Call for arts support in Northern Ireland

Call for arts support in Northern Ireland

Arts sector representatives and tourist companies in Northern Ireland have called on politicians to recognise the important role the arts plays in the economy of the region.

Music venues survey shows third ‘under threat’

Music venues survey shows third ‘under threat’

But Scotland embraces ‘Agent of Change’ principle.

Hockney is critics' choice

Hockney is critics' choice

David Hockney is to receive the Critics’ Circle Award for 2017, only the second time a visual artist has been selected for the prestigious prize in the Circle’s 105-year history.

Photojournalism's art gallery

Photojournalism's art gallery

A new website at last gives Fleet Street’s photographers a showcase for their work as art. Simon Tait spoke to its founders, Fleet Street veterans Alan Sparrow and Bret Painter-Spanyol

Museums' collecting frozen by funding cuts

Museums' collecting frozen by funding cuts

Britain’s museums are being increasingly excluded from the art market by cuts in funding, stifling the acquisitions that are the life force for public collections.

Creative industries on track to create 1m local jobs - Nesta

The creative industries are driving the UK’s economic growth, expanding twice as fast as any other sector, according to new research by Nesta.

BAFTA/BFI set harassment zero-tolerance rules

BAFTA/BFI set harassment zero-tolerance rules

Film and television organisations led by BAFT and the BFI have set a series of principles and guidelines to deal with bullying and sexual harassment in the industry.

Tax deal takes early Freuds back to Lakes

Tax deal takes early Freuds back to Lakes

Two really portraits by Lucian Freud have been left to the nation in lieu of tax and allocated to the Abbott Hall Gallery in Kendal.

Mary Beard to front Front Row

Mary Beard to front Front Row

The classics professor Mary Beard is to anchor the revamped television version of the arts review magazine Front Row when it returns in the spring.

17c mystery painting still baffling experts

17c mystery painting still baffling experts

This large picture of 1665 by an anonymous artist is one of the great mysteries of the art world, and is the centerpiece of a forthcoming major Norwich Castle Museum exhibition.

London goes Underground

London goes Underground

Photographs of some faces and places associated with the capital go on display at five London Tube stations this week.

British Art Fair goes to the Saatchi

British Art Fair goes to the Saatchi

Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, the 20/21 British Art Fair has changed ownership and will move to the Saatchi Gallery.

National Gallery visitor figures slump

National Gallery visitor figures slump

The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are losing visitors, by 20% and 42% respectively, according to figures for May to December 2017 published in The Times.

Call for special arts visas

MU and Dance UK suggest post Brexit measures

New ACE youth chiefs

New ACE youth chiefs

Arts Council England have appointed Hannah Fouracre as director of music education, and Anne Applebaum as director of children and young people.

THEATRE    Caesar and the young citizens

THEATRE Caesar and the young citizens

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s First Encounters tour not only takes Shakespeare to schools in deprived areas, it makes their pupils part of the production. Simon Tait reports in the first of a two part feature on the RSC’s touring. Next month, AI talks to deputy artistic director Erica Whyman about mainstage touring

Creative Scotland U turn on funding

Creative Scotland U turn on funding

Funding restored to five companies 

Sheffield to leave British Council

Sheffield to leave British Council

Graham Sheffield is to leave the British Council in June after seven years as director arts.

Still in Business

 

A&B, the organisation linking the culture and business worlds, has not completely disappeared. It is alive and well in the devolved countries. Patrick Kelly looks at Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, apart, it seems, from leaving the EU’s customs union, they do things differently. Later this month, the arts world there gathers in for the major awards event of the year, the Arts and Business awards, sponsored by top flight bank Allianz.

Main picture: The Delorean, star of the film Back to the Future and made in Belfast, which was part of the Belfast Photo Festival

Arts and Business? wasn’t that an early victim of the austerity axe back in 2010? Not in Northern Ireland - the brand which disappeared in England following a devastating cut in support from Arts Council – has survived, and indeed prospered in the devolved nations. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s arts council bodies continued to back the idea of a bespoke body with a remit to link the arts world with the business sector.

Equally important in the salvaging of the Arts and Business brand in Northern Ireland, says its current chief executive Mary Nagele, was the determination of staff and sponsors to ensure that priority was given to maintaining arts special place in the hearts and minds of the business community. The UK version of Arts and Business was subsumed into the government backed body, Business in the Community. There it has to compete with the rival demands of other sectors trying to attract the attention of business leaders and observers say that the profile and clout of arts sponsorship in England has diminished within BIC.

Mary Nagele, CEO, ABNI

Two things were vital in ensuring the continuation of Arts and Business in Northern Ireland,” says Nagele, “One was the dedication of staff and the Board to put in the hours to make the changeover happened smoothly. The other was the willingness of the Arts and Business parent organisation to ‘demerge’, which included negotiations for part of the organisation’s reserves.”

Also important were the close-knit relations already built up between local business and arts organisations. “It meant that people could see the point in keeping the organisation together,” says Nagele.

But although the brand, the people and the marketing knowhow of A and B has survived, what can’t be salvaged from the wreckage is the superb research and development expertise of the UK organisation.

Its this that’s missed most, she admits.

“The changing funding environment in the arts means you always have to be a step ahead,” says Nagele. “We have moved on from what could be called ‘straight’ sponsorship to more symbiotic relationships between arts organisations and businesses.” She cites the example of Belfast International Airport and the Kabosh Theatre company. The airport was plagued by a spate of laser pen attacks on aircraft, played by pranksters, but any one of which could have spelled disaster. In response Kabosh came up with the idea of Laser Lunacy, an educative play which sets out what happens in the cockpit of an aircraft when a laser light is directed at crew from the ground.

Over 2,000 pupils in schools got to see the twenty-minute drama since then the airport reported a dramatic fall in the number of attacks.

The airport’s HR manager, Jaclyn Coulter, said: “We have a very serious message to get across to young people and we thought that the most effective way of doing that was through drama. Kabosh devised the format which didn’t hold back on the dire consequences of shining a laser pen into a cockpit.”

The collaboration between printing company Iris Colour and the Belfast Photo Festival might seem an obvious tie-up but over the years, its developed a life of its own, with recent projects including Belfast first open air fine art exhibition and the creation of a model of the iconic DeLorean car, which attracted more than 40,000 visitors.

Law firm Edwards & Company’s link with Belfast’s Lyric theatre began with sponsorship of the theatre’s summer school, providing bursaries, t-shirts and certificates for the young participants.

But it also brought the firm’s staff into contact with Michael Corbidge of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a renowned voice coach who runs courses for lawyers on argument and rhetoric in Shakespeare’s texts. Corbidge provided expert tuition on vocal techniques for practising lawyers. These are just three example of the continuing links encouraged by Arts & Business Northern Ireland, which go beyond straightforward sponsorship, says Nagele, who has been with the organisation since 2008. Prior to that, she was head of marketing & development at the Ulster Orchestra, Lyric Theatre and the Grand Opera House in Belfast. She also worked in a trade marketing role in the private sector for Bass Brewers Belfast, so has put her private sector expertise to good use.

Nagele is backed by a board chaired by the formidable Martin Bradley MBE, the former Mayor of Derry City Council, who also chaired the City of Culture Company 2013, responsible for delivering the first UK City of Culture in Derry/Londonderry. Bradley is also Chairman of the Millennium Forum Theatre and Craft Northern Ireland as well as former Chair of the much-missed Ormeau Baths art gallery in Belfast. Arts are the Business indeed!

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