Investing in the Arts Event Plus Live Sponsorship Opportunities

16 Jun 2017

Investing in the Arts Event Plus Live Sponsorship Opportunities

On Friday 16 June 2017 over 100 of our members and guests gathered at The Black Box for our annual Investing in the Arts event. The Joseph Leighton Trio entertained us as we enjoyed lunch and an opportunity to mingle. We then settled down to hear about just a few of the interesting partnerships which came through the Arts & Business NI Investment Programme in 2016/17.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of Arts Council NI, the funders of the Investment Programme, spoke of the challenging times we all face and the importance of thinking more creatively to address our business concerns whether in the arts or the general business community. 

Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards 2017 Business of the Year winner (Translink) shares why they invest in the arts (clip & full speech below)

Ursula Henderson, Translink

Ursula Henderson, Translink

Ursula Henderson, Translink talked us through the very real benefits they have seen from working in conjunction with Festival of Fools and Young at Art. Translink have been able to target specific target markets and to engage with communities to increase residents’ connection with the public transport developments taking place in their areas. Through wide ranging and carefully managed partnerships Translink have given their company a human face rather than being seen as merely a service provider.

Listen to Dalreen Buchanan's, Ulster Carpets, involvement with the arts and how impactful it has been for their business

Dalreen Buchanan, Ulster Carpets

Dalreen Buchanan, Ulster Carpets inspired us with her account of working with the arts in the community local to their Craigavon factory. Ulster Carpets was initially founded in 1938 to give employment to the community in the area and the wellbeing of that community is still high on their agenda. Working with the Ulster Orchestra Outreach team, Ulster Carpets ran a series of workshops bringing orchestral music and instruments to the children of Ceara Special School in Lurgan. The workers at Ulster Carpets were delighted to be involved and were kept fully updated as the project progressed. The calming effect of orchestral music for some of the children was a joy to see. By the end of the project the children had made a beautiful animated film with instrumental and vocal music which they had composed themselves with the help of the Orchestra players. They proudly celebrated their success with a fabulous concert for family and friends.

Kabosh Theatre
Kabosh Theatre Company performed a moving excerpt from, Live Translations, Lives in Translations, a play based on interviews with refugees. Their experiences of the immigration process and the hurdles they face on trying to gain entry to the West were disturbing and gave worrying food for thought.

Ulster Youth Choir
We were treated to music from Ulster Youth Choir who had the audience on their (toe-tapping) feet to join in as they displayed their superb vocal abilities. This is a group of hugely talented young people who come together to perform a wide range of music at the highest level under the instruction of their charismatic director of music, Dominic Peckham.

Joseph Leighton Trio
Michael Bonner spoke on behalf of Moving on Music who are the leading promoter of below the radar music: jazz, folk, roots, traditional and classical. They are champions of quality, innovation and originality, supporting under-represented music and giving non-commercial artists a platform to perform and create music that might otherwise never be heard. They offer partnerships in the following areas: Cultural Branding, Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Development.

Black BoxRachael Campbell-Palmer, our host at The Black Box, told us about some of the amazing events being held there, many with a strong social conscience and for the benefit of those in the community who need extra help.

Each of our Arts contributors was given the opportunity to make a short pitch to our audience for funding. We also produced a list of current opportunities to financially support other arts organisations. These were handed out along with our booklet covering each of the partnerships which came through the Investment programme last year so that all our audience members had a wide range of options covering a broad price range to read at their leisure and consider for support after the event.

Investing in the Arts EventUrsula Henderson, TranslinkMartin Bradley, A&B NI Board Member; Dominic Peckham Ulster Youth Choir; Paul McFetridge, Kabosh Theatre; Michael Bonner, Moving on Music and Roisin McDonough, Arts Council of NI

Live Sponsorship Opportunities:

Arts & Disability Forum
Bounce! Festival
The Arts and Disability Forum’s mission is to be a catalyst for empowering disabled people who are interested in the arts.

Since 2012 Bounce! Arts Festival has presented new work by deaf and disabled writers, actors, dancers, musicians, directors and poets, as well as hosting participatory workshops and masterclasses across a range of art forms. In 2016 more than 3,000 people attended or experienced Bounce! events, shows, workshops, exhibitions and installations. Bounce! 2017 is set to be another outstanding year.
What we need help with is access. It costs £450 to provide British Sign Language; £450 to provide live captioning and £450 to provide a live audio description per performance. With so many great events taking place over the Bounce! programme we want to make sure that every event is accessible to everyone. You can help us to provide this vital access service for the visually impaired, deaf or disabled.

Please contact Mary Stevens for further information on or 028 9023 9450.

The Black Box
The Black Box is one of the principal arts and entertainment venues in the city, a home for live music, theatre, literature, comedy, film, visual art, live art, circus, cabaret and all points in between.

How you can get involved / invest in the work we do?

Become a member: £45 per year- help us to continue to be cutting-edge, inclusive, accessible and weird. In return, you’ll get a heap of benefits.

We run a number of Outreach projects that aim to disrupt preconceptions of people with learning disability by providing space for participants to express themselves.

Creating Connections is designed to help older people, especially those with a learning disability, to explore their creative nature, become more involved in the community and feel a reduction in feelings of loneliness.

£2k would cover the costs of transport for group members with mobility issues to come to our weekly drop-in and activity session in the Green Room

£15k would enable us to invest in IPads and recording equipment to work with the group, enable them to tell their stories, create legacy documents, develop skills in using modern technology

£60k per year would enable us to develop a street-level, highly visible, dedicated, democratic centrally located space, open 5 days a week for intergenerational creativity.

Mini – Moon quarterly early years disco 0-7 years, for children with learning disability and their family and friends. The music is low, there are lights, soft mats and lots of dancing.

£1.5k would enable us to train three play volunteers to engage with children during the event

£3.5 would enable us to invest in proper sensory equipment

£10k would cover costs to run Mini Moon discos as a free-in monthly event

Black Moon our pioneering monthly disco for and by adults with learning disability– giving people a chance to socialise in a cool, modern environment, meet new peopleand learn new skills. The bar is open, there are live DJs and visual, a regular night out. We now have satellite projects in Omagh, Derry and Enniskillen. Black Moon also includes BPM our Black Moon DJ Academy which we deliver with Giga training and trains adults with learning disability in DJing skills.

£3k would put 5 participants through their OCN level 1 in DJing - enabling them to gain an accredited qualification

£5k would enable us to run a pilot Gig Buddies programme here in Belfast.

£200k ‘the big dream' to deliver a two day disability led inclusive music festival, with multiple stages, leading acts etc. all run for and by adults with learning disability.

Craft Northern Ireland
August Craft Month
Craft Northern Ireland’s August Craft Month is the largest regional celebration of craft – making, creating, participating and appreciating - in the UK and Ireland. Now in its twelfth year, this month-long event boasts over 200 exhibitions, workshops, fairs, festivals, demonstrations and lectures from 70+ partners across NI.

ACM provides an annual, high-profile platform that connects arts organisations, designer-makers, local councils, retail outlets and collectives with an audience estimated at over 20,000 event attendees and a digital reach of over 450,000 through Craft NI’s engaging website and social media presence. Craft NI estimates that its investment in this event last year generated £116,800 worth of media coverage. 

Craft NI would be delighted to secure investment for August Craft Month of £15,000. This will enable further development to the existing programme with the inclusion of a selection of Craft NI curated events. Sponsorship will include naming rights, brand reach across NI, as well as a meaningful connection with a vibrant and exciting industry.

Please contact Sharyn McMaster on or 028 9032 3059.

Oh Yeah Music Centre
Office/Incubation Space
Oh Yeah is Belfast’s dedicated music hub. We were set up as we believe that music is a valuable agent in Northern Ireland, a catalyst that changes lives for the better. Our mission statement is ‘Open Doors To Music’. We combine the verve and resourcefulness of the music industry with a programme of social value. We provide affordable rehearsal space, a live venue, a music exhibition, a café space, a recording studio, a song-writing room, office units and workshop spaces.

Our proposal is for support to develop additional office and incubation space. We provide emerging music enterprises with affordable space to grow their business while also encouraging collaborations and partnerships with each other. In return they work with Oh Yeah on our youth and music initiatives to give back to the music community by offering mentoring, advice, internships and performance opportunities. We are particularly keen to be able to provide an artist in residence with a dedicated space, but currently do not have any rooms left.

This new work will cost us £12,000. £4,000 of which we have already secured. So we need to raise a further £8,000.

Please contact Charlotte Dryden for further information on or 028 9031 0845.

Kabosh Theatre Company
Kabosh is an independent theatre company, committed to challenging the notion of what theatre is, where it takes place and who it is for. Kabosh is dedicated to exploring and giving voice to the unique character of the locations and communities in which they work.

The latest Kabosh production ‘Lives in Translation’, written by Rosemary Jenkinson, is based on a series of interviews with a female Somalian refugee, a local support worker and various agencies. The play explores the journey of one woman over a ten-year period trying to seek asylum in Ireland, often through inaccurate translation.

Our television screens have shown more and more people making desperate journeys to reach safety – many people struggle to know how to respond, partly because of a lack of understanding of refugee issues.

Jan-March 2017 PSNI recorded 1054 racist incidents and 660 racist crimes.

‘Lives in Translation’ gives local audiences an opportunity to develop an understanding.

We are collaborating with the Hate Crime Advocacy Scheme.

It will premiere with 5 performances in the Old Belfast Courthouse, before a 5 courthouse tour of the north: followed by a 3 week theatre and community centre tour in March 2017.

As a business you will be playing an active role in addressing volatile issues of racism within our society

You will be meeting your corporate social responsibility and supporting artistic work of excellence, produced for positive social change.

£500 provides 50 free community tickets or childcare for 3 performances.

£1k covers the hire of courthouses for performances /or post show facilitators for the 5 regional performances.

£3k allows 3 actors to perform the play 11 times for 455 audience members across NI.

Any investment will assist in the creation of this project. We can discuss profiling options and your level of engagement with the project development.

Please contact Paula McFetridge for further information on

Moving On Music
Moving On Music is the leading promoter of below the radar music: jazz, folk, roots, traditional and classical. We’re champions of quality, innovation and originality, supporting under-represented music and giving non-commercial artists a platform to perform and create music that might otherwise never be heard.

We host cluster events, one-off concerts, Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival, co-ordinate tours, deliver education, outreach, and artist development projects. We can offer partnerships in the following areas:

Cultural Branding we are recognised for our quality of programming. Our music is bold, boundary pushing, and always memorable. We promote ‘music with an edge’. This drive for quality doesn't end with music. Our branding, design and artwork, and presentation of events are constantly evolving.

Corporate Social Responsibility we don't believe there should be barriers to enjoying world-class music. We work with underrepresented and minority groups, and have been involved in many large-scale community projects. We support young and early career musicians, including our Emerging Artist Programme, support slots, and mentoring.

Employee Development we have the experience and expertise to develop bespoke employee engagement projects. Our pool of tutors, musicians, and project managers can help employees become more creative, innovative, and inspired. We have held music workshops with employees, improvisation and creative sessions, and provided music for many corporate events.

Please contact Mick Bonner for further information on

Replay Theatre Company
Dancing at the Disco at the End of the World
Dancing at the Disco at the End of the World is an opportunity for secondary school children to access a bespoke show, thereby specifically addressing our most challenging audience to engage. It gives all children the opportunity to access theatre through school (and not just those whose parents can afford to bring them to the theatre), while also offering opportunities for families with older children to access the show together. It also provides the most vulnerable and at-risk young people the opportunity to take part in the performances as additional cast members.  

Benefits for your organisation:
• Public perception of your brand as supporting excellence in local theatre
• Brand exposure at the Belfast International Arts Festival 2017 – including artwork and acknowledgment on Dancing at the Disco at the End of the World publicity material
• Brand exposure at Culture Night Belfast where Replay will be bringing our event – The Last Disco – as a promotional event for the show in October
• Invitations to the Opening night performance of the show on Friday 13th October 2017
• Potential for a special performance for your company and your clients
• This project will run in the region of £75,000 and a sponsorship of 10% (£7,500) of these costs is being sought

Please contact Brian Mullan for further information on or 028 9045 4562.

Stage Beyond Theatre Company
Gulliver's Travels
Stage Beyond is an award winning Theatre Company for adults with learning disabilities based in the North West.

We are delighted to announce our 2018 production Gulliver's Travels, directed by acclaimed director Conall Morrison. There is much in Gulliver's Travels to catch the imagination of a company such as Stage Beyond. This adaptation will be carved from the original material with a specific demographic in mind: the cast of over 50 will work to create a vividly performed ensemble piece. 'Gulliver's Travels' is an ideal choice for Stage Beyond, as it will offer the company great scope for play, invention, physicality, the use of language and expression. The play is full of humour and songs, but some of the material is a fairly dark and savage satire on those who yield power, giving Stage Beyond a platform on which to comment on this society's treatment of people with learning disabilities. Tailoring "Gulliver's Travels” with Stage Beyond's core membership - through acting, writing and storytelling workshops - we are confident we will get to the heart of this fantastical satire in a concept incorporating the lives and experiences of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

We are hoping to raise £5,000 sponsorship to support the production.

Please contact Dee Conaghan for further information on or 028 71 37 2223.

Flights of the Wild Geese
This winter, 2017, String-tastic will embark on a three year project with P4 & 5 children from six primary schools in North and East Belfast based on the travels of the Shankill Geese.

For the past ten years or so, a gaggle of Greylag geese have been wintering in the Lower Shankill area of Belfast by day and roosting in the Waterworks and Victoria Park by night. It is believed they migrate from Iceland to spend their winter months here in Northern Ireland. Experts from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) will fit ten of these birds with GPS tracking collars to investigate their movements. This will be the focus for musical and environmental learning. From these travels, we will create a Nature Trail Symphony focusing on learning about Icelandic children’s traditions, music, songs and rhymes as well as features from other possible landing/breeding sites. During the three years, we will use the geese’s character-istics, habits, and habitats to teach about home, travel, friendship, family bonds, safety and the environment we all share. We will also explore their roosting sites such as the Waterworks and Victoria Park to introduce other elements of the symphony.

The movements of the geese will be available to monitor online by the children at any time throughout the project and they will have access to a project website which will include a series of exercises after each workshop to re-enforce the key learning outcomes. All workshops will contain musical games and activities accessible by all.
The project will culminate in performances by the six schools in original song, music and verse telling the tales of the Flights of the Wild Geese accompanied by the Ireland String Quintet and Cajón. This will include a performance at the Northern Ireland BTO Con-ference November 2020.

For this project, we are looking for supporters who are enthusiastic about children's education, music, families, the environment, birds, travel, online learning and excellence.

String-Tastic is run by classical musicians and music educators Nigel Ireland (violin) & Gareth Hopkins (double bass) assisted by composer and violist Jonathan Simmance and percussionist Andrew Lavery. Our aim is to enrich the lives of children by bringing quality live music to those who have little or no access to it and to introduce classical/orchestral music in a fun and informative way.

Please contact Nigel Ireland for further information 028 9442 3629  07980542118

Ulster Youth Choir
The Ulster Youth Choir (UYC) was established in 1999 to provide Northern Ireland’s best young singers aged 11-25 with the unique opportunity to train with leading vocal and choral practitioners from throughout the UK and Ireland.

UYC provides high quality music education through residential courses and performance opportunities in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Each Season UYC reaches 2000 young people throughout Northern Ireland through an exciting programme of post-primary school and University workshops.

Every summer UYC provides two residential choral courses in Campbell College Belfast. One for the senior choir, aged 16-25 years, and a second course for the younger Ulster Youth Training Choir aged 14-18. In July 2017 we launch our very first Ulster Youth Junior choir opening new opportunities for singers aged11-14. Each course culminates with an exciting series of summer concerts across Northern Ireland. Membership across our three choirs stands at almost 250 young people.

Since 2014, UYC has also worked in partnership with BBC Radio Ulster and hundreds of primary and post primary schools delivering the BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year competition. In 2016 UYC successfully launched the Young Composer in Residence Programme in partnership with Queens University, a scheme which we are continuing with in 2018/19.

 Sponsor opportunities for our 2017/18 season:

  • sponsor a UYC conductor £2000

  • sponsor the UYC bursary fund £2500

  • sponsor a concert £2000

  • sponsor the Ulster Youth Chamber Choir £2,500 (per weekend event)

  • sponsor our outreach programme £6,000 (visiting 40 post primary schools across NI)  

  • Please contact Shane Farren for further information on

Young at Art
Belfast Children’s Festival
Young at Art is Northern Ireland’s leading children’s arts provider and was established in 1998. Founders of the Belfast Children’s Festival, an annual international arts festival for children and young people, our vision is that all children’s lives are enriched through the arts and we strongly believe that the arts inspire joy, creativity and curiosity.

The festival is at the very heart of what we do and includes the very best international work from across Europe, top local companies, workshops, exhibitions, international delegate program, and free festival “Big Days Out”. The 2017 Festival attracted over 28,000 audience members and participants across 6 days, with over 100 events at 15 different venues across Belfast. 2018 marks our 20th birthday. Expect an even bigger fanfare as we take over Belfast’s stages, galleries and public spaces from 9-14 March.
Over the years we have successfully worked in partnership with Translink, NI4Kids, and QRadio to name a few. We deliver on engagement, brand awareness, creative marketing campaigns, bespoke activity and Corporate Social Responsibility. 

Please contact Sarah Kelly on or 028 9023 0660. 

"The Arts Council, as principal funder of Arts & Business Northern Ireland, would like to acknowledge the generous commitment given to the arts by the local business community. By sharing their expertise, skills and advice through the ‘Investing in the Arts’ programme, they are helping to build a healthy culture of support for the arts. These partnerships between local businesses and arts organisations are the best possible advertisement of the great things can be achieved when the two sectors work together."

Ursula Henderson, Translink

Play Video Ursula Henderson Translink - Vox Pop Image.PNG

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