Calendar & Events

For latest news & events click here!

19/20 Arts Calendar Available Soon

Tailored support and training to enhance and refresh your fundraising strategies.

Based on proven case-studies, our training is delivered via seminars, master classes, workshops and events. It covers all levels – from first-time fundraisers to sophisticated executive level strategies. Many of these services are free to members, while others are offered at a discounted or subsidised rate.

  • Trusts & Foundations Symposium 2019

    Our seventh annual Arts & Business Northern Ireland Trusts & Foundations Symposium took place on Wednesday 6th February 2019 in Riddel Hall, Belfast.  Eight Trusts & Foundations attended including representatives from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, BBC Children in Need, Halifax Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, Ulster Garden Villages, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and joining us for the first year, DWF Foundation.

    Follow Up Follow Through

    At the morning plenary we heard from James Magowan, Northern Ireland Development Officer at Association of Charitable Foundations who offered key advice 'Follow up. Follow through.'  Lou Errington from The Paul Hamlyn foundation urged Arts organisations in Northern Ireland to ensure to submit their funding applications.  Clare Beavan introduced the DWF Foundation, founded from DWF LLP a multinational law firm headquartered in Manchester with 27 offices across the world. 

    Time to recalibrate

    Damian Smyth represented the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and pointed out that the spending on Arts per head per capita in Northern Ireland is £5.37 whereas in other parts of the U. K. this figure rises to £10.58 per person, he highlighted the need to recalibrate to increase this figure for Arts in Northern Ireland moving forward. The morning plenary concluded with a question and answer session addressing NI arts organisation’s main concerns, including the ability to apply to Trusts & Foundations to cover core costs. Trusts & Foundations highlighted that applicants must bear in mind that they are also charitable organisations, therefore they share in some of the issues that small Arts organisations face such as dealing with a limited amount of staff. 

    Reach Out

    There was also a strong emphasis placed on the importance of forging a strong funder-applicant relationship and the necessity to communicate, update and clarify before applying.  Brona Whittaker, Arts Manager at Arts & Business NI reiterated that Arts & Business supports members in their applications to Trusts & Foundations with the understanding that time constraints play a huge role in application rates, therefore she encouraged Arts members to avail of the resources provided in the member only section of the Arts & Business NI website and reach out for support while crafting and refining applications.  

    Access and communicate

    In the afternoon ninety-six knee-to-knee funding surgeries took place with our Arts Members personally meeting the Trusts & Foundations.  Our inaugural Trusts & Foundations Symposium Business Exhibitors were in attendance, including Edwards & Co, Forde Campbell Law, Millar McCall Wylie and Whitenoise who provided helpful advice and services to Arts members throughout the day.

  • Creating Futures 2019


    University of Ulster


    As a key theme of Belfast City Council’s Cultural Framework for Belfast 2012-2020, Strengthening the Sector aims to help develop the capacity and confidence of the cultural sector. Belfast City Council has committed to supporting skills, leadership development and learning opportunities across the city.  As part of the Belfast Agenda and as a strategic partner within the Cultural Framework, Arts & Business NI has worked to develop the Creating Futures which is delivered with the Ulster University Business School.

    An Induction day was held at Belfast Crescent Arts Centre on 22nd January 2019 and provided participants with the overview and expectations of the year long course, along with a session on study skills and practical application for assignments. 

    The programme delivery team includes lecturers within the Ulster University Business School, leading guest experts in the fields of strategy, leadership, governance, fundraising, culture and arts.  Participants will also undertake structured peer-to-peer learning, and receive support from senior business mentors.  Belfast City Council has invested enabling up to ten participants to take part throughout 2019.  Creating Futures is a strategic development initiative for senior managers in a leadership role within their organisation, who have significant budgetary and people management experience gained in a senior management role over a number of years.

    Creating Futures is an innovative learning opportunity for the cultural sector taking place within the University of Ulster Business School. The provides the opportunity for participants to gain a Post Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership (one third of an MSc in Executive Leadership), develop a relevant business plan and enhance the overall performance of their organisations.

    Creating the Future, Module One of the Post Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership commenced at The University of Ulster Jordanstown Campus on 12th February 2019.  Module Two Leading Change, Innovation & Transformation will begin in Dublin on 28th March.  The final modules; Strategic Financial Management and Leading for the Future will take place at University of Ulster, Belfast Campus in May and August respectively, and Graduation will be celebrated in December 2019.


    Back Row left to right: Brian Mullan, CEO of Replay Theatre Company, Michael Bonner, Marketing & Admin - Moving On Music, Eileen Branagh, CEO/Artistic Director - Open Arts, Amberlea Neely, Acting Director - PLACE, Alissa Kleist, Co-Director - Household Belfast, Julianne Skillen, Development Manager - Community Arts Partnership, Stephen Kelly, Creative Director - C21 Theatre Company. Front row right to left: Michael Weir, Director - Belfast Photo Festival, Brona Whittaker, Arts Manager – Arts & Business NI, Janette Sheerman, Course Director – University of Ulster, Sara Gunn-Smith, Marketing & Audiences Officer - Film Hub NI.  Credit: Aaron McCracken Photography.

  • Shining the Spotlight on Creative Staff Engagement 22.03.19


    Belfast Exposed Photography

    Creative Staff Engagement Business Breakfast

    At our recent Creative Staff Engagement business breakfast in Belfast Exposed Gallery, 50 guests heard from business leaders who have seen the advantages of taking a broader view in relation to engaging and developing their staff through creative partnerships.

    Collaborations which have enabled the businesses to

    • develop, educate and engage their staff in unique memorable ways
    • attract and retain staff within a competitive marketplace
    • go beyond simply offering a salary and instead offer a package of experiences that really satisfies their employees’ ambitions as members of a wider society- especially important for millennials
    • engage local communities and stakeholders alongside staff
    • embed staff mental health and wellbeing initiatives


    Local singer songwriter Aidan Logan played original music whilst our guests enjoyed breakfast, before we heard from our inspirational speakers.

    Sean McCready MD at Doyle Shipping Group shared some of his exciting collaborations with c21 Theatre Company. Knowing that his staff interact on a daily basis with customers who have disabilities – and that two staff members have children with disabilities themselves – Sean made a strategic decision to address the area and the issues around it. He had noticed some concerns among staff about the use of particular language and terminology around disability and arranged for them to take part in disability equality training.

    Enlisting the help of his trusted long-term arts partner, c21 Theatre Company, allowed Sean to transform his vision into something exceptional. Together, they set about coming up with a way to use the medium of drama to educate and raise awareness about disability. With c21’s expertise, the partners produced a bespoke drama ‘It Only Takes a Minute’ about attitudes towards people with disabilities – performed predominantly by people with disabilities. c21 consulted with DSG staff on their experiences and incorporated them into the script. Initially performed at DSG’s offices, the show then toured to youth groups and schools across Northern Ireland as well as to one-off events hosted by Cedar Foundation and Disability Action NI.

    According to Sean: ‘"It's not about putting thousands of £s into advertising, it's putting TIME into the community; supporting your staff to get properly & deeply involved".

    This amazing project won the Allianz Arts & Business NI Staff Engagement Award 2019 at our ceremony in January.


    Gerarda Morton, Legal Manager (Disputes) at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) shared details of their new partnership with Belfast Ensemble, a truly innovative staff engagement project entitled ‘Intermezzo’. 20 members of staff will be taught an orchestral instrument for one year, working towards Grade One, offering HSF people the chance not just to develop skills in the musical arena, but also to develop soft skills that are equally complimentary to their legal career such as collaboration, commitment and creativity. In addition, the project will reinforce HSF’s focus on mental health and wellbeing amongst their staff.

    Running alongside this, the HSF senior leadership team will receive conducting classes, where they will learn what it means to ‘lead without words’, focusing on non-verbal communication and connection skills, broadening and challenging their perspectives of leadership. The project will culminate in a public performance, where the Belfast Ensemble will be conducted by HSF senior leadership team, and will be joined by the 20 trainee instrumentalists.

    Gerarda commented: ‘Like most businesses, we want to minimise turnover of our people. As business leaders, we have to face the fact that young people in today's market want more than just the 9-5pm office experience. As competition for good people strengthens, we firmly believe that our Arts and Business partnerships enhance the HSF working experience, and secure and enrich our future as a business.

    Nicola Laight, Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator at Farrans Construction told us about their exciting ‘InsideOutside’ project delivered with partner Arts Care, as part of Farrans’ corporate social responsibility under the Considerate Constructors Scheme.  One of its key objectives was to address mental health and wellbeing on construction sites and in the wider community. The Arts Care artist-in-residence conducted workshops with 10 different groups which resulted in the creation of 50 large scale artworks which were displayed on the hoardings around the construction site. To engage with Farrans construction staff, Arts Care set up a table in the middle of the site where they could come during their tea break, explore how to make artworks and express how they felt about working there. “It was an environment where they were able to forget about everything and open up about mental health and stress,” says Nicola. “At first, they were apprehensive, but Bronagh (artist) facilitated things by making the process relevant to them and helping them to produce blueprints that related back to the construction site.”

    It gave the staff involved a huge sense of achievement and pride to see their names up on the hoardings next to their artworks. One participant said that being given the opportunity to create a piece of artwork to display was like putting their own stamp on the building.

    This project allowed Farrans to memorably engage their staff, stakeholder groups and the local community and won the Allianz Arts & Business NI Cultural Social Responsibility Award 2019.

    Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive at Belfast Exposed, gave a brief introduction to Northern Ireland’s premier contemporary photography organisation and to the Arts Council of NI Photography Collection, on display within the gallery. We are very grateful to Belfast Exposed for extending this exhibition especially for our Creative Staff Engagement breakfast event.

    If you would like to explore how you could introduce creative staff engagement into your organisation please speak to the Arts & Business NI team on 028 90735150 or email We will be happy to meet with you to understand your priorities and to recommend artistic partners and creative projects which will enable you to deliver your objectives in a unique, effective, unexpected way.

  • Philanthropy Fortnight 2019 Launch


    Philanthropy Fortnight 2019 has launched!  Taking place between 13th- 26th May 2019 the campaign is in partnership with Belfast Charitable Society, the Community Foundation, Fermanagh Trust and Arts & Business NI.  The fortnight will feature a series of activity and promotions celebrating generosity across NI.  Join in the celebrations and take part in the conversations at #philanthropyfortnight19

    Philanthropy Fortnight 2019 set to celebrate generosity

    As one of the most charitable and generous regions in the UK, Northern Ireland is set to celebrate all the positive impacts that philanthropy makes during this year’s Philanthropy Fortnight, May 13th-26th. Over 75% of us make donations to charity every year and a partnership between the Community Foundation, Fermanagh Trust, Arts & Business NI and Belfast Charitable Society, ‘Philanthropy Fortnight’ will tell the stories behind modern philanthropy in Northern Ireland.  

    Now in its seventh year, the organisations involved will share what motivates people and businesses to be generous, the wide range of causes supported by philanthropy and the tangible difference it makes to our community.

    Back in the 1800’s, private philanthropy played a big part in NI society when middle class industrialists set up hospitals and ran poor houses out of concern for the poor and their standard of living.  Belfast’s first maternity hospital was set up as a result of scant support for women in labour and to provide accommodation, food and medical supervision during childbirth. Managed and organised by a group of philanthropic women, this “Lying - In Hospital” is now Belfast Royal Maternity Hospital.   In Derry, the first children’s home was set up as a result of the generosity of a local merchant, John Gwyn, through a gift in his will and today has been redeveloped as Brooke Park.

    “Enormous things are also being achieved today through Philanthropy in NI, things which simply wouldn’t happen without the generosity and involvement of local people” said Siofra Healy, Director of Philanthropy at the Community Foundation.

    “During philanthropy fortnight we want to celebrate the difference modern philanthropy is making by recognising the value of what is being achieved and highlighting the impact on local lives.

    “Our hope is to encourage even more philanthropy, stimulate debate about what philanthropy means and highlight the joy of giving amongst the young and the old, individuals, families and businesses.”

    Activity over the fortnight will include the launch of new funding opportunities, case study blogs, a celebration of giving by the Barbour Fund and Fermanagh will go global with the Fisher Foundation as they present 25 grants to local people working on 13 projects volunteering overseas.

    Investing in our youth is a major passion for modern day philanthropists, said Lauri McCusker,  Director of Fermanagh Trust and during the fortnight both Enniskillen Yacht Club Charitable Trust and the Fermanagh Recreational Trust will present awards to young people whilst in Derry, The Change Something Fund panel of young people will make decisions about how funding should be spent in their city. 

    "Arts & Business NI's participation in the Philanthropy Fortnight 2019 campaign is an excellent way to celebrate the generosity through Philanthropy for Arts projects and Business engagement, by highlighting successful stories and innovative collaborations.  Crowdfunding has revolutionised the way in which organisations and artists can create and makes it easy for individual supporters to engage in 21st Century Philanthropic causes, make a difference and champion Arts and Culture in NI."  Marcella Walsh, Art's Programme Co-ordinator, Arts & Business NI.

    Paula Reynolds, Chief Executive of Belfast Charity Society is chair of  the NI Charitable Trust Group and said, “Past and present philanthropists have made a real difference in Northern Ireland and giving has always been hugely important here. Get involved  by following the conversations at #philanthropyfortnight19 and let us know what generosity means to you. This celebration will showcase how generous we are in NI, the difference philanthropy can make and how we need philanthropy today more than ever.”


  • 12/06/2019

    The MAC, Belfast

    A&B NI Cultural Governance Conference 2019, sponsored by Forde Campbell LLC.

    Wednesday 12th June 2019, 8.00am–12.30pm,The MAC, Belfast 

    Book here now! 

    ‘Navigating the New Normal’

    The environment is changing rapidly around us, so how do we subvert existing models and create our own futures?

    How do we balance income generation with our charitable, social and artistic purposes?

    This conference will give those involved with voluntary Boards, Committees and Trusts an opportunity to network and discuss these issues, to hear from stakeholders such as Clore Leadership, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, and to attend practical sessions across topics such as:

    • Profit for Purpose – The Income Spectrum
    • Squeezing your Assets – Making more money from your work (Arts & Business NI)
    • Capturing your impact; showing your value (thrive)
    • Digital: 10 things every organisation can do to protect themselves, their data and their employees (Vertical Structure)
    • Navigating the New Normal: Risk Taking for Transformation and Reward  (Greenlight Consulting)

     Light breakfast served from 8:00am for 8:30am conference start.


    A&B NI Member: £15.00 Non-Member: £20.00

    (Ticket cost includes light breakfast, fees & VAT)

    To book your place(s) please follow the Eventbrite Ticket Link! 

  • Celebrating Creative Partnerships 26.06.19


    U105, City Quays 2, Clarendon Dock, Belfast BT1 3FD

    75 guests recently gathered in U105 to recognise and celebrate the arts organisations and their business partners who received funding in 2018-2019 from the Arts & Business NI (A&BNI) Investment Programme (funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland), which stimulates and strengthens partnerships between business and the arts.

    The event, kindly sponsored by A&BNI business member Citi, provided inspiration to businesses in the audience by giving examples of how other businesses are partnering with arts organsiations to deliver strategic commercial objectives via creative collaborations.

    Mary Nagele, CEO at Arts & Business NI thanked the business and arts partners for the creativity, energy and vision that they bring to utilising the important fund.

    Each year Arts & Business NI makes the case and applies for the Investment Programme fund within our Arts Council of NI application. In times of limited resources, innovation can be inhibited. The Arts are about pushing barriers and challenges norms - hence arts organisations are perfect partners for fresh thinking and new approaches. This fund offers both the arts and business partners a safe space, an R&D fund, to test opportunities that use creativity through the arts to support private sector companies in addressing key business issues such as retaining and attracting talent, creatively developing staff or to address important societal or wellbeing issues in communities and the workplace.”

    Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, welcomed the variety and depth of the partnerships celebrated at the event, highlighting how much the two sectors can achieve when they combine their distinctive strengths.

    These partnerships are bringing a wide range of significant opportunities and benefits to both parties. We are nourishing a healthy interdependency, whereby our communities are strengthened by the presence of a rich creative culture and an enterprising business sector, just as these same communities provide a source of inspiration for our artists and a source of revenue for our businesses. Everyone benefits.

    One of the partnerships supported through the Investment Programme fund was Citi and Tinderbox. Arts & Business NI works closely with all Citi Networks to introduce creativity in to their programmes of activity, and connected Citi disAbility Network with Tinderbox to develop an innovative staff engagement project around mental health, to mark World Mental Health Day 2018. The partners scheduled a dedicated on-site performance of ‘The Man who Fell to Pieces’, a ground breaking comedy that deals with the profound themes of Mental Health, followed by a Q&A around issues raised. 80 Citi staff attended the on-site performance, and participated in the Q&A session.

    Post-performance, Citi followed up with 9 Tinderbox staff workshops over the ensuing months, enabling Citi staff to explore Perception, Inclusion and Diversity.

    Leigh Meyer, Managing Director, Citi Belfast Site Head and key sponsor of the event commented:

    “Thanks to the introduction from A&B NI to Tinderbox, we now have a thriving relationship and have rolled out a series of theatre based Mental Health Awareness workshops, open to all staff, throughout 2019.  We have five diversity networks in Citi Belfast, and utilising the Arts & Business Investment Programme support, in partnership with Tinderbox we have developed a series of fantastic events with each network this year."

    Patrick O’Reilly, Artistic Director at Tinderbox, led guests in an interactive, fun sampler of the Perception Programme workshop currently being delivered in Citi. Additional performances on the day included Katie Richardson and the Glider Band, whilst Beat Carnival performed a rousing drumming finale to the event.

    Another partnership supported by the Investment Programme was ISL Waste Management (ISL),The Grand Opera House and Beat Carnival’s exciting ‘Electro Funk Junk’ project. As a commercial waste management company, ISL Waste Management prioritises supporting education to change perceptions surrounding waste. Aimed at Primary 7 pupils, the school engagement initiative encouraged the school children to think more about recycling, while engaging them in music workshops and technology. Barry Donaghy, MD at ISL commented:

    “Creating music from junk was a fascinating idea and the creativity of all the young people involved was a joy to support. Opening their minds to the fact that we cannot live in a world of single use products is vital and at ISL we are dedicated to helping our children lead the way.”

    Business member U105 kindly provided the fabulous event space - Peter McVerry Executive Director at U105 commented:

    As a keen advocate of the Arts, U105 was delighted to welcome fellow Arts & Business NI members to our state-of the-art waterfront broadcast studios and showcase our hireable event space with stunning views over the ever-changing Belfast skyline”. Please contact Peter if you are interested in the U105 event space.

    An inspirational full colour booklet, kindly designed and printed pro bono by Whitenoise Design Ltd and Nicholson & Bass, was launched at the event, giving summaries and photographs from the 32 amazing partnerships which received funding through the Investment Programme in the last financial year. See the booklet here 

    If you would like to find out more about adopting a creative approach to your business challenges, please speak to Maeve McKervey about A&BNI business membership on 028 90735150 or email

  • The Fundamentals of Arts Board Membership 03.09.19


    The Fundamentals of Arts Board Membership

    Join us for an event on Tuesday 3rd September 2019 at the Arts & Business NI offices, 2 Paulett Avenue at 12.30 - 4.30pm.

    This half-day workshop looks at best practice and at the realities of arts charity governance.
    We’ll take a thorough look at the compliance requirements of being on a Board, covering roles and responsibilities plus managerial, legal and financial duties. But that’s only half of the picture!  

    We’ll also discuss organisational performance, business models, income streams and what makes a Board/Board Member effective.
    For: Trustees/Board Members or anyone who is considering joining a Board or would like refresher on the changing requirements.

    Cost: £25+VAT (Sandwich lunch included) Tickets available directly on Eventbrite via this link.

  • 11/09/2019

    Belfast & Derry~Londonderry

    Boost your fundraising at a Grant Application Boot Camp 

    Craft a thorough application

    • Derry/Londonderry: Wednesday 11th September 11:00 – 15:00 Holywell Trust, 0-14 Bishop St BT48 6PW 
    • Belfast: Thursday 12th September 09.30 – 16.30 NICVA 61 Duncairn Gardens BT15 2GB
    • Free for members

    Is that all important grant deadline approaching, but you don’t know where to start?  Sign up for Bootcamp!  

    Get away from emails for the day and focus on writing an application you need to work on.  Expert coaches will help you make sense of guidelines, give advice on your case for support and make sure you leave with a draft proposal.  

    We are delighted to be working with Historic Royal Palaces to offer Boot Camps again this year.  “I am delighted, as are the team, to have received this grant of £30,000 for a first time application and I want to thank the boot camp for helping us to get there.” (2018 participant)

    For more information and to reserve a very limited place please e-mail:  

  • Risk Taking for Transformation & Reward 24.09.19


    Crescent Arts Centre, University Road, Belfast

    You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.' - Wayne Gretzky

    For this session we are delighted to welcome Anne Orr. With over 15 years of experience, Anne builds quality management systems and delivers change management through established tools and techniques developed from ISO, Six Sigma and Design Thinking methodologies.

    Crescent Arts Centre on Tuesday 24th September from 9.30-11.30am

    Anne is passionate about supporting the arts, creative industries, voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors by applying business skills and knowledge to improve their sustainability, innovative culture and commercialization. Since 2013 Anne has volunteered on arts boards, mentored arts and culture groups and facilitated strategic workshops with Boards of Directors and membership groups. Anne has also delivered training and talks on organisational efficiency in the arts sector, managing risks on boards and the challenges and rewards of being a Non-Executive Director.

    Anne has recently launched a tech product called ALUNA, which is an app that helps boards manage their governance and compliance requirements.

    This will be a highly practical session looking at why 'risk taking' needs to be a part of the conversations you have with your team, the board, stakeholder and funders.

    • What type of risks are facing your organisation?
    • How do you track and manage your risks?
    • How does your organisation decide to take a risk?
    • How do you communicate risks to your board and funders?
    • How do you measure risk versus reward?

    To book at space at this session please contact Brona Whittaker

  • Jude Kelly In Conversation with Arts & Business NI 04.10.19


    Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

    Jude Kelly In Conversation with Arts & Business NI

    Leadership is not a job. It is taking your values and leading forward, bringing people with you, stepping out in front, to make change happen. You can call this activism. You can call this leadership.

    We are delighted to welcome Jude Kelly CBE who will share experiences from her incredible career. Jude is a successful theatre director and founded the acclaimed West Yorkshire Playhouse. She was Artistic Director of Southbank Centre from 2005 to 2018, and founded the WOW Festival in 2010. Now a significant global brand, WOW Festival celebrates the lives and achievements of women and girls all over the world, bringing together artists, performers and speakers from a huge range of disciplines and backgrounds to spotlight womens lives, their successes, and the obstacles against which they continue to struggle.

    For more Information on the event & to book limited tickets - follow the link here.

More on us elsewhere...

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.