Calendar & Events

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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.

  • Creative Collisions: Beer, pizza and art night 07.11.19


    Belfast Exposed Gallery

    Calling all techies: NI arts organisations need your expertise to help them navigate the weird and wonderful world of all things digital. Our friends at Farset Labs are helping us spread the word and bring together a group of experts and enthusiasts, to explore how connecting technologists with creatives can help cultural organisations respond to and utilise advances in technology in our changing world. No major time commitment required, just a willingness to share your knowledge with other creative people. We have two events planned for November and hope you can come along.

    The first of the two events:

    Creative Collisions: Beer, pizza and art night

    at Belfast Exposed Gallery, Belfast

    Thursday 7 November 2019 5.30pm -7pm with optional Late Night Art tour afterwards

    We are starting the ball rolling with a get together to get to know each other, let you know what we are hoping to achieve, have some beer and pizza and then head out to a couple of local galleries to enjoy Late Night Art. Register through meetup here

  • Creativity and the Future of Work 14.11.19


    Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

    Thursday 14th November 2019 8am-9.45am (breakfast provided)

    Golden Thread Gallery 84-94 Great Patrick Street, Belfast BT1 2LU

    Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. It enables business challenges to be perceived in new ways. It disrupts. It generates solutions.

    Aimed at both business and arts audiences, this event will showcase the importance of creativity in relation to the future world of work. With the rapid development of new technologies and the need for innovation across all businesses, creative thinking is becoming increasingly important.

    We will hear from Eoin McFadden of the Department for the Economy on the importance of softer skills that foster creative thinking and problem solving, in addition to professional and technical skills, in the context of the need for innovation as cited across the Industrial Strategy and Economy 2030.

    Professor Gillian Armstrong, Director of Business Engagement at Ulster University will explain how, as a leading provider of entrepreneurial education, research and impact, the Ulster University Business School is shaping future growth and learning through creative, new educational models. Through a culture of collaboration with business, professional bodies and international University Institutions, the requirements for an increased focus on future skills, personalised curriculum and offerings for lifelong learning services are developing quickly. The cultural change so often called for in higher education to help address future of work challenges is well underway within the Business School and Gillian will provide an insight into the many innovative solutions that are developing with and for business at the current time.

    Finally, our business members Morrow Communications and Baker Tilly Mooney Moore will share why they value creativity as a core part of their strategy in regard to attracting and retaining talent and creating a culture of innovation and creative thinking in the workplace.

    Event kindly sponsored by Ulster University Business School

    Reserve your place by email to Sarah at

  • Creative Collisions: Digital Trustees – Ideation Workshop (date tbc)


    Farset Labs, Belfast

    Calling all techies: NI arts organisations need your expertise to help them navigate the weird and wonderful world of all things digital. Our friends at Farset Labs are helping us spread the word and bring together a group of experts and enthusiasts, to explore how connecting technologists with creatives can help cultural organisations respond to and utilise advances in technology in our changing world. No major time commitment required, just a willingness to share your knowledge with other creative people. We have two events planned for November and hope you can come along.

    Our second event in this series will be:

    Creative Collisions: Digital Trustees – Ideation Workshop

    Farset Labs, Belfast

    Date to be confirmed - early 2020

    Following on from our beer and pizza night there will be a three-phase ideation event based in the newly renovated Farset Labs event space, bringing arts practitioners and arts managers/trustees together with a mix of technologists, designers, and product-folks, around the challenges of "Metrics, Impacts, and Fundraising". Facilitated by Farset Labs, these three phases closely follow existing Farset Labs ideation processes; Problem Generalisation, Opportunity Viability, and Solution Mapping and will involve splitting into discussion groups to look at common problems. We will round off the session with a bit of a social mixer. Register through meetup here

  • Achates Philanthropy Prize


    Lyric Theatre Belfast

    9.30am – 10.45am

    In partnership with NI Opera, Arts & Business Northern Ireland is delighted to welcome Caroline McCormick from the Achates Philanthropy Foundation to an introductory event at Lyric Theatre. 

    The Achates Philanthropy Prize is the only annual award that celebrates first-time cultural giving in the UK.
    Each year two awards are presented, one for first-time individual philanthropy, and one for first-time corporate partnerships.
    The winning arts organisations in each category receive a £5,000 grant, and their nominated individual or company becomes the custodian of one of the two prize sculptures for the year.
    Come along to the our event in the Lyric to learn more about how the prize works, who is eligible, what the key dates are for next year and what the judges are looking for.

    As an extra treat we will also enjoy a performance from a NI Opera Studio singer.

    Find out more here

    Attendance is free but please register your attendance here to reserve your space 

  • Basic Finance for Small Organisations


    Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

    3rd March 2020, 09:30am – 11:30am
    Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road, Belfast, BT7 1NH

    Arts & Business NI are hosting a free morning session on Basic Finance for Small Organisations, delivered by Brona Whittaker and Valerie Catterson.

    During the morning we will explore how to simplify financial planning, processes and responsibilities. The session will cover pragmatic and user friendly approaches to budgeting, record keeping and reporting.

    This event is free to attend but please register your attendance here to reserve your space


  • Trusts & Foundations Symposium (postponed)


    The MAC

    This event has now been postponed - a new date will be advised as soon as possible

    Meeting a prospective funder face to face is the quickest way to cultivate a relationship and take the first step in completing a successful application. This year we will host our eighth annual Symposium and over the years we have facilitated over 500 one-to-one funding surgeries, which have helped generate substantial amounts of money and support for the Cultural Sector in Northern Ireland.

    This year attendees will hear directly from the Foundations on their funding priorities and top tips for successful applications. The plenary session will once again be followed by one-to-one surgeries with the Trusts and Foundations.

    Confirmed Trusts and Foundations attending in 2020 include: BBC Children in Need, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Halifax Foundation, Ulster Garden Villages, The National Lottery Community Fund and Garfield Weston Foundation.

    For further information please contact: Brona Whittaker, Head of Arts

  • Business as Usual


    Following advice from the Government to help combat the spread of CV19, and in the best interests of the safety of our staff and members, we have taken the decision to postpone all Arts & Business NI face-to-face events until further notice. The Arts & Business NI team will also be moving to remote working so our offices at Bridge House Paulett Avenue will be closed until further notice.

    Whilst members of the team will be working from home, all our team have full remote access and are still available to support our cultural and private sector members in these challenging times. Please continue to contact us on the usual email and direct dial contact numbers.

    Although we will not be hosting face-to-face meetings or events, we will still be continuing to offer member support sessions via phone, email and digital platforms. We will also be offering our members access to a range of webinars and on-line support tools.

    We know that the current situation is hitting both the cultural sector and private sector businesses hard and there are uncertain times ahead as organisations make difficult decisions in order to protect the health and wellbeing of their staff, audiences and stakeholders.

    We will be in touch with our arts and business members in the coming days in regard to a number of specific initiatives that we are developing to offer additional support in these tough times.

    In the meantime please be assured that we are still very much open for business and are here to provide whatever support we can. Please get in touch with any member of the team and please stay safe.

    You can contact us at:
    Mary (CEO) on 028 9073 5158 or
    Maeve (Head of Business) on 9073 5151 or
    Brona (Head of Arts) on 9073 5155 or
    Sarah (Business & Executive Support) on 9073 5159 or

  • Remote Staff Engagement Products Launched


    Arts & Business NI are proud to present this range of creative products, developed as part of our Investment Programme by local arts organisations and practitioners; these products seek to assist businesses in connecting and supporting their staff during the remote working period, as a result of COVID 19. 

    We invite businesses of all sizes to browse the diverse range of products on offer, from dance to choirs, photography to podcasts; suffice to say, the spirit of creativity and partnership between arts and business organisations is still present and more relevant than ever!

    Please click the link at the bottom of this page to browse the PDF brochure.

    If you would prefer to browse the products within your browser, please click here



  • Statement from the Arts Collaboration Network: 12 May 2020


    Updated: 25th June 2020

    Further to the letter detailed below, the Arts Collaboration Network has crafted the Arts Recovery Paper, which can be read in full here
    This paper has 5 key requests: 

    Sustain the workforce through:

    1) Immediate Hardship Fund for individuals within the workforce to support and sustain the freelancers and self-employed artists who create so much of our work and who have fallen through the gaps in government support; 2) Support for the self-employed and employees through the continuation and extension of the Job Retention Scheme & SEISS Scheme.

    Support sector recovery through:
    3) Stabilisation Fund for arts organisations;
    4) Rescue Fund for venues.

    Invest in the recovery of NI through: 5) Cultural Sector Recovery Plan which is co-ordinated across the sector including the creation of a NI Cultural Taskforce.


    12th May 2020

    The Arts Collaboration Network is a group of cultural sector support organisations that have been meeting for over 3 three years and includes representatives from music, theatre and dance, visual arts, voluntary arts, disability artists, business support organisations and the broader creative sector.  Each of these organisations have been supporting and communicating the needs and challenges faced by their members and consistencies during the Covid-19 crisis.

    Since the current situation began the group has expanded to include additional voices and been meeting weekly to:

    ·         Discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the NI arts and cultural sector in the immediate, medium and longer terms

    ·         Ensure a collaborative response to raising urgent issues and identifying possible solutions with the wider sector, stakeholders and funders

    As a result of meeting we have written to Arts Council NI and Department for Communities raising a number of sector-wide issues.  In our most recent letter we requested the following:

    1.      The creation of a hardship fund for freelance artists, creatives, technicians, costume-makers, creative facilitators offering a living wage.  Those people who are the foundations of the sector but are least likely to benefit from the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Support Scheme.


    2.      The creation of a stabilisation fund for arts organisations to ensure that they can continue to look after the welfare of their staff and work to offer opportunities to access the arts both in lockdown and in recovery.


    3.      That the Dormant Accounts currently overseen by the National Lottery Community Fund, be considered as a way to fund this support. 


    4.      Discussion on how arts organisations can be supported to implement social distancing measures to fulfil requirements laid out in the expected Government plan to ease lockdown restrictions. 

    We asked for an urgent meeting with Department for Communities and Arts Council NI to discuss the above.

    We will continue to meet to use our collective voices to amplify the issues we are all facing and that are being raised across the sector via networks, unions, umbrella bodies, organisations and individuals. We will reflect the mental health and well-being issues, as well as the economic ones that our sector, its artists, creative individuals and its audiences are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Current Arts Collaboration Network members:Margaret Henry, thrive, Niamh Flanagan, Theatre and Dance NI, Kevin Murphy, Voluntary Arts Ireland, Peter Richards, Golden Thread Gallery, Mary Nagele, Arts & Business NI, Jenna Hall, Belfast Community Circus School, Charlotte Dryden, OhYeah, Rob Hilken & Noel Kelly, Visual Artists Ireland, Jane Morrow, University of Atypical, Sara Jones, Creative and Cultural Skills, Sophie Hayles, Crescent Arts Centre, Katherine McDonald, Craft NI


  • Remote Family Engagement Products Launched


    Arts & Business NI are proud to present this range of creative products, developed as part of our Investment Programme by local arts organisations and practitioners; these products seek to assist businesses in supporting and entertaining their staff and their families during the lockdown period, as a result of COVID 19. 

    Please click the link at the bottom of this page to browse the PDF brochure, which boasts a diverse range of products- from a Comedy Academy to Lockdown Essay competition, and lots in between!

    If you would prefer to browse the products within your browser, please click here

  • A&BNI Launches Young Professionals on Arts Boards Programme 2020


    Arts & Business NI has launched its Young Professionals on Arts Boards programme today, with a timely call-out for local professionals, aged 21-35, to consider joining the governing boards of NI arts organisations; this announcement comes as part of the Volunteer Week 2020 celebrations, running from 1-7 June across the UK.  

    The effects of COVID-19 have impacted all industries, and Northern Ireland’s arts and culture sector has been no exception. As recovery plans are implemented across the province, there has never been a more meaningful time to consider joining the board of one of our local arts organisations, to helpnavigate the new normal we are all entering into 

    The Young Professionals programme from Arts & Business NI has run successfully for a number of years, placing professionals in the early stages of their careeron the boards of organisations which match their personal creative passions:these have included theatre, music and performance to name just a few 

    Maeve McKervey, Head of Business at A&BNI, commented: 

    “The success of our Young Professionals programme hinges on A&BNIdiscoveringthe business proficiencies these professionals have to offerand facilitating opportunities to put these skills to work in a governance position, within a sector that they love. Our professional candidates come from a wide range of backgrounds - from engineering to accountancy, marketing to law. This programme offers them the chance to put their transferable skills to work in another sector;they have the chance to do something outside their day to day and make a significant contribution on the boards of organisations who need the precise commercial skills that they offer”. 

    The programme offers significant personal development opportunities for individuals, as well as having positivebusiness impact for those who enrol their staff to take part in the process.  

    Neasa Quigley, Senior Partner at Carson McDowell commented:

    “Carson McDowell have seen first-hand the benefit of placing their young professionals on this programme. The programme offers a practical way for young professionals to develop their skills, build up their network and support the arts sector in Northern Ireland. We commend this year’s participants for getting involved and supporting the arts, a community and sector that Carson McDowell believes enriches our society as a whole.”

    The programme is accepting applications now, from professionals across all industriesand at various skill levels, whether they be in full time employment, furloughed, or in the process of seeking new opportunities.The process includes training (kindly provided pro bono by Carson McDowell), to equip participants to meaningfully contribute to the boards they join and ongoing supportwill be available at all times from Arts & Business NI.

    Further details on the Young Professionals on Arts Boards programme, including how to apply can be found here. Applications will close on 31st August.

    Those at a more advanced stage in their careers, with a passion for the arts and a desire to sit on an arts board, should consider the Board Bank programme from Arts & Business NI. Details on that programme can be found here 

  • Celebrating Creative Partnerships 2019-2020



    It is with enormous pride that Arts & Business unveil our NEW microsite, Celebrating Creative Partnerships.

    Helping creative projects happen is a huge part of the work we do. Our Investment Programme allows businesses and arts organisations to apply for funding to get their concepts off the ground, and into the world.

    These projects can help businesses reposition their brand with audiences, help them motivate their staff, and broker relationships with their communities from CSR.

    We celebrate these amazing pieces of work this month, and hope you will enjoy browsing the work, get inspired, and get in touch with us to discuss how we can help with your next project. More details on the Investment Programme can be found here. 

  • Statement from the Arts Collaboration Network - 23 July 2020


    The Arts Collaboration Network welcomes the announcement from Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, on the opening of a £4 million funding package designed to help bolster freelancers, artists and performers and prevent the loss of arts organisations.


    Covid-19 continues to impact the lives of those who work in the arts and cultural sector and the lives of those who benefit from attending and participating in arts and culture activity across NI.


    We also welcome the Minister’s commitment to work collaboratively, through her department with ACNI and the sector, to discuss and agree the priorities for the £33m funding package announced for arts, culture and heritage. There is much to be done in a short period of time but ongoing joint working is the way to navigate the hard road ahead and ensure all those who live and work in NI - as well as those, in time, who will come to visit - can have the economic and social benefits of a recovered and renewed cultural sector.

  • A&BNI CEO Joins Panel for Slugger O'Toole's 'After Lockdown'


    Normally recorded in front of a live audience at the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh, this year Slugger O'Toole couldn't take the show on the road, but still assembled a formidable panel to look at the arts sector and it's future wellbeing in their summer edition of Slugger TV.

    Alan Meban chaired the discussion with Roisín McDonough (Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland), Maureen Kenelly (Director, An Chomhairle Ealaíon / The Arts Council of Ireland), John Campbell (Economics and Business Editor, BBC Northern Ireland) and our own CEO Mary Nagele. 

    Enjoy the full discussion below:



  • MLA Letter Template - Campaigning for the £33 million


    The NI Executive will decide in the next week (W/C 14th September) on how to spend the £33m that came to NI as a Barnett Consequential from the £1.57bn announced by the UK Chancellor for arts and culture in July. 

    It is now urgent that those who care about the survival of the cultural sector campaign for this £33m, as we are in danger of this money being repurposed to another sector.

    Please find a downloadable letter template below, produced by the Arts Collaboration Network, to send to your MLA to urge them to allocate the full amount to arts and culture. This template includes a link to MLA contact details.

    If you feel strongly about this cause, please also consider helping us make even more noise, by speaking out on social media platforms, tagging DfC and our MLAs with the hashtag #SaveTheArts.

    No amount of noise is too much at this point. 

  • The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts and Arts & Business NI


    The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund (The Fund) in partnership with Business to Arts and Arts & Business NI will distribute a total of €1million (£840,000)  between 2020 and 2022 to support artists and arts projects across the island of Ireland (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), including all art forms whose projects benefit a range of audiences.

    The Fund will support or commission artists or groups of artists to work with a partner organisation (e.g. a venue or event, arts organisation, community/voluntary organisation or another funding agency/organisation) in the development of new or existing artwork(s) / arts project(s). In 2020, The Fund aims to support artwork(s) / arts project(s) that:

    1. have been adapted due to COVID-19 

    With this criteria, we are seeking to support artwork(s) / arts project(s) that have been adapted due to COVID-19. For example, this may include projects that require funding to help with the costs, equipment or expertise related to:

    i) technology and distribution of artwork(s) / arts project(s) online (e.g. professional filming, equipment, and skills required)

    ii) adapting venues, exhibition spaces or spaces for performances for socially-distant audiences etc.

    iii) adapting models for the delivery of learning and public engagement programmes to reach their audience

    iv) adapting artwork(s) / arts project(s) so they can be realised in the public realm or outdoors

     2. are inspired by/respond to COVID-19 

    With this criteria, we are seeking to support the creation of new artwork(s) / arts project(s) based on themes, narratives, or ideas which have been prompted due to living through the pandemic and our current environment. For example, this may include helping to realise new artwork(s) / arts project(s) created specifically:

    i) for digital and online audiences

    ii) for the public realm or outdoors

    iii) hybrid models of delivery (e.g. online and in-venue)

    iv) to respond to themes of people impacted by COVID-19, lockdown, opening society, etc

     We realise that we are unable to support all areas of need being experienced by the arts sector with this fund, and as a result we have focused on the above two criteria

    For this first round, only projects that plan to take place between February 2021 and December 2021 are eligible. We plan to open a second and third round for applications in April/May 2021 and in April/May 2022. The above criteria are applicable for this round and may change in rounds two and three.

    Size of Grants

    Applicants can request funds between €3,000 – €10,000 / c. GBP£2,500 – £8,400. Average grants will be €5,000 / GBP£4,200, with maximum grants of €10,000 / GBP£8,400. Artwork(s) / arts project(s) with larger budgets that have secured funds elsewhere are encouraged to apply. With each grant round the Fund aims to provide funding to an artwork / art project in each county on the island of Ireland

    Key dates

    Mon, 21 Sep, 2020: Open for applications

    Wed, 30 Sep, 2020: Information webinar #1  at 12pm

    Wed, 7 Oct, 2020: Information webinar #2 at 2pm

    Wed, 4 Nov, 2020: Deadline for applications

    Thurs, 31 Dec, 2020: Applicants informed by email

    February — December 2021: Projects to take place

    Key Documents

    Eligibility Requirements and Criteria

    Application Questions (for reference only)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How to apply

    1. Applications will be made via a Business to Arts online portal. Visit
    2. Review the eligibility requirements to ensure the suitability of your application
    3. Click apply
    4. Register your details with our application system (please ensure you click the link in your verification email. You will not be able to start your entry until you do this.)
    5. Complete your application
    6. Ensure you submit your application before 5:00pm on Wednesday November 4, 2020


    Should you require assistance, please consult the FAQs available here. There will be two information webinars for applicants to The Fund on:

    Wed, 30 Sep, 2020 at 12pm (register here)

    Wed, 7 Oct, 2020 at 2pm (register here)

    If you have any questions on The Fund in regard to applications Adam Bradley, in the Arts & Business team would be happy to advise – please email Adam on

    For technical difficulties with your application, please contact the Business to Arts Fund team by email on or call +353 1 662 9238 and they will be able to assist you.

  • Webinar: Helen McKenna - 'The Income Spectrum - Exploring the Options'


    Wednesday 11th November 


    At a time where income stability has never been more important, Arts & Business NI invites arts organisations to look at more strategic approaches to achieving financial security, diversifying their funding, and achieving their mission. Guest host Helen McKenna will use the income spectrum model to increase understanding of income options and help arts organisations to make stronger funding decisions.

    Before taking up a full-time lecturing post at Ulster University Business School, Helen worked as a consultant for 20 years specialising in financial and business planning for third sector organisations. Helen is Vice Chair on the Board of Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland and a key part of her role is the ensuring the financial sustainability of the organisation.

    Arts & Business NI have worked with Helen on a number of projects, most notably the 'Creating Futures' strategic development programme in 2019. The team are delighted to welcome her back to share her extensive knowledge and experience.

    Cost: Free to A&B NI Members / £15 + VAT to non-members (invoiced upon registration)

    Register for the webinar today here

  • Webinar: Trusts & Foundations:- What's Next?


    Thursday 19th November 


    We are delighted to be hosting six leading UK Trusts & Foundations for a round-table style webinar. During this 90-minute session we will talk about how arts fit in to their strategies, what they will be looking to fund in NI, and when we should expect funds to be open.

    We will be joined by representatives from:

    For anyone interested in diversifying their funding through Trusts & Foundations, this webinar will give you the insider scoop on how to apply, and what to apply for. Register now!

    Cost: Free to A&B NI Members / £15 + VAT to non-members (invoiced upon registration)

    Register for the webinar today here:


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