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Winners announced for the Arts & Business NI Awards 2021, in partnership with Forestside

18 Jun 2021

Winners announced for the Arts & Business NI Awards 2021, in partnership with Forestside

Over 350 guests gathered digitally last night to celebrate the Arts & Business NI Awards 2021, in partnership with Forestside, in an immersive online ceremony. Arts & Business NI recently announced Forestside as its new sponsor, as part of a 3-year agreement, having been generously sponsored by Allianz for the past 14 years.

The ceremony celebrated the rich creativity and inspiring partnerships of the past 18 months, between the worlds of business and the arts here in Northern Ireland.

The Arts & Business NI Business of the Year Award 2021 and the Arts & Business NI Arts Organisation of the Year Award 2021 were among the key awards presented on the evening. The Arts & Business NI Business of the Year Award 2021 went to Connswater Shopping Centre, with the judges noting the diversity and scale of the creative partnerships the centre had delivered over the past 18 months with its arts partners. The Arts & Business NI Arts Organisation of the Year Award 2021 was won by Cahoots NI, who were praised for the ‘innovative and visionary approach to how they work with business’ and how they successfully re-imagined their existing business model in the midst of a pandemic. This Arts Award comes with a cheque from principal sponsor Forestside for £3,000.

Ray Giffen from The Duncairn won the Arts & Business NI Arts Innovator of the Year Award 2021 for his incredible leadership and pioneering approach in translating the offering of his arts organisation to digital platforms, whilst still ensuring the integrity of the work shone through.

The Forestside Choice Award, launched for 2021, recognised the work of a stand-out arts organisation and was won by Portico of Ards, including a cheque from Forestside for £1,000.

Speaking about the Awards, Lee Cutler, Centre Manager of Forestside, commented:

“What a fantastic night we had despite all of the COVID challenges around running an event like this. The A&BNI team did an amazing job, as ever, of putting the spotlight on some of the best collaborations between Arts & Business in the last year across NI. Forestside are proud to be this year’s sponsor and feel this is a critical tool in encouraging organisations to be brave and move forward from what has been an unprecedented 12 months of change and challenge.”

The awards pieces were created by four printmakers from Seacourt Print Workshop: Merve Jones, Steph Harrison, Nathalie Caleyron Donnelly and Jess Hollywood. The artists produced original prints responding to the theme of living through COVID-19. You can view the artwork and learn more about the artists here. To view and purchase work from the artists of Seacourt Print Workshop, click here.

In addition to financial support for the Arts, business people who volunteer their time and advice to support the Arts were also acknowledged in the ceremony with two categories. The winner of the Inspirational Trustee Award was Rosie Timoney, who joined Bruiser Theatre Company as a voluntary board member through the A&BNI Young Professionals on Arts Boards Programme, stepping up to chair the board and navigate them through the challenges of COVID. The Above & Beyond Award, created for 2021, acknowledged an individual in the business sector who has not only actively engaged with the arts sector, but gone above the call of duty to assist arts organisations in 2020. This was awarded to Peter McVerry of U105 who lent his voice of support to the campaign to secure £33m, allocated to the NI arts, culture and heritage sector, supported the BuyArtNI Campaign for Christmas 2020 and stepped into the role of media partner for Belfast Children’s Festival in 2021.

Two additional Awards were created for 2021, in acknowledgement of the unprecedented year before. These were the Mental Heath & Wellbeing Award and the Arts & Business NI Choice Award: Best Response/Adaptation to the Pandemic. The latter award celebrated an organisation who developed a creative product to address increased pressure on mental health and wellbeing as a result of the pandemic: this was awarded to Place to Wonder & Heron Bros. The Arts & Business NI Choice Award was won by Belfast Exposed, who have creatively adjusted their business offering to meet the needs of their audiences in a digital and remote world.

Mary Nagele, CEO of Arts & Business NI commented:

“After a challenging year for the arts and business sectors alike, it was wonderful to come together last night to celebrate the incredible partnerships of the past 18 months. Arts & Business NI strongly believe that it is strategic and pioneering collaborations like those we saw last night, which will be pivotal in building back better as we move into the post-pandemic economic recovery.”

Event partners included principal sponsor Forestside, venue partner The MAC, Third Source AV, Whitenoise and Remo. There were two keynote addresses on the evening, given by Liam Hannaway, newly appointed Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Board, and Deirdre Hargey, Minister for the Department of Communities. The night was filled with surprises and diverse entertainment, provided by Maria McManus from Quotidian, Andersonstown Traditional & Contemporary Music School, TRU, Clara Kerr, Kyron Bourke, Ross Anderson-Doherty,Helen Hall, DJ Venus Dupree and the puppetry talents of Paul Currie.

Following her keynote address as part of the Awards ceremony, Deirdre Hargey, Minister for the Department of Communities said:

 “I am delighted that the Arts & Business Annual Awards Ceremony has been able to go ahead this year. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and showcase the partnerships that have developed over this very difficult year and I believe it is important to recognise these partnerships. The Arts play a fundamental role in all of our lives, now perhaps more than ever and as we move forward there is a real imperative for us all to look at how we work together to secure a  strong and culturally rich future.”

Other Awards presented on the evening included the Brand Storytelling Award (Winner: Cahoots NI & The Junction, Highly Commended : Cinemagic & Bank of Ireland), Creative Community Engagement Award (Winner: Prime Cut Productions & Clanmil Housing, Highly Commended: Cinemagic & George Best Belfast City Airport), New Sponsor Award (Winner: Oh Yeah & Translink, Highly Commended: R-Space & Fusion Antibodies) and the Staff Engagement Award (Winner: Belfast Ensemble & Herbert Smith Freehills).


The Shortlistees, Winners and Highly Commended


Inspirational Trustee Award

Inspirational Trustee is awarded to an individual who, in a voluntary capacity, has added outstanding benefit to an arts organisation in a governance role, perhaps through a formal professional development placement such as Board Bank or Young Professionals on Arts Boards

Winner: Rosie Timoney

Shortlist:

• Neil McClure, The Portico of Ards

• Louise Rossington and Adam Knight (Co-Chairs), Theatre and Dance NI

• Julie Mc Gowan, University of Atypical

• Betty Brown, Royal Ulster Academy

• Shona McCarthy, Oh Yeah Music Centre

• Stephen Beggs, Tinderbox

Brand Storytelling Award

Awarded to a partnership that engaged the arts to strategically and creatively communicate the organisations’ brand and story, thus enabling them to creatively connect with their target markets.

Winner: Cahoots NI & The Junction

Highly Commended : Cinemagic & BOI

Shortlist:

• Bounce Culture & Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

• Big Telly Theatre Company & Cathedral Quarter BID

• Doc Ireland & TG4

• Royal Ulster Academy & KPMG

• Young at Art & U105

• Seedhead Arts & Community Arts Partnership & Dillon Bass

Creative Community Engagement Award

Awarded to a partnership where the business used the power of the arts to forge dynamic new connections with their community.

Winner: Prime Cut Productions & Clanmil Housing

Highly Commended: Cinemagic & George Best Belfast City Airport

Shortlist:

• Belfast International Arts Festival & Belfast Harbour

• Booktrust & SONI

• Cahoots NI & Junction

• Eastside Arts & Connswater Shopping Centre

• Young at Art & CQ BID

Mental Health & Wellbeing Award

Awarded to a partnership where the business used the power of the arts to forge dynamic new connections with their community.

Winner: Place to Wonder & Heron Bros

Highly Commended: Commedia of Errors & Radius Housing

• Belfast Exposed & Northern Health and Social Care Trust

• c21 Theatre Company + Doyle Shipping Group

• Cinemagic & George Best Belfast City Airport

• Millennium Forum & Diamond Corrugated

• Strand Arts Centre & Specsavers Connswater

New Sponsor Award

Awarded to a business that has developed a new partnership with the arts to creatively meet its business objectives.

Winner: Oh Yeah & Translink

Highly Commended: R-Space & Fusion Antibodies

Shortlist:

• Belfast International Arts Festival & Belfast Harbour

• Cahoots NI & The Junction

• Cinemagic & Bank of Ireland

• Rainbow Factory & Phoenix Natural Gas

• Royal Ulster Academy & Hambly & Hambly Gallery

Staff Engagement Award

Awarded to an organisation that prioritised connecting and uplifting its staff and their families by harnessing the power of the arts.

Winner: Belfast Ensemble & Herbert Smith Freehills

Shortlist:

• Belfast Exposed & Northern Health and Social Care Trust

• Keith Acheson & Citi

• Lyric Theatre & FinTrU

• Young at Art & Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

• Emer Maguire & Citi

Business of Year Award

Awarded to a business that has excelled through integrating Arts & Culture through different facets of its business strategy.

Winner: Connswater Shopping Centre & Retail Park

Shortlist

• Citi

• George Best Belfast City Airport

• Translink

Arts Organisation of the Year

Presented to a local arts organisation which has consistently sought to develop and pioneer new ideas, whilst demonstrating a progressive and creative approach to business partnership. The winner of this category also receives £3,000.

Winner: Cahoots NI

Shortlist

• Royal Ulster Academy

• Belfast Exposed

Forestside Award

Winner: Portico of Ards

Shortlist:

• Cinemagic

• Cahoots NI

A&BNI Choice Award: Most Creative Response/Adaptation to Pandemic

Awarded to an agile arts organisation who took the challenges of COVID-19 and used then to strategically adapt or inform their work, ultimately continuing to stay true to their purpose/mission.

Winner: Belfast Exposed

Highly Commended: University of Atypical

Shortlist:

• Arts Care

• Tinderbox

• Commedia of Errors

Arts Innovator Award

This award showcases a pioneering arts practitioner, who brought a particularly unique and inventive approach to their work during 2020.

Winner: Ray Giffen, The Duncairn

Shortlist:

• Stephen Kelly, C21 Theatre Company

• Paul McEneaney, Cahoots NI

Above & Beyond Award

Awarded to an individual in the business sector who has not only actively engaged with the arts sector, but gone above the call of duty to assist arts organisations/practitioners in 2020.

Winner: Peter McVerry

Shortlist:

• Brendan Mulgrew, MW Advocate

• Mark Case, Whitenoise

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