Category: ***News Northern Ireland***

Arts Council Northern Ireland Publishes 2017 Annual Funding Survey and Annual Review

The Arts Council Northern Ireland has released data from its 2016/17 Annual Funding Survey. Top line results reveal another difficult year for the arts sector, which has been faced with a decline in income and a shift in employment patterns with more short-term/temporary contracts. Despite difficult financial conditions, arts organisations reported a rise in the number of people engaging in participatory arts activities and a rise in the number of relaxed performances offered to audiences.

Read key findings here:

Arts Council Annual Review 2016-17
The Arts Council’s review of the year in the arts in Northern Ireland, 2016-17, is now available to download. The Review highlights the accomplishments of artists and arts organisations throughout the year, supported by Arts Council and Lottery funding, reminding us all of the contribution that a rich creative environment makes to everyone’s lives in NI.

Download Annual Review here:

20 Creatives Receive Arts Council Northern Ireland ACES Awards

20 artists from Northern Ireland have been announced as the latest recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ACES awards 2017/18, a National Lottery supported funding grant bestowed upon Northern Ireland’s most talented emerging artists to allow them to develop their professional, artistic careers and create new work.

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

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, many of the 20 artists have been partnered with a professional organisation or leading artists, at home or abroad, to help each of them to deliver new creative work. Some of these include; Prime Cut Productions, Queen’s University, Ulster Orchestra, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Moving On Music, An tSnáthaid Mhór, Tinderbox Theatre Company, Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, composer Garth McConaghie and leading soprano, Nathalie Paulin, University of Toronto.

The 20 artists awarded ACES funding include:
Visual Arts

  • Andrea Spencer
  • Clare Gormley
  • Emily McFarland
  • Liam Crichton
  • Samantha Moore
  • Mary Murphy

Community Arts

  • Jennifer Goddard

For a full list of recipients in other art forms visit:

UK Excluded from European Capital of Culture

European Commission says Brexit vote means a British city can’t be awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2023.

Belfast/Derry, Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds and Milton Keynes had expressed an interest in being the 2023 host.

In a letter the European Commission says the British application should be “discontinued” because of the Brexit vote. After Brexit, “the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Capital of Culture action will not be possible,” says the letter, written by Martine Reicherts, director-general in the Commission’s education and culture department.

Istanbul, Reykjavík and Stavanger in Norway have all been European Capitals of Culture despite not being part of the EU. Cities in both the U.K. and Hungary are due to be awarded the title in 2023.

But Reicherts said the scheme is only open to EU countries, candidates to join the bloc and members of the European Economic Area — and the U.K. will be none of those when it leaves the EU in 2019.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party in the UK, said “The news that the UK has been shunned from this European cultural competition is a great shame… Some cities have already spent up to £500,000 on their bid submissions.”

He added that the government “must now explain how they intend to ensure that Brexit does not leave us culturally isolated from Europe and how the economic and cultural benefits that accompany the European Capital of Culture will be maintained.”

Two British cities have been European Capital of Culture: Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.

Arts Council Northern Ireland Honours Four Major Artists

A composer, playwright, performance artist and a visual artist have each received the Arts Council Northern Ireland’s highest accolade, with £15,000 Major Individual Artist awards.

The recipients of the awards, given in recognition of the contribution each artist has made to creative life in Northern Ireland, are: composer Professor Piers Hellawell, playwright Shannon Sickels (Yee), performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell and visual artist/filmmaker Mairéad McClean. The awards, funded through the National Lottery, make it possible for these artists to take time out to dedicate to their creative work and to produce a substantial, ambitious project that will make a significant contribution to the development of their artistic careers.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Framework | Consultation Sessions at F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has commissioned Thrive (formally Audiences NI) to deliver and integrated Arts, Culture and Heritage Framework for the area.

In order to ensure that as many people as possible are consulted about the framework, there will be three workshop sessions held which are open to anyone involved or interested in the development of arts, culture and heritage across Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.

Dates: 23rd November 2017
Times: 19:30 – 21:00
Fee: Free
F.E. McWilliam Gallery,
200 Newry Rd,
Booking: RSVP by Wednesday 15th November to Pamela Meekin

Digital Arts Studios (DAS) Belfast, Seeking Feedback in Online Survey

The Digital Arts Studios (Belfast) is making ambitious plans for the future and would like you to be part of this strategic planning process.

Should DAS have an on-site gallery for exhibitions? Would you like DAS to stay in the city centre? Would you like DAS to have a full-time technician that you could drop in on anytime for advice? Should DAS always have the most up-to-date computers and software? Would you like DAS to offer an experimental / testing space?

Now is your chance to tell DAS and help shape their future.

DAS are asking you to answer just 4 questions and as a thank you, you will have a chance to win a £50 one-for-all gift card. Click the link here to complete the survey and please share as DAS would like to get as broad a picture as possible.

DAS is principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Derry City + Strabane District Council Information Session for Artists

Derry City + Strabane District Council is holding an information session for Artists, Performers, Cultural Organisations and Groups in relation to its festival programme for the next financial year and the creative themes involved. This session is to advise individuals/groups that may wish to apply to be on the restricted list for the provision of animation to Council for its festivals and Events (01 April 2018 – 31 March 2019) which is due to be issued shortly. Council require:

· Artists
· Musicians
· Bands
· Dancing
· Singing
· Drama
· Lighting/Sound
· Venue Dressing
· Walk Abouts / Fun Characters
· Amusements
· Bouncy Castles
· Face Painter/Balloon Modellers
· Arts & Crafts
· Tattoo /Henna Tattoo
· Costumes
· Props
· Lots more

The Information Session will take place on Thursday 5 October at 7pm, Civic room Strabane Library.

Nominations Open for the Northern Ireland Creative and Cultural Skills Awards

Deadline for all nominations: Friday 6 October, 5pm

Nominations are now open for the annual awards which celebrate the wealth of creative talent in Northern Ireland. Every year they recognise unsung heroes who invest in the next generation and young people who are excelling and contributing to the creative industries.

Do you know an exceptional apprentice, intern or student? Are you impressed by a company who has passed on their skills and knowledge? Have you had your career shaped by an incredible mentor or tutor?

This year’s categories are:

  • Northern Ireland Creative Industry Skills Award
  • Northern Ireland Creative Tutor Award
  • Northern Ireland Education & Industry Partnership Award
  • Northern Ireland Apprentice of the Year Award
  • Northern Ireland Intern of the Year Award
  • Northern Ireland Creative Student Award

All information about the awards can be found on their website here:

The award ceremony will be in Belfast on 7 December 2017.

Late Night Art Belfast | Thursday 7 September

Late Night Art Belfast happens on the first Thursday of every month with over a dozen galleries opening their doors for an evening celebration of the vibrant visual arts scene in Belfast.

Join in around the world next week by following the hashtag #LNAB and reshare your favourite images, videos and surprises with your friends and colleagues.


Fully guided bus tour departs from outside the front of the Linenhall Library at 6.30pm and finishes approx. 9.15pm. Join this tour by booking through paypal on or by ringing the Townhouse on 028 90311798. £10 per person.


Or make your way around the galleries at your own pace. Here are just some of the highlights of this Late Night Art:


Golden Thread Gallery

The Really Wild Show | Iain Griffin
Signs and Ciphers | Alistair Wilson

84-94 Great Patrick St, Belfast BT1 2LU
T: +44 28 9033 0920


Fenderesky Gallery
Graham Gingles: New Boxes and Drawings, Gallery 2
Helen Blake – Tony Hill: Works on Paper, Gallery 1

31 North Street


Platform Arts Gallery

Deflated Capital | Doireann Ni Ghrioghair
Opening 7 September 6-9pm
Gallery 1.

Roaming Around the City | Bilu Blich
Opening 7 September 6-9pm
Gallery 2

1 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6EA
T: 028 9031 1301


QSS Bedford Street Gallery
Unafraid Blue
Artists: Colm Clarke | Angela Hackett | Catherine McLaughlin | Grace McMurray | David Turner

31-33 Bedford Street, Belfast City Centre
Phone: +44 28 90 24 31 45


Pollen Studios and Gallery
All That Sits Unsaid | Stuart Cairns
Opening 6.30pm – 9pm
Also open Saturday 9th September 12pm – 4pm

37-39 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6EA

The Green Room @ The Black Box
Tonya McMullan

18-22 Hill St, Belfast BT1 2LA, UK


Real Sketchy
The Green Room @ The Black Box

When Late Night Art just isn’t late enough, Real Sketchy is here for you. (I mean 9pm isn’t really that late is it but ‘Early Night, Tucked Up in Bed with an Ovaltine by Nine Art’ doesn’t really scan does it)

InkMonkey Art Supplies provide the pens and paper, Black Box serve up the booze & pizza and we scan the hell out of everything while playing you the finest tunage.

You’d be surprised the amount of fun you can have with a pencil, a scanner and a premium Spotify account.

Oh and it’s free in like!

Changing Arts and Minds: It’s time to talk about mental health and wellbeing in the creative sector

Ulster University ( and wellbeing charity Inspire ( have come together on the SHoWCaSE: A snapshot of health and well-being in the creative sector project. This is designed to understand the health and wellbeing of people in the creative industries. It is well known that those in the creative sector make a vital and varied contribution to the health and wellbeing of society; however, little attention is paid to the health and wellbeing of those working in the creative sector.

We want to survey people working in the creative industry to find out more about how they work, how they feel and how they cope with the challenges and rewards that the industry offers. This is an important piece of work because we want to use the results of this research to provide recommendation and resources to improve the support available to people working right across the creative industries.

Full information is given on the link below, and if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the lead researcher (Gillian) on

This text and the study to which it refers have been approved by the School of Psychology Ethics Filter Committee, Ulster University. Please feel free to forward on to any of your friends or colleagues in the sector who you feel might wish their views to be heard.

You can find out more and access the survey at

Invitation to Visual Artists | Belfast City Council European Capital of Culture 2023 Bid Discussion Dinners

Belfast City Council is holding a number of sessions to facilitate the sector to come together to respond to and further shape the emerging themes for the European Capital of Culture 2023 bid.

Dinner discussion 3
Tues 1 Aug

Dinner discussion 4
Wed 2 Aug

Dinner discussion 5
Tues 8 Aug

Dinner discussion 6
Wed 9 Aug

All events take place from 5-7pm. Sessions will take place at a range of venues across Belfast and a light dinner will be served.

The purpose of these sessions is to meet peers from across the cultural sector including arts, heritage, food, sport and science to begin to respond to emerging themes and identify opportunities for collaboration and partnership that can be part of the cultural programme to be presented within the bid for European Capital of Culture 2023.

This is one of a number of opportunities to harness the creativity across individuals and organisations to develop a potentially transformative bid.

Places at each session are limited so please RSVP as soon as possible to choosing your date. We will confirm your attendance and provide details of your venue. If required we will be happy to support additional sessions.

Survey | Belfast, Derry and Strabane European Capital of Culture 2023 Bid

Belfast City and Derry City and Strabane District Council are working together to submit a joint bid to become the 2023 European Capital of Culture.

In order for us to prepare for stage one, they invite you to tell them of any EU or international project or partnership that you are involved in, and what future opportunities you feel could be developed. They will then use this information to shape the bid.

They would appreciate if you could take ten minutes to complete the online survey.

Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme 2017

The deadline is approaching for the Final Round of the Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme, which gives grants towards internships. The programme will be taking its final applications by 16 June 2017.

NICEP offers £2,500 per internship to help employers create paid positions for young people aged 18-24 in creative organisations which focus on music, dance, drama, literature, visual arts, design, creative media, craft, festivals, arts venues, community arts, galleries, museums or circus and carnival arts.

The intern will need to be:

• Aged 18 – 24
• Work at least 30 hours per week for 6 months/26 weeks
• Paid minimum wage – £7.05
• Have (at the time of applying for the internship) a qualification of level 4 and above

The application process is straight forward please get in touch to find out how you can get involved.

The Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme has already helped creative businesses to access £205,000 of funding to create 67 new jobs for young people.

For more information see:
Email with any questions.

Northern Ireland | Delays in Political Parties forming a Government Impacts Arts Organisations

Organisations in receipt of annual funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) have been notified that they will be allocated 50% of their funding as an interim measure to deal with the uncertainty of the exchequer budget 2017. In the absence of a Budget Act, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance will use powers assigned to him under Section 59 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to release cash to departments on an interim basis and until such times as a budget is agreed by ministers and budget legislation is put in place.

Funded organisations will receive only a percentage of their proposed allocation for 2017/2018. Organisations have also been notified that this measure must not be taken to indicate that funding will continue after this date or that, if it does continue, it will do so at the same level for the remainder of this financial year.

This leaves arts organisations in the precarious position of not knowing their funding situation for their full programme year. The Annual Funding Programme is divided into two distinct elements: core and programming. Core costs are met from exchequer funds and programming costs are from National Lottery funds. Whilst lottery funds are not immediately directly affected by the current budget issue, each organisation’s funding situation will have to be re-assessed against the outcome of the final exchequer budget.

Upcoming Deadlines for Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme 2017

The Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme grant was increased in January to £2,500 per internship and there are only two rounds left, deadlines:

· 7 April
· 16 June

This funding is to help employers create paid internship positions for young people aged 18-24 in the creative industries, unfortunately applications for apprenticeships can no longer be accepted.

An arts organisation or creative business can apply to create up to 3 internship opportunities.

The Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme has already helped creative businesses to access £173,000 for funding to create 53 new jobs for young people.

What will an intern cost me as an employer?
The intern must be employed at the minimum wage, £7.05 per hour, for a minimum of 30 hours per week and for a period of 6 months/26 weeks. Taking the NI CEP grant of £2,500 into consideration – the employer’s contribution will be £2,999 over 6 months.

How to apply
All details about the programme can be found on the NI CEP Website:

If you would like to discuss the programme further or are considering an application, please contact us on or call 028 9032 5072.

We are very happy to discuss any aspect of the process with you from the application itself to the practicalities of taking on an apprentice or intern.

‘The Cove’ Featuring Set Installation by Dan Shipsides

Lyric Theatre, Belfast – 3 and 4 March at 8pm, Sun 5 March at 2pm
The Source Arts Centre, Thurles  – 31 March at 8pm
Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick – 1 April at 8pm
Project Arts Centre, Dublin – 6, 7, 8 April at 7.30pm

The Cove is the result of a creative collaboration between Echo Echo Artistic Director Steve Batts, artist Dan Shipsides and musician Christopher Norby.

The Cove is a performance about the natural world, and the place of people in it. It reflects on the experience of the beauty of the wild Irish coast and its embodiment in movement.
The Cove is created around and with a large scale installation made from heavy, strong, shiny blocks. They reflect the light, like the surface of the sea or the shiny rocks. Sometimes they seem steely and sometimes warm. They are manipulated, with effort, and pleasure, into different configurations which provide the dancers with a changing environment with different opportunities and challenges.
Through this environment a woman travels. She climbs, sits, contemplates and is enfolded by the spirit of the place.


17 Creatives Scoop Arts Council Northern Ireland ACES Awards

aces17 artists from Northern Ireland have been announced as the latest recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ACES awards 2016/17, a funding grant bestowed upon Northern Ireland’s most talented emerging artists to allow them to develop their professional artistic careers.

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

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, many of the 17 artists have been partnered with a professional organisation to help each of them to deliver a major new creative work. Those organisations include; Moving On Music, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry and Paper Studio in Northumbria, among others.

Five of the awards were to visual artists:
Alice Burns
Frederic Huska
Joanne Proctor
Jacqueline Holt
Philip McCrilly

The Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES) forms part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annually. As part of its continuing commitment to supporting the development of individual artists, the Council made 277 SIAP awards to artists in 2016/17 totaling £592k. Since its establishment in 2010, 117 artists have been supported through ACES. Visit for information on all funding opportunities.

Arts Council of Northern Ireland awards £1.5 million Lottery Project Funding to 54 arts organisations

ACNI-square1Fifty-four arts organisations across Northern Ireland are set to benefit from £1.5 million of Arts Council of Northern Ireland and National Lottery funding, to bring a series of high quality arts projects to people across the region.

The funding will be used by groups to support the development and creation of events, exhibitions, performances and workshops across all areas of the arts, including community arts, literature, visual arts, music and theatre.

The full list of awards is now available here:

SIAP Information Clinic at VOID Derry

ACNI-square1Wednesday 6 July at 11.30am
Void, Old City Factory, Patrick St, Londonderry

Council of Northern Ireland
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The Funding and Development Agency for The Arts in Northern Ireland

Artists invited to SIAP Information Clinic at VOID Derry.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland will host an information clinic for individual artists at VOID Derry-Londonderry.
Artists from all art forms are welcome to attend as representatives from the Arts Council’s visual arts, community and participatory arts and music teams will be available to discuss the Support for the Individual Artist (SIAP) programme and give you guidance on submitting an application while also outlining the expectations of artists who receive support.

The clinic will open with a 30 minute information session followed by short, one-to-one meetings which will last no longer than 5 minutes each.
Places for the information clinic are limited and registration is advised.

V22 London Launch Pilot Project – Studio Workspace Crèche Facilities

workspace-creche-V22V22 is pleased to announce that it is developing workspace crèche facilities in its studio building in Dalston, London. This is a pilot project aimed to help parents who are also artists, creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs, to continue their work whilst not giving up being hands-on parents. If successful V22 want to make it an integral part of all their studio and workspace buildings across London. V22 currently provides affordable workspace for over 400 tenants.

V22 is an art organisation, with a shared ownership structure, which specialises in the collection of contemporary art, the production of exhibitions, events and educational initiatives, and the provision of artists’ studios and artisans’ workshops.

Some interesting stats:

  • In the UK, one third of mothers and a fifth of fathers with dependent children (Office of National Statistics) work flexibly.
    Recent studies have shown that London has the lowest rate of parental employment in the country, with women disproportionately affected.
  • In London, 60% of women with dependent children are in work, compared with 69% in the rest of the UK.
  • The gender pay gap increases from 6% for 26 to 35-year-olds, to 20% for 36 to 45-year-olds.
  • Less than 10% of UK companies offer workplace crèches – although parents say having childcare within the same building really helps with breastfeeding, with unpredictable working hours and minimises the time wasted dropping children off at childcare facilities.
  • The UK is placed 18th in an international ranking on gender equality in the workplace, according to the World Economic Forum, Ireland is ranked 5th. (
  • A 2015 Harvard University study found that daughters of working mothers enjoyed better careers, higher pay and more equal relationships.