Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555

Commission Opportunity: Expressions of Interest

Arts Council Northern Ireland in partnership with Tourism NI invite expressions of interest for maximum four commissions of site specific work with an engaging theatrical and/or music focus to animate identified cultural and heritage sites to enhance their tourism potential.  It is intended that these new works will be ready to showcase between April 2019 to October 2019.  There is an overall budget of £150,000 and the deadline date for submissions is Friday 8 February 2019. The budget may be utilised at two or more commissions but should address the tourism opportunities identified below.

Context for this commission:

In 2017 Tourism Northern Ireland published ‘A Prospectus For Change: A strategic framework to unlock potential of heritage-led tourism in Northern Ireland’. To assist with implementing recommendations identified a formal agreement has now been made between Tourism NI and the Arts Council. The Arts Council and Tourism NI are working in partnership to fund a pilot scheme to commission four original pieces of work, across art forms, that will harness the energy and inventiveness of the arts sector to animate and interpret that sense of place of across tourism sites. Tourism NI have already identified some sites which have strategic potential as outlined below.

1. Titanic Quarter/Maritime Mile

Since the opening of Titanic Belfast in 2012 over 4 million visitors from all around the world have visited this world class attraction, which no longer sits alone but within a vibrant quarter which has seen imaginative regeneration.  With the opening of new visitor attractions, hotels and walkways Titanic Quarter is now a rich maritime and heritage destination.

Site specific objective: to create connectivity and/or new experiences along the Maritime Mile (the new walkway along the banks of the Lagan)  and encourage enhanced dispersal with more to see and do in addition to the core attraction Titanic Belfast.

2. Navan Fort

Navan Fort is an ancient ceremonial monument near Armagh, Northern Ireland. According to tradition it was one of the great royal sites of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland and is one of Ireland’s most famous and important archaeological sites, the legendary Emain Macha.

Site specific objective: to enhance the experience and/or provide new reasons to visit by enabling visitors to respond to the authenticity and mystical atmosphere of the site, one of the most important in Ireland.

3. Seamus Heaney Home Place

Seamus Heaney HomePlace is the most important cultural capital project to develop in Northern Ireland in a decade. The village of Bellaghy and the surrounding areas are at the core of the Nobel Prize winning poet’s work. Seamus Heaney is a major arts and cultural figure in Northern Ireland and one of the several classic creative personalities and imaginative resources of the island as a whole.

Site specific objective: to enable visitors to connect with the sense of Home and Belonging, and the work of Seamus Heaney.

4. Ulster American Folk Park

The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air museum just outside Omagh, in County Tyrone. With more than 30 exhibit buildings to explore, the museum tells the story of three centuries of Irish emigration. 

Site specific objective: to enable visitors to connect with the sense of Home and Emigration.

Overall Objectives:

  • Demonstrate ability to appeal to/attract tourists across key market segments
  • To enable them to experience the best of Northern Ireland creative practice at four main tourism sites.
  • Provide a source of new culture and heritage content that can be used by the site on a recurrent basis and across other promotions and platforms.
  • To use the talent of the arts sector to represent Northern Ireland’s rich and varied heritage sites and bring a new dimension to our heritage offering. 

Further commission details:  
Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Tourism NI invite expressions of interest, which outline creative ideas for the following:

  • The artwork designs should include capacity to showcase twice during the core visitor season April to October 2019 at each location
  • The artwork should be capable of repeated delivery at similar or amended scale and at
    potentially greater frequency, dependent on future commissions directly from the site operators
  • Must create a usable, repeatable asset that can be deployed across one or more platforms to support tourism objectives (such as events, marketing channels, on-site interpretation.)
  • Applicants may submit proposals for more than one location but must provide planning and budgetary detail separately.
  • Applicants may make a proposal based on actual costs of design and delivery, not on an assumption that the overall fund will be divided in four.

Potential applicants may wish to visit the heritage locations for practical planning purposes.  However please do not expect that the venues will facilitate research and planning at this time.

To apply:

Interested professional arts organisations must submit the following by email to Beverly Coomber or post at 1 The Sidings, Antrim Road, Lisburn BT28 3AJ by 5pm on Friday 08 February 2019.

  • a C.V. to include details of performances of past works
  • a statement outlining your interest in the commission and approach to this new work
  • a separate budget for each commission applied for
  • previous experience of curating or delivering work of a similar scale and purpose would be important to evidence.

Commissioning Partners:  
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) is the development and funding agency for the Arts in Northern Ireland.  The role of the Arts Council is to distribute public money and National Lottery funds to develop and deliver a wide variety of arts projects, events and initiatives across Northern Ireland. ACNI also ensure that audiences in Northern Ireland are given the opportunity to experience innovative, exciting high quality work from the best of talent across all art forms.

Tourism Northern Ireland (Tourism NI) is responsible for the development of tourism and the marketing of Northern Ireland as a tourist destination to domestic tourists, from within Northern Ireland, and to visitors from the Republic of Ireland. They are a non-departmental public body of the Department for the Economy and work closely with other tourism bodies to help develop the visitor economy here and to market Northern Ireland to incoming visitors.  Their vision is to champion confidently and passionately the development and promotion of the Northern Ireland experience.

The commissioning process will be managed by Arts Council NI and the final selection will be assessed by a judging panel of representatives from both Arts Council NI, Tourism NI and the relevant sites. Tourism NI will have final decision.