Dundee could follow up V&A with new concert hall

Dundee could follow up V&A with new concert hall

Plans follow successful launch of new museum

ACE appoints South West chair

ACE appoints South West chair

Helen Birchenough has been appointed as chair of Arts Council England for the South West.

Hull wins National Lottery award

Hull wins National Lottery award

City of Culture voted best arts project

Welsh arts ‘invisible’ overseas

Welsh arts ‘invisible’ overseas

Welsh cultural talent is hiding its light from the rest of the world, according to a report for the British Council.

ACE/HLF firm up museums support

ACE/HLF firm up museums support

Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery have signed a new, reinforced memorandum of understanding (MoU) to improve support for museums in England.

Lifting off after novichok

Lifting off after novichok

AI PROFILE    Gareth Machin, artistic director, Wiltshire Creative

Digbeth - 'artistic powerhouse'

Digbeth - 'artistic powerhouse'

Digbeth, Birmingham’s creative quarter, “all the potential to be the UK’s top creative hub”.

 O’Riordan to take over at Lyric Hammersmith

O’Riordan to take over at Lyric Hammersmith

Rachel O’Riordan, artistic director of the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, since 2014, is to be the new chief of the Lyric Hammersmith.

TAITMAIL   Salisbury’s art of recovery

TAITMAIL Salisbury’s art of recovery

Salisbury’s Novichok horror might, perversely, have been a mixed blessing for the city – and for the Arts Council. 

BAC grand hall reopens after fire devastation

BAC grand hall reopens after fire devastation

Battersea Arts Centre today reopens its grand hall following the 2015 fire that all but destroyed it, and also reveals the results of a 12 year development programme for the centre.

Freeman to join Royal Exchange

Freeman to join Royal Exchange

Stephen Freeman is to leave his job as CEO of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, to  be executive director of the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Labour pledge on creativity in schools

Labour pledge on creativity in schools

Labour is committed to putting creativity back onto the school curriculum, shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said today.

Bush’s Younis takes over at Southbank

Bush’s Younis takes over at Southbank

Madfani Younis has been appointed to the new role of creative director at the Southbank Centre.

McBean and the RSC’s’ golden age

McBean and the RSC’s’ golden age

The photographer Angus McBean, best known now for his portraits of the Beatles, Audrey Hepburn and Vivien Leigh, took some of his finest pictures for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Meet the first ever Pet Poet Laureate

Meet the first ever Pet Poet Laureate

Blue Cross, the pet charity, has appointed Russell Jones as the first ever Pet Poet Laureate.

MY STORY		Trusted with Shakespeare

MY STORY Trusted with Shakespeare

Louisa Davies has been appointed to the new post of head of creative programme for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Stenning leaves Bristol Old Vic

Emma Stenning is stepping down as chief executive of the Bristol Old Vic after nine years at the theatre.

Rescue plan for Farfield Mill

Artists have agreed a rescue plan to save Farfield Mill at Sedbergh in Cumbria.

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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