only all-Ireland chamber orchestra will be released over five evenings, from the 18 - 22 August, when the live Clandeboye Festival would have been taking place. ‘Clandeboye At Home’ will then remain online until August 2021 for audiences across the globe to stream on demand.

For further details visit www.camerata-ireland.com, or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CamerataIreland

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Job Opportunity: Director of Strategic Development & Partnerships

Friday 7th August 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

The Arts Council is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland and now has the following vacancy: Director of Strategic Development & Partnerships

Ref: 20/01   Director of Strategic Development & Partnerships
Permanent   37 hours per week
Grade 7   £48,829 - £53,518 per annum (Aug 18)

Reporting to the Chief Executive, the post-holder will be responsible for the provision of strategic advice and policy development to the Arts Council, ensuring that key strategic relationships are developed and maintained to support delivery of the Council’s priorities.

Closed 12 noon on Friday 4th September 2020.

We are an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council of Northern Ireland publishes manual for the safe reopening of performance venues

Thursday 6th August 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments

The Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts Image: The Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today, Wednesday 5th August 2020, published a comprehensive guidance manual, to support the safe reopening of arts performance venues, closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking its title from lines of a poem by Northern Ireland poet, Miriam Gamble, In the bubble of our making: reopening the arts in Northern Ireland, commissioned from Slua health and safety specialists, provides an extensive range of practical measures that will enable performance spaces, including theatres, arts centres, galleries, studios and arts hubs, to re-open to the public safely and in full compliance with current NI Executive and UK Government guidelines and regulations.

The guidance sets out the protocols, adjustments and equipment that will be required by venues to maintain social distancing and protect the health and wellbeing of audiences, performers, staff and participants. It covers all aspects of reopening, including risk assessments, staff training, capacity considerations and special provisions, so that audiences can be reassured that all the appropriate measures are in place and the environment they are entering is safe.

There is also a special section within the manual, ‘Creating Work’, which offers guidance for organisations, arts groups, individual practitioners and everyone engaged within the arts in taking those important steps back into working together safely to present public performances.

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

“There is an enormous appetite for a return to live, in-person, arts, and we want to make sure that our venues have the most up-to-date guidance that will allow them to safely open their doors and welcome back audiences.  We are also keen to see arts organisations continue to develop the astonishing aptitude they have shown during the lockdown for adapting to circumstances and finding novel ways of reaching out to audiences. We can use this experience alongside the new guidance to expand our horizons and re-engage audiences in different ways, in different shapes and in different places. Out of the current challenges could emerge an altogether new and complementary model of how we make and present the arts in Northern Ireland.”

To download the manual, In the bubble of our making: reopening the arts in Northern Ireland, visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/In-the-Bubble-of-Our-Making-Reopening-the-Arts-in-Northern-Ireland-July-2020.pdf

*The poem is from ‘On Fancying American Film Stars’, published in The Squirrels Are Dead (Bloodaxe Books 2010) by Miriam Gamble, whose third collection What Planet won the €10,000 Pigott Prize in May this year.

Please note the NI Executive steps to recovery for the Sport ,Cultural and leisure activities https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-and-what-they-mean-you

Northern Ireland is currently at Step 3 and we are awaiting a date for concert and theatre rehearsals resuming which we hope will be soon. You will find this guide useful in helping you to prepare safely for this stage, and reopening when next steps for theatres ,art centres and venues are announced.

Please check the NI Executive website before you embark on any reopening activities.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Live Opera Returns to Belfast in August 2020

Thursday 6th August 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Festival of Voice in Belfast finalist 2020 Image: Festival of Voice in Belfast finalist 2020

Northern Ireland Opera is bringing The Festival of Voice our much-loved annual celebration of singing to Belfast this August, with a theme of Myths and Legends, in partnership with BBC Radio 3. All events will be performed live in the First Church Belfast on August 28-30th and recorded: BBC Radio 3 will broadcast the recitals in the early autumn while the competition finale will be filmed and released via the Northern Ireland Opera YouTube channel in September.

Usually this celebration of the best young opera voices from the island of Ireland takes place in the beautiful coastal village of Glenarm. While we cannot be there this year due to COVID 19, we are delighted to still be able to bring live performance to Belfast across three days of recitals.

For the competition part of the Festival, five finalists have the opportunity to work with prestigious vocal coaches across the weekend in the build-up to our annual finale where they compete by performing arias, duets and Irish songs in front of a judging panel of opera experts, hosted by our Patron, Sean Rafferty. These events will all take place in the historic First Church Belfast, home to our annual Summer Recital series and Christmas Concert. The winner of the Deborah Voigt Opera Prize will become the Northern Ireland Opera Voice of 2020. The performances will be recorded live in Belfast and released via our YouTube channel on a date to be confirmed in mid-August.

This year’s finalists are David Corr (baritone), David Howes (bass baritone), Andrew Irwin (tenor), Sarah Luttrell (mezzo-soprano) and Jade Phoenix (soprano). The winner is awarded a monetary prize and the chance to attend Canto al Serchio in Tuscany, run by Belfast-born international baritone, Bruno Caproni, one of Northern Ireland’s most successful opera stars.

The Glenarm Festival of Voice also features three BBC Radio 3 Recitals. This year we will welcome soprano Ailish Tynan, mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley and baritone James Newby, with accompanist Simon Lepper.  They’ll be bringing a wonderful range of concerts exploring our theme of ‘Myths and Legends’.  These performances will also be recorded in the First Church, Belfast and broadcast in the autumn on BBC Radio 3.

The Festival of Voice is generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, the Esmé Mitchell Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast International Arts Festival Reveals Plans for Autumn Festival

Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Travel virtually at Belfast International Arts Festival this October courtesy of Portuguese theatre maker and performer Pedro Penim’s DOING IT, which explores his secret obsession with remote islands. Photographer Ana Viotti. Image: Travel virtually at Belfast International Arts Festival this October courtesy of Portuguese theatre maker and performer Pedro Penim’s DOING IT, which explores his secret obsession with remote islands. Photographer Ana Viotti.

Northern Ireland’s largest contemporary arts festival returns for its 58th edition this October with a programme of inspirational events that seeks to respond creatively to the current pandemic. Belfast International Arts Festival’s 2020 edition will primarily be hosted online, from Monday 12 October to Sunday 1 November. A cornerstone of Northern Ireland’s cultural calendar, this year’s programme features an extended Talks & Ideas programme; theatre, dance and music performances reimagined for a digital audience; and developmental initiatives for artists from across the island.

The 2020 edition explores contemporary matters of interest such as gender equality, multi-culturalism, representation, the climate crisis, and democracy.

Making the best out of the move online, the Talks and Ideas programme strand sees BIAF embarking on a new cross-border partnership with Westival, an annual arts festival based in Westport, County Mayo, as part of IN-visible ID-entities 2, an ongoing initiative encouraging cultural collaboration across the island and supported by the Government of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. BIAF deepens its ongoing partnership with the Institut Francais, which promotes French culture internationally, with shared online programming that will bring key and emerging French writers simultaneously to audiences across Ireland, France and the UK.

In response to the financial challenges caused by Covid-19, BIAF has consequently launched a new online donations platform with the aim of increasing support from individuals to invest in future festival editions and projects, either with a one-off gift or monthly donation. Organisers are encouraging the public to support them in creating powerful experiences, working with artists to support the development and creation of distinctive new work, and contributing positively to the cultural and economic revival of the city.

Festival Director, Richard Wakely, is looking forward to the 58th edition of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts event; “In a tumultuous world, art matters. Why – because it can make a positive difference to our lives by allowing us to examine what it means to be human, to voice and express, and to bring people and ideas together. That is what we try to do each year at Belfast International Arts Festival. For 2020, it will obviously have a different feel with so much of it being presented digitally and online but audiences can rest assured that the content will be as entertaining and as enlightening as always. Audiences are at the heart of what we do and their continued support will be more important than ever in sustaining BIAF through these challenging times.”

BIAF regularly attracts audiences in excess of 50,000 each year, from home and abroad. This autumn, audiences can look forward to an exciting and thought-provoking programme comprising specially created performances for online, live-streamed events, events recorded in some of Belfast’s iconic locations, and international film and documentary work.

Among the international work is Portuguese theatre maker and performer Pedro Penim’s DOING IT, an endearing personal piece about his secret obsession with remote islands across the world. In a livestreamed lecture performance, audiences will travel virtually to his ‘island collection’ learning a little more about these places and what drives this secret passion, and may reflect on their own private obsessions.

Local company Big Telly, who have become a world leader in live digital theatre, will open this year’s edition with their premiere of a new online and interactive theatrical production of Macbeth. From their own devices, the audience will enter the world of the three witches and may interact with characters, decode messages and carry out undercover missions.  Macbeth promises to be a fully interactive, intriguing piece of theatre that engages audiences in the action, as well as the moral and ethical nuances of this classic Shakespeare tragedy.

BIAF’s principal funder is the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and it is also supported by Belfast City Council, British Council, the Government of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and a range of funders and sponsors.

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

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is immensely proud to be Principal Funder of Belfast International Arts Festival which for this year will bring the 58th edition of this tremendous festival to audiences digitally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Richard and the team at the Festival have risen to the challenges brought by the pandemic and have produced another innovative, impressive and world-class programme for audiences to engage with online this year.  BIAF also continues to offer a vital platform for work created in Northern Ireland to be profiled to local and international audiences and I would encourage everyone to get involved.”

Tickets for Macbeth go on sale in mid-August at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com and the full BIAF20 programme, the majority of which will be free of charge, will be revealed in early September.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council opens £1.1m emergency funding programme for individuals working in the Creative Economy

Tuesday 4th August 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is pictured L-R with Country Music singer Cliona Hagan from Co Tyrone and Deirdre McKenna, a visual artist/curator and studio member of Flax Art Studios Belfast to launch the reopening of the £4m Creative Support Fund Image: Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is pictured L-R with Country Music singer Cliona Hagan from Co Tyrone and Deirdre McKenna, a visual artist/curator and studio member of Flax Art Studios Belfast to launch the reopening of the £4m Creative Support Fund

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Future Screens NI, today (Friday 31st July 2020) opened a new funding programme designed to support those working in the Creative Economy including freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers during the COVID-19 crisis. The Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP), worth £1m from the Department for Communities and an additional £100,000 from Future Screens NI, offers individuals the opportunity to apply for grants of £1,200, £3,000 or £5,000 each.

The IERP provides much needed financial support and employment, a lifeline to individuals working within the wider Creative Economy, at a time when essential elements of the arts sector have been decimated due to venue and gallery closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.  The IERP builds on the initial, Artist Emergency Programme (AEP), a fund that was opened by the Arts Council on 27th April 2020 and was heavily oversubscribed. 

This new funding programme is one element of the wider £4m funding package recently announced by Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, Department for Communities, to support the arts, creative industries and cultural sector during the current pandemic. Further measures will be rolled out to organisations in the creative sector in the coming weeks.

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

“The opening of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme today is welcome news and we hope to allocate this funding quickly as possible. We also welcome an additional £100,000 provided by Future Screens NI as part of this programme.  The programme is designed to support those artists and freelance creatives who were left struggling with serious financial hardships since their livelihoods disappeared practically overnight as a result of the pandemic. Demand on our previous Artists Emergency Fund for creative workers outstripped capacity by 3:1.  The new Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme provides critically-needed support and will help to bridge the gap over the coming months until the Executive has an opportunity to consider and agree a more comprehensive, long-term government support package for arts, culture and heritage in Northern Ireland.”

Professor Paul Moore, Director Future Screens NI said,

“Future Screens NI welcome the Individual Emergency Resilience Fund of £1.1mn which will provide release much needed resources to freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers.  We are delighted to work in partnership with the Arts Council NI and the Department for Communities to provide this much needed stimulus to the Creative Industries.  Moving Forward Future Screens NI welcome the opportunity to continue to work with both the Arts Council and the Department for Communities to target resources and support into the sector   Since the outset of the crisis Future Screens have provided much needed resources and support to the Creative Industries to address some of the most severe implications of Covid-19”.

The IERP is open for online applications from Friday 31st July and will close at 4pm on Monday 17th August for grants ranging from £1,200, £3,000 and £5,000.  For information on eligibility, guidance notes and to apply visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/individuals-emergency-resilience-programme

For more information on the financial impact of the Coronavirus on the NI Arts Sector visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice

To read the Arts Council’s survey on financial impact of Coronavirus on NI Arts sector (April 2020) visit http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/publications-documents/ACNI-Coronavirus-Survey-Report-April2020.pdf

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Chris Ledger, Champion of Disability Arts in Northern Ireland

Monday 3rd August 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with great sadness of the death on Saturday 1st August of Chris Ledger, CEO of the University of Atypical and former Disability Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council, who has died following a long illness.

One of Chris’s major achievements during her period in charge of the Arts and Disability Forum was to oversee the transition and modernisation of the organisation into the University of Atypical, the new name in 2018 reflecting a new sense of empowerment amongst the disabled and D/deaf arts community. The charity, which is led by disabled and D/deaf people, supports and enables disabled and D/deaf people’s involvement in the arts and is an integral part of the Arts Council’s portfolio. The many key services it offers - the gallery space, the support for artists through the annual Individual Disabled Artists (iDA) artists awards managed on behalf of the Arts Council, the Arts & Disability Equality Charter designed to incentivise venues to become more accessible to disabled and D/deaf audiences and artists, the advocacy and developmental work, the internationally-renowned annual Bounce! Festival which gives a platform to disabled and deaf artists - all contributed significantly to a much stronger representation, profile and visibility of disabled and deaf arts in Northern Ireland. Under Chris’s stewardship, the University of Atypical heralded a dynamic future for all of the artists, members, visitors and participants who benefit directly from its many valuable services.

Immediately prior to taking up the post of CEO of the Arts and Disability Forum, Chris worked as Disability Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council (2004-2009). Here, she was instrumental in raising the profile of the sector, highlighting its specific needs and developmental opportunities, and defining the Arts Council’s existing policies on Arts and Disability and Arts and Health.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, paid tribute:
“Chris was a warm, compassionate, intelligent person with a vivacious sense of humour and a determination to make a difference, and she brought all these fine qualities to her work. She was a passionate advocate of the rights of disabled and D/deaf people to be fully represented in arts and culture, and through her commitment and her brand of leadership, which was infectious, she did make a very significant difference. With her passing, the Disability Arts sector has lost a true progressive, the arts community has lost one of its key players, and we have lost a very dear friend and colleague. Chris will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts are with Louise, her family and her many close friends.”

Sean Fitzsimons, Chair of the University of Atypical, paid tribute:
“Chris’s contributions to the Arts & Disability Forum/University of Atypical resonate far beyond the confines of the physical walls of the organisation. They are visible in the innumerable smiles on the faces of artists, their families and the public. During Chris’s stewardship as CEO, D/deaf and disabled arts and culture was mainstreamed to a degree never seen before on these shores or elsewhere. The general public and government here in NI are now aware of the contributions of so many disabled people, thanks to Chris’s tireless championing. Her underlining emphasis on Disability Culture and Rights was and continues to be revolutionary.
I am privileged to call her a friend, colleague and mentor. Her passing is a sad loss for us all.”

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

EastSide Arts Festival will bring Moments of Joy this August

Monday 20th July 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

Rachel Kennedy from EastSide Arts Festival, Noirin McKinney from Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Gemma Mae Halligan and Jude Quinn from Amadan who will perform at the festival and Stuart Bailie who will host a special tribute event to Van Morrison. Image: Rachel Kennedy from EastSide Arts Festival, Noirin McKinney from Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Gemma Mae Halligan and Jude Quinn from Amadan who will perform at the festival and Stuart Bailie who will host a special tribute event to Van Morrison.

From the 6th - 16th August join EastSide Arts Festival as they present an 11-day programme of inspiring and creative events featuring music, theatre, literature, story-telling, visual art, talks and tours under the theme, Moments of Joy.  This year’s events can be enjoyed online from the comfort of your own home, outdoors in person, or in a small number of east Belfast locations as part of a live, socially distanced audience.

With the challenges presented by Covid-19, this year’s festival, supported by principal funder Arts Council of Northern Ireland and funders Belfast City Council and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, has adapted to ensure that it continues to bring unique, exciting, joyful events to east Belfast this summer whilst making safety and accessibility the main priority.

EastSide Arts Festival 2020 presents a range of new and interesting experiences for everyone to enjoy. Whether you plan to participate online, outdoors or as part of a socially distanced audience, here’s some festival highlights to help you create your Moments of Joy this August:

1. Theatre moments: Kabosh Theatre Company presents to a live, socially distanced audience at Connswater Shopping Centre, The King of East Belfast, a story of ‘Old Godfather Clark’ aka well-known and popular east Belfast bookie, Clark Groves. Join Amadan Theatre Company online for The Old Curiosity Show, designed specifically for an online audience it will be theatre as you’ve never seen it before! Or perhaps join The Travelling Cycle Circus on their outdoor adventures along the Connswater Community Greenway.

2. Heritage moments: The iconic Strand Arts Centre will provide socially distanced cinematic treats in their beautiful art deco building including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and Green Book (2018). Join well known east Belfast man Sammy Douglas for the much anticipated online launch of the EastSide Lives Heritage Trail with a film preview and Q&A, or take a virtual C.S. Lewis or Yardmen Tour in which you can experience all the sights and sounds of the east without leaving your home!

3. Music & Audio moments: EastSide Sessions at Portview will premiere new recordings by musicians Gareth Dunlop, Edelle McMahon, Dani Larkin and Arborist, in the stunning surroundings of Portview Trade Centre, including short interviews with each artist by Anthony Toner. Also at Portview, and fully live-streamed, will be EastSide Electronics. Presented by The Night Institute, this event will feature a selection of the city's most forward-thinking artists for a night of exciting electronic music. Also online, join Stuart Bailie as he celebrates Van Morrison’s 75th birthday, which occurs in August, with two special events featuring Stuart’s reviews of his 75 favourite Van songs. Join the festival for an online special performance at The Ballyhackamore Working Men’s Club by renowned musician Joshua Burnside.

4. Online Storytelling moments: Listen to Drag Queens reading from their favourite children’s books, artists reading from books for children highlighting specific issues such as race or gender or attend the online launch of author Jan Carson’s Postcard Stories 2.

5. Art moments: Join us on Zoom for a workshop with Alice McCullough about painting, poetry and a discussion about the relationship between these art forms. Or come to one of our socially distanced Street Art Walking Tours with Seedhead Arts and discover the new artwork that adorns walls across east Belfast.

6. More moments: There’s a whole host of outdoor and online events including green yoga with music, Greenway photography, The Vault Artists’ Market at C.S. Lewis Square, a Dragtastic Wrap Party, exhibitions and artists’ talks, and Samba in the Park with BEATnDRUM.

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

“The Arts Council, as a principal funder, is delighted to be able to support the EastSide Arts Festival as an important community-based event. They have produced a great programme for 2020 in response to the circumstances imposed by Covid-19; from online, live-streamed music from EastSide Electronics, to virtual tours of C.S. Lewis or the Yardmen, to live events such as the much-anticipated play by Kabosh, The King of East Belfast, which will be a welcome return for audiences to live, socially distanced theatre. We wish Rachel and the EastSide Arts team continued success as they go about delivering this amazing mix of virtual, online, outdoors and live events all the while contributing to the creative transformation of east Belfast.”

Director of the EastSide Arts Festival, Rachel Kennedy commented:

“This is a year like no other and like all our friends and partners we will be putting the health and safety of our audiences above everything else. For this reason, most of our festival events this year will be productions that you can enjoy online. There will be the usual assortment of events that celebrate the people, places and spaces of east Belfast for everyone to participate in, but this year we have adapted many of these so that audiences can choose to enjoy many of these safely at home or outdoors. With the theme, ‘Moments of Joy’, the programme continues to reflect and celebrate the growing diversity and creativity that is making its presence felt in this part of the city. A huge thanks to the support of Arts Council of Northern Ireland as well as all our funders and sponsors who have helped us deliver a festival during these challenging times. We warmly invite you to enjoy this year’s unique and exciting programme and we thank you for supporting not only EastSide Arts, but the many artists we have had the pleasure of working with to make it happen.”

For the full festival programme and ticket information visit www.eastsidearts.net. Follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest20.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council’s Box Office Survey shows true impact of Covid-19 on the arts

Thursday 9th July 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Theatre audience. Image: Theatre audience.

New research released this week by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland shows the severity of the crisis facing the arts sector as box office income grinds to a halt amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A survey of box-office organisations by the Arts Council, in collaboration with thrive, has revealed that cultural organisations have on average lost 72% of their box office revenue, equating to a projected loss of £9.5 million this year.

The research brings together responses from 42 organisations, including festivals, venues and other arts organisations. Of the different groups which took part, venues will be hit hardest with expected losses of £8.3 million. In addition to losing out on ticket sales, organisations will also be impacted by the loss of £5.3 million in ancillary income, from food and drink, sponsorships, donations, merchandise and other revenue streams.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, at the Arts Council explained:

“This important research demonstrates the true cost of Covid-19 on an already fragile sector. For venues and festivals in particular, box office revenue is absolutely vital as for many it makes up more than 50% of their annual income.

“Culture and the arts are at the centre of life in Northern Ireland. Last year over 750,000 tickets were sold to arts events, a massive 221,000 people attended a festival event, while another 348,000 took part in an arts activity. The closure of venues and cancellation of events therefore is something which affects all our lives.

“The purpose of this research was to find out how much ticketed cultural organisations were affected by the pandemic. These results will be absolutely vital going forward, helping the Arts Council to engage with government and support future planning for the cultural sector.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • The pandemic has severely impacted box office revenue – cultural organisations expect losses of £9.5 million in box office revenue.
  • On average, organisations lost 72% of their box office revenue - This loss of box office revenue has a significant impact on cultural organisations, as it contributes to over half of venues’ and festivals’ earned income
  • Cultural organisations also expect to lose nearly £5.3 million in ancillary income, including nearly £2.5m in food and drink revenue. This results in an estimated total of £14.8 million in total losses among the 42 organisations surveyed. The extent of this will be much larger across the wider sector.
  • £1.3 million has gone towards refunds and vouchers, including £601k in refunds and £734k in vouchers.
  • The cultural sector reaches a wide audience: among respondents, there were 750k tickets sold, 348k participations, 145k exhibition attendees, and 221k festival goers.
  • The cultural sector also plays an important role in the economy: the cultural organisations taking the survey employ a total of 535 full-time staff, 2,879 freelancer artists, and 1,425 volunteers.

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Communities Minister & children from Scoil an Droichid join in Arts Care’s SAY A GREAT BIG HELLO

Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

Pictured launching the campaign is Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín and Arts Care Clown Doctor, Dr. Fizz with local children (L-R), Sally McKinney and sisters Erin, Cara and Grace Daly, from Scoil an Droichid. Image: Pictured launching the campaign is Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín and Arts Care Clown Doctor, Dr. Fizz with local children (L-R), Sally McKinney and sisters Erin, Cara and Grace Daly, from Scoil an Droichid.

As part of their new Upside Down Festival this week, Arts Care has launched the, Say A Great Big Hello campaign, supported by public and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Children In Need.

Believing in the benefits of creativity to well-being, Arts Care, makes all forms of art accessible to patients, clients, residents and staff in health and social care settings across Northern Ireland.

The Say a Great Big Hello campaign is calling upon children throughout the region to paint a happy picture, take a fun photograph or record a song, poem or dance using the word ‘hello’ and send these into Arts Care who will share them with other children who are currently hospital, hospice or residential care, to cheer them up.  All the photos and video clips will form part of an online art exhibition on Arts Care’s Facebook page and Arts Care 4U YouTube channel for children everywhere to enjoy. 

Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, commented,

“I am delighted to be able to launch this wonderful campaign ‘Say a Big Hello’ by Arts Care.  It is an excellent opportunity for young people at home to say ‘hello’ through their artwork to the many children and young people in hospital or who are unwell during these difficult times. It also allows them an opportunity to showcase their magnificent work.”

Dr Jenny Elliott, Chief Executive/Artistic Director Arts Care, added,

“We have been thrilled with the ‘Say a Great Big Hello’ Campaign  to support many of the children and young people in hospital, in care and in specialised units are experiencing a real sense of anxiety and isolation from their families, friends and community during Covid-19. We are excited that the campaign is running through to the end of our ‘Upside Down’ Summer Art Festival which is gratefully supported by Children in Need and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Every one of the’ Great Big Hellos’ sent in will be forwarded to the children and young people in Health and Social Care Services to let them know we are thinking of them.”

School children from Irish-medium school, Scoil an Droichid, in South Belfast, recently took part in the campaign.  They created a wonderful collection of videos and pictures to say ‘hello’ and ‘dia duit’ to children in hospitals and other care settings, who may be extra isolated and worried at this difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic.  
Fionnguala Mc Cotter, Principal, Scoil an Droichid, added, “We are delighted that our children have taken part in such an uplifting initiative. We at Scoil an Droichid promote a nurturing learning environment for our children and their families. So, it is great to see that some of these attributes have been used to help others during this tough time.  We are extremely proud of these fantastic young people.”

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

“The Arts Council is delighted to support the Say A Great Big Hello, initiative and the wider work of Arts Care through public and National Lottery funding.  Since lockdown began, this terrific arts organisation has been a shining example of how to adapt and bring people and service users together digitally online to continue their vital work.  I would encourage everyone to get involved in this brilliant, fun campaign that will really lift the spirits of young children in care settings.” 

To get involved in the Say A Great Big Hello Campaign and online exhibition, send you photos and video clips to info@artscare.co.uk and visit https://www.facebook.com/ArtsCareNI to find out more about the Upside Down Festival.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council awards over £1m of National Lottery funding to support arts organisations

Tuesday 7th July 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Visual Arts , Northern Ireland Music , Literature , Drama , Craft , Dance , Community Arts , Circus & Carnival Arts

Pictured are Críostóir Ó Bradáin and Gráinne Ní Bhradaín from the Armagh Pipers Club. Image: Pictured are Críostóir Ó Bradáin and Gráinne Ní Bhradaín from the Armagh Pipers Club.

FORTY-TWO arts organisations across Northern Ireland are set to receive over £1 million of Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding to bring a series of high-quality arts projects to people living through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lottery Project Funding will be used to support the development and creation of year round arts activities and events, many of which will be online and socially distanced, through literature, drama, visual arts, music and community programming.

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

“Thanks to National Lottery players, over £1m of arts funding will directly benefit communities across Northern Ireland. This vital source of funding will once again allow our core arts organisations to continue their work this year, reaching out to the hearts of towns and cities across Northern Ireland, providing quality arts experiences and arts programming for all.

“We are living in the most challenging of times but our arts organisations remain committed, creative and resilient in their approach. Many are now looking at moving tuition, performances and activities online, while others are exploring other ways to continue their work within current government guidelines.

“Our key arts organisations have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding will provide some level of stability and continuity for the year ahead but there is still much to do if we are to ensure the survival of this important sector into the future.”

Today’s announcement, while welcome news, is set against a backdrop of a massive loss of income by arts organisations, estimated to be at least  £17.5 million this year alone, and has had a devastating impact on all who work within the sector.

This year the Arts Council’s Lottery application process was limited to previous recipients who provide a year round programme of activities and which are considered to be a core part of the arts infrastructure in Northern Ireland.  Among the 42 successful applicants offered Lottery Project Funding are:

C21 Theatre Company
C21 will use their Lottery Project Funding to create a Reminiscence Project to take into nursing and care homes in Northern Ireland. Five short theatrical films will be made on different themes, one per week over five weeks. The films will address the following themes: home, community, school days, work and going out. These will then be broadcast over Youtube to be watched in care homes. Other wraparound elements will include reminiscence boxes to complement the films, and reminiscence workshops.

CRAIC Theatre and Arts Centre, Coalisland
CRAIC Theatre and Arts Centre offer a yearlong programme of high quality arts opportunities, including drama, music and dance. Thanks to support through the Arts Council’s Lottery Project Funding, this year’s plans include a drama academy, annual showcase performances and a summer drama programme. Despite the current restrictions, CRAIC will endeavour to reach out using virtual platforms to provide a safe and welcoming environment for young people to engage with activities.

Armagh Pipers
Armagh Pipers Club has been at the forefront of traditional music education since its foundation in 1966. They deliver an annual programme of classes for students who come from far and wide to attend. During the Covid-19 crisis teaching has moved online. Their Lottery Project award from the Arts Council will allow this valuable work to continue in line with government guidance benefiting hundreds of students.

City of Derry International Choral Festival
Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic this year’s City of Derry International Choral Festival will now be held almost entirely online. With Funding from the Arts Council’s Lottery Project funding, the programme will include performances from leading choral and a capella ensembles broadcast via Facebook, newly commissioned work, socially distanced events, panel discussions and talks.

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Exquisite 240 year old Italian violin is presented to new Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Jamie Howe

Friday 3rd July 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Jamie Howe Image: Ulster Youth Orchestra Leader, Jamie Howe

Exceptional young violinist, Jamie Howe, aged 18, from Lisburn, has been announced as the new Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO), and has been presented by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the Milton Violin, an exquisite 240 year-old instrument made by renowned Neapolitan violin maker, Joseph Gagliano, to be played throughout his tenure as leader.

The precious violin, which is 239 years old, was generously donated to the Arts Council by Professor Alan Milton in 1980 and in the past has been used by the Leader and principal players of the Ulster Orchestra.  In 2013 the Arts Council decided to loan the precious instrument to the Ulster Youth Orchestra to be used by exceptionally gifted musicians in their role as Leader.

Jamie, who faced rigorous auditions to become the Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, is also a member of the viola section of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and is a current student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, having been offered a place in its sixth form to take his ‘A’ levels alongside his musical studies in violin, viola and piano.  From September, Jamie plans to continue his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. 

Established in 1993, The UYO is the National Youth Orchestra of Northern Ireland and is supported by public funding and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council and offers the highest level of orchestral training in the region.  Through its annual summer residential courses and concerts and outreach projects, it provides young gifted musicians with the opportunity to develop their musical skills further.

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

“Congratulations to Jamie in becoming Leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra.  The Orchestra has become a vibrant and creative force in the musical life of Northern Ireland, bringing top quality orchestral playing to a wide audience, and providing gifted young musicians with access to the very best professional players, tutors and conductors.  Thanks to the generosity of Professor Milton, we are able to provide this exceptional instrument to generations of our best young violinists.  We are delighted by the appointment of Jamie Howe as Leader and have no doubt he will put this very special opportunity to great use.”

Paula Klein, General Manager of the Ulster Youth Orchestra said,

“We are delighted that Jamie has been awarded the position of leader in 2020.  He is a very talented and hard-working young musician and to be awarded such a beautiful instrument as he transitions to the Royal College of Music is a fantastic boost to his new studies. The directors of the Ulster Youth Orchestra are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for providing the leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra with the opportunity of playing such a fine instrument.”

Membership to the Ulster Youth Orchestra is gained through a highly competitive audition process. All members value the opportunity to come together to perform with the very best young musicians from all over Northern Ireland.  Its members work together harmoniously in the pursuit of artistic excellence.  The Orchestra’s artistic programmes encourage individuals to develop practical and social skills, boost their confidence, enhance their well-being and empower them to achieve excellence.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s announce Laura Scott as the 2020 Poetry Prize winner

Friday 3rd July 2020 at 9am 0 Comments Literature

Laura Scott, 2020 Poetry Prize winner Image: Laura Scott, 2020 Poetry Prize winner

The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast has announced the winner of the 2020 Poetry Prize for a First Collection, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.

Laura Scott was announced the winner for So Many Rooms (Carcanet, 2019) during the Seamus Heaney Centre’s annual Poetry Summer School, at a virtual Award Night on Thursday 2 July 2020.

The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is part of the Seamus Heaney Legacy Project, a joint fund established by Queen’s University Belfast and the Arts Council for NI, supported by Atlantic Philanthropies. The Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000.

Born in London, Laura Scott now lives in Norwich. Her pamphlet, What I Saw, won the Michael Marks Prize in 2014, and in 2015 she won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her poems have appeared in various magazines including PN Review, Oxford Poetry and Poetry Review, and a selection of her work was featured in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII in 2018.

Speaking about her award, Laura Scott said:

“I’m honoured and delighted, actually I’m over the moon, to have won this prize. As it's a first collection prize, I was looking back at my first notebook, the one I bought when I started writing seriously. It has fragments of things I wanted to get into poems, notes to myself, and on the tenth page, this quote from Seamus Heaney: ‘This was the first place where I felt I had done more than make an arrangement of words: I felt that I had let down a shaft into real life. The facts and surfaces of the thing were true, but more important, the excitement that came from naming them gave me a kind of insouciance and a kind of confidence. I didn’t care who thought what about it: somehow, it had surprised me by coming out with a stance and an idea that I would stand over.’

“I never met Seamus Heaney, but here he was saying exactly what I needed to hear. He pinpointed the precise sense in which writing poems is doing something bigger than yourself. It is not just you and the words.”

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

“The First Collection Poetry Prize is a highlight of the Seamus Heaney Centre’s year - one of the stand-out events, and awards, indeed, of the entire poetry calendar. With her collection, So Many Rooms, Laura Scott is a very, very worthy winner. All involved at the Heaney Centre will follow what she does next with great interest, and no little pride.”

This year’s judges were Professor Nick Laird, poet and Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Frank Ormsby, Ireland Chair of Poetry; and Dr Leontia Flynn, poet and reader in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre. 

Speaking about the winning collection Professor Nick Laird said:

“Laura Scott’s So Many Rooms is a confident and intricate collection dealing with relationships and memory. Cognizant of all the angles, alive to the smallest damage, to the bruises left on petals by the rain, Scott is a master of the slant take, the delicate phrasing. Her images both clarify and darken the matter at hand. In Scott’s world, poems are ‘like fish / swimming inside you, / waiting for someone / to tap the glass.’”


The shortlist for the First Collection Poetry Prize 2020 included: 

  • Flèche, by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber, 2019)
  • Significant Other, by Isabel Galleymore (Carcanet, 2019)
  • A Man’s House Catches Fire, by Tom Sastry (Nine Arches Press, 2019)
  • So Many Rooms, by Laura Scott (Carcanet, 2019)
  • Fold, by Lucy Wadham (Pindrop Press, 2019)


The virtual award event is available on the QFT player from 7.00pm (BST) on Thursday 2 July 2020: https://qft.vhx.tv/free/videos/seamus-heaney-first-collection-poetry-prize

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council welcomes six new Board Members

Wednesday 1st July 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to learn of the appointment of six new members to its Board, announced today by the Department for Communities.

The Arts Council also wishes to take the opportunity to thank outgoing board member,  Dr Siún Hanrahan, as well as recent former members Anna Carragher, Paul Mullan , Katherine McCloskey, Noelle McAlinden,  Dr Leon Litvack and David Alderdice for their selfless dedication to the Arts Council and their valuable contribution to the Arts sector as a whole.

Read the full announcement at https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/appointments-board-arts-council-ni-0  and below:

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced the appointment of six new members to the Board of the Arts Council NI following an open competition.  She has extended the first terms of appointment of Dr Katy Radford (Vice-Chair) and Cian Smyth (Board member) with effect from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020. They have both served on the Board since 1 December 2015.

The Minister also agreed to a new open competition for the appointment of a Chair, Vice-Chair and further members to the Board, with further details to be released over the coming months.

The new members to the Board are:

  • Miss Julie Andrews
  • Mrs Lynne Best
  • Mr Liam Hannaway
  • Mr Sean Kelly
  • Ms Una McRory
  • Mr Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

These six appointments are with effect from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024.

Welcoming the appointments, the Minister said:

“I look forward to these individuals bringing their particular skills and experiences to their new positions at this particularly difficult time for the arts sector, and help lead on its recovery.”

 

Biographies of new Arts Council Board Members

Miss Julie Andrews
Miss Andrews has been Director of the Linen Hall Library since 2013. Prior to that she was involved in community arts whilst managing Belfast’s Spectrum Centre, an arts and cultural multi-purpose venue. Miss Andrews has responsibility for the strategic leadership of the Linen Hall Library. She has introduced a range of initiatives to facilitate partnerships and co-operative working with a number of external organisations as well as successfully procuring major funding for a number of digitisation projects. She has overseen the development and enrichment of the Library’s wide-ranging arts and cultural programming, and education and outreach activities. Miss Andrews also sits on the Boards of Eastside Tourism, Ormeau Business Park and the Ulster-Scots Agency. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years

Mrs Lynne Best
Mrs Lynne Best (née McDowell) is currently Head of Communications for the music licensing company PPL. She was previously Managing Director at Well Red Music and Media which provided corporate communications and policy advice to a range of global media and music companies. She has also held the role of Head of PR at BPI, the UK’s representative body for record labels and music technology companies and organiser of The BRIT Awards and Mercury Prize. Prior to working in music, Mrs Best started her career at the European Parliament in Brussels following the completion of her degree in Strasbourg, France. She is a Board Member of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast and the Americana Music Association UK. She is also on the Advisory Panel of the all-Ireland mental health initiative, Minding Creative Minds. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years.

Mr Liam Hannaway
Mr Hannaway is a former Chief Executive and Chief Accounting Office of a District Council, with experience of establishing governance arrangements, committee structures, setting direction/strategy, through the establishment of corporate plans, and managing budgets. He was responsible for the publication of the Council Community plan using leadership and negotiating skills, as well as stakeholder engagement to obtain agreement for the plan from public sector officials, politicians and community representatives. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years.

Mr Sean Kelly
Mr Kelly has directed the Cathedral Arts Festival from 2000, establishing principles of good governance since then, including strategic planning, risk management, financial management and fund raising. He co-founded the Black Box performing arts space formulating its business plan and adapting its business model to meet changing demand. He was one of the founders of Culture Night Belfast, which involved setting up a steering group and successfully seeking support from the business community and public funding bodies. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years.

Ms Una McRory
Ms McRory worked as the Regional GP Out of Hours Commissioning Manager for GP Out of Hours service across NI. Her work involved taking the lead in the development of service improvements which included benchmarking, strategy development and a public consultation on the strategy, this involved consulting with many Health Service organisations and staff. She has experience of good governance as well as ensuring that services are complying with service standards. Ms McRory owns her own company and has recently published a children’s book. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years.

Mr Máirtín Ó Muilleoir
Mr Ó Muilleoir is a former Board Member of NI Water, where he was involved in efforts to help the organisation regain public confidence following a contracts controversy. As a Lord Mayor of Belfast, he took steps to encourage cross party cohesion and improve relations across the city. As a Minister of Finance he implemented a range of proposals to make social value delivery a business objective of the Department. As a Director of a media group he worked to ensure its successful financial management. In the last 5 years he has undertaken political activity for the Sinn Fein Party. He does not hold any other public appointments.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Minister congratulates local artists on innovative, new, lockdown dramas

Tuesday 30th June 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín Image: Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, today congratulated the local artists who created six innovative, new lockdown dramas for television called Splendid Isolation.

The brand-new five minute dramas, created during lockdown by leading writers, directors and actors from Northern Ireland, entitled Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama, explore the positive and negative aspects of social isolation and the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Commissioned by the Lyric Theatre Belfast and the BBC and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the success of the dramas following their premier on BBC Two NI, will now be shared with audiences across the BBC Four network, reaching even more viewers across Northern Ireland and Britain..

Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said:

“I want to congratulate the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and the actors, writers and directors involved.

“I do not underestimate the importance of giving recognition to, and encouraging the development of culture and creativity in our communities. The benefits of the arts on our social wellbeing and cohesion, our physical and mental health, our education system, our status in the world and our economy are not just valuable, they are essential. My Department and the Arts Council have been working together to ensure that emergency funding for our artists and organisations has reached those most in need.

“The arts sector is providing an amazing amount of really great online content for people here throughout this pandemic. From the Virtual Cabaret in the Duncairn Arts Centre in North Belfast, to the live outdoor socially distanced performances at hospitals and care homes across the North, artists and arts organisations are making a really positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

The Splendid Isolation project, offered a lifeline to some writers, actors and directors, whose work has vanished since the pandemic, and is part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine, a UK-wide initiative which aims to continue bringing culture into the homes of audiences during quarantine.  The project is funded by BBC Arts, involving a creative collaboration between the Lyric Theatre Belfast and BBC Northern Ireland, and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The project’s curation and administration is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Noirin McKinney, Director says:

“The public funding provided by the Arts Council supported the Lyric’s significant work in helping create Splendid Isolation, in my view, a brilliant curation of brand new digital arts content from these shores. A particular feat indeed as it was achieved under the challenges of social distancing.
With movement of people limited during the Covid-19 quarantine, all theatres, festivals, arts venues are closed to the public, indeed this pandemic has struck the entire arts and cultural sectors very hard.

Not only does innovative new work of this kind offer other artists hope, Splendid Isolation is a great example of how the arts can respond and reflect our everyday experiences, through marvellous storytelling, and through the collaboration of talented artists who are, after all, the life blood of our creative industries.”

Stephen James-Yeoman, Commissioning Executive, BBC Arts says:

“For the time being the theatre curtains remain down but the talent, whether on stage or behind the scenes, are no less creative. Unsurprisingly one of the things that has figuratively brought us together while being apart is the world-class theatre brought to our living rooms.  That is why BBC Arts is working with a host of theatre companies in all four nations of the UK, commissioning new and thought-provoking work to keep audiences thinking.”

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer at the Lyric Theatre says in a recent interview:

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with 18 exceptional artists and with BBC Arts and BBC NI on ‘Splendid Isolation’. Some of our very best theatre directors like Emma Jordan and Des Kennedy got the chance to develop their skills making their TV directorial debut through this partnership. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on theatres across the country, but as a production company, we are kept going with our Lyric Theatre Online programme, which is something we hope to continue to build and face the ongoing challenges of reopening our theatres safely.”

The films have been written by top writers including Lisa McGee (Derry Girls), Owen McCafferty, (Ordinary Love, The Absence of Women), David Ireland (Cyprus Avenue), Abbie Spallen (Pumpgirl ), Sarah Gordon (Sinkhole in Guatemala) and Stacey Gregg (Scorch).

They were directed by Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones), Des Kennedy (Harry Potter & The Cursed Child/Good Vibrations),  Emma Jordan (Artistic Director, Prime Cut Productions),  Jimmy Fay, (Exec Producer, Lyric Theatre) and Cathy Brady, (Wildfire/ Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope) and Damian McCann.

Actors featuring in the dramas, which were filmed in accordance with social distancing guidelines, include Anthony Boyle, who won an Olivier Award for his performance as ‘Scorpius’ in Harry Potter & The Cursed Child in the West End and later on Broadway, Stella McCusker (Game of Thrones, Ordinary Love) and Kerri Quinn (Coronation Street, Come Home). Also featuring are actors, Richard Clements, Jack Flynn, Damian McCann, Sarah Gordon, Julie Lamberton, Eoin McCaffrey, Abigail McGibbon and David Pearse (Vikings, Fifty Dead Men Walking).

Paul McClean, Executive Editor, Arts, Music & Learning, BBC NI says;

“We are delighted with the local reception to the first airing of Splendid Isolation on BBC Two NI and the whole experience has been a joy. To be able to harness the fantastic creative talent we have on our doorstep and reflect the lockdown stories of Northern Ireland is truly exciting. ”

Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama will be networked on BBC Four on Tuesday 30 June at 10.30pm, on BBC One on Wednesday 1st July at 11:20pm and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Mairtín Crawford Awards go international with record number of entries

Monday 29th June 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Literature

Alan Weadick and Sarah Gilmartin, winners of the Mairtin Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story 2020 Image: Alan Weadick and Sarah Gilmartin, winners of the Mairtin Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story 2020

Just three years since they were founded, the Belfast Book Festival Mairtín Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story have gone international, attracting entries from countries including the US, Finland and New Zealand for this year’s competition.

Organised by the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Awards are aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel. The 2020 Awards attracted a record number of entries, with 441 submissions for the Poetry Award and 324 entries for the Short Story Award.

Sophie Hayles, CEO of The Crescent Arts Centre, reflects on running this year’s Awards in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic:

“Despite all the challenges which the lockdown has presented us with - both personally and professionally - we were determined to continue to host the Mairtín Crawford Awards this year. Arts and culture have played a central role in helping many people navigate the lockdown period and the quality and variety of entries to this year’s Awards were a real tribute to what artists can produce under challenging circumstances.”

The winner of the short story category is Sarah Gilmartin with her piece ‘The Wife’, which explores a #MeToo-themed episode from the point of view of the perpetrator’s partner. Sarah explains:

“Since the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017, there has been a necessary shift in how society listens to women regarding sexual assault, but we very rarely hear the story from the perspective of the wife or partner of the abuser. With ‘The Wife’, I wanted to explore that. 

Awards like the Mairtín Crawford are great because they give you the impetus to write. Writing can be a tough old business, with lots of ups and downs, and very little certainty. The recognition from winning the Award is good for the soul, and the money affords you time and space away from other work to persist with writing projects, to go deep into the draft.”

The winner of the poetry category is Alan Weadick, whose works were inspired by a summer job he had in an ice-cream factory and watching his father engrossed in his workshop:

“The Workshop’ is an attempt to describe the world of work from a very young child's perspective, the thing which he both mythologises and at the same time resents for its constant separating him from his father.
  
As with Sarah’s story, my poem ‘Vespucc Ice Cream’ also addresses harassment in the workplace, only this time from the perspective of bystanders who are feeling helpless.”

Sarah and Alan will each receive a cash prize of £1,000 and a 3-night stay at the wonderful writing and reading retreat The River Mill. The runners-up for each Award will be given a cash prize of £250.

The judges for the 2020 Awards were: Short Story:  Lucy Caldwell (Chair) and Rachael Kelly; Poetry: Moyra Donaldson (Chair) and Naomi Foyle.

A big thank you to partners and sponsors NIPR Books and The River Mill, for their continued support of the Awards. 

The Crescent Arts Centre and Belfast Book Festival are supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Translink calls for stories to celebrate local heritage as part of the Belfast Transport Hub plans

Monday 29th June 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Translink is committed to preserving and celebrating the stories that tell the history and heritage of the area surrounding the new Belfast Transport Hub at Weavers Cross.  Located beside the current Europa Buscentre and Gt Victoria Street Station, this NI Executive flagship project will be a catalyst for regeneration, and it is planned to place public art at the heart of these urban transformation plans.

The new multi-modal transport hub will incorporate a significant public realm improvement scheme creating an attractive new gateway for Belfast and Northern Ireland. A new accessible public space, Saltwater Square, will further enhance the passenger experience and help reimagine the area for all who work, live, invest and travel.

Translink, in keeping with their on-going engagement work with local communities and stakeholders, has teamed up with locally based Arts Coordinator, Haller Clarke, to deliver a bespoke Arts and Heritage programme.  Calling on the inspiration of people to share their stories, they hope to capture key themes that will represent the unique character and spirit of local people and their surroundings. 

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive said,

“This consultation marks a further milestone in this exciting project for the city. We recognise that public art has many economic and social wellbeing benefits for society. This project creates the unique opportunity to combine art with design, engineering, construction, architecture and landscaping to showcase the history and future aspirations of the area.

“Everyone’s story will be important, so it is vital we capture the key themes so they can help inform the overall design of the project and its public realm from an early stage.

“We look forward to receiving the feedback. As the Transport Hub and Saltwater Square emerges over the coming years, it will be an opportunity for the millions of people who will arrive and depart from this destination to appreciate the diversity and great wealth of heritage that lives at the heart of this place”, Chris concluded

If you have a story relating to industrial heritage, transportation, the natural and built environments, we’d love to hear it. Equally you may want to share a story about a local personality, an event in your community, a specific time in history or your aspirations for the future.  Please submit your story of no more than 500 words, along with the story’s title and theme to stories@hallerclarke.com no later than 10th July 2020. Please include your contact details so we can get back to you if we require additional more information.

To keep up to date with the Belfast Transport Hub project please visit  www.weaverscross.co.uk

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Support fund for artists now open

Tuesday 23rd June 2020 at 9am 0 Comments

Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) is now open. Image: Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) is now open.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s has opened its Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) and is accepting applications for General Art Awards.

Artists of all disciplines and in all types of working practice, who have made a contribution to artistic activities in Northern Ireland for a minimum of one year within the last five years, may apply.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the exceptional circumstances this has created, applications are welcomed from artists who are currently in receipt of Arts Council’s support through its existing Support for Individual Artists Programme.

Applications can be made for project assistance, travel grants or residencies, up to a maximum award of £3,000. Applicants are however being asked to give careful consideration to the feasibility, timing and presentation of their project given current Covid-19 restrictions.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said;

“This funding programme has been developed to support artists to build their creative potential through a range of funding programmes.  The Covid-19 Pandemic has meant that we find ourselves in unprecedented times but the arts sector here are already adapting their practice, finding new ways of working and presenting their art.

“We are encouraging applications from all types of artists, across all disciplines, and are keen to see collaborations as well as solo activities. It is our hope that this funding will help to strengthen the sector and lead to the development of many new and exciting projects.”

Applications for SIAP are now open and can be made online. The application process will close on 24th July, with decisions made on 14th September. For application forms and guidance notes visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/SIAP

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Socially distanced theatre brought to patients and hospital staff

Friday 19th June 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Drama

Pictured outside the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital is Maria Connolly as Judy Garland, Christina Nelson as Bette Midler, Roisin Gallagher as Marilyn Monroe, musician Richard Clements and Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council. Image: Pictured outside the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital is Maria Connolly as Judy Garland, Christina Nelson as Bette Midler, Roisin Gallagher as Marilyn Monroe, musician Richard Clements and Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council.

Taking on the role of Judy Garland, actress and playwright, Maria Connolly, this week invited care home residents, hospital patients and healthcare workers to “Forget Your Troubles” for a few moments and enjoy a live theatre performance brought right to their door.

The show recently received funding through the Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme, set up to support the work of artists and performers whose income has been badly hit by the pandemic. Thanks to investment of up to £575,000 from the Department of Communities and National Lottery, The Broads is one of over 200 projects to have been awarded funding through the emergency scheme.

The Broads is a live 50 minute musical and theatre piece, telling the stories of starlets Marilyn Monroe, Bette Midler and Judy Garland but rather than taking place within the four walls of a theatre, the show has this week been touring care homes and hospital settings.

The show’s creator Maria Connolly says the idea to write a play specifically for people living in isolation originally came to her a few years ago.

She explained, “I remember watching a news programme about elderly people who are suffering desperately from isolation.  These people can go for months without any human interaction and I wanted to do something to break that loneliness. It is incredible that I have received funding to do the show during this horrific pandemic.”

This week, over 500 people will see the show, with slots booking up quickly when the project was announced. Featuring Maria, alongside respected actresses Christina Nelson as Bette Midler, Roisin Gallagher as Marilyn Monroe and live music from Richard Clements, the show is unlike anything any of the performers have done before. Rehearsals took place via zoom and with no conventional stage or set, hospital entrances, corridors and care homes have provided the backdrop and socially-distanced audiences for The Broads.

“The response this week has been incredible,” Maria said. “We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by how well the play has been received. Working with Belfast Trust we’ve been touring hospitals this week as well as assisted living facilities in Belfast, Bangor, Dundonald and Carrickfergus. It’s been hugely uplifting. This is a time when the world desperately needs artists to bring hope, colour and change into the world. I am so grateful we are getting to do this play now and my hope is that others will see the positive impact this project has had, that they’ll support artists and see the benefit that art can bring.”

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

“Over the last three months I think so many of us have missed being able to get out and experience a live arts event. It’s been fantastic to see a brand new theatre piece today, out on the road, reaching new audiences, hopefully helping to bring some joy to their day and instilling that sense of personal wellbeing that only the arts can bring.

“Like many other sectors of society, our creative community has been badly hit by the pandemic but it is our hope that as a result of the Artists Emergency Programme communities across Northern Ireland will once again be able to able to come together to savour new performances, new writing, new experiences and once again celebrate the uplifting power of the arts supported by National Lottery Players and National Lottery funding.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

150 more artists offered funds from Artists Emergency Programme

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments

Ian McCracken, Stage Combat Image: Ian McCracken, Stage Combat

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced details today of a further 150 artists who will benefit from its Artists Emergency Programme. This is in addition to the 88 award offers announced in May.

The Arts Council and Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey MLA unveiled details for the £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme at the end of April. The scheme was set up to support artists and performers whose income has been badly hit by the pandemic, with venues closed, festivals cancelled and projects placed on hold. 

Within two weeks of opening the programme, the Arts Council received over 300 applications, totalling almost £1.4m. Although the money was not available to fund all viable projects, an additional £50,000 Arts Council National Lottery funding has been made available and £25,000 from the Department of Communities, in order to allow the maximum number of awards to be made. This brings the total amount now awarded through the scheme up to £575,000.

Those offered funding include writers, composers, theatre practitioners, community artists and visual artists, who will each receive grants on acceptance of their offers in this second round of awards of up to £3,000 to develop their projects and professional practice.

Roisín McDonough, Arts Council Chief Executive, commented:

“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for 150 more artists who will now be able start developing new work thanks to the Artists Emergency Programme. 58 of these awards are going to artists who have never received Arts Council support before and we are very excited about some of the fantastic projects which they have planned for the coming months.

“The scale of the crisis within our fragile arts sector is unlike anything we’ve known before, with key organisations already looking at a deficit of £4million this year. The arts are something which we all enjoy, be it through film, concerts, exhibitions or books but the behind the scenes, the work and skills which go into making those things happen are too often unseen and undervalued.

“Like many other sectors of society, our creative community has been badly hit by the pandemic but it is our hope that as a result of the Artists Emergency Programme communities across Northern Ireland will once again be able to able to come together to savour new performances, new writing, new experiences and once again celebrate the uplifting power of the arts.”

Artists offered funding include:  

Maria Connolly, Actress and Playwright
Actress Maria Connolly, together with Christina Nelson and Roisin Gallaher, will perform three short plays about the lives of Judy Garland, Bette Midler and Marilyn Monroe. Targeted at those living in care homes or in isolation, The Broads is an uplifting comedy, written by Maria Connolly with music by Richard Clements. 

Speaking about the play, Maria said:

“I was delighted to receive funding from the Artist Emergency Programme for my play ‘The Broads.’ Many of us who work in the arts have lost 12 months’ work due to COVID-19.  As we are self-employed we do not qualify for the furlough scheme and getting other financial support is incredibly difficult so this funding from the Arts Council has been a lifeline for many. I had an idea a few years ago to write a play specifically for people living in isolation.  I watched a news programme about elderly people who are suffering desperately from isolation.  These people can go for months without any human interaction and I wanted to do something to break that loneliness. It is incredible that I have received funding now to do the show during this horrific pandemic. This is a time when the world desperately needs artists to bring hope, colour and change into the world, I am so grateful we are getting to do this play now and my hope is that other organisations get involved and support artists and see the benefit that art can bring.

“The funding allows me and three other actors to rehearse, in isolation via zoom, for one week and perform for one week.  My slots for the play filled up in a matter of hours. The reaction from the people the play is going to has been both heart-breaking and heart-warming.”

Ian McCracken, Stage Combat
First award from the Arts Council

Stage combat is a growing art form and Ian is one of only two instructors living in Northern Ireland that are qualified to teach with an exam body recognised by the Equity register of Fight Directors. His previous work has seen him work in theatre, as well as TV and film productions, training and directing a long list of local and international actors including Claire Foy, Rob Kazinski, Maggie Cronin and Karen Hassan.

The Artists Emergency Funding will allow him to deliver stage combat classes to students and artists no longer able to attend due to isolation, and going forward for those who are “at risk” and will not be able to attend classes after isolation is lifted.  It will develop ways to provide classes remotely for individual drill training.  The project has the potential to culminate with a presentation of work both live and film based demonstrating how stage combat has helped individuals mentally, physically and artistically.

Speaking about his project Ian said:

“Having been a fight director and stage combat instructor for 18 years, this period of isolation, as for many artists, has proven difficult.  I was determined not to allow this separation from my students to be a problem.  Being aware that keeping active is important both physically and mentally, I started to pursue ways to bring classes to students via FaceBook and Zoom. This grant will prove invaluable, allowing me to expand these online classes without the limitations of length and content I currently face. I hope to use this grant to research alternative methods of training and create resource material for students, with the hope that I can culminate all this into a performance using both live and recorded material.”

Adam Dougal, Arts and Health
First award from the Arts Council

Adam is a career actor who has worked with many theatre companies in Northern Ireland. He recently produced a podcast series, in partnership with Change Your Mind and Inspire, called ‘Like Minded’, interviewing artists from different parts of the arts industry. The series explores how their mental health and wellbeing impacts and informs their work. Over the coming months he will continue on with this project, assessing the impact of his podcast series, collecting feedback and gaining further insight into this important subject.

Speaking about his project, Adam said,

“After research developed by Inspire and Ulster University illustrated the high rates of mental health issues among those working in the creative sector, I felt compelled to create this series of podcasts that allowed artists to have open and honest conversations about their mental health.  I’m grateful to ACNI for recognising the importance of this issue and for allowing me the time to explore further how we as a community can keep supporting and inspiring one another.”

Mayte Segura, Dance, Music and Text
In this project Mayte Segura, professional dancer and choreographer, will collaborate with Victor Henriquez, a professional musician, to engage in a creative dialogue between dance and music. They will use their actual state of confinement to explore individual and collective feelings as Latin American artists in Northern Ireland, living and working in lock-down. Together, they will generate a response in terms of movement, music, and spoken word.  Using selected poems/texts from Latin American and Irish authors as a primary stimulus for the creation, both artists will engage in a creative conversation, leading to an original, unique performance piece that will be recorded, livecast, and potentially performed in small theatres or open spaces.

Speaking about her project Mayte says,

“I am a dancer living in Belfast and I create and perform Mexican traditional and contemporary pieces of dance. During the period of the grant, I will collaborate with Victor Henriquez (an artist with solid expertise as a communicator in the verbal, therapeutic and musical fields). Together we will explore our creative possibilities inside our confinement, use Irish and Latin American writings and turn them into a dialogue of dance, music and text. Our project Is called Dialogos, which, in Spanish, means to talk, to dialogue, to exchange. We know that this collaboration will be exactly a dialogue between our art forms and our cultural traditions (Mexico and Chile), but also a look at Ireland and a dialogue with aspects of its literary tradition.”

Please Note that any offers not accepted will be recorded and the final list of accepted offers amended and shared online at artscouncil-ni.org.

The Artists Emergency Programme is now closed, with all available funds now allocated. It remains the Arts Council’s key priority to offer as much support as possible with the resources it has to individual artists and creative practitioners at this stressful time. We continue to look for new ways of funding and supporting their work.

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

ACNI Small Grants Programme now open

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments

Previous small grants recipient, Armagh Old Boys’ Silver Band Image: Previous small grants recipient, Armagh Old Boys’ Silver Band

The Arts Council’s Small Grants programme is now open for applications for projects commencing from 1st September 2020.

Professional arts organisations and community groups can now apply for grants between £500-£10,000 to support projects in any art form, including music, drama, dance, literature, visual, and participatory arts.

The programme, which helps support arts organisations and community groups deliver quality arts projects, has already supported hundreds of arts events, festivals and activities right across Northern Ireland, from grassroots community projects through to professional productions.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council, commented:

“Our Small Grants programme uses National Lottery funds to bring the arts right into the heart of communities. We are looking for projects which will provide ways for new and existing audiences to connect with the arts and which reflect the diversity of Northern Ireland’s society and culture.

“We are delighted to continue to offer groups this support thanks to the National Lottery money raised for good causes and very much look forward to seeing what projects emerge as a result of the Small Grants programme over the coming months.”

Previous examples of funded projects include, the Renal Arts Group who received funding to encourage patients with chronic illness to explore the arts as an element of their rehabilitation. Last week the group began a series of script-writing workshops with playwright Shannon Yee in order to explore creative ways to reflect on their personal experiences.

Rathlin Development & Community Association also received funding earlier this year to rehearse, record and produce an album. The music will be a mixture of local Rathlin songs and tunes, some previously unrecorded pieces, as well as songs and arrangements from Northern Ireland, the Western Isles of Scotland and other international music, chosen to reflect the Island’s maritime cultural heritage.

For those wishing to find out more, please go to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website. Applications should be submitted online, with all necessary enclosures uploaded with your application. The Arts Council will aim to make a decision within two months of receiving an application. Please note, applicants should apply for funding at least two months before the start of your event (projects which start within two months of the application date will not be accepted). Organisations can apply for funding for projects due to commence from 1st September onwards.

Guidance notes for this programme and details of how to apply can be found here: http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/small-grants-programme 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council opens emergency programme for arts organisations

Monday 1st June 2020 at 8pm 0 Comments

The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson Image: The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Monday 1st June) opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP), worth £500,000, which offers organisations the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each.

Small and medium sized organisations will be able to apply for maximum funding of £25,000 to help them continue creative work, assist with operational costs, where these have been affected as a result of the COVID-19, and to help plan for recovery. 

The OEP fund provides much needed financial support, a lifeline to arts organisations, at a time when the arts sector has been decimated under quarantine conditions, the closure of theatres, venues and galleries, the cancellation of festivals and events and the disappearance of live audiences.

The Organisations Emergency Programme is one element of the wider £1.5m funding package recently announced by Minister Hargey, Department for Communities, to support the arts and wider culture sectors during the current pandemic.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA said:

"The Arts Sector is facing many barriers; this fund will offer equality of opportunity and access for a broad range of people. I have asked my Department to continue to do everything possible to provide support and assistance to individuals and organisations in the Arts Sector at this time. I am also grateful to the Arts Council for working with my Department in responding to the needs of the sector."

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

“Funding for the arts in Northern Ireland was already in a fragile state pre-Covid-19 and we estimate that since the pandemic, organisations are facing deficits just under £4m; a figure which may increase as the year progresses. These organisations are among the most creative, flexible and inventive in our society and many are already finding imaginative and innovative ways to deliver online content. However the impact of the lockdown on their earned income has been both severe and immediate.

“We welcome the Minister’s announcement of new funding; the Organisations Emergency Programme forms an important strand of that package, targeting our small to medium sized arts organisations with awards of up to £25,000. We hope this support will help buy them creative time to produce new ideas for programming, plan for recovery and help them withstand the shock to their organisation of substantial loss of income during lockdown.

“We are pleased that the programme is open to independent museums, libraries and language organisations. We hope now with outdoor opportunities opening up, to see even more engagement with live audiences and participants in a safe and meaningful way.”

The OEP programme is open for applications from Monday 1st June for proposals ending March 2021, and will close at 4pm on Friday 12th June 2020.

Organisations Emergency Programme

  • The Arts Council will aim to communicate decisions by the end of July. Application forms and guidance notes are available at http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/for-organisations
  • Organisations whose primary purpose is arts activity, and which have received public funding to support their work, are eligible to apply and independent museums and libraries that have plans to deliver arts and broader cultural programmes are also eligible.
  • The Arts Council hopes to bring forward the opening of SIAP General Awards to June.
  • The Arts Council plans to open the Commissioning Programme in August.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Award winning illustrator to provide free tutorials thanks to the National Lottery

Friday 29th May 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments

Ashling Lindsay Image: Ashling Lindsay

An artist from Belfast, who was last week named winner of the Illustration category at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2020, is to provide free online classes and tutorials on picturebook making, thanks to funding from The National Lottery.

Ashling Lindsay is one of 88 artists to have so far received funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme, which is using National Lottery funds to support artists to continue their work and connect with communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since graduating from the Belfast School of Art in 2013, Ashling’s beautiful illustrations have gathered much attention thanks to their distinctive style and her stunning talent. Her picturebooks have been published in more than 10 languages and in 2019 she was presented with an ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

In April the latest in the hugely successful ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ series* was published, a biography of World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing, featuring Ashling’s eye-catching illustrations. Developing drawings for the series, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide, has been a major achievement for Ashling but unfortunately many other projects planned for this year have currently been placed on hold.

“Last year I received an ACES award from the Arts Council and I’ve been using that to develop my own picturebook texts in Irish and English. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the publication of those is now delayed but on the positive side, it has given me the time to think about how my experiences and skills may be able to help others.”

Thanks to the Arts Council and the National Lottery players Ashling is planning to develop a series of online videos showing the art process behind her work, painting, drawing, and printmaking.

She explains: “Some of the tutorials will be informative, detailing step by step how to use certain techniques. Some content would be specifically about making a picturebook and include publishing industry insights. The point of this project is to skill share, show some of the process, and engage with the community through free digital content that is easily accessible for people remotely.”

Like Ashling, other artists, charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This will support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

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

“The National Lottery has always supported projects that help people and communities across the UK thrive. And now, the funds available are switching focus to support communities, arts, heritage, sport, education and the environment to mitigate the unprecedented pressure they are coming under as we all rally to overcome COVID-19.

“Artists have been among the hardest hit groups, with projects delayed, venues closed and events cancelled for the foreseeable future. All of this is having a major impact on our cultural and creative lives. Over the next few months, I’m really looking forward to seeing how Ashling’s project develops, encouraging others who maybe have an idea they wish to develop or perhaps want to reconnect with their creative side to, quite literally, get back to the drawing board.”

The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes many of whom will be supporting the most vulnerable in communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors across the UK to date, visit the National Lottery Good Causes website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

BBC and the Lyric Theatre produce new theatrical isolation dramas with top Northern Ireland talent

Friday 29th May 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Drama

Pictured: Conleth Hill and Lisa McGee Image: Pictured: Conleth Hill and Lisa McGee

Theatre lovers all over the land have something to celebrate. As part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine, which aims to continue to bring culture into the homes of audiences during lockdown, BBC Arts, the Lyric Theatre, BBC Northern Ireland - with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland - are collaborating on some new theatre commissions from Northern Ireland.

These six new short drama commissions from some of Northern Ireland’s biggest names in writing and acting - including Lisa McGee (Derry Girls) and Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) -  will explore the positive and negative aspects of social isolation and lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the title Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama, the five minute theatrical pieces, produced by some of Northern Ireland’s premier theatre talent, will be collated and broadcast on BBC Two Northern Ireland in June and made available afterwards on BBC iPlayer

The project is part of a wider national collaboration between BBC Arts, theatres and Arts Councils in each nation in this challenging time for the creative sector. (Further information can be found here.)

The films have been written by top writers including Lisa McGee (Derry Girls), Owen McCafferty, (Ordinary Love, The Absence of Women), David Ireland (Cyprus Avenue), Abbie Spallen (Pumpgirl ), Sarah Gordon (Sinkhole in Guatemala) and Stacey Gregg (Scorch).

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee says:

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Lyric and the BBC on this ambitious project and to be collaborating with such exciting Northern Irish talent”.

They will be directed by Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones), Des Kennedy (Harry Potter & The Cursed Child/Good Vibrations),  Emma Jordan (Artistic Director, Prime Cut Productions),  Jimmy Fay, (Exec Producer, Lyric Theatre) and Cathy Brady, (Wildfire/ Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope) and Damian McCann.

Actors featuring in the dramas, which will be shot in accordance with social distancing guidelines, include Anthony Boyle, who won an Olivier Award for his performance as ‘Scorpius’ in Harry Potter & The Cursed Child in the West End and later on Broadway, Stella McCusker (Game of Thrones, Ordinary Love) and Kerri Quinn (Coronation Street, Come Home). Sarah Gordon, Abigail McGibbon and David Pearse (Vikings, Fifty Dead Men Walking) also feature.

Stephen James Yeoman, Commissioning Executive, BBC Arts says:

“For the time being the theatre curtains remain down but the talent, whether on stage or behind the scenes, are no less creative. Unsurprisingly one of the things that has figuratively brought us together while being apart is the world-class theatre brought to our living rooms.  That is why BBC Arts is working with a host of theatre companies in all four nations of the UK, commissioning new and thought-provoking work to keep audiences thinking.”

Paul McClean, Executive Producer, Arts, Music & Learning, BBC NI says;

“We are delighted to be able to partner with the award winning Lyric Theatre to help fill the void for audiences missing their theatres. To be able to harness the fantastic creative talent we have on our doorstep to reflect the lockdown stories of Northern Ireland is truly exciting. I would also like to extend my thanks to Stephen James-Yeoman for instigating this initiative and to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their support.”

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer at the Lyric Theatre says:

“I genuinely welcome this fantastic opportunity to work with BBC Arts and BBC NI on ‘Splendid Isolation’. All of the 18 artists involved have a connection to the Lyric Theatre and have responded to our invitation to write for this project with imaginative, versatile and provocative pieces. We are also delighted that some of our very best theatre directors like Emma Jordan and Des Kennedy are getting their TV directorial debut with this wonderful partnership. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on theatres across the country, forcing the closure of all of them for the foreseeable future. For over 50 years the Lyric has never closed its doors before now, but as a production company, we are kept going with our Lyric Theatre Online programme, which is something we hope to continue to build as we navigate this new normal and face the ongoing challenges for our theatres.”  

Noirin McKinney, Director, Arts Council of Northern Ireland says:

“This initiative is supported by Arts Council National Lottery funding and provides a great opportunity to support the production and curation of brand new digital arts content from these shores. This project is offering writers, actors, producers and directors a lifeline in difficult times when all other work has been cancelled. Splendid Isolation is a great example of how the arts can respond and reflect our everyday experiences through marvellous storytelling, and through the collaboration of talented artists who are, after all, the life blood of our creative industries.”

This initiative is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Funding.

Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama will broadcast on BBC Two Northern Ireland, 10pm on Thursday 25 June.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council continues to provide support to D/deaf & disabled artists thanks to National Lottery

Thursday 28th May 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Arts & Disability

Portrait of Adam Pearson by Joel Simon Image: Portrait of Adam Pearson by Joel Simon

University of Atypical and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland are delighted to announce the recipients of the D/deaf and Disabled Artists’ Support Fund, a National Lottery supported programme worth £25,000. This fund has been created by Arts Council, by repurposing National Lottery funding, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its subsequent impacts upon artists.  Following a high level of interest, 30 artists were funded to undertake research projects, professional development or create new work.

The aim of this fund is to financially support deaf/disabled artists in Northern Ireland, who have suffered a loss of earnings, to undertake research, professional development or create a project. It’s also important to note that this fund is available in addition to, and not instead of, the Arts Council’s recently announced National Lottery supported £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme.

Chairperson of University of Atypical, Damien Coyle, said,

“This was an extremely competitive process for awards offering vital support to deaf and disabled artists at a time when many are reeling from the economic, social and health and wellbeing impacts of Covid-19. As a consequence of lockdown, D/deaf and disabled artists have lost the opportunity to gain commissions, exhibit their work, deliver learning programmes and other means of generating income.”

He continued, “Many D/deaf and disabled artists have had to apply shielding or self-isolation guidelines due to being at high risk and this in turn has created concerns around mental health and wellbeing. D/deaf and disabled artists will use their awards to explore new methods for engagement, make preparation for promoting their work when lockdown is eased or lifted, and will have time and resources to invest in their professional practice. University of Atypical offers our gratitude to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for making these important funds available to D/deaf and disabled artists.”

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

“The National Lottery has always supported projects that help people and communities across the UK thrive. Now, funds worth £600 million are available, switching focus to support communities, arts, heritage, sport, education and the environment to mitigate the unprecedented pressure they are coming under as we all rally to overcome COVID-19. 

“In response to this tremendously challenging time for individual artists, the Arts Council is delighted to make this new D/Deaf and Disabled Artists Support Fund, worth £25,000 of National Lottery funding available.  Working alongside the University of Atypical, we hope this new fund will have a significant, positive impact during this difficult time.”

Artists offered funding include:

Visual Artist, Joel Simon, will be using the funding to create a series of figurative paintings inspired by his observations of loneliness and alienation, pertinent to our times.  In addition, he will develop free online art tutorials, tailored for beginners in the medium of figurative oil paintings. Participants will be invited to send Joel images of their work on which they will receive feedback and guidance.

Playwright, Shannon Sickels (Yee), will use her funding to research an audio-based storytelling project entitled, ‘Pandemic Parenting’. Shannon will interview parents who, for one reason or another, are negotiating different Covid-19 challenges. The fund will also provide mentoring support from experienced broadcasters/podcasters as well as interview transcription services.

Other artists offered funding include:

Alexandra McCalmont, visual art - ceramics
Catherine Hatt, music/sound
Elizabeth McGeown, poetry/performance/literature
Emma Whitehead, visual art – textiles
Gary Shaw, visual art – painting
Hannah Miller, visual art – illustration
Helen Hall, dance/visual art
Hugh O'Donnell, visual art - performance
Jacqueline Wylie, visual art
Kenneth Stacey, visual art - painting
Kristofer Marsden, music
Linda Fearon, dance/physical theatre
Malachy McCrudden, visual art - photography
Marie-Thérèse Davis, visual art/sound
Maureen McDevitt, visual art - ceramics
Michael Ryan, visual art - photography
Nathan Elout-Armstrong, poetry/performance 
Niamh McConaghy, visual art - painting
Norma Beggs, visual art 
Rosie Burrows, visual art
Ruth McGinley, music
Shiro Masuyama, visual art - video
Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell, visual art - performance  
Siobhan Ferguson, visual art - photography
Steph Harrison, visual art - print
Una Walker, visual art - video
Vikkie Patterson, visual art - painting
Wendynicole McGuinness-Keys, visual art/sound
William McKnight, poetry

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of Covid-19 on local communities across the UK.

To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors across the UK to date, visit the National Lottery Good Causes website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response

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

Note: this release has been updated to reflect all accepted offers of funding

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council Chief Executive gives Covid-19 update to Communities Committee, Stormont

Wednesday 27th May 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments

Arts Council of Northern Ireland Chief Executive, Roisín McDonough Image: Arts Council of Northern Ireland Chief Executive, Roisín McDonough

The Arts Council of NI (ACNI) was invited to apprise the Communities Committee of the NI Assembly today of the impact of Covid-19 on the Arts in NI. In both a written submission, and an opening statement  Roisín Mc Donough, Chief Executive, outlined the severe impact of Covid-19 on an arts sector that previously generated £53 million in income and employed an estimated 7,500 people - income and jobs which had been seriously damaged by the pandemic. She evidenced sectoral surveys undertaken during Covid-19 lockdown which revealed significant loss of earnings to both organisations and artists, the majority of whom are self-employed in a gig economy and most vulnerable of all.

Officials at the Department for Communities and the Minister were praised by the Arts Council for stepping in with £1m of emergency funding, which supplemented vital, re-purposed funds from the National Lottery and Exchequer funds, however ACNI representatives stated more support was urgently needed. The facts in ACNI written evidence state that the arts sector is likely to be one of the worst affected by the current lockdown, associated social distancing and the decimation of box office income.

Ms McDonough stated that  the deficit figure for the arts was estimated at £4million and that the current funding model, so painstakingly worked on over the last decade, and which saw arts organisations work hard to increase earned income, was now broken. She referenced the important contribution of digital platforms to the arts ecology but forecast that monetisation of digital arts content would not fill the income gap, and stated while consumer confidence around safety remained so low, neither outdoor nor indoor socially-distanced performances would deliver what is needed to keep organisations alive.

Arts Council representatives used case studies to illustrate to the committee the current bleak situation for many within the arts. They also laid out some of the further support measures the Council would like to see implemented, which would help the sector re-calibrate itself , make the most of digital content at this time, allow creative thinking time, while preparing for live audiences to return in the future.

The key actions recommended by the Arts Council to help ease current anxieties included:

  • Extension of the Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support schemes for those sectors that need time to open and rebuild their businesses
  • Enabling furloughing to be done on a part-time basis
  • Revising the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to ensure no freelance worker falls through the gaps
  • Provision of further emergency funding for organisations to enable them to trade through the crisis over the next 12-18 months
  • Technical and financial support to implement 'safe space' protocols to help the sector return to business when appropriate to do so.


The Arts Council Chief Executive finished her submission stating, “Our arts sector here has been in the forefront of creating equality and access in ways which are the envy of other Arts Councils in these islands. Just like the health service many offer a huge variety of activities and services, free at the point of delivery. That must be sustained if some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community are to be supported to enjoy their rights to access the arts.”

Following the meeting Roisín McDonough commented,

“The Arts Council experienced a most appreciative reception from the Communities Committee who unanimously endorsed the valuable and creative work of our arts sector. They commended the artists and arts organisations who have been at the forefront of creating equality, improving access, as well providing opportunities to build health and wellbeing for so many people in Northern Ireland.

“Every member present at today’s meeting shared personal examples of the positive impact of the arts on them and on their friends and families. It was noted by committee members how hard the arts sector had been hit by the current Covid-19 pandemic, a sector already fragile from many years of underinvestment and despite this,  a sector that makes enormously valuable contributions to our society and to our economy. We took away from the committee their desire to see a cultural recovery strategy that might guide us through these difficult times, and indeed that is our shared aim.”

To read the full aural submission made to the Communities Committee by Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland click here.

To read the full written submission to the Communities Committee, NI Assembly, click here.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Details announced of first artists to benefit from Artists Emergency Programme

Monday 18th May 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Drama , Visual Arts , Northern Ireland Music , Literature , Circus & Carnival Arts , Community Arts

Pictured is artist Alana Barton, one of 88 artists announced today awarded funding through the Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme. Photo by Malachy McCrudden. Image: Pictured is artist Alana Barton, one of 88 artists announced today awarded funding through the Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme. Photo by Malachy McCrudden.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced details of the first 88 artists who will benefit from its Artists Emergency Programme.

News of the £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme was announced by the Minister for Communities Deidre Hargey MLA and the Arts Council at the end of April. It aims to support artists and performers during the pandemic that has decimated their means of earning an income and creating new work. 

Those set to receive funding include writers, composers, theatre practitioners, community artists and visual artists, who will each receive grants of up to £5,000 to develop their projects and professional practice.

Roisín McDonough, Arts Council Chief Executive, commented:

“This fund was opened at the end of April and in just two weeks we received over 300 applications from artists who have found themselves out of work and in urgent need of financial support.

“So far we have assessed 111 of those applications, 88 of which have been offered National Lottery and Exchequer funding totalling £263,000. Twenty-one of these were first time applicants to the Arts Council. Our staff are working diligently to ensure the remaining applications are ready for announcement at the end of May.

“There is still much to do. The impact of this pandemic poses the greatest of threats to our cultural life and we need to act now to support our artists and cultural institutions if they are to have a future when society returns to normal.”

Artists offered funding include:

Diana Ennis, Designer
Diana is a costume and set designer and she will use her award and time during lockdown to develop audio visual and design skills for a new piece of physical theatre for young audiences. Her project is a progression from her experience as a designer responding to a script or performance, to an artist using design to initiate a brand new piece of theatre. The piece will explore the mental health impact of isolation for a young audiences in a creative and accessible format, using non-verbal physical performance, design, colour and AV content. This is the first time that Diana has applied to the Arts Council for funding support.

Jason O’Rourke, Composer and Musician
“Belonging: a Northern Ireland-India socially-distanced collaboration” is a remote collaboration between Jason O’Rourke and Deepmoy Das, an Indian musician. The project will deliver performances online to benefit the NI Indian community, employing a network of partner organisations in NI and India. Ambitions are to tailor a programme of NI-Indian folk music to engage audiences online, through music, arts, crafts and dance. The collaboration will encourage the Indian diaspora in NI to reflect on issues of identity and belonging, and encourage participation in arts practices. It will pave the way for further sustainable community projects.

Vasiliki Stasinaki, A dance and visual artist working in the intersection between both practices
Vasiliki experiments with the creation of performative installations, using video, sound, sculpture and movement and this is the first time she has applied to the Arts Council for funding. She hopes to research and develop a new project that investigates how social and traditional dance has been used historically as a tool for political and societal change during uncertain times. She plans to develop a series of cutting edge, experimental films using both archival footage and new material created during lockdown, in order to explore this subject and develop ideas for a future installation.

Paul Corcoran, Writer
Paul plans to write and publish a science fiction novel to be produced as an eBook, audiobook and print book to be widely available to potential readers. He is a published author and plans to provide employment for Northern Ireland based editors, cover designers and audio artists. This is Paul’s first funding application to the Arts Council. 

Ken Fanning, Circus Artist
Ken is a founding member of Tumble Circus and an experienced circus artist who has trained and performed across the globe. This funding will enable him to employ five other circus performers and choreographers to create a style of circus reflective of the grassroots arts scene unique to Belfast. The work will be captured on camera and shared online and has the capacity to lead to future work like films, new acts for shows, new street art and movement projects.

Alana Barton, Visual Artist
Alana will be using her funding to create a series of figurative paintings inspired by art made by families and which explore family, childhood and home. She will design a series of free online art tutorials tailored for adults and children to work on jointly, with the aim of creating positive memories during time spent at home. Participants will be invited to send their creations as reference to inform the series of figurative paintings. Along with the paintings and the families’ creations, the project will be documented and compiled into a public online exhibition/ebook.

Louise Mathews, Actor and Playwright
Louise Mathews is a Northern Ireland actor and has enjoyed success with theatre companies including Prime Cut, Tinderbox and Anu. As a first time applicant to the Arts Council, her project will give her time to develop her skills and practice, as well as research and develop a new collaborative work inspired by the 90s dance scene in Northern Ireland.  

The Artists Emergency Fund is temporarily closed due to a large volume of applications. The Arts Council is currently assessing the remaining intake of applications, decisions on which will announced at the end of the May.

This is a funding programme with a finite resource and inevitably it will have to close permanently at some point. The Arts Council will do everything it can to give notice of this eventuality and is working hard with Minister Hargey and the Department for Communities to determine the level of need within the sector. It remains the Arts Council’s key priority to offer as much support as possible with the resources it has to individual artists and creative practitioners at this stressful time.

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Áine Ní Ghlinn announced as the sixth Laureate na nÓg

Wednesday 13th May 2020 at 2pm 0 Comments Literature

Image: Áine Ní Ghlinn announced as the sixth Laureate na nÓg

Irish language author Áine Ní Ghlinn was today (Wednesday 13 May) announced as the sixth Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s Children’s Literature Laureate. Áine is the first author who writes exclusively in Irish to be awarded the honour, and will hold the title from now until 2022.

Laureate na nÓg is an honour which was established in 2010 to engage young people with high quality literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative lives. It is an initiative of the Arts Council, administered by Children’s Books Ireland with the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Poetry Ireland.

Áine Ní Ghlinn is a children’s writer and poet. She has written over thirty books, including poetry collections and an array of books and novels for children and teenagers. Her ambition as Laureate is to lift the cloak of invisibility from Irish language authors and books, and to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure as Gaeilge.

Prof. Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, said:

“Laureate na nÓg was established by the Arts Council to honour the very finest artists in the field of children’s literature, and our sixth Laureate na nÓg is absolutely such an artist. Áine Ní Ghlinn’s work is both fearless and beautiful, and her commitment to her craft and the written word is undeniable. Writing across every age group and genre, Áine Ní Ghlinn is one of our most talented and beloved artists, and the Council is proud to name her Laureate na nÓg.

“The position takes on an additional significance given the current crisis. Against that backdrop, I have no doubt that Áine will be a Laureate to inspire and lead children and young people through the power of writing.”

Speaking as new Laureate na nÓg, Áine Ní Ghlinn said:

“I am humbled and excited at being appointed Laureate na nÓg. It is the high point of my writing career and an incredible honour to be the first Irish language writer awarded the honour. As a central part of my Laureate term, I want to raise the profile of children’s literature as Gaeilge and to bring leabhair Ghaeilge do pháistí into the mainstream conversation. I want children, parents, grandparents, teachers to have the same access to high quality children’s literature as Gaeilge as they already have in English. Children deserve the opportunity to engage with Irish language literature for pleasure and not just as schoolwork.”

Áine is originally from County Tipperary. She worked for a number of years in RTÉ and Raidió na Gaeltachta, and now divides her time between writing, delivering creative writing workshops in schools around the country and part-time lecturing in Dublin City University. Her books have won the Gradam Reics Carló Book of the Year Award three times, most recently in 2019 for her novel Boscadán. In 2015, her YA novel Daideo won the Honour Award for Fiction at the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards, as well as the Literacy Association of Ireland Book of the Year.

John Edmund, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Chair, commented:

"The appointment of Áine Ní Ghlinn as Laureate na nÓg comes at a time when poetry and literature are more important than ever, offering solace for children (and their parents) during these uncertain days. Watching children respond to poetry on digital and social media during the current crisis has been a revelation, to which Áine's appointment will undoubtedly add another dimension. Áine will act as an ambassador for children's writing, inspiring a new generation of readers and writers to open themselves up to new stories, poems, concepts and ideas. Laureate na nÓg is a unique and important honour, one that will strengthen opportunities for young people across the island of Ireland to engage in high quality children's literature"

Áine is a former chair of the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards and is a strong advocate for Irish writers and illustrators. She has been engaged for many years in the wider children’s literature sector as a visible, vocal and measured champion of books that are written for children in the Irish language. Áine was selected as one of Children’s Books Ireland’s twenty BOLD GIRLS in 2018, a project celebrating strong girls and women in children’s literature and highlighting Irish women artists whose work is remarkable.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Cecil Maguire RHA, RUA (1930-2020)

Monday 11th May 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with sadness of the death on Friday 8th May of the landscape artist and figure painter, Cecil Maguire.

Cecil Maguire was born in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, studied at Queen’s University Belfast and taught English at Lurgan College until his retirement in 1981, to focus on painting. By the early 1960s he was exhibiting regularly with the RUA, becoming an associate member in 1967 and a full member in 1974. The RUA presented him with several awards, including the RUA Gold Medal 1974 and RUA Perpetual Gold Medal in 1993. He began exhibiting with the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in 1971. His paintings are represented in major art collections, including The United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Ulster Museum, the Ulster Bank, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster Television and the Northern Ireland Civil Service collection.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

The heroic NI arts organisations reaching out to isolated older people during quarantine

Monday 11th May 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

Greater Shantallow Arts and Studio 2 in Derry has been leading the way in making sure that the most vulnerable, isolated elderly people across the city are receiving nutritious, free meals daily, recently hitting the 14,000 meal mark! Image: Greater Shantallow Arts and Studio 2 in Derry has been leading the way in making sure that the most vulnerable, isolated elderly people across the city are receiving nutritious, free meals daily, recently hitting the 14,000 meal mark!

From music and dance to crafting and drawing, many of Northern Ireland’s arts organisations are reaching out digitally to support isolated, vulnerable older people by using the arts to promote well-being and boost mental health during quarantine.

The Spectrum Centre in north Belfast, recently commissioned musician, Eve Williams, to record a series of music for singalongs in care homes as part of their current Chatty Tuesday Programme.  CDs of the music were sent out to ten care homes in the Belfast area along with art packs, activity sheets and ‘keeping in touch’ newsletters.  Over the coming weeks, the Spectrum Centre intends to extend this project further within the Greater Shankill community to reach out to lonely adults and older people who may be interested in joining their Chatty Tuesday Programme. 

Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, in Enniskillen, has been getting older people physically active with their free programme of movement activities especially designed for older people as part of their Arts & Older People funding from the Arts Council. The movement sessions are available for everyone at www.dylanquinndance.com/contemporary-exercises

In partnership with Health and Social Care Trusts throughout Northern Ireland, Arts Care engages 19 Artists-in-Residence, a team of Northern Ireland ClownDoctors and many project artists who facilitate and co-ordinate participatory workshops to patients, clients, residents and staff in health and social care settings.  Due to Covid-19 they recently moved their activity online to enable them to continue to deliver their arts programmes.  Their new YouTube channel, Arts Care 4U, enables Arts Care to continue to deliver their weekly programme in hospital wards, care home and healthcare units.  The channel offers a range of art participation workshops, especially for older people, in residential care or who are self-isolating at home.  The channel can be accessed at https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCQ85xLA2BlQQdrnWBhKw1hw

Greater Shantallow Arts and Studio 2 in Derry are delivering their Arts Council funded Arts & Older People Programme digitally to older people in their community.  In addition to continuing arts activities online, the organisation has been leading the way in making sure that the most vulnerable, isolated elderly people across the city are receiving nutritious, free meals daily, recently hitting the 14,000 meal mark!  They’ve temporarily turned their community arts centre into a community relief support centre to help those most in need and established a call service and communications system that allows those in need, their families or carers to contact them and register requests for support. https://youtu.be/By00q_kASC

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

“It’s truly inspiring and uplifting to see how our arts sector has responded so positively during this incredibly difficult time.  Older people are often some of the most lonely, isolated and marginalised in our society and this is only heightened during Covid-19.  We know that taking part in arts activities can help alleviate loneliness and boost mental health and well-being for all.  Despite the challenges and uncertainty ahead, many of our artists and arts organisations have adapted their work to continue to bring high-quality arts to older people in care homes and in the community, in an innovative way.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is extremely proud to support this terrific work through National Lottery and exchequer funding.  Well done to all those who are using the power of the arts as a tool to lift our spirits and bring us all closer together at this time and thanks to National Lottery Players too.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Deaf/Disabled Artist Support Fund announced by Arts Council and University of Atypical

Wednesday 6th May 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

Felting workshop by Niki Collier, Bounce Arts Festival 2019. Image courtesy of Paul Moore. Image: Felting workshop by Niki Collier, Bounce Arts Festival 2019. Image courtesy of Paul Moore.

Arts Council of Northern Ireland and University of Atypical are delighted to announce a new fund specifically for D/deaf and disabled artists in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Artists of all disciplines are invited to apply for 25 grants of up to £1,000 each, in order to support their practice, by 31st March 2021. The grants can support artistic output across any discipline and scale, alongside any associated access support requirements that D/deaf and disabled artists have. This fund is in addition to, not instead of, Arts Council’s other schemes such as the Artists’ Emergency Programme – D/deaf and disabled artists can apply for both. iDA recipients, or other artists who work on existing projects with University of Atypical, or have worked with the organisation previously, are also eligible to apply.

Damien Coyle, Chairperson of University of Atypical, says:

‘Recognition of the specific support that D/deaf and disabled artists require is more important now than ever. As the sector-lead organisation for D/deaf and disabled arts, we’re proud to be administrating this fund on behalf of Arts Council of Northern Ireland and are grateful for their ongoing support for the D/deaf and disabled arts community.’

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

‘In response to this tremendously challenging time for individual artists due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council is delighted to announce this new Deaf/Disabled Artists Support Fund, worth £25,000 of National Lottery funding. The aim of this fund is to financially support deaf/disabled artists in Northern Ireland, who have suffered a loss of earnings, to undertake research, professional development or a project. Working alongside the University of Atypical, we hope this new fund will have a significant, positive impact during this difficult time.  It’s also important to note that this fund is available in addition to, and not instead of, the Arts Council’s recently announced National Lottery supported £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme. We anticipate high interest in both programmes so please do apply as soon as possible.’

Further details and a short application form can be found on the University of Atypical website: https://universityofatypical.org/deaf-and-disabled-artist-support-fund/ and on our various social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please do not hesitate to contact jane@universityofatypical.org if you require this information in another format. D/deaf people can text via 07854034765.

Applications to the fund will open on Wednesday 6th of May and will close on Wednesday 20th of May at 5pm.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

BBC Arts ask the nation to Get Creative, forming the BBC Lockdown Orchestra to play You Got The Love

Monday 4th May 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

BBC Lockdown Orchestra Image: BBC Lockdown Orchestra

Public to perform and sing on track with BBC Orchestras, BBC Singers and the Ulster Orchestra as part of a UK-wide performance for Get Creative festival.

As part of a ten-day creative challenge for the Get Creative festival, BBC Arts and BBC Radio 3 are asking the nation to dust off their instruments and warm up their vocal cords to join the BBC Lockdown Orchestra in a national collaborative rendition of the 1986 anthem of hope You Got The Love by The Source featuring Candi Staton - which Florence + The Machine brought to renewed fame in 2009 with their cover version, You’ve Got The Love.

The public is being invited to film and upload their performances to bbc.co.uk/getcreative, where their submissions will join those of the BBC Lockdown Orchestra to create a track which will premiere across BBC Radio on Thursday 14 May, and debut as a music video on BBC Four at 8.55pm later that day.

The newly formed BBC Lockdown Orchestra is made up of 100 professional musicians from all over the UK, including members of the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and the Ulster Orchestra - and this virtual performance marks the first time the BBC’s musicians and singers have collaborated in this way.

Those who want to join in with the song can use the backing track and musical score available on bbc.co.uk/getcreative from Monday, 4 May 2020. The score can be used in different ways by beginner, intermediate and advanced musicians, allowing everyone to have a go. Once submissions have been uploaded by the deadline on Sunday, 10 May 2020 at 11.59pm, BBC Studios will create a final mix of the UK public and the BBC Lockdown Orchestra’s performances for a track on radio and a music video for TV and online.

We’re also delighted to be supported by celebrity guests, with a mix of musical backgrounds, who are encouraging the public to get involved. So far names signed up include BBC Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham; viral drumming BBC weatherman Owain Wyn Evans; and BBC Radio 6 Music presenter and funk & soul DJ, Craig Charles.

As part of the initiative, members of the public - who might not play musical instruments or sing - are being asked to make something with love, whether that’s a drawing, dancing, or decorating a cake, which they wish they could share with a loved one. If they share the results via photos and video on the BBC, they could be included in the final film.

The participation elements this year are part of the BBC’s wider Culture in Quarantine initiative, continuing to bring arts and culture into the homes of the public, despite covid-19 restrictions.

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 and Classical Music: Proms and Performing Groups, says: “This is a unique chance for the public to show their musical skills in the company of the world-renowned BBC orchestras and choirs, and contribute to an inspiring version of this uplifting song. Guitar or trumpet, violin or voice - bring what you will and join in a massive, awe-inspiring performance.”

Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts, says: “The ambition of Culture in Quarantine is to ensure the UK continues to have access to great art and culture - and can take part and share too. Get Creative began as a participatory creativity campaign five years ago and in that time has fostered a large network of partners, communities and individual participants. At a time of national lockdown, it is perfectly placed to support a project of the scale, reach and joy of You Got the Love.”

Katie Derham, presenter on BBC Radio 3, says: “If you've ever dreamed of playing in a BBC orchestra or singing with the BBC Singers… now is your chance! Join with the BBC Lockdown Orchestra. You don't have to be a virtuoso, just join in and have a go, and be part of something really special. I may dust off my violin... though maybe humming along would be kinder for everyone!”

Owain Wyn Evans, the BBC’s drumming weatherman, said: “This is a fabulous idea, I can’t wait to get involved! I’ve been playing the drums since I was eight years old, and having the opportunity to play 'alongside' albeit in lockdown, such fabulous musicians is going to be incredible. PLUS this is such a feel-good song... I can’t wait to play along.”

Funk & soul DJ Craig Charles will be encouraging BBC Radio 6 Music listeners to get involved, and plans to submit a video of him playing the piano to the track. He said: “It’s great to be a part of something we can get down to during the lockdown!”

The Get Creative festival, now in its fifth year, is a UK-wide celebration of have-a-go creativity encouraging everyone to try a new creative hobby. Due to global events, the festival has changed its line-up to include a host of activities that the public can join in with from the comfort of their home. Organised by the BBC and 10 other partners, there are activities for everyone to join in and get creative.

Florence + The Machine were discovered through BBC Music Introducing in 2008 and went on to become a global phenomenon. The 2009 track You’ve Got The Love from Florence + The Machine was a cover of the 1986 release from The Source & Candi Staton, and has had over 1.8 million combined sales/streams, peaking at number five in the UK Official Charts.

The musicians and singers in the BBC Lockdown Orchestra are providing the backing track to support anyone who wants to get involved. They each recorded their contributions to the track from members’ individual homes, which were then arranged and produced by Steve Pycroft, co-founder of the Kaleidoscope Orchestra.

Members of the public can still experience being a part of the BBC Lockdown Orchestra by playing and singing along to the backing track using online parts, which will be available until August.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Freelands Foundation announces hardship fund for visual artists, £500,000 earmarked for NI

Friday 1st May 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments

Freelands Foundation Image: Freelands Foundation

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland today welcomed the announcement by The Freelands Foundation that £500,000 of their £1.5M hardship fund will benefit visual artists and freelancers in the visual arts sector in Northern Ireland.

She commented; “ The Arts Council is absolutely delighted to express our thanks to the Freelands Foundation which today announced that £500,000 will be earmarked for visual artists and freelancers in the visual arts sector in Northern Ireland who have been so badly affected by Covid-19 and the subsequent quarantine. We know our artists are working hard, developing new ways to deliver much-needed creative and inspirational responses to our current collective experience and need all the support they can get in this difficult time so this is very welcome news indeed’.

  • The Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund will open on Thursday May 7th 2020 offering support grants of up to £1,500 to £2,500 per applicant and further information and application guidance can be found here 
  • Individuals can apply to The Freelands Trust Emergency Fund through Foundation’s delivery partner,  a-n, The Artists Information Company.
  • The Freelands Foundation has now committed a total of £3m in emergency funds to support artists and freelance creative practitioners in urgent need of financial support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic across the four nations of the UK. The new fund follows a £1m contribution to the Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary and £500k to the Arts Council of Wales Urgent Relief Fund for Individuals.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council tribute to BJ Hogg, acclaimed Northern Ireland actor, who has died, aged 65

Friday 1st May 2020 at 9am 0 Comments

Arts Council tribute to BJ Hogg, acclaimed Northern Ireland actor, who has died, aged 65.

Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Roisin McDonough, joined others in paying tribute to the Lisburn-born actor, BJ Hogg, who very sadly died suddenly yesterday at the age of 65. Ms McDonough said:

“BJ Hogg was a very fine and versatile stage and screen actor, as easily capable of breaking audiences’ hearts through his beautifully nuanced performance as the lonely widower in Dance Lexie Dance, as raising great belly laughs as Big Mervyn in Give My Head Peace. As a character actor, he reached that rare status of being highly respected and admired amongst his peers, achieving national and international celebrity, most famously for his role as Addam Marbrand in Game of Thrones, and, locally, becoming a much-loved household name throughout Northern Ireland. He will be greatly missed.”

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Get Creative at Home

Friday 1st May 2020 at 8am 0 Comments

Get creative at home during the month of May Image: Get creative at home during the month of May

The #GetCreativeAtHome campaign aims to highlight and promote some of the amazing participatory creative activities that are being developed to help people to express themselves creatively during a time of unprecedented change. At this extremely challenging time, we believe that the power of creativity to unite people and support them to maintain good mental health and connection with others is more important than ever.

Get Creative is a campaign that shines a light on all the great cultural activity that takes place on a regular basis in local communities and encourages people to try their hand at something new and creative. Each May, we have held a huge annual celebration of creativity through a festival that aims to give everyone the chance to get actively involved in a creative event in their local area.

There are now more than 200 creative activities listed by organisations and individuals across the UK to offer creative inspiration to people of all ages. These free (or low-cost) activities cover almost every art form you can think of and most can be done without specialist equipment. Delve into the listings and find something to spark your creativity!

BBC Arts is supporting #GetCreativeAtHome with a range of online content and broadcast programming. A new series of online masterclasses has been launched - with the first two episodes featuring Sir Antony Gormley and Clare Twomey now live on the Get Creative Facebook page. Live streamed dance classes have been led by Birmingham Royal Ballet and National Dance Company Wales. And there are more big moments being planned for the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Get Creative is a campaign brought to you by arts and creative organisations and individuals across the UK and is supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, the BBC, Crafts Council, Creative Scotland, Libraries Connected, Local Government Association, Scottish Libraries & Information Council, Voluntary Arts, and What Next?.

Visit https://getcreativeuk.com for more information and to get creative.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Local projects lead the way in the community

Tuesday 28th April 2020 at 9am 0 Comments

Ulster Orchestra Image: Ulster Orchestra

National Lottery funded organisations from Northern Ireland have been at the forefront of efforts to keep people safe, healthy and active during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Enterprising projects and selfless individuals throughout the North have been carrying out amazing acts for their community.

These include assisting in food deliveries to the most vulnerable; organising online activities and, in some cases, returning to the health service to help in the frontline.

Streetwise Community Circus has created a digital hub called Streetwise at Home, where children can learn circus skills from professional performers. While the Ulster Orchestra’s new digital platform, #UOLetsPlayAtHome, features videos of their players and staff performing and chatting individually or as small ensembles every mid-week day at 3pm on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

National Lottery funded Every Body Active coaches from local authorities across Northern Ireland have also moved online with to offer safe sport and physical activity skills at home. Olympic rowing hopeful Philip Doyle, a qualified doctor, has put his Tokyo preparations on hold to return to medicine and join the battle against Covid-19.

The team at Monkstown Boxing Club has turned its gym and facilities into a temporary soup kitchen and volunteers are delivering food packages to the doorsteps of people in their area who are self-isolating.

And for those missing Northern Ireland’s spectacular natural beauty and landscapes, the National Trust is offering virtual tours from the comfort of your own home of the rugged scenery around the Giant’s Causeway, where the National Lottery helped fund a world-class visitor centre.

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million of National Lottery funding will be reallocated over the coming months to help projects in the UK offset the impact of coronavirus and support the most vulnerable in our communities.

Paul Mullan, chair of The National Lottery Forum Northern Ireland, said:

“The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times.

“We have always backed projects and people who help communities thrive and we are now focussing support to mitigate the unprecedented pressure they are feeling as we rally to overcome Covid-19.

“By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to supporting these organisations and individuals and you are playing an important role in the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of Covid-19 in your local community.”

Each week, £30 million is raised by National Lottery players for good causes. To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors to date, please visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response. Please check the websites of individual distributors for full terms and conditions.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council opens emergency programme for artists and performers

Monday 27th April 2020 at 8am 0 Comments

Arts Council opens emergency programme for artists and performers Image: Arts Council opens emergency programme for artists and performers

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Monday 27th April) opened a funding programme to support artists and performers during the COVID-19 crisis. The Artists Emergency Programme (AEP), worth £500,000, offers freelance artists, creative practitioners and performers the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £5,000 each.

The Arts Council’s National Lottery funding will be used to support the research, design and future presentation of arts events and performances, including resources to help artists develop their creative practice. The AEP fund provides much needed financial support and employment, a lifeline to artists, at a time when the arts sector has been decimated under quarantine conditions, venue and gallery closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.

The Arts Council’s Artists Emergency Programme is one element of the £1.5m funding package recently announced by Minister Hargey, Department for Communities, to support the arts and wider culture sectors during the current pandemic. Other measures will be rolled out to support arts organisations, libraries and museums in the coming weeks.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA said:

"The Arts Sector is facing many barriers, this fund will offer equality of opportunity and access for a broad range of people. I have asked my Department to continue to do everything possible to provide support and assistance to individuals and groups in the Arts Sector at this time. I am also grateful to the Arts Council for working with my Department in responding to the needs of the sector."

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

“We welcome the Minister’s announcement of new funding to support the arts and culture sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic and we hope to allocate that as quickly as possible. The Artists Emergency Programme we opened today forms an important strand of the Minister’s package; one that targets our individual artists who are in urgent need at this time. Our artists are among the most creative, flexible and inventive members of our society and many are already finding brilliant, imaginative and innovative ways to deliver their art, but the impact of the pandemic on their working lives has been both severe and immediate.

“The Artists Emergency Fund, worth £500,000 of National Lottery funding, will help support efforts to develop their vocations and find new ways to bring colour, meaning and inspiration to our lives at a time when many of us need it most.  The scheme is open for Expressions of Interest and we hope to see  inventive ideas that imagine how artists’ practice can advance in better times’ while  also engaging in the future with audiences and participants in a meaningful way.”

The rolling AEP programme will open for applications Monday 27th April, until further notice, for proposals ending March 2021. The Arts Council will endeavour to have decisions made within two weeks of receipt of proposals. Expression of Interest forms and guidance notes are available at artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/artists-emergency-programme

The Arts Council is working to bring forward the opening of its revised Support for Individual Artists Programme (SIAP) for 2020 to the month of May. This programme is also funded by the National Lottery and will focus on General Arts Awards and commissioning opportunities.

For more information on the financial impact of the Coronavirus on the NI Arts Sector (April 2020) visit artscouncil-ni.org/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Roma Tomelty (1945-2020)

Wednesday 22nd April 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with great sadness of the death of the acclaimed Northern Ireland stage and screen actor, director and producer, Roma Tomelty, who has died at the age of 75.

Roma Tomelty, sister to fellow actor Frances, followed in the footsteps of their father, Joseph Tomelty, who was one of the most important artistic and cultural figures in the post-war professional drama scene in Belfast in the 1940s and 50s, by devoting herself to the development of Northern Irish theatre. She carried on the family association with the Belfast Group Theatre, championing its cause until it closed, then establishing, with her husband, Colin Carnegie, Centre Stage Theatre Company, a professional company dedicated to reprising plays dating from the heyday of the Group and ‘Ulster theatre’, including works by Joseph Tomelty, St John Ervine, George Shiels and others. With Centre Stage, she also helped to nurture the talents of an emerging generation of actors, directors and stage technicians through the drama school arm of the company.

Her long association with Ulster Theatre began as far back as the age of sixteen when, alongside Stephen Rea and Roisin Donaghy, she formed The Young Irish Theatre Company, with the aim of reviving and promoting local theatre. She was also one of the group of eminent actors who had a long association with the Arts Theatre in Belfast, before its closure in the late 1990s and she performed and worked for various companies, including the Lyric Theatre.

Born and raised in Belfast, Roma maintained her family’s long Co Down links in her professional life. During the 1980s, she was the artistic director of Newry Arts Centre where, for a number of successful years, she was also involved in the O’Casey Theatre Company.

A freelance actress, director and producer from the age of 18, Roma Tomelty’s more recent acting credits included appearances in the films, ‘Miss Conception’ (2008) and ‘Your Highness’ (2011) and in the TV series, ‘Game of Thrones’ (2011) and ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles 2’ (2017).

Roma is survived by her husband, Colin and their three daughters Ruth, Rachel and Hanna.

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

“Roma was a formidable powerhouse of Northern Irish theatre. She will be remembered as a huge talent and, for me, personally, as a wonderfully warm and charismatic person with an infectious energy. She was always tremendous company. As part of an illustrious family dynasty she stayed true to her local roots and made her own mark on the world. For anyone with a love of theatre in Northern Ireland, she would have been a truly inspirational figure. We won’t see her like again.”

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Crescent Arts Centre remembers “a saint of poetry” with Mairtín Crawford Awards

Monday 20th April 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

The late Belfast poet and writer Mairtin Crawford, whose life and work are being celebrated in the Mairtin Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story. Image: The late Belfast poet and writer Mairtin Crawford, whose life and work are being celebrated in the Mairtin Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story.

The Crescent Arts Centre is celebrating the life and work of the man who poet Michael Longley called “a saint of poetry” with the launch of the Mairtín Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story 2020.

The Awards are aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel. Both published and unpublished writers from all over the world are invited to submit between 3-5 poems for the poetry award, and a short story of up to 2,500 words for the short story award.  The only stipulations are that entrants must not yet have published a full collection of poetry, short stories, or a novel and entries must be in the English language..

Sophie Hayles, CEO of The Crescent Arts Centre, explains more:

“As a creative writing tutor, writer-in-residence and Director of the Between the Lines festival, Mairtín Crawford was a huge part of The Crescent Arts Centre family before his untimely death in 2004.  As Michael Longley so memorably said, Mairtin ‘gave so much more than he took and made things possible for lots of other people’.

Although the 10th Belfast Book Festival will not take place in June 2020 due to the current public health crisis, we are delighted to still be running the Mairtín Crawford Awards as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting emerging talent.”

Naomi Foyle, one of the judges of the Poetry Award and a close friend and colleague of Mairtín said:

“The current lockdown leaves many writers with more time on their hands than they might have anticipated. While there are serious and painful difficulties about the experience we’re all undergoing, there are positive aspects too and the process of writing can help us to gain a valuable perspective on it all.

While it's sad about the cancellation of this year’s Belfast Book Festival, it seems fitting that Mairtín's Award will be energising aspirant writers at this time of enormous social change.”

The deadline for submissions to the Mairtín Crawford Awards is midnight on Wednesday 13 May 2020.

For the 2020 Awards, the winner for each Award will receive a cash prize of £1,000 and a 3-night stay at the wonderful writing and reading retreat The River Mill. The runners-up for each Award will be given a cash prize of £250.

The judges for the 2020 Awards are: Short Story:  Lucy Caldwell (Chair) and Rachael Kelly; Poetry: Moyra Donaldson (Chair) and Naomi Foyle.

The Awards are supported by NIPR Books and The River Mill. 

For more information on the Mairtín Crawford Awards and to find out how to enter, visit https://belfastbookfestival.com/mairtin-crawford-award

The Crescent Arts Centre and Belfast Book Festival are supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

JLF Belfast 2020

Friday 10th April 2020 at 5pm 0 Comments

JLF Belfast 2019, Lyric Theatre Belfast Image: JLF Belfast 2019, Lyric Theatre Belfast

In light of current government advice on Covid-19, it is with great sadness that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and TeamWork Arts, the producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival in India, must announce the postponement of JLF Belfast 2020, (Lyric Theatre June 13-14) until Spring 2021.

All ticket holders will be contacted over coming weeks by the Lyric Theatre's box office and any requests to defer ticket take-up to the 2021 festival will of course be honoured. We will announce new dates for JLF 2021 as soon as we know them. Meanwhile we are keeping up to date with the fast-changing situation and we will continue to communicate news on the 2021 festival programme as it develops. Stay well everyone and we look forward to meeting you again in 2021.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

ACNI awards £12.9 million in grants to sustain key arts organisations during challenging times

Friday 10th April 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson Image: The Lyric Theatre’s world premiere of the stage musical version of ‘Good Vibrations’, charting the life of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, adapted Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) today (10 April 2020) announced annual funding of £12.9 million for 97 key arts organisations from its exchequer and National Lottery resources. This year, with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine, the Council has promised an upfront payment of 50% of the total grant value offered, to help stabilise the region’s key arts organisations.

The Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme (AFP) is the most significant allocation of public funding for the arts in Northern Ireland each year.  Today Northern Ireland’s key arts organisations received standstill funding, primarily covering their core costs and programming costs.

John Edmund, Chair, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“Today the Arts Council is able to award £12.9 million of annual arts funding, from its exchequer and National Lottery resources, to support the valuable work of 97 key arts organisations. Each of these organisations is under enormous financial pressure, as is public expenditure generally, during this period of quarantine so we are thankful we could maintain funding to applicants at last year’s level.”

The situation for artists and arts organisations has never been as bad; venues are closed, events and festivals are cancelled and travel bans and social distancing have removed the opportunity to perform for live audiences and show new artistic work. While this is all completely understandable and very necessary in the fight against Covid-19, it has destabilised arts organisations right across Northern Ireland and threatens their very survival . We continue to work alongside Minister Hargey and the Department for Communities on funding solutions that will help our artists and arts organisations ride-out this crisis and help them continue to create inspirational work for audiences and for those most in need in our communities.”

Arts Council Chief Executive, Róisín McDonough, commented,

“We are relieved to be able to make today’s allocation of standstill funding and we are grateful to the Department for Communities in acknowledging the fragile state of the arts sector at this time and the devastating effects of Covid-19 upon our key arts organisations.

“Our Board chose to mitigate some of the immediate difficulties faced by those organisations during these unprecedented times by making upfront payments of 50% of approved annual grants to clients. Flexibility and liquidity are key to the sector’s survival right now; the Arts Council will be flexible with our clients regarding how funding is deployed and used this year while organisations strive to maintain liquidity and create the inspirational work we all need in this situation.”

“Ninety-one organisations were offered standstill funding, two were offered uplifts for clear strategic reasons including merger costs and other external financial pressures and there were two new applicants. “

“I would like to take the opportunity to commend all those who were successful in their applications and I also want to reassure our arts sector that I and my staff are doing our utmost to bring as much support as possible, as quickly as possible, to those who need it most.”

Today’s Annual Funding announcement supports the work of major arts organisations in Northern Ireland.  An Artist’s Emergency Programme is currently being designed to support individual artists and freelancers in response to the pressures of Covid-19.  Full details are expected to be announced quickly after Easter holidays, please check the website for future updates at www.artscouncil-ni.org 

Arts Council staff members are also continuing to work alongside the Department for Communities to ensure the minister’s recent announcement of £1m of aid will make a real difference and support the wider cultural sector in NI as soon as possible.  This support will include artists, arts organisations, and those working with museums, libraries and languages.

Annual Funding Programme Case Studies:

Outburst Arts
Outburst Arts is a new client to the Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme. The organisation is at a pivotal point in its development; their annual festival, Outburst Queer Arts Festival, has grown into one of the leading festivals in Northern Ireland for exciting, cutting-edge writing and performance. The organisation has produced award-winning, critically-acclaimed productions, often in partnership with other arts companies, and also showcases the best in new queer arts from around the world.  Visit outburstarts.com
 

174 Trust
174 Trust (Duncairn Arts and Cultural Centre) is the second new client added to the Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme. Since opening in 2014, the Duncairn Arts and Cultural Centre has created a highly successful arts-based model of engagement with marginalised and disadvantaged communities in North Belfast.   The venue is a shared space community arts centre, supporting local children, young people and adults through targeted arts programming, workshops and classes.  The Duncairn also supports and develops the work of young, emerging local artists and has a regular programme of live music.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Funding injection for youth arts project is music to the ears

Tuesday 31st March 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Pictured are: Project Sparks leaders Owen Coyle, Sarah-Jane Murray and Courtney Hamilton, project manager Eamonn McCarron and Gilly Campbell from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with pupils from Greenhaw Primary School. Image: Pictured are: Project Sparks leaders Owen Coyle, Sarah-Jane Murray and Courtney Hamilton, project manager Eamonn McCarron and Gilly Campbell from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with pupils from Greenhaw Primary School.

Project Sparks in Derry/Londonderry is celebrating the continuation of its landmark dance and music programme, thanks to a recent cash injection from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds. The ambitious programme, developed by Liberty Consortium, was founded with the belief that the best teachers are those who know what it’s like to struggle.

Since 2017, Project Sparks has trained 18 musically talented disabled young people (called ‘Leaders’) to teach music and dance to primary-school children alongside the project’s staff. Recognising that music is a powerful vehicle to maximise children’s learning right across the school curriculum, Project Sparks has impacted over 800 children across the region.

Over the past two years, the group has received almost £10,000 from the Arts Council’s Small Grants Programme. They say that The Arts Council’s investment helped them leverage funding from other sources such as Paul Hamlyn Foundation, which has enabled them to teach a further 250 children who have, until now, had limited creative opportunities.

Educator and Project Sparks manager Eamonn McCarron, comments;

“This work is transformative for the young Leaders and the children whom they teach. For the first time, there is an opportunity for disabled artists to use their resilience and empathy to capture children’s creative potential and broaden their beliefs about disability. This latest injection of funding from the Arts Council has helped Leaders to secure a bright future in sharing their talents with children who need it most. Blending the Leaders’ youthful camaraderie with instruction from qualified teachers allows us to create a dynamic learning environment, and none of this would have been possible without the training we have been able to provide.”

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

“The Arts Council’s Small Grants Programme is supporting arts projects in communities across Northern Ireland, creating more opportunities for people to engage with the arts, from grassroots level projects to professional productions. With a relatively small injection of funding, it is amazing to see how much can be achieved and this project is a brilliant example of that.

“Project Sparks has changed the lives of 18 young people for the better. Equipping them with new life skills, helping them build their self-esteem and confidence, and skilling them up as performers and teachers.”

For more information on Project Sparks, visit: facebook.com/projectsparksuk

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Message from Arts Council Chief Executive

Monday 30th March 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough Image: Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough

In these extraordinary times, everyone is having to cope with challenges the scale of which we have never faced before. The need for our politicians and our statutory bodies, including the Arts Council, to respond quickly and effectively has never been more keenly felt, by ourselves and by the people and the communities that we represent. Staff at the Arts Council have been working exceptionally hard, not only to remotely maintain essential services but to put in place emergency measures to mitigate against the worst of the impact of the coronavirus on our sector. I am proud of the response of our artists and arts organisations to this threat to our creative and cultural life. Artists are finding brilliant and innovative new ways to deliver inspirational work to what are now, by necessitiy, virtual audiences. Artistic enterprise is perhaps more vital, more key to enriching and lifting the nations' spirits, now more than ever before.

The Arts Council is supporting our arts workers as they pursue their vocations as well as finding new ways to bring colour, meaning and inspiration to our lives.

On March 16th, we posted important advice relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts on our website (http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice) and via our social media networks. We have continued to regularly update this information, so please do keep checking our digital platforms and stay in touch with our officers, all of whom are by now available on email. Please be assured of our commitment to the sector to honour all grants already made; to issue any remaining balance of payments as a matter of urgency; and to work flexibly with you on contracts for the coming financial year. This will include advancing grant payment to assist with cashflow. We asked organisations to honour, to the best of their ability, their contracts with artists and freelancers. This reassurance, given upfront, is of critical importance to artists and arts organisations. Hopefully the government's emergency funding packages for businesses and, latterly, the self-employed, will provide some measure of security for artists. We have continued to update and circulate this information regularly as the funding (and government benefits) situation has unfolded, and we will continue to do so.

We have been in negotiations with a number of other funders and agencies and have been in detailed discussions with the Department for Communities for some time now, submitting a bid to the Minister for extra support. We welcomed her announcement on Friday that she intends to step in with an initial package to the Arts Council worth £1m of much-needed support for creatives and individual artists working here. This emergency COVID-19 Creative Support Fund will support a creative practitioner-led programme of support to help freelancers obtain employment and payment for their work in these difficult times. We are currenty working out the detail with the Department of how it will be administered and we will let you know as soon as possible. (https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/communities-minister-announces-support-artists-performers-and-creative-producers-across-arts-and).

Arts Council officers have been in contact with as many of our funded arts organisations as is feasibly possible under present circumstances, to ascertain need in the immediate and medium term. On Thursday of last week we also circulated a survey which will further help us to evaluate the impact of coronavirus on the sector and inform our response (https://forms.gle/xB6a3f2qFMhrvmfQ8). It would greatly help the Arts Council and our colleagues in government if you would complete this survey.

The Board of the Arts Council is scheduled to meet (virtually) in the second week of April. They will make their decisions on our Annually Funded Organisations Programme for 2020-21, in anticipation that the Department for Communities will by then have formally confirmed the Arts Council's budget for the year. One of the options the Board will consider in light of present circumstances is awarding Annually Funded Organisations 50% of their grant value upfront.

Today we are publishing a list of additional potential funding sources for artists and arts organisations (http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/useful-funding-sources). With new crowd-funded resources becoming available as we speak, we would ask anyone who is aware of any other useful funding sources to share them with us by emailing info@artscouncil-ni.org and we will publish them to the wider sector,

The escalation of the impact of the coronavirus has been rapid and will test all of our institutions to their limits. Staff at the Arts Council are more determined than ever to ensure that our artists and arts organisations get the help they need and I, on behalf of the Arts Council, give you my sincerest commitment that we will move heaven and earth to protect the livelihoods of arts workers through these horrible times.

Please stay safe everyone. Continue to show kindness, generosity and support for each other. With just a little of the humanity with which the arts are abundantly blessed, we will endure and we will emerge from this crisis to a world - a much changed world - but still a world where the arts are the beating heart of our society.

Roisin McDonough
Chief Executive

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Useful Funding Sources

Monday 30th March 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

Useful Funding Sources Image: Useful Funding Sources

Updated: 23 October 2020

NEW:

European Investment Bank Institute 2021 Artists Development Programme

The European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute is looking for emerging European artists and collectives to join the 2020 edition of its Artists Development Programme (ADP), a 6-8 weeks long residency programme in Luxembourg, under the mentorship of renowned Finnish photographer Jorma Puranen.

The EIB launched two calls for applications targeting visual artists (EU nationals, aged less than 35) with a thematic focus on:

The deadline for applying is 10 January 2021 at midnight (GMT+1).
For more information about the programme visit https://institute.eib.org/whatwedo/arts/artists-residencies/

 

Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund
For artists and freelancers in Northern Ireland in partnership with a-n The Artists Information Company. The Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund is supported by the Freelands Foundation, as part of a landmark commitment of £3m towards emergency funds for artists and freelance creative practitioners across the UK affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Funds will be available for Northern Ireland based practitioners. Applications opened on Friday 25th September 2020.

Who can apply: Freelance creative practitioners based in Northern Ireland who work in the visual arts and are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
What: Grants of £1,500 – £2,500
Deadline for applications: Applications are accepted from 2:00pm on Friday 25th September 2020 and decisions will be made on a monthly basis. You can apply at any time. Applicants will be informed of decisions within approximately 5-6 weeks of submitting an application. We encourage applicants to make a submission early due to the limited funds available.

Enquiries: emergencyfund@a-n.co.uk
https://www.a-n.co.uk/about/freelands-foundation-emergency-fund-2/

________________________________________________

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Arts & Business Northern Ireland, was launched today, 21 September. The Fund will distribute a total of £840,000 between 2020 and 2022, and is designed to support artists and arts projects across the island of Ireland.  Today’s announcement brings the Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together community investment to €3million.

The Arts Fund will support or commission artists and arts organisations to develop arts projects, enhancing the wellbeing of the participants, audiences and communities involved. All art forms are eligible and the aim is for the projects to benefit a range of audiences. The Fund will also support arts projects that have been adapted due to COVID-19, or are inspired by / respond to COVID-19.

Applicants can request funds between c. £2,500 – £8,400, and average grants will be £4,200, with maximum grants of £8,400. Arts projects with larger budgets that have secured funds elsewhere are encouraged to apply. With each grant round, the Fund aims to provide funding to an arts project in each county on the island of Ireland.

Closing date for the first round of applications is Wednesday, 4 November at 5pm. The second round will open in April 2021. Go to www.businesstoarts.ie/artsfund/bank-of-ireland for information on the application process and to complete the online application form.

 

£25 million Weston Culture Fund

The Garfield Weston Foundation is finalising details of a one-off Weston Culture Fund, to launch on 5th October. This £25 million fund will support mid- to large-scale cultural organisations in the UK to restart work, re-engage with audiences, adapt to changed circumstances and generate revenue. The fund is specifically for charitable organisations with a pre-Covid regular annual income of £500,000 or greater; smaller organisations will be able to apply for the Foundation's regular grants programme via its website as usual. Closing date for applications will be 9th November and decisions will be announced by the end of January 2021.

Further details: https://garfieldweston.org/new-weston-culture-fund-coming-soon/

 

Health and Safety Capital Programme

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday 10th September 2020) opened the Health and Safety Capital Programme, a new fund, worth £500,000, designed to support arts and culture organisations as they prepare to re-open after the Covid-19 lockdown.

This programme will fund necessary adjustments and protective equipment required by venues and organisations to ensure that social distancing is maintained and that audiences, performers and staff are kept safe.

Deadline for applications: Thursday 1st October 2020 at 4pm.

http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/health-and-safety-capital-programme

 

Organisations Emergency Programme

Arts Council of Northern Ireland (3 September 2020) opened the Organisations Emergency Programme (OEP) in a second call to arts and cultural organisations across Northern Ireland.

The fund allows those organisations which did not receive support in the first call made in June, to apply for grants of up to £25,000 each. It is hoped this support may help alleviate the significant financial pressures they are facing as result of Covid-19, while preparing to re-open safely and contribute successfully to the economy.

Deadline for applications: Thursday 17th September 2020 at 4pm.

http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/organisations-emergency-programme

 

________________________________________________

 

 

Government:

Coronavirus and Claiming Benefits
www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-and-benefits

Department for Communities - claiming benefits:
www.communities-ni.gov.uk/landing-pages/covid-19-service-updates

Department for Economy Small Business Rate Relief Scheme
www.economy-ni.gov.uk/news/covid-19-business-support-grant-schemes

UK Government Self-employment Income Support Scheme
www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

UK Government Business Support Scheme
www.businesssupport.gov.uk

NI Executive Small Business Support Grant Scheme
www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk

Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action
NICVA is curating information of use to charities and freelancers and includes some new funds set up specifically to help in this time.
www.nicva.org/article/nicvas-advice-on-managing-the-impact-of-coronavirus


International:

Creative Europe Desk UK
Remains open (remotely) to advise UK applicants
www.creativeeuropeuk.eu/news/update-information-creative-europe-and-coronavirus-covid-19


Trusts and Foundations:

Charities Aid Foundation
CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund
Grants of up-to £10,000 to help smaller UK charitable organisations
https://www.cafonline.org/charities/grantmaking/caf-coronavirus-emergency-fund

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Closing to new applications on 3rd April, reopening new funding strategy in May.
www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk/coronavirus---reassurance-for-those-we-fund

Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Arts Access and Participation Fund - applications on a rolling basis
www.phf.org.uk/our-work-in-the-uk/arts-access-participation

Clore Duffield Foundation
Main Grants Programme - applications on an ongoing basis, although grants can only be awarded at meetings of the Trustees in June and December.
www.cloreduffield.org.uk/main-grants

Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland
Small to large community grants
www.halifaxfoundationni.org/programmes/community-grant-programme


Other funding sources:

PRS Foundation in partnership with Jerwood Arts - Composers' Fund

Up-to £10,000 available to composers who are already making a significant cultural contribution in the UK.
Next deadline for applications will be 2 November 2020.
https://prsfoundation.com/2020/04/15/jerwood-arts-partners-on-prs-foundations-composers-fund/

Heritage Fund
£50 million Heritage Emergency Fund
https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/blogs/announcing-more-details-about-heritage-emergency-fund

Help Musicians hardship fund
www.musiciansunion.org.uk/hardshipfund

PRS Emergency Relief Fund
www.prsformusic.com/c/emergency-relief-fund

Bread and Butter Emergency Fund for NI Artists, set up by Abbie Spallen and Finn Kennedy - CLOSED
https://www.gofundme.com/f/emergency-fund-for-artists-affected-by-covid-9

Tinderbox Solo Art - a solo art fund to help freelancers by Tinderbox Theatre Company
www.tinderbox.org.uk/news-productions/tinderbox-solo-art

Actors' Children's Trust Fund
actorschildren.org

Equity Children's Fund
actingforothersco.uk/the-equity-charitable-trust

Evelyn Norris Trust
www.equitycharitabletrust.org.uk/other-grants/evelyn-norris-trust

Safety Curtain
www.safetycurtain.org.uk

The Ralph & Meriel Richardson Foundation
www.sirralphrichardson.org.uk

The Royal Theatrical Fund
actingforothers.co.uk/theroyaltheatricalfund

The Theatrical Fund
ttg.org.uk

Women's Resilience Fund
www.smallwoodtrust.org.uk/flexible-response-fund

The Ralph & Meriel Richardson Foundation
www.sirralphrichardson.org.uk

The Royal Theatrical Fund
actingforothers.co.uk/theroyaltheatricalfund

The Theatrical Fund
ttg.org.uk

Women's Resilience Fund
www.smallwoodtrust.org.uk/flexible-response-fund

Disability Arts Online
Special £8k commissions pot for disabled artists in UK
Application deadline: Monday 6th April
https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/news/disability-arts-online-announces-new-commissions-for-disabled-artists/

British Council
Funding and other resources for the music industry
http://music.britishcouncil.org/news-and-features/2020-04-17/covid-19-music-resources

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Career development awards for sixteen artists with disabilities from Northern Ireland

Monday 30th March 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Arts & Disability

Recipients of the iDA awards 2020 Image: Recipients of the iDA awards 2020

Sixteen artists with disabilities from Northern Ireland have been announced as recipients of the University of Atypical’s Individual Disabled Artist (iDA) Award, funding grants supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The iDA funding programme is a dedicated annual arts development programme, delivered through the University of Atypical, to enable deaf and disabled artists who are working in a range of art forms to develop their professional artistic careers.
The bursaries provide valuable opportunities for each artist to produce a new high-quality creative work, receive training or professional mentoring.

Damien Coyle, Chairperson of the University of Atypical, said:

'The iDA awards scheme is invaluable in supporting disabled and deaf artists to produce exciting new work and has a successful track record in pump priming the careers of disabled and deaf artists. We could not have achieved this without the support of our partners, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’.

He added; 'iDA awards supports proposals by artists from a broad range of disabilities. This is a developmental scheme and we welcome applications from emerging artists as well as more established artists. The scheme is competitive and we had applications to the value of four times the funding available. Our funding decisions were made on the basis of artistic merit, quality, and benefits to the artist to help them in progressing their careers'.

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

‘Congratulations to all sixteen artists. These awards are given in recognition of the artists’ work to date and to provide them with the necessary support to take their careers to the next level. The Arts Council is proud to support this important funding programme which encourages the creation of new, high-quality artistic work and addresses the need for disabled artists to have ongoing training and skills development within the sector.’

Through the University of Atypical’s support, deaf and disabled artists have developed unique artwork of extremely high artistic quality, some progressing to a level where they have received international recognition. The iDA scheme’s purpose is to identify, encourage and nurture individual talent amongst disabled practitioners.


The recipients are (alphabetical by first name):

Visual Art
Adam Elder-Mullan
James Ashe
Pamela Walker
Paul Moore
Maurice Orr
Shauna McGowan
Shiro Masuyama

Language Arts
Anita Gracey
Peter Courtney 

Music
Catherine Hatt
Mary Louise McCord

Dance
Helen Hall

Combined Arts
Andrew Ward 
Marie Mullan
Niamh Scullion
Paula Clarke 
Shannon Sickles

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Save the Date! First list of speakers announced as the ‘Greatest Literary Show’ returns to Belfast

Thursday 12th March 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments Literature

Pictured (L-R) is Noirin McKinney, Arts Council, Sanjoy Roy, Teamwork Arts, Jimmy Fay, Lyric Theatre and Colette Norwood, British Council NI. Image: Pictured (L-R) is Noirin McKinney, Arts Council, Sanjoy Roy, Teamwork Arts, Jimmy Fay, Lyric Theatre and Colette Norwood, British Council NI.

JLF Belfast returns from 12-14 June 2020

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in partnership with British Council Northern Ireland, the Lyric Theatre and Teamwork Arts, the producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival in India, have unveiled plans for JLF Belfast 2020 – an international celebration of arts, culture, books and discourse.  World-class writers, Jonathan Coe, Lisa McInerney, A.L Kennedy and Shashi Tharoor, are the first speakers to be announced for this year’s festival, with a full programme to be revealed soon.

Following on from a hugely successful festival in 2019, which attracted over 1200 people, JLF Belfast will take place at the Lyric Theatre from 12th-14th June.   In the true spirit of the original festival, JLF Belfast will feature panel discussions, readings and debates with acclaimed writers and cultural thinkers from India, Ireland, the UK and beyond, in a unique literature festival celebrating a joint love of books, creativity, music, and sharing each other’s stories. Themes under discussion for 2020 will include mythology, science, climate change, environment, identity, wellbeing, music and gender, among others. 

Early bird tickets are now available, with the first 200 tickets free, but guests must register at the Lyric Theatre Box Office to secure their place.

This is the second year that Belfast has been chosen as one of a handful of international cities to host local editions of the Jaipur Literature Festival, the biggest and most spectacular literary festival in the world.  Other editions have taken place in New York, London, Houston, Adelaide, Toronto and more. 

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council, commented:

“It is with great pleasure that we can announce today that the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival will be returning to Belfast.  We were overwhelmed by the success of last year’s event, which celebrated our links with India and our shared love of conversation, literature and debate.

“Working with our partners, this fantastic festival will be a platform for creating, sharing and promoting the creative arts and will deepen our partnership with key Indian cultural institutions. We very much look forward to welcoming international writers and audiences to JLF Belfast this June and sharing our famous Northern Ireland hospitality.”

Namita Gokhale, Author and Festival Director said,

"I am looking forward to JLF Belfast 2020 with deep excitement. The unparalleled passion and infectious energy of contemporary Irish writing is inspirational. The wonderful writers who will be joining us from around the world, and the engaged audiences at the beautiful Lyric Theatre, by the banks of the Lagan River, will help bring the magic of JLF to our Belfast edition."

Sanjoy Roy, Festival Producer and Managing Director of Teamwork Arts said,

"JLF Belfast 2019 brought together great writers and thinkers from across the world to debate, discuss and disagree! We look to continuing our conversations around identity, climate emergency, building walls, and many more themes through literature and poetry which will hopefully illuminate us all in the halls of the Lyric theatre.”

Jonathan Stewart, British Council, Director Northern Ireland, commented: 

“British Council is honoured to be working with our colleagues at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival and Lyric Theatre, to deepen the existing literature connections that we have with India, to welcome authors from India to Northern Ireland and to share Indian writing and publishing with our audiences at JLF Belfast in 2020.”

“Building inbound and outbound exchanges and opportunities between Northern Ireland and other countries, including India, is a key focus of the British Council’s work and the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is already a key platform for Northern Ireland writers working internationally.”

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer and Artistic Director, Lyric Theatre, added,

“The Lyric is delighted to welcome back JLF for a second year of sparkling debate, intriguing talks and a wonderful broad and diverse platform of speakers and writers. There is a long history of a vibrant Indian community in Belfast and this festival helps highlight the rich cultural connections between our countries and our neighbours.”

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival takes place in India annually and has been described as ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’. Over the last twelve years, its size and reputation have grown exponentially and it is now considered one of the most important events of its kind across the globe, bringing together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports-persons and entertainers on one stage to engage in thoughtful dialogue and debate.

The full JLF Belfast programme of speakers will be revealed soon, keep up to date at jlflitfest.org/belfast

The first 200 tickets for JLF Belfast are free and £5 for each day thereafter.  Registration is essential.  To register for your free place or to buy tickets visit lyrictheatre.co.uk/event/jlf-belfast-2/

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Dance Resource Base to host Catalyst dance festival this March

Thursday 12th March 2020 at 10am 0 Comments

Sunday 22nd March, Catalyst Dance Festival at the Crescent Arts Centre and Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Image: Sunday 22nd March, Catalyst Dance Festival at the Crescent Arts Centre and Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

On Sunday 22 March, Dance Resource Base will host a one-day dance festival, Catalyst, at the Crescent Arts Centre and Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

Catalyst is a much-needed platform to showcase the high-quality and exciting work produced by individual dance artists who have received support from the Arts Council Northern Ireland through the Support the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP): including the Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) and General Award. 

Dance Resource Base alongside Catalyst curator, Eileen McClory, has designed this one-day event that will provide the essential opportunity for choreographers to showcase their work in a professional capacity.  

The first half of the day will take place at the Crescent Arts Centre with internationally acclaimed dance artist, Lucia Kickham, who will give a workshop to professional dance artists.  Lucia Kickham has worked with a number of prestigious companies and artists including TRASH, Company Philip Connaughton, junk ensemble, Liz Roche Company, Maria Nilsson Waller and Oonagh Kearney.

The second half of the festival will take place at the Lyric Theatre and will feature a series of work from professional dance artists and choreographers working in Northern Ireland and supported through the Arts Council’s SIAP funding programme/.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, commented,

“Northern Ireland punches well above its weight in the quality of the dance work created it here. This event brings together some of our very best homegrown talent and their astonishing original dance works. The dance artists - choreographers, dancers, facilitators - are working at the very top of their game producing provocative and moving pieces that would sit well at the leading international dance platforms.”

“We are privileged to have such talent working and contributing to the cultural life here. This is a vital opportunity to allow audiences to experience the work which has been created here by these remarkable individual artists. Catalyst promises to be a one of a kind, very rewarding event for all: dance lovers, people with an interest in performance, and those who have never gone to see dance work before. There will be something for everyone and we can be sure everyone will experience something very special at Catalyst. We wish all the artists and creatives involved the very best for the showcase. “

Orla McGrady, General Manager, Dance Resource Base, added,

"Dance Resource Base is delighted to have the opportunity to present this professional platform to showcase the high-quality and exciting work produced by Individual Dance Artists who have received support from the Art Council of Northern Ireland through their Support the Individual Artist Programme. To date there have been limited opportunities locally for artists to showcase their work in a professional context. We’re thrilled to partner with the Crescent Arts Centre to present a professional workshop for dance artists by Lucia Kickham, and The Lyric Theatre to present the best of local dance on their stage, deepening engagement and bringing contemporary dance to broader audiences. We’re thrilled to provide this platform to support artists in creating works of excellence, build relationships with promoters both nationally and internationally, and raise the profile of dance from NI. Dance Resource Base acknowledges the generous support of the Arts Council in Northern Ireland in realising this vision."

At the Lyric Theatre, choreographer and Arts Council ACES awardee, Gary Rowntree, will present, Togetherness, a dance work created in response to the political climate in Northern Ireland regarding marriage equality. Two men dance, their hands grasp as they absorb the weight of the onlookers’ scrutiny. Audiences will witness their intimacy, vulnerability and turmoil as they journey to stand together.

Other performances at the Lyric include Ayesha Mailey’s, See Me Disappear, and Eileen McClory’s, CUCK.  To conclude the day there will be an audience discussion concerning how a dance artist makes a work and makes it successful. 

Tickets for Catalyst are available at the below links:
 

Crescent Arts Centre workshop: 


Lyric Theatre performances:

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Newry young musician, Martha Guiney, to perform in Washington to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Wednesday 11th March 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Young flautist, Martha Guiney Image: Young flautist, Martha Guiney

Young flautist, Martha Guiney, from Newry, is set to perform at two prestigious Northern Ireland Bureau breakfast events in Washington, on Thursday March 12 March and Friday March 13 March, to mark St Patrick’s Day, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in partnership with the Northern Ireland Bureau North America.

The aim of this performance platform is to showcase the phenomenal growth in different types of musical talent that has taken place in Northern Ireland in recent years and particularly to use the opportunity of St Patrick’s Day celebrations to connect to a much wider audience in North America. 

Andrew Elliott, Director/Counselor, NI Bureau, North America, commented,

“There has been a huge explosion of musical talent in Northern Ireland in recent years and it’s a delight for me to have the opportunity to showcase an award winning young flautist, who will be performing to a huge audience in the capital of the United States to mark St Patrick’s Day.  The Northern Ireland Bureau breakfast is an institution here in Washington DC and I know that the sound of Martha Guiney’s flute will add enormously to the success of the event.”

Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our artists to develop their professional, artistic careers and also to showcase NI talent internationally.  We are proud to partner with our colleagues at the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington to showcase the immense talents of Martha Guiney, a special experience that will stay with the young musician for a long time to come.”

Martha is also a current recipient of the Arts Council and BBC NI’s Young Musician’s Platform Award.  These biennial awards aim to showcase and support the development of exceptional young musicians from the region by providing funding awards of £5,000 to be used towards professional development, mentoring or training as-well as broadcast performance opportunities with the Ulster Orchestra.  With this funding and professional development support, Martha will be releasing her debut album this summer.

Watch Martha on the BBC discuss her music and her Young Musician’s Platform Award here

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

MACHA Productions explores ‘Body Politics’ in new theatre double bill

Tuesday 10th March 2020 at 9am 0 Comments Drama

(L-R) Sarah Reid, Emer McDaid & Louise Parker star in 'Sweeties', part of 'Body Politics' by MACHA Productions Image: (L-R) Sarah Reid, Emer McDaid & Louise Parker star in 'Sweeties', part of 'Body Politics' by MACHA Productions

The power which society has over the bodies of women and girls is the topical theme being explored by Belfast-based theatre company MACHA Productions in its new double bill Body Politics, which will be performed at The MAC from Thursday 19 - Saturday 28 March.

MACHA Productions uses theatre to challenge social structures that oppress people.  The first part of Body Politics is No Motive, inspired by the Daphne du Maurier thriller of the same name.  The piece follows private investigator Rachel McDoo as she tries to work out why a woman who ‘had it all’ went into her husband’s study and shot herself with his gun.  This is followed by Sweeties, a dark comedy looking at the relationship between sisters Tracy and Jen as a twist of fate from one sister’s past blows their lives wide open.

Reflecting the company’s desire to make theatre with voices and communities absent from the cultural landscape, both No Motive and Sweeties are partly inspired by true life testimonies.

Jo Egan, playwright and artistic director of MACHA Productions explains the company’s artistic approach:

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to make a piece such as Body Politics today.  But it isn’t an ideal world, so we do.  On a daily basis so many women both here and around the world are being stalked, harassed, objectified, shamed, overlooked in the workplace, denied their bodily autonomy, trapped in caring roles or dangerous and loveless relationships and are not being allowed to live their lives to their full potential.

Over the past three months over thirty women from all over Belfast have shared insights and hard won knowledge and their truths are reflected within the content and direction of both No Motive and Sweeties.  With both International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day taking place soon, Body Politics could not be more topical or more timely.”

Body Politics will be part of the IMAGINE! Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics programme and each performance will be followed by a post-show debate, exploring the issues raised by the production.  An exhibition of writing, film and visual art created by workshop participants is being curated by Therese Kieran and will also run in parallel with Body Politics in the gallery on the first floor of The MAC.

Written and directed by Jo Egan, Body Politics stars Emer McDaid (Game of Thrones), Louise Parker (Frankenstein Chronicles) and Sarah Reid (Two Fingers Up), with movement direction by Eileen McClory from Off the Rails, fresh from her sell-out success with Brink from Maiden Voyage Dance.

Looking forward to the Macha Productions Double Bill, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Arts Development Officer, Drama and Dance said:

“MACHA Productions is one of our most dynamic and daring theatre companies, harnessing the power of theatre to embody and represent the marginalised and to give voice to their stories.

With Body Politics MACHA is tackling one of the most pernicious, insidious issues at work in our society. With the pressure of social and mainstream media shaping women’s sense of self and others’ sense of what it is to be a woman this is timely and crucial intervention in the discourse.

MACHA has put together a phenomenal team of female talent, with the fearless creativity of Jo Egan, and the intelligent, sensitive performances by Louise Parker, Emer MacDaid and Sarah Reid, as well as the powerful, uncompromising movement direction of Eileen McClory. This is a brave show that should be seen by all. The Arts Council wishes the whole team well with the production and we would encourage everyone to go along and see the show.’”

MACHA Productions  is supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Supported by Belfast City Council.

Body Politics will be performed at The MAC at 7.30pm with 2pm Saturday and Sunday matinees from Thursday 19 - Saturday 28 March.  Tickets are priced £12-£10 and are on sale now from The MAC box office at https://themaclive.com/ or tel. 028 90235053.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Tyrone singer-songwriter, Bernadette Morris, joins forces leading Irish musician, Eleanor McEvoy

Saturday 7th March 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Singer-songwriter, Bernadette Morris Image: Singer-songwriter, Bernadette Morris

Gifted Tyrone singer-songwriter, Bernadette Morris, was one of fourteen artists to be awarded an Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) funding award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in autumn 2019.  The ACES awards are given in recognition of an emerging or mid-career artist’s talent and to enable them in the creation of a new body of work.  Bernadette Morris has used her award to invest into marketing and artist development to target new markets in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

Bernadette has appointed marketing and PR professionals with the experience and expertise required to reach new audiences.  Will McCarthy promotions and Good Seed PR (Linda Coogan Byrne) will work with Bernadette to release a series of new songs in 2020.  One of the new songs to be released is a co-write with the legendary Irish songwriter, Eleanor McEvoy, the talent behind multi-million selling albums including Only a Woman’s Heart and Snapshots. 

Speaking about the co-write, Bernadette said,

“The ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has really helped me to forge ahead with my music career.  The funding is going toward the promotion and marketing of new music I have coming out this year, in the UK, Scotland and Republic of Ireland.   I’ve also be co-writing a lot recently and it was simply a dream come true to write with Eleanor McEvoy whom I’ve greatly admired since I was a young girl.   I’ll be officially launching the first single from my new collection of music at Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival on 12th March, so do come along.” 

Maria McAlister, Arts Development Officer for Traditional Music, at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“Bernadette Morris plays a special role in the traditional music sector here in Northern Ireland.  She brings rare, traditional songs to contemporary audiences and she’s also more and more involved in co-writing and creating original work.  We were delighted to award Bernadette with ACES funding in 2019 and look forward to seeing this terrific artist develop further throughout 2020.”

Bernadette’s debut album, All the ways you wander, achieved positive reviews,  extensive radio and television airplay, and her subsequent EP, Where the Heart is, recorded by Arborist’s Ben McAuley, were very successful in establishing the artist in Ireland and enabled Bernadette to tour Germany, Belgium and Australia.  She has also supported stalwarts of the folk and traditional music scene including Cara Dillon, Eddi Reader and Julie Fowlis and has also co-written with Cormac Neeson, Donal Scullion and Rioghnach Connolly.

Bernadette has performed at the National Celtic Festival in Australia, Celtic Connections in Scotland and for the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtarán.

Bernadette Morris in Concert-Single Launch, The Shores of My Home, a celebration of Lough Neagh. Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, Ramada Hotel, CS Lewis Room, 20 Talbot Street Belfast. Thursday 12th March. Doors 7pm Show 7.45pm-8.45pm.  Visit www.belfastnashville.com for tickets and further information.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Belfast Children’s Festival begins!

Friday 6th March 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments

Pictured at rehearsals for Stick By Me, a beautifully crafted, joyful and quirky show about treasuring friendship, is (L-R) performer, Andy Manley with children, Eve McGarry (aged 3), Fergal McKeown and Sorley McKeown (both aged 7) Image: Pictured at rehearsals for Stick By Me, a beautifully crafted, joyful and quirky show about treasuring friendship, is (L-R) performer, Andy Manley with children, Eve McGarry (aged 3), Fergal McKeown and Sorley McKeown (both aged 7)

With merely hours to go until Belfast Children’s Festival 2020, venues throughout Belfast are gearing up to host the spectacular, thought provoking local and international performances which will explore this year’s themes of home, place and belonging.

From today, Friday 6 to Wednesday 11 March, more than 100 events will take place in 13 locations across the city with the MAC serving as the hub for the Festival. Belfast annually welcomes thousands of visitors to the Festival from across Belfast, Northern Ireland and beyond with several families returning year after year, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of northern Ireland. 

Eibhlín de Barra, Director Young at Art, explained,

“This year’s festival is a mixture of pioneering work from local artists including Replay Theatre’s Untold Truth of Captain Hook, Kindermusik from critically acclaimed Belfast Ensemble and Helen Hall’s interpretive dance piece ‘Inside the Speaker’.  The hilarious Paul Currie will have everyone in stiches with his own brand of edgy, off the wall comedy and grown up fans of Seedhead Arts’ Midweek Magic will have a chance to bring their children to the mini version.  Our international programme has a Dutch focus for 2020 with performances of Tetris, Hermit and Jabberbabble.  Meanwhile ‘Stick by Me’, from Scotland is a beautiful non-verbal performance for 3-6 year olds on the theme of friendship.”

Belfast Children’s Festival’s ‘Your Place Family Day’ takes place this Sunday, 8th March with fun and creative activities across Cathedral Quarter including a pop up cinema, Art Cart, craft workshops and an immersive augmented reality experience merging dance and technology. 

Festival tickets are on sale at www.youngatart.co.uk. The maximum ticket price is £10, and adults pay the same price as children. Many Belfast Children’s Festival events are free.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council publishes findings from its 2018/19 Annual Funding Survey

Thursday 27th February 2020 at 9am 0 Comments

Pupils from Mercy College Belfast Image: Pupils from Mercy College Belfast

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today published findings from a survey of 102 arts and culture organisations in receipt of funding through its Annual Funding Programme.

http://artscouncil-ni.org/research-and-development/official-statistics

A dashboard has been created allowing the interrogation of data by artform type and organisation size (as determined by income). This resource will be of particular value to arts organisations looking to benchmark their activity against the sector in which they operate. 

Findings show that small-scale arts organisations in particular continue to struggle in a funding environment that has seen average Annual Funding Programme grants fall from £131,000 to £84,000 in the four years between 2014/15 and 2017/18 – a reduction of nearly £50,000. 

A combination of annual funding cycles, limited capital investment and under capitalisation continue to constrain their ability to diversify funding, creating greater reliance on public subsidy compared to previous years.

New location data reveals a 10 per cent increase in the number of postcodes clients have visited to deliver their work, with nearly a quarter of all postcodes used based within the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland.

Other location-based data shows the extent to which organisations are working in schools across Northern Ireland to enhance the education of children and young people.  Funded arts organisations visited 518 schools of all types in 2018/19, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.

Some key findings:

  • Over 4,000 volunteers contributed their time to support clients in 2018/19.  The majority were female and supported the activities of medium-scale organisations.
  • Just over 1 per cent of the workforce were drawn from minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • At an overall sector level, 50 per cent of employees were female and 50 per cent male.  This parity was largely replicated across all employment types, with the notable exception of managers, where over two-thirds (67 per cent) were female.
  • The proportion of income received from local authorities has grown over the last three years, suggesting a stronger, more engaged commitment to arts and culture, which can help to drive forward a broader range of ambitions around health, the economy and social value.
  • Despite a reduction in ticket sales for large-scale organisations, the average ticket yield increased from £19.14 to £21.87, a difference of £2.73 per ticket compared to 2017/18.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council publishes Disability Action Plan and Equality Action Plan 2019-24

Wednesday 19th February 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

Musicians Rae Solely and Matty Bell from Molto Vivo, project consultant Richie Turner and Graeme Stevenson, Research and Policy Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Image: Musicians Rae Solely and Matty Bell from Molto Vivo, project consultant Richie Turner and Graeme Stevenson, Research and Policy Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has affirmed its commitment to ensuring fair access to the arts for all with the publication of two new documents – the Disability Action Plan and the Equality Action Plan.

The plans have been produced following wide spread consultation with arts and cultural organisations, individual artists and members of the public.

The documents set out a range of measures the Arts Council will take to encourage increased access and participation in the arts, as well as enhance the role the arts can play in creating a move towards a fairer and more inclusive society. These include the continuation of the Arts and OIder People’s Programme, to address issues of isolation and loneliness amongst people over the age of 55, and the Articulate Programme, which supports artists to work with young people to improve emotional, physical and social wellbeing.

The papers also outline a range of new measures including: a new lending programme to place artworks in schools; a Premium Payments Programme, to help arts organisations remove barriers to engagement by disabled people; and a commitment to enable greater participation by disabled people in policy-making groups, to better reflect the needs of underrepresented audiences and participants.

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

“The Arts Council welcomes and recognises the increasing diversity within our society and the important role arts and culture can play in expressing and celebrating this.

“The two plans published today outline some of the steps we need to take to foster a culture of inclusion across all areas of the arts and our ongoing commitment, using the arts as a vehicle for social development change, to promote positive attitudes towards marginalised groups, as we move towards a fairer, more inclusive and caring society.”

Damien Coyle, Chair, University of Atypical, added:

“University of Atypical recognises the importance of these two plans and commends the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in developing them; they should be seen as key drivers in the work undertaken by all arts organisations. Through the Disability Action Plan and the Equality Action Plans, we identify a synergy with the work we undertake through our Arts & Disability Equality Charter – a combined approach in creating frameworks for equality and inclusivity that can be embraced by all.”

If you require these documents in an alternative format, such as large print, Braille, easy read or digital, and/or another language, please contact us on 02890 385 243 to discuss your requirements.
 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Leading light in carnival arts, David Boyd, awarded an MBE for services to the arts and community

Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts

David Boyd, founder-Director, of Beat Carnival Image: David Boyd, founder-Director, of Beat Carnival

David Boyd, founder-Director, of Beat Carnival, one of Northern Ireland's leading arts organisations, has received an MBE for services to the arts and community. David Boyd, from Holywood Co.Down, set up the Carnival Centre in Belfast, establishing a permanent centre for excellence in Carnival Arts, where visiting international artists come to share their expertise and is considered one of the best Carnival centres in the UK.  David Boyd will receive his MBE at Buckingham Palace on 2nd April 2020.

Since its foundation in 1993, the small, dedicated team at Beat Carnival has brought positive change and transformation to the lives of thousands of individuals and to the wider communities across the region by creating opportunities to participate in Carnival Arts.  The organisation produces impressive, large-scale carnival events, reaching out to local communities to get involved in helping to create carnival performances from scratch. 

Many of the participants from local communities are young people from marginalised and disadvantaged backgrounds who learn new skills and acquire new confidence through their involvement with Beat Carnival.  From creating music, choreographing dance routines and designing spectacular costumes, through to creating floats and props, local communities become fully immersed in the creative process whilst working alongside David’s professional artistic team. 

Beat Carnival also develops and supports professional carnival artists, establishing a sustainable legacy of creative skills and knowledge, as well as focusing on outreach, collaboration, shared celebration and achievement across the various communities of Northern Ireland.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the principal funder of Beat Carnival, Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“The Arts Council warmly congratulates David on receiving this recognition for his work and services to the arts.  Through their artistic work, David and Beat Carnival bring people and communities closer together and offer an invaluable platform for carnival artists to develop their skills and talents  David's passionate advocacy for Carnival Arts as a pathway to education, job creation, self-esteem, skills training and cross-community and intercultural inclusivity, has proven to be a significant force for positive change.”

With David's dedication to enhancing people's lives through engagement in the arts, the output of this small organisation is truly remarkable and has built close working relationships with community organisations across Belfast.  He has implemented more than 20 specific arts engagement and education programmes in Greater Shankill, one of Northern Ireland's highest-ranking areas of deprivation and disadvantage, designed to address community challenges and give children and young people their best chance in life.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

£580,000 investment announced to support NI musicians

Friday 14th February 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

(L-R) Pauline Klein, Manager, Ulster Youth Orchestra, Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Oonagh Snoddy, Department for Communities, and Katrina Cuddy, Flautist, UYO. Image: (L-R) Pauline Klein, Manager, Ulster Youth Orchestra, Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Oonagh Snoddy, Department for Communities, and Katrina Cuddy, Flautist, UYO.

One hundred and seven musical groups, bands and musicians across Northern Ireland are celebrating this week, with news they are set to receive funding to help upgrade worn out instruments and purchase new ones.  Among those set to benefit are schools groups, community choirs, marching and brass bands, and individual professional musicians.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is providing the funding worth almost £580,000 under its Musical Instruments Scheme. Thanks to capital investment from the Department for Communities, the scheme, set up to increase the quality of music making in Northern Ireland, was extended for the first time this year to offer grants to a range of professional and non-professional musicians and groups.

There are three strands to the funding. Among the 30 bands set to benefit under Programme One: Musical Instruments for Bands are: Down Academy Pipes and Drums, Kellswater Flute Band, Ravara Pipe Band, Dunganon Silver Band, Orangefield Flute Band and Bessbrook Crimson Arrow Pipe Band.

Under Programme Two: Professional and Non-Professional Performing Groups, 41 awards have been offered, including grants for: Armagh Pipers Club, Ulster Youth Orchestra, North West Cultural Partnership and Newry Chamber Music, as well as a number of schools groups, including Sacred Heart College Omagh, St Patricks College Maghera and Lisneal College in Derry/Londonderry.

While 36 Individual Professional Performing Musicians, who will receive support under Category Three of the programme, include: Darragh Morgan, Kim Vaughan, Conor Lamb, James Joys, Jordan McCuaig, Scott Flanigan, Martha Guiney, Greg Caffrey and Laura McFadden.

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

“We have a fine history of musicianship in Northern Ireland, one which is celebrated all over the world and it is a pleasure to announce today this funding which will benefit so many musicians, playing in professional and non-professional groups, bands and schools across the country.

“With support to buy new instruments and equipment we  are  helping to increase the quality of music making here, across a broad range of genres; classical, jazz, traditional, contemporary and electronic, to name just a few. The awards announced today will help benefit hundreds of musicians, from young musicians just starting out, right through to highly trained performers working at a professional level.”

Debbie McKibben, Head of Arts and Creativity Branch, Department for Communities, said:

“As Head of the Arts and Creativity Branch I am delighted that the Department has been able to invest these funds in the Music Sector. This programme will provide valuable support to a wide range of musicians across the region, which will enable the development of quality music making within our communities, connecting people and enriching lives.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Paragon Studios opens new work and exhibition space on Rosemary Street

Friday 7th February 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments Visual Arts

Pictured is Belfast-based artist, Jacqueline Holt Image: Pictured is Belfast-based artist, Jacqueline Holt

Experimental arts group, Paragon Studios is celebrating its move to brand new premises on Rosemary Street, Belfast, with the opening of an exhibition by photographer and filmmaker Jacqueline Holt.

The new location, in Property House, contains ten artists’ studios and the PS² gallery space.

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Jacqueline Holt’s Exhibition marks the beginning of a new phase for the studio group, which has been supporting artists’ development since 1994. With a year round programme of work, the project space is an extension of the studios, acting as a temporary workspace and showroom for invited or selected project artists, enabling encounters for the general public to see, enjoy and participate in art.

Director Peter Mutschler explained,

“Unfortunately rising rents have meant we have had to move premises several times in the last few years but we are happy still to be close to the Cathedral Quarter, with studios and project space. We feel our precarious situation is reflected in our arts programme, which we hope speaks and resonates with the wider public. The next project by Jasmin Märker, for example, will focus on non-human territories and ecological communities through open workshops as part of the NI Science Festival.”

Jacqueline Holt is a Belfast-based artist, who through the Arts Council’s Artist Career Enhancement Scheme, has been working with the prestigious international arts agency LUX to develop new work. Her exhibition at PS², entitled This Moment Being, will showcase some of her film, photography, print and sculptural work and document aspects of her day-to-day life as a cultural worker.

Patricia Lavery, Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council commented:

“It is fantastic to see Jacqueline’s work on display as the very first exhibition within this wonderful new space. Having worked closely with Lux for the past three years, this exhibition is the culmination of an exciting creative partnership. With support from the ACES scheme, Jaqueline has been able to spend time developing her practice, with expert guidance and support from some of the brightest names working in moving image today.

“We very much hope that this city centre location will bring even more people into this dynamic artistic hub to experience first-hand some of the exciting visual art being produced right here in Belfast at Paragon Studios.”

Jacqueline is based at Flax Art Studios at Havelock House on the Ormeau Road. To find out more about her work visit: www.flaxartsstudios.org

Her exhibition This Moment of Being, is on at PS² until 15th February. For more details about PS² gallery, opening hours and future exhibitions, visit www.pssquared.org

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Singer-songwriters from NI to perform in Nashville venue that launched the career of Taylor Swift

Tuesday 4th February 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured (L-R) is Reuben Agnew, Emma Horan and Donal Scullion. Image: Pictured (L-R) is Reuben Agnew, Emma Horan and Donal Scullion.

Following their performances at this year’s Panarts Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, 11-13 March, three of Northern Ireland’s finest emerging singer-songwriters, Emma Horan, Donal Scullion and Reuben Agnew, will perform in Nashville, Tennessee, supported by Panarts and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The three musicians will perform on St Patrick’s Day in the Bluebird Café, widely known to singer-songwriters as thee place to play and famous for launching the recording careers of Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks, among many others. During their time in Nashville, the musicians will also have the opportunity to network with music industry professionals, and spend time fine-tuning their song writing skills with Grammy Award winning tutors at Belmont University. 

Panarts Belfast Nashville Festival Director, Colin Magee, commented,

“As well as offering performances of long established artists, the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival aims to offer opportunities to break new talent from Northern Ireland and showcase them on an international stage in the USA to develop their careers.  I’m hugely excited and proud to showcase the three artists going to Nashville this year where I know they will be well received by the famously discerning Nashville audiences”.

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

“The Panarts Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival not only celebrates the art of song writing and brings international talent to Belfast, but it also offers an important platform to showcase and develop the skills of our younger, emerging artists.  To perform at the Bluebird Café in Nashville is an experience that few forget and I wish all the songwriters every success in Music City.”

Catch the three artists closer to home at the Panarts Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, which takes place at the Ramada Hotel, Talbot Street Belfast and Empire Music Hall, 11-13 March.  This remarkable three-day festival celebrates the art of song writing and features a series of concerts, song writing workshops with Grammy Award winning writers Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, as-well as the Song Writer of the Year 2020 competition.  For details on all events visit, www.belfastnashville.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

On the ‘Brink’ of Brexit: dancers scale new heights with show performed on high table

Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 9am 0 Comments Dance

Image:

With less than a week to go until the Brexit deadline of 31st January, Northern Ireland’s leading commissioning dance company, Maiden Voyage Dance, will reflect the ongoing climate of insecurity around the issue by performing a new show called ‘Brink’ - on a 1.5 metre high table!

Presented as part of the Maiden Voyage Dance Double Bill at The MAC on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th February, ‘Brink’ is choreographer Eileen McClory’s response to three years of living with the uncertainty of Brexit.  Describing her thinking behind the topical, innovative show, Eileen says:

“Since the Brexit referendum result, we’ve been in a state of constant, stressful negotiation - this feeling like we're on the brink of something, but we don’t know exactly what it is and have no control over it.  As the negotiations got smaller and smaller and boundaries got smaller and smaller, we ended up - instead of having a seat at the table - being on the table.

Choreographically, the restriction on space presented by our high table has created a lot of obstacles, but also a lot of possibilities.  We have really stripped back the choreography and ended up with two human beings laid bare as they try to negotiate and build a future together.

There's a lot of risk in the piece - reflecting how one wrong word can throw a negotiation the wrong way.  For us, it's one wrong move and you could be off the edge of the table!”

In a co-production with Dublin’s Liz Roche Company, a leading light in the development of contemporary dance in Ireland whose work has toured worldwide, the second part of the double bill is The Here Trio.  Bringing together dancers from Northern Ireland, France and Spain, The Here Trio challenges preconceptions about site, history and the right to belong in a place.

Looking forward to the Maiden Voyage Double Bill, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, ACNI Arts Development Officer, Drama and Dance said:

“New work from Maiden Voyage Dance is always an occasion for much excitement, and we at the Arts Council are delighted to be supporting this Double Bill of new commissions. The first, Brink, is by one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative choreographers Eileen McClory, a former ACES awardee. It draws on the amazing talent we have in Belfast, with the superb dancers Ryan and Vasiliki, and music by Katie Richardson. The second, The Here Trio, is by the incomparable Liz Roche a longstanding friend of the company. As ever, Maiden Voyage will be penetrating the important questions of our time, and doing so in a thrilling, dynamic way which is sure to stay with those lucky enough to see this double bill for a long time to come.”

Maiden Voyage is principally funded by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Supported by Belfast City Council.
Liz Roche Company is strategically funded by Arts Council Ireland and supported by Dublin City Council.

The Maiden Voyage Double Bill will be performed at The MAC at 8pm on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February.  Tickets are priced £18-£12.50 and are on sale now from The MAC box office at https://themaclive.com/ or tel. 028 90235053.

The Maiden Voyage Double Bill will also be performed at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Wednesday 12 February at 8pm.  Tickets are priced £7 and are on sale now from www.marketplacearmagh.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Work Begins on £12.2 million Restoration Project at Belfast’s Grand Opera House

Monday 27th January 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments Architecture , Drama

Image:

After five years in the planning, the 10-month project to restore the Grand Opera House has begun. The principal contractor for the £12.2 million project, funded in part through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, is Tracey Brothers Ltd, who will complete the work ahead of the Theatre’s 125th birthday in December of this year.

With more than 60 years’ experience of construction, restoration and fit out works, Tracey Brothers Ltd are one of the major building contractors in Northern Ireland. In recent years the company has successfully undertaken major restoration and re-development of many of Belfast’s historic land mark buildings including Riddell Hall at Queens University Belfast, Crumlin Road Gaol, Cleaver House, HMS Caroline Historic Buildings and the Parliament Buildings at Stormont Estate.

Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of the Grand Opera House said: “The Grand Opera House was last restored 40 years ago, and we are delighted that Tracey Brothers have been appointed to oversee this vital project.

“Between January and November of this year, thanks to the support of lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we will restore the iconic and unique 1895 auditorium and transform the public areas of the building, including installing the first ever permanent exhibition to tell the fascinating story of the Theatre’s 125-year history. We look forward to working with the Tracey Brothers team throughout the months ahead on this exciting project.”

The Grand Opera House was designed by the leading Victorian theatre architect Frank Matcham and completed in 1895. Many of the world’s leading actors, singers, dancers and entertainers have appeared on its stage, including Charlie Chaplin, Sarah Bernhardt, Laurence Olivier, Vera Lynn, Luciano Pavarotti, Darcey Bussell and Laurel and Hardy.

As part of the restoration and development project, the auditorium’s decorative paint and plasterwork will be repaired and restored, and seating, carpets, curtains and drapes will be replaced. The Theatre’s technical infrastructure will be upgraded, and customer facilities including those for customers with access needs will be improved. The design of the foyer and public spaces will be reimagined, a new bar will be installed in the glass extension overhanging Great Victoria Street, and the permanent exhibition is expected to attract thousands of visitors each year.

John Tracey, Director at Tracey Brothers Ltd added: “It’s a privilege to work on such a prestigious heritage project as this. It’s rare to have the opportunity to restore a venue with a history and an auditorium as rich and spectacular as the Grand Opera House. We recognise the importance of these works being carried out in a sensitive manner to ensure this historic value is respected and retained for future generations and we’re very pleased to play a role in securing the Theatre’s future for many years to come”.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Philadelphia Here We Come! Leading theatre companies from NI celebrated at International Showcase US

Thursday 23rd January 2020 at 9am 0 Comments Drama

Pictured (L-R) are Northern Ireland IPAY delegates, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, Cahoots NI, Una Nic Eoin, Prime Cut Productions, Brian Mullan, Replay Theatre Company, Eibhlin de Barra, Young At Art, Nicola Curry, Maiden Voyage Dance and Gilly Campbell, ACNI Image: Pictured (L-R) are Northern Ireland IPAY delegates, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, Cahoots NI, Una Nic Eoin, Prime Cut Productions, Brian Mullan, Replay Theatre Company, Eibhlin de Barra, Young At Art, Nicola Curry, Maiden Voyage Dance and Gilly Campbell, ACNI

Five of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre and dance companies, that create work for children and young people, are set to attend the prestigious IPAY (International Association of Performing Arts for Youth) Showcase 2020 in Philadelphia, USA this January.

Young at Art, Prime Cut Productions, Replay Theatre Company, Maiden Voyage Dance and Cahoots NI will attend IPAY Showcase 2020, an immensely valuable opportunity for these professional theatre and dance makers to highlight their productions and network with international touring agents, festival organisers, artists and other theatre professionals, with a view to touring their work outside of Northern Ireland.

For the first time at IPAY Showcase there will be an all-island focus on Ireland with a ‘Cultural Spotlight’ presentation on theatre and dance for young audiences across the island of Ireland, supported by Culture Ireland, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and British Council.

Prime Cut Productions have been selected by IPAY to feature as a ‘Showcase Artist’ performing the full production of ‘Removed, written by Belfast playwright, Fionnuala Kennedy and Cahoots NI will take part in the Show and Tell Spotlight, a mixture of 20-minute live SHOW performances and 5 to 8-minute TELL presentations, where they will perform part of their hugely successful production, Under the Hawthorn Tree. 

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

“The value of being showcased at IPAY Showcase 2020 cannot be overestimated.  Northern Ireland punches well above its weight when it comes to producing high-quality, world-class, award-winning theatre for children and young people and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support five of our leading theatre makers attend this year’s IPAY Showcase 2020 with our colleagues in Culture Ireland and British Council.”

Visit www.ipayweb.org for further details.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Northern Ireland theatre talent to be celebrated on stage in Brussels

Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at 3pm 0 Comments Drama

C21 has been invited to Brussels to perform its acclaimed black comedy May the Road Rise Up Image: C21 has been invited to Brussels to perform its acclaimed black comedy May the Road Rise Up

One of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre companies, C21 has been invited to Brussels to perform its acclaimed black comedy May the Road Rise Up.

Written by Rosemary Jenkinson and directed by Stephen Kelly, the fast-paced one-woman show tells the story of Mia (Christine Clare) as she makes her way along life’s bumpy road, and her eventual spiral into homelessness.

The show is the latest Northern Ireland work to travel to Belgium as part of the Brussels Platform, a collaboration between the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive Office. Launched in 2011, over the last nine years, the platform has provided a regular showcase for local musicians, writers, dancers, theatre practitioners and visual artists, with the aim of promoting the culture and creativity of Northern Ireland in Europe.

Speaking about the production Stephen Kelly, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of C21, said:

"We, at c21, are delighted to be performing May the Road Rise Up at the wonderful Bozar Theatre in Brussels.  The production has come a long way since its debut at the Lyric Theatre in 2018, with our Australian tour in 2019 being a real highlight.  It’s a privilege to be able to showcase our work throughout Europe so thanks to Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive Office for helping us to do that."

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

"To perform at the Northern Ireland Executive Office in the heart of the EU is a unique opportunity for the artists taking part in the Brussels Platform and we are proud to be showcasing the very best of talent from our shores. This superb production has already toured theatres across Northern Ireland to much acclaim, and has also toured Australia last year. We are delighted to be working with the Northern Ireland Executive Office to help bring it to new audiences in Europe."

Lynsey Moore, Director of the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels, added:

"The Brussels Platform continues to provide the ideal opportunity to showcase our talent on a European stage and to highlight the region's ever growing reputation as a centre of excellence in the arts. We very much look forward to welcoming C21 to Brussels in a few weeks time."

Looking forward to the performance, Playwright Rosemary Jenkinson said:

"I am beyond thrilled to see my play performed in such a renowned theatre as the Bozar and we can’t wait to deliver a great show. It’s hugely important to me to continue my close cultural connections with Brussels, especially in light of Brexit. I’d like to thank the Northern Ireland Executive Office and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for this special experience."

The performance will take place in the Bozar Theatre in Brussels on Thursday 6th February. Tickets are priced at €10. For more information and to book your seat go to www.bozar.be.

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council publishes review of ‘A Year in the Arts’, 2018-19

Thursday 16th January 2020 at 11am 0 Comments

Davy Watson, recipient of an Arts Council Artists Career Enhancement Scheme award, performing with the Ulster Orchestra as part of the their On Your Doorstep series, which aims to grow new audiences by collaborating with artists of various genres Image: Davy Watson, recipient of an Arts Council Artists Career Enhancement Scheme award, performing with the Ulster Orchestra as part of the their On Your Doorstep series, which aims to grow new audiences by collaborating with artists of various genres

The Arts Council today published its Annual Review of 2018-19, recounting many of the highlights of the Year in the Arts in Northern Ireland, supported by Arts Council exchequer funding from the Department of Communities as well as National Lottery funds.

2018-19 represented another outstanding year of accomplishment by artists and arts organisations working throughout Northern Ireland, providing the full range of creative activities, from large-scale festivals to local-level community projects.

Artists, writers and performers promoted Northern Ireland’s creative and cultural reputation at a growing number of high-profile international showcase events, from Brussels and Paris to India and North America. Young people’s health and wellbeing received new levels of support from the arts thanks to the development of a new Creative Schools Partnership, which is increasing creativity in the classroom and boosting educational outcomes for students. Major arts projects took place across eight local authorities as a result of the Local Government Challenge Fund, which offered Arts Council match funding as an incentive to District Council’s to increase their investment in the arts and embed the arts in the planning and delivery of key areas of civic responsibility. Northern Ireland’s first Man Booker Prize-winning author, Anna Burns, returned to Belfast for a special reading and ‘in conversation’ event with fellow Booker-Prize winner, Anne Enright; and the inaugural Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow, the distinguished American poet Mark Doty, presented public readings, workshops and masterclasses at Queen’s University, the Seamus Heaney Homeplace and at a number of arts festivals.

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

The Annual Review provides a vivid account of the (financial) year in the arts, its many highlights reminding 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

2020 set to be a year of international opportunities for NI artists

Thursday 16th January 2020 at 9am 0 Comments International Arts , Literature , Craft , Visual Arts

Pictured L-R Kathryn Graham, Sonya Whitefield, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Eleanor Wheeler. Image: Pictured L-R Kathryn Graham, Sonya Whitefield, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Eleanor Wheeler.

Northern Ireland artists will be showcasing their talents in India this year as part of a number of international opportunities developed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to raise the profile of local artists abroad.

Renowned sculptor and ceramist Eleanor Wheeler and up-and-coming visual artist Kathryn Graham will undertake six week residencies at key cultural institutions. While later this month, award winning poet Stephen Sexton and acclaimed director and Executive Producer of the Lyric Theatre Jimmy Fay, will represent Northern Ireland at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s biggest book festival.

The links developed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in partnership with the British Council with key cultural institutions in India provide a valuable platform to promote the culture and creativity of Northern Ireland to international audiences.

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

“Strengthening international opportunities for artists is one of the Arts Council’s key priorities in 2020 and these exciting ventures in India are just the first in a series of initiatives we will be supporting this year. Both the Jaipur Literature Festival and the artists’ residencies will enable our artists to immerse themselves in a very different artistic community and draw inspiration from another culture, as well as promoting their work and showcasing Northern Ireland. 

“Our strong connections with India will continue later this year when we will host the second local edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival. At JLF Belfast we’ll once again be encouraging creative exchange between our two nations helping to showcase local artists and the work they do to a global audience.”

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 and build connections to work with and welcome artists and arts organisations form India to Northern Ireland in future years too.”

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

The Northern Ireland playwrights taking a bite of the Big Apple at Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival

Monday 13th January 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Drama

Pictured (L-R) is Rhiann Jeffrey, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Council, Gina Donnelly, Sarah Gordon, Finn Kennedy, Clare McMahon. Emily DeDakis, Rebecca Mairs, Lyric Theatre, Benjamin Gould. Image: Pictured (L-R) is Rhiann Jeffrey, Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Council, Gina Donnelly, Sarah Gordon, Finn Kennedy, Clare McMahon. Emily DeDakis, Rebecca Mairs, Lyric Theatre, Benjamin Gould.

The 12th annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival in New York will welcome six playwrights and two directors from Northern Ireland to showcase newly commissioned work on an international stage.

The festival, which runs from January 7th to February 3rd 2020, is New York’s only all-Irish performing arts festival and is the world’s only festival dedicated to showcasing the work of contemporary Irish writers.

Five women playwrights based in Northern Ireland - Alice Malseed, Fionnuala Kennedy, Gina Donnelly, Emily DeDakis and Sarah Gordon, have each been commissioned to write short plays about Belfast to be performed at the festival, directed by former Arts Council ACES awardee, Rhiann Jeffrey.

Separately, Clare McMahon’s play, The Gap Year, which was developed in the Lyric Theatre’s New Playwrights Programme, has been programmed for a special rehearsed reading which will be directed by Northern Ireland director, Benjamin Gould.

Alice Malseed, Clare McMahon and Sarah Gordon have each honed their writing talent through the Lyric Theatre’s prestigious New Playwrights Programme, a six-month writing and mentoring development programme aimed at emerging playwrights to create and showcase new work.  This valuable programme has enabled these playwrights to take their ideas from page to stage through the expert guidance of the Lyric Theatre’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs.

Rebecca Mairs, Literary Manager, Lyric Theatre, commented:

“We’re thrilled that this exceptional group of theatre makers have the opportunity to present their work on an international platform – they’re wonderful ambassadors for the wealth of talent, creativity and vitality in Northern Irish theatre today.  This is the third year in a row that the Origin’s 1st Irish Festival are presenting a reading of a play developed though our New Playwrights Programme, and it’s very exciting that a further two previous participants of the programme have been commissioned by the festival this year.  We wish all the writers and directors every success!”

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Literature and Drama Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, speaking about the valuable opportunity added:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to be supporting some of our best, freshest theatrical talent in presenting their work at Origin’s 1st Irish festival in New York.  In particular, I am thrilled that many of these artists are women. They will superbly represent the formidable pool of female talent, voices and imaginations at work in Northern Irish theatre at present. New York audiences are in for a treat as they experience the specificity and the universality of Belfast writing and directing. We are so proud to be supporting these artists and wish each of them all the best for the festival.”

For more information on the festival visit www.origintheatre.org

For more information on Arts Council travel awards visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Lyndon Stephens - Northern Ireland artist manager and music promoter

Friday 10th January 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learned with great sadness of the death of local artist manager, record label boss, booker and music promoter, Lyndon Stephens, who died this morning following an illness, at the age of fifty-two.

Lyndon Stephens was a high-profile artist manager, representing internationally-renowned singer-songwriters from Northern Ireland, including Ciaran Lavery, PORTS, Ryan Vail, Joshua Burnside and Malojian. In 2010 he launched the record label, Champion Sound Recordings, and the following year founded Champion Sound Music, an award-winning artist development and career management service based at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast. He sat on the board of the Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission, was a member of Belfast City Council’s Festivals Forum and, in 2019, became Regional Ambassador for the Association of Independent Music, helping to establish a rights holder-based association of music industry professionals in Northern Ireland.

In 2014, Lyndon established his second independent label, Quiet Arch, through which he championed local emerging musical talent, releasing recordings by a wide range of artists and genre, from folk to electo pop. The label produced many successful debut records and critically-acclaimed albums, such as ‘Ephrata’ by Joshua Burnside’s and ‘Let Bad In’ by Ciaran Lavery, both of which won the Northern Ireland Music Prize.

With the support of the Arts Council, he represented artists at the world’s largest music industry events, including Womex, the Folk Alliance in Kansas and South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Attending such events, he was, in addition to promoting the careers of individual musicians, a key player in wider strategical moves to raise Northern Ireland’s reputation internationally as a source of outstanding musical talent.

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, paid tribute:

“Lyndon was always a great ambassador for musical talent and creativity from Northern Ireland. He was one of the people at the centre of the music scene, helping to shape the musical landscape here and building up its reputation internationally. He was passionate about encouraging emerging talent and ensuring that local artists have the professional support they need to develop their careers to the next level. It was my pleasure to work with him at a number of international music industry events and I know how much his support meant to so many of our up-and-coming, and, with his help now established, singer-songwriters. Lyndon was simply part of the music fabric of Northern Ireland. He will be truly missed.”

Those wishing to celebrate Lyndon’s life are welcome to attend Roselawn crematorium on Wednesday 15th January at 5pm. Family flowers or donations to the Marie Curie hospice are welcomed.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Children’s Writing Fellow rings in New Year with Schools Programme

Wednesday 1st January 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Kelly McCaughrain pictured with students from Carrickfergus Grammar. Image: Kelly McCaughrain pictured with students from Carrickfergus Grammar.

Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland Kelly McCaughrain is celebrating the New Year by encouraging schools to librarians and teachers to set up and run Creative Writing Clubs in secondary schools

The writer of the multi-award winning Flying Tips for Flightless Birds was recently awarded funding through our Support for Individual Artists Programme. Kelly will use the funding to develop the online resource for the schools.

Follow Kelly’s blog and get involved at https://theblankpage.kellymccaughrain.com

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Arts Council announces three new funding programmes for arts organisations

Friday 20th December 2019 at 2pm 0 Comments

Image:

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is offering a number of funding opportunities under three new programmes. Thanks to investment from the Department for Communities, three new funding programmes will offer support for arts organisations across Northern Ireland. 

Arts organisations will be invited to make an expression of interest to the following funding programmes.

Programme one: Rural Needs Small Grants Programme
Grants of up to £10,000 will be available.  This funding is designed to enable arts organisations to deliver arts programmes to rurally-based communities.  Expressions of interest can be submitted at any time up until Friday 17th January 2020, when the programme will close.

Visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/rural-needs-small-grants-programme for more information.

Programme two: New Commissioning Programme for Creative Innovation
Grants of up to £20,000 will be available to arts organisations to support the commissioning of new, creative work. Expressions of interest can be submitted at any time up until Friday 17th January 2020, when the programme will close.

Visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/commissioning-programme-for-creative-innovation for more information.

Programme three: Pilot Premium Payments Programme
Grants of up to £5,000 will be available. This pilot programme is designed to enable arts organisations to access support to assist Section 75 accessibility to their arts programming.  This is a rolling programme and expressions of interest can be submitted at any time up until Friday 13th March 2020, when the programme will close.

Visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/pilot-premium-payments-programme for more information.

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

"With much appreciated investment from the Department of Communities, the Arts Council is delighted to announce the opening of these three new funding programmes. These valuable programmes offer arts organisations the opportunity to deliver arts to communities in rural locations, commission new works and create arts experiences that are both accessible and inclusive.  All the information about how to apply is available on the Arts Council website and we would encourage any arts organisations interested in the new funding programmes to visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding for more details."

 

Photos

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment
Continue