£2.7m recovery funding for Northern Irish artists

06 Dec 2021

1,433 artists working in Northern Ireland will share £2.7m in emergency funding.

The final wave of the £5m Creative Individual Recovery Programme (CIRP) has been delivered by Arts Council Northern Ireland (ACNI) on behalf of the Department of Communities.

Successful applicants were awarded up to £2,000 to undertake activity linked to their practice or art form.

The annoucement follows recent calls for further support to the sector, after Covid-19 erased a quarter of the country's creative workforce

ACNI Chief Executive Roisin McDonough said the money means artists won't be forced to find alternative work.

“That would take Northern Ireland years to recover from.”

NI schools funded to work with professional artists

30 Nov 2021

Eleven schools in Northern Ireland will each receive funding to hire professional artists.

£15,000 has been awarded by the Creative Schools Partnership, a combination of National Lottery, Education Authority and NI Executive funding, across the schools' proposals.

Projects include screenwriting, dance, photography, filmmaking and music composition. Grants will cover two years' work.

First Minister Paul Givan said: “This successful partnership has already seen hundreds of children engage with the programme within post-primary schools in urban villages areas.

“The young people have benefited from this innovative arts-based approach, which has supported curriculum learning and improved their educational outcomes.”


Plea to save NI arts from urgent 'threats to very existence'

23 Nov 2021

An anticipated £13m in Executive support may not be enough, as more than half the sector's jobs remain at risk.

Covid cuts Northern Ireland arts workforce by a quarter

22 Nov 2021

A quarter of Northern Ireland's arts workforce has been lost to Covid-19.

The number of people employed by arts organisations in the country fell 25% in the 2020/21 financial year, according to Arts Council Northern Ireland’s (ACNI) annual funding survey.

Covid restrictions meant just 59 in-person arts activities took place that year compared to 67,000 in 2019/20. Total income fell by £4.5m (9%) and earned income by £16m (69%).

Losses were offset by a 22% increase in income from public sources. ACNI delivered £12.9m in grants to 97 arts organisations last financial year, the same number as the year prior.

ACNI Director of Strategic Development and Partnerships Karly Greene said that though online events grew, they were no replacement for the income generated by live events.

“While we don’t yet know the long term impact these changes will have on the sector, this survey highlights a need for ongoing financial support and will be an important tool in helping us to strategically plan for the future."

Ireland brings in vaccine passports

17 Nov 2021

People attending the theatre or cinemas in the Republic of Ireland must show proof of vaccination from Thursday (November 18).

Pubs, nightclubs and restaurants must close by midnight in a bid to curb rising Covid-19 case numbers.

Echoing his contemporaries in Scotland, Wales and more recently, Northern Ireland, Taioseach Michael Martin said vaccine passports are a "proportionate and effective" approach.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has proposed introducing the passports in cultural venues and other spaces with more than 500 attendees by mid-December.

England is still holding out, with no word on whether ministers will activate the country's Plan B for winter.

Armagh seeks local views on City of Culture bid

16 Nov 2021

Residents of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough are being asked to contribute their opinion on the local City of Culture 2025 bid.

An online survey asks locals what culture means to them, which cultural activities they engage in and their thoughts on three possible bid themes: traditions for the future, provoking thought, and healing.

Information from the survey will help develop the final bid to DCMS in February.

As Northern Ireland’s only representative on the City of Culture 2025 longlist, Armagh 2025 says it aims to make the shortlist of three cities. 

“Bidding for the title is already providing a positive focus for change, sparking a renewed sense of pride, and securing new initiatives and investment potential for the region,” Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Glenn Barr said.

Arts Council NI and British Council extend partnership

02 Nov 2021

Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council have extended their partnership to 2024.

Now in their tenth year of working together, the two bodies aim to develop Northern Ireland’s arts sector internationally.

The partnership does this by supporting international showcases and running an annual £50,000 Artist Development Fund.

British Council Arts Director, Skinder Hundal, says the two organisations have mapped out a clear framework for continued international cultural dialogue and exchange.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership. Together over the past nine years, we have increased the number of cultural connections between Northern Ireland and the rest of the world, developing vital long-term partnerships.”

Older women dancing

a woman dancing
26 Oct 2021

What is it like to perform as an older woman in an industry obsessed with youth? Sandy Cuthbert shares her experience of returning to the stage with ‘Epilogue’.

City of Culture 2025 a 'springboard' regardless of longlist

11 Oct 2021

The challenge now for some of the latecomers will be completing years' worth of planning in weeks.

Northern Ireland's arts engagement drops to 12 year low

06 Oct 2021

The number of adults engaging in arts and culture in Northern Ireland has fallen once again.

Continuous Household Survey data for 2020/21 shows 81% of adults engaged in arts and culture in the last 12 months, compared to 87% in 2019/20. 

This year's figure represents the lowest recorded for engagement in arts and culture since 2008/09.

Despite the overall decrease, the number of adults using public libraries increased from 23% to 28%.

The number of adults visiting a museum or science centre remained stable at 37%.

This year's report is the first to record engagement against deprivation. 84% of adults living in Northern Ireland's least deprived areas engaged in arts and culture compared to 78% living in the most deprived areas.

Northern Ireland drops social distancing in arts spaces

28 Sep 2021

Northern Ireland is set to remove a one-metre social distancing rule in all settings bar hospitality.

The move will be welcomed by theatres and music venues, which had complained the restriction was financially unviable.

On Monday (September 27), the country's Executive decided instead to rely on guidance and mandatory use of masks in cultural spaces.

Arts Council of Northern Ireland Chief Executive Roisin McDonough said it was "an important step forward" and "a very positive sign that the wider arts and culture sectors in Northern Ireland are now on the journey to recovery at last".

"I know all those working in and around the arts sector will continue to enact every safety measure needed to welcome back audiences, they have been much missed."

Venues are being asked to ensure attendees are fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative lateral flow test; however there is no legal mandate.

Indoor concerts are allowed, though people must be seated.

The change of policy will take effect at 6pm on Thursday (September 30).


NI venues press Executive for full reopening date

21 Sep 2021

Music and theatre venues are calling for Northern Ireland's Executive to end its one-metre social distancing rule.

The restriction has meant many venues are yet to reopen, with those hosting events saying they are not financially viable.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without a full reopening date for indoor venues, or the ability to operate without capacity restrictions.

Stormont ministers are scheduled to meet on Thursday (23 September) to discuss further.

Concert promoter Joe Dougan said: "We urgently need our Executive to provide a full reopening date, remove social distancing requirements, and allow us to plan for the coming months. We are confident this can be done safely”.

Dormant accounts invested in arts development scheme

16 Sep 2021

£500,000 of unclaimed money has been granted to a development programme for Northern Irish arts organisations.

Arts & Business NI received the Dormant Accounts Fund NI award to support its new programme Blueprint.

It is the first strategic grant awarded by fund after Northern Ireland's Department of Finance opened applications in January.

Blueprint is a five-year partnership programme to help arts organisations develop financial skills, review business models and generate income in “new and creative ways”.

Arts & Business NI says it will "create a stronger, healthier arts funding ecology".

"Our ambition to create transformational change and build long-term financial strength in the NI cultural sector, mirrors the aims of the Dormant Accounts Fund NI," Chair Martin Bradley said. 

Northern Ireland opens £5m recovery programme

15 Sep 2021

A recovery funding programme for Northern Irish creatives has been opened by Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) and the Department for Communities.

ACNI Chief Executive Roisin McDonough said the £5m Creative Individuals Recovery Programme (CIRP) is designed to help creatives continue developing important skills.

It can help pay to create new work, hire facilities or equipment, improve professional skills or attend industry events.

Grants of up to £2,000 are available, with applications closing October 6.

“CIRP funding can help our creative individuals to positively contribute, as they did before the pandemic, to the significant cultural value of Northern Ireland as a great place to work, live and invest,“ McDonough said.

£50k for Northern Ireland ethnic artists

08 Sep 2021

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has made £50,000 available for a new programme supporting artists from a minority ethnic background.

The mentoring and residency programme will offer grants of up to £5,000 for research, learning, networking and cultural exchange opportunities.

Applications are open until October 4, with artists at every stage of their career encouraged to apply.

Chief Executive Roisin McDonough said the programme seeks to address the "numerous and complex barriers to access, progression and representation in the arts" that minority ethnic artists face. 

The council is in the process of establishing a Minority Ethnic Deliberative Forum to strengthen diversity within the sector and inform future decision making.

Brexit is erasing Northern Irish arts, report warns

27 Aug 2021

Northern Ireland's arts sector is feeling the effects of Brexit more than most.

A report by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) warns the country's arts and artists are becoming "less visible" internationally as companies struggle to tour, British arts suppliers are unwilling to ship to Northern Ireland and the small sector's voice is lost in cross-national negotiations.

It notes "anecdotal evidence" that arts organisations with the means to do so are establishing themselves in the Republic of Ireland to circumvent some of these issues and remain eligible for EU funding.

But ACNI says it has no way of substantiating how many organisations might be doing this - or whether they are at all. 

"The most we can say is that this is potentially more likely as a consequence of Brexit and the third party status of Northern Ireland-based arts and culture organisations.

"Creative Europe funding, in particular, has been an important source of funding for a number of organisations in Northern Ireland – especially touring and production organisations who will now find it more difficult to form creative partnerships across Europe.  This will impact on the diversity of product audiences will be exposed to and participants will be able to engage in."


Visa fast track only for elite of the elite

06 May 2021

Home Secretary Priti Patel says the system aims to attract "the best and brightest", but there are fewer options for stars beyond the screen and stage.

Emergency funding lifelines for Northern Irish and Scottish arts

16 Feb 2021

Northern Irish organisations' coronavirus deficits will be eliminated by new grants as Scotland offers new support for events and freelancers.

Northern Irish arts sector left in limbo as funding is delayed

01 Feb 2021

Organisations clamouring for support have released a five-point recovery plan amid a projected £16m funding shortfall.

Northern Ireland opens £7.75m emergency fund

28 Oct 2020

The long-awaited grants scheme is focussed on the sector's renewal as much as its immediate survival.


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