Investing in the Arts 2018

21 Jun 2018

Investing in the Arts 2018

Celebrating Creative Partnerships at Arts & Business NI Event

Arts & Business NI hosted the Investing in the Arts event on 21st June in the Barclays Eagle Lab, a hub designed to encourage creativity and innovation. The event celebrated the amazing, imaginative partnerships between arts and business organisations which received support through the Investment Programme, funded by the Arts Council NI.

The Chair of Arts & Business NI, Martin Bradley MBE described the Investment Programme as a critical fund which strengthens existing arts and business partnerships and ignites new ones, providing a safe space for partners to push boundaries, to try something new and to deepen relationships. He thanked the Arts Council NI for retaining this important fund, which goes directly towards supporting the Arts sector in Northern Ireland. 

Investing in the Arts Event  
Martin Bradley MBE, Arts & Business NI Chair 

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of NI, recognised how important it is to forge stronger bonds between the worlds of commerce and the arts; consequently the ACNI are investing resources in this area, supporting risky, innovative, pioneering ideas. “The Investment Programme has been a tremendous initiative. We add fascinating new dimensions to each other’s work. We are, quite simply, stronger and better together.  And when our two sectors combine their talents, as they do through the Investment Programme, astonishing things are always bound to happen.” Full speech below...

Noirin McKinney, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The first artistic interlude of the day was the wild and zany Paul Currie, a street performer and comedian who has performed at the Festival of Fools. The Investment Programme has provided funding to support Translink’s partnership with Festival of Fools. Now in its seventh year, the partnership enables Translink to creatively promote its bus and train services, whilst also supporting the local community. 

Paul Currie
Paul Currie

Cormac Maguire, Senior Architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, shared how their core ethos of collaboration led them to develop an on-going working relationship with PLACE, an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting great architecture, design and planning in Northern Ireland. “Both art and architecture are disciplines intrinsically linked by their ability to reflect, interrogate and respond to the world around us, and so we at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are excited by any opportunity to engage with the local arts community. Through our collaborations with PLACE we have found a group of people who share our values as designers and have created a series of projects that have helped maximise the positive impact that both organisations can have”. Collaborations with PLACE have included Open House, which promotes public engagement with architecture as 40-50 buildings and spaces open their doors and offer the public the chance to see inside the city’s most interesting spaces and their latest project, a series of podcasts called The Infinite City, which tell stories of people and place, design and belonging, survival and celebration in Belfast & beyond.

Cormac Maguire
Cormac Maguire

The next performance reflected the inspirational partnership between Dale Farm and the Grand Opera House. Dale Farm is the lead sponsor of the Grand Opera House Pantomime and they were keen to build on their excellent relationship to reach out to rural primary schoolchildren to highlight important messages around farm safety. In partnership with the Grand Opera House they devised a piece of theatre with Pintsized Productions. ‘Seasons of Safety’ brought to life the importance of farm safety through performances which toured schools and specifically targeted primary schoolchildren.


Philip O’Meara, Group Marketing Director at Dale Farm, spoke about their ‘Seasons of Safety campaign’: “We’re the largest UK farmer owned dairy cooperative in GB and Northern Ireland, so our farmer owners and their co-op ethos are very important in terms of who we are. Dale Farm Co-op is typically made up of family farms, with about 90 cows per herd, so often the whole family is involved in the farm. On-farm safety, particularly for children, is a real issue to address – we believe the investment programme has really benefited Dale Farm, by helping to educate young people on how to be safe on-farm, in a creative and memorable way. It’s a real win-win, in fact it’s a win-win-win!, because children learn in a memorable way about farm safety, the Arts partner gains resilience and the opportunity to bring the subject to life creatively, and our Business is helping to improve and sustain our farming way of life, which is at the heart of our co-op ethos.”

Philip O'Meara, Dale Farm and Aine Dolan, Grand Opera House

Caroline Martin, Head of Marketing at Dale Farm brought our audience through the detail of the farm safety campaign and how it was managed.

Mary Nagele, CEO at Arts & Business NI closed proceedings by detailing the multiple layers of benefits that can organically grow from an arts and business partnership. The business partner adds value to the arts partner through the investment of cash, time, skills, advice or sharing of networks. But the businesses can also gain by creatively engaging with local communities, defining brands and offering a fresh perspective on employee motivation, leadership and skills development.The event culminated in a performance from talented young singer songwriterBen Cutler. Ben first performed at Panarts Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival (supported by the Investment Programme) aged just 12, making him one of their youngest performers ever! Ben, now 14 years old, credits Panarts as having played a significant role in his musical development, providing encouragement and guidance which continues to inspire him to grow and develop his musical skills.
Ben Cutler
Ben Cutler

For some great examples of what your business could achieve, a digital version of our Investing in the Arts booklet, describing the creative partnerships which received funding from the Investment Programme in 17-18

For businesses who haven’t yet engaged with the Arts – please come and talk to us and we will happily help to connect you and guide you.

A summary of some live sponsorship opportunities which businesses may like to get involved with is here: please do let us know if you would like to pursue any of these exciting opportunities: Phone: 028 90735150

Hear from local arts, businesses how The Investment Programme has impacted on them:-


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