Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555 info@artscouncil-ni.org

Funding for Organisations
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Annual Funding Programme

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

The arts sector is, once again, facing a financially challenging year so please read these notes carefully before filling in the application form.  It should be noted that all grants made under this programme are only guaranteed on the basis that the Arts Council continues to receive sufficient Exchequer funds from the Department for Communities and, in the case of Lottery funding, from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

The over-riding aim of the Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme is to support Northern Ireland’s arts infrastructure through grants to organisations in all artforms and practices for their core and programming costs.

The Arts Council’s Annual Funding Programme has been  independently reviewed by the Strategic Investment Board to ensure strategic alignment with the draft Programme for Government (PfG)2016-2021 and the Minister’s emerging Strategy for Culture and Arts (2016-26).

The report verified that AFP funded organizations and partners can help the Arts Council to deliver effectively against the PfG.

The Arts Council will monitor and report to the Department for Communities on the outcomes from the AFP to ensure strategic alignment with indicator 27, Improve Cultural Participation, and its outcomes which are:

  • An innovative creative society where people can fulfil their potential;
  • A shared society that respects diversity;
  • A confident, welcoming outward looking society,
  • A place where people want to live and work, to visit and invest
  • Where we give our children and young people the best start in life.

For organisations not previously in receipt of an Annual Funding Programme award.

If you are considering applying to the Annual Funding Programme you will be required, as part of the process, to upload a set of documents to the Government Funding Database.  This can take some time. Note applicants based outside Northern Ireland are not required to upload documents to the Database but are required to submit the documents with the application form.

  • Constitution and/or Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Most recent set of Audited/Certified/adopted accounts.
  • Organisation Chart
  • List of office bearers
  • Rental Agreement/Lease of Evidence of ownership

If you are not currently on the Database you will be required to register at http://govfundingpublic.nics.gov.uk.

Full instructions for uploading documents are available here.

Failure to upload documents to the Government Funding Database will mean your application will not be assessed.
 

Who can apply?

Organisations receiving support must demonstrate that they require a year-round resource and should apply for their complete programme for the year.

All applications should fit within the objectives stated in the Council’s five year plan and within its artform policies. Both the five year plan Ambitions for the Arts and the artform policies are available on the website www.artscouncil-ni.org and you should read these before completing the application form. 

This programme is not designed for organisations planning short term or fixed term projects, or single or one-off annual events.  

How to apply?

The programme is divided into 2 distinct elements – core and programming.  All applicants must complete both elements of the application and it is anticipated that clients will receive funding from both Exchequer and Lottery sources.

(i) Core costs: These costs will be met from Exchequer funds
(ii) Programming costs: These costs will be met from Lottery funds

If awarded there can be no movement between the core and programming elements.

The Guidance Notes for the scheme, sample application forms, artform criteria documents  and guidance on the Government Funding Database are available from the links below.  

 

Guidance Notes - All Clients
Instructions on uploading documents to GFD
Sample Application Form Core Costs - Returning
Sample Application Form Core Costs - New Clients
Sample Application Form Programming Costs - All
All Artforms Criterion 3
Drama & Dance Criteria 1 & 2
Literature Criteria 1 & 2
Music & Opera Criteria 1 & 2
Participatory Arts Criteria 1 & 2
Studio Groups & Residential Facilities Crit 1 & 2
Traditional Arts Criteria 1 & 2
Venues & Festivals Criteria 1 & 2
Visual Arts, Craft & Architecture Criteria 1 & 2

You may only apply online. We will not accept applications in hard copy or by email.

Online applications may be edited, saved and returned up to the closing date. You can return both parts of the application separately but you MUST submit ALL documents associated with each part of the application at the same time. 

All documents must be in Word, Excel or pdf format.  We cannot accept documents in other formats.   Total size of documents should not exceed 25 Mb.

Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to upload all documents to the system as there can be long delays as the closing deadline approaches and the system will shut down at 4.00 pm on the closing date.   If your complete application is not uploaded when the system closes your application will not be accepted.

It is your responsibility to ensure that we receive the application form and documents by the closing time and date. 

All of the information you provide will be held on computer.  This information will be used for the administration of applications and grants, for producing statistics and information on successful applicants.

 

Funding for Organisations
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Small Grants Programme

This scheme is open. Deadline for applications: Ongoing
Please note that due to the current demand for Small Grants funding, the maximum grant is unlikely to exceed £5,000

A sample application form and set of guidance notes for the Small Grants Programme is available below.  All applicants should read and familiarize themselves with the guidance notes before starting an online application. 

The Arts Council has designed this programme to encourage you to develop and deliver your ideas, linked to your artistic needs and to your future plans. 

The aim of this programme is to assist organisations to deliver arts projects which contribute to the growth of arts in the community for new and existing audiences and which reflect the diversity of Northern Ireland’s society and culture.

We want to support activities which benefit the people of Northern Ireland or that help arts organisations in Northern Ireland carry out their work. All applications should fit within the objectives stated in the Council’s five year plan and within its artform policies. 

Note: It is the case that the Council’s programmes, priorities and criteria can change. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are using the most up to date guidance notes and application forms. If you are thinking of making an application please check the Council’s website to make sure that you are using the current guidance notes.

 

Before making an application it is essential that you read the Guidance Notes

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from the widest possible range of organisations. You will be required to provide proof that you have a legal constitution.

  • Registered charities and other organisations which cannot distribute profits
  • Groups of organisations working together to deliver specific projects
  • Organisations currently in receipt of an Arts Council Annual funding Programme award may apply for:
  • new commissions
  • equipment
  • projects of an exceptional nature which were not anticipated at the time of their AFP application
  • formally constituted parent-teacher associations
     

How to apply?

You MUST apply online. We will not accept applications in hard copy, by email or by fax.

Online applications may be edited, saved and returned to at any time until you submit.  You MUST submit ALL mandatory enclosures associated with the application at the same time, ie. at the point at which you submit your online application.   These enclosures are listed within the online application and also in the sample application document (available for download on our website). 

The online application allows you to upload and attach the necessary enclosures to your application. All such documents must be in Word, Excel or pdf format.  We cannot accept documents in other formats.   Total size of documents should not exceed 25 Mb.

All of the information you provide will be held on computer.  This information will be used for the administration of applications and grants, for producing statistics and information on successful applicants.  Remember to keep a copy of the completed form and enclosures for your own records.
 

Sample Application Form
Guidance Notes and FAQs
Sample Equal Opportunities Policy
End of Project Report Form
Event confirmation template
Equality of Opportunity and Good Relations Form

Deadline for Applications

This is a rolling programme.

Funding for Individuals
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Indian Residencies

This scheme is open. Deadline for applications: Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 4pm

Indian Residency Schemes

  • Vedaaranya Artists’ Residency at Ramgarh Shekhawati Rajasthan
  • The Sanskriti Foundation

You may apply to more than one scheme but you will only be awarded one grant in any funding round.  If you choose to apply to more than one scheme:

  • You must complete a separate application form for each scheme.
  • The projects within each application must be significantly distinct.

Who can apply?

Artists of all disciplines and in all types of working practice, who have made a contribution to artistic activities in Northern Ireland for a minimum period of one year within the last five years.

In a limited number of cases, individual technical staff/administrators of professional artistic companies may also be eligible.

How to apply?

Applicants who have already received an award, within the previous 12 months, under the scheme to which they are applying.  This 12 month period runs from the date of the previous award letter

Applicants who have broken the conditions of any previous award within the previous 4 years (taken from the date of the letter of offer).

Guidance Notes
Sample Application Form

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 4pm
Decisions will be made by Thursday 20th September 2018

Funding for Organisations
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International Programme for Organisations

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

All applications in this funding round must be for projects that will take place between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019. There are two funding streams included within this programme:

  • Artists' International Development Fund (Organisations)
  • Professional Arts Abroad
Please consult the programme guidance notes before completing and submitting an application.

Who can apply?

Professional Arts Abroad

  • Professional arts organisations based in Northern Ireland, which can show both a credible track record of contributing to artistic activities here and a commitment to a continued artistic programme in Northern Ireland in the future.

Artists International Development Fund (organisations)

The programme is open to organisations in any artform

  • who have received recognition for their work in Northern Ireland;
  • who do not have extensive international experience;
  • whose work will benefit from launching better international networks - either artistically; or in terms of developing an audience for their work; and
  • who can demonstrate an interest in their work from an overseas partner/host

Who cannot apply?

  • Applicants who have already received an award, within the previous 12 months, under the scheme to which they are applying.  This 12 month period runs from the date of the previous award letter.
  • Applicants who have broken the conditions of previous grant awards within the previous 4 years (taken from the date of the letter of offer).

How to apply?

Applications for this programme must be submitted online. Hard-copy applications will not be accepted.

International Programme Sample Application
International Programme Guidance Notes
Funding for Organisations
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Resilience Programme

This scheme is open. Deadline for applications: Friday 31st August 2018 at 12pm

The Resilience Programme has been jointly developed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its National Lottery funds and Belfast City Council. The programme will work with a number of Belfast-based arts organisations that have city-wide reach and only those organisations that are in receipt of Arts Council of Northern Ireland Annual Funding (AFP) and Belfast City Council Core Multi-annual Funding (CMAF) are eligible to apply.     

Participating organisations will benefit from a customised support programme including one-to-one coaching, masterclasses and peer learning.  Arts organisations will then develop a change management plan to help them identify new opportunities for future development.   Financial assistance may also be made available to support organisations as they implement their new plans.

Who can apply?

Organisations must

  • currently be in receipt of both 2018-2019 Arts Council of Northern Ireland Annual Funding and Belfast City Council Core Multi-annual Funding (CMAF), and
  • have an average annual turnover of at least £400,000 over the last two financial years, excluding capital investments.

How to apply?

To apply for a place on the programme, please complete the online application form on www.fullcircle.eu.com/resilience-programme

The completed application form and supporting documentation must be submitted by 12 noon on Friday 31 August 2018.

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is Friday 31st August 2018 at 12pm

Funding for Organisations
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Musical Instruments for Bands

This scheme is open. Deadline for applications: Thursday 13th September 2018 at 4pm

This programme is designed to increase the quality of music-making in the community by helping bands to replace worn-out instruments and purchase new instruments.

Who can apply?

This scheme is open to bands based in Northern Ireland, which are formally constituted.

The following types of bands are eligible for this scheme:

  • Accordion Orchestra/Band (part, melody or marching)
  • Brass Band
  • Concert Band
  • Flute Band (part, melody or marching)
  • Pipe Band
  • Wind Band  

Who cannot apply?

Bands who received a Musical Instruments for Band Scheme award between January  2011 and February 2018.

Sample application form
Guidance notes
Instructions for uploading documents

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is Thursday 13th September 2018 at 4pm
Decisions will be made by Friday 19th October 2018

Funding for Organisations
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Young People & Wellbeing Arts Programme 2016-2019

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

In 2011, the Arts Council embarked on the research, development and production of a strategy for Youth Arts in Northern Ireland for the period 2013 to 2017. A recommendation within the Youth Arts Strategy was the development of a programme aimed at our most disadvantaged and hard to reach young people, with a priority on a mental health awareness project targeting young people at risk.

The strategy recognises that engagement in the arts is a useful mechanism for enhancing personal attributes including self-esteem and motivation and participative community arts-based projects are particularly effective in promoting young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

The Young People & Wellbeing Arts Programme has been developed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and supported by the Public Health Agency (PHA).

Grants up to £10,000 are available. You can apply for up to 100% of the eligible costs of the project. Projects can be up to 1 year duration.

Who can apply?

Constituted community and voluntary groups working with young people that can demonstrate fit with the programme targets.

Applications will be considered for programmes targeting young people within the ages of 12- 18 years

Who cannot apply?

  • Individuals
  • Broadcasters (excluding community service broadcasters)
  • Central Government Departments
  • Organisations with statutory obligations to providing services for Young People

How to apply?

Expression of Interest Form
Guidance Notes
Funding for Organisations
View All Programmes

Arts and Older People Grants Programme

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

The Arts & Older People Programme was set up to increase opportunities for older people to engage with the arts.  It achieved this by providing funding to arts-based projects that addressed related social issues such as poverty, isolation and loneliness, as well as promoting positive mental health.  The design of the Programme was informed by the Arts & Older People Strategy which was undertaken by the Arts Council in July 2010. 

The programme to date has made 117 awards to community groups, voluntary groups and arts organisations. Over £1.5 million has been invested in the Arts & Older People Programme.

Who can apply?

The programme is aimed at constituted community and voluntary groups who are working at a local level to support older people and can demonstrate strong partnership working with relevant age sector organisations and Local Authority initiatives e.g. Health Cities/ Healthy Communities.

This programme is also open to non-governmental organisations, Local Authorities and arts organisations who can clearly demonstrate partnership working with older people. 

We are looking for partnership or consortia based proposals.  Partnerships can be led by either age sector providers, arts organisations or Local Authorities, however the consortium must be made up of appropriate representatives and demonstrate a commitment to working together.  Other specialists who work with older people may also be included as named partners in the consortium.

Who cannot apply?

  • Individuals
  • Broadcasters (excluding community service broadcasters)
  • Central Government Departments
  • Organisations with statutory obligations to providing services for Older People
     

How to apply?

Online application

When you submit online you MUST submit ALL mandatory enclosures associated with the application at the same time, ie. at the point at which you submit your online application.   Online applications may be edited, saved and returned to up to the closing date. 

All enclosure documents must be in Word, Excel or PDF format.  We cannot accept documents in other formats.Total size of documents should not exceed 25 MB.

Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to upload all documents to the system as there can be long delays as the closing deadline approaches and the system will shut down at 4pm on the closing date. If your complete application is not uploaded when the system closes your application will not be accepted. 

Please consult the programme guidance notes and programme criteria before making an application

 

Programme guidance notes
Sample application form
Scoring criteria
Funding for Individuals
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Travel Awards

This scheme is open. Deadline for applications: Ongoing

The Travel Awards Scheme is a rolling programme. Applications must be received 4 weeks before the intended date of travel. 

These awards enable individual artists and established music groups (up to 4 members) to travel from Northern Ireland to develop their skills and expertise. Applicants must provide evidence that they have been invited by a host organisation in the country to which they intend to travel. 

Who can apply?

Individual artists, established music groups (up to 4 members) and arts administrators. Employees of statutory bodies are eligible to apply but they must prove that the funds which they are seeking are for work/costs which are not properly the concern of their employer and do not form part of their professional employment.

Established music groups applying to the scheme should submit a single application. Within the contact details section of the form, they should state the name of the group as well as the name of the primary contact to whom all correspondence will be addressed. Names of all band members should be stated in The History of Artistic Practice submitted with the application, which should be the history of artistic practice for the group as a whole. 

How to apply?

Please consult the programme guidance notes before submitting an application. 
Travel Awards Guidance Notes
Sample Application Form

Deadline for Applications

This is a rolling programme.

Funding for Organisations
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Lottery Project Funding 2018-19

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

The Arts Council has designed this programme to encourage you to develop and deliver your ideas, linked to your artistic needs and to your future plans. 

The aim of this programme is to assist organisations to deliver arts projects which contribute to the growth of arts in the community for new and existing audiences and which reflect the diversity of Northern Ireland’s society and culture.

We want to support activities which benefit the people of Northern Ireland or that help arts organisations in Northern Ireland carry out their work. 

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from the widest possible range of organisations and in particular from applicants whose projects benefit individuals categorised under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.  You will be required to provide proof that you have a legal constitution. 

• Registered charities and other organisations which cannot distribute profits may apply for funds.
• Local Authorities are eligible to apply but they are a low priority.
• Commercial organisations can only apply for support if the project is primarily for the benefit of the public rather than their own commercial interests.
• You do not have to be primarily an arts organisation, although the focus of the project must be on arts activities.
• If your organisation has a limited membership, or is a school, college or university, you must show that the project will benefit the wider public.
• Public sector agencies can apply for projects which are outside their statutory remit.
• Groups of organisations (consortia) working together to deliver specific projects.
• In most cases we expect the activity to take place in Northern Ireland.  However, organisations based outside Northern Ireland can apply where they can demonstrate significant benefit to the people of Northern Ireland.
 

 

How to apply?

You may only apply online. We will not accept applications in hard copy or by email or by fax.

Online Applications will open on Monday 16th April 2018.

Online applications may be edited, saved and returned up to the closing date. You MUST submit ALL mandatory enclosures associated with the application at the same time, ie. at the point at which you submit your online application.   These enclosures are listed within the online application and also on page 29 of this sample application document (available for download on our website). 

The online application allows you to upload and attach the necessary enclosures to your application. All such documents must be in Word, Excel or pdf format.  We cannot accept documents in other formats. Total size of documents should not exceed 25 Mb.

Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to upload all documents to the system as there can be long delays as the closing deadline approaches and the system will shut down at 1.00 pm on the closing date.   If your complete application is not uploaded when the system closes, your application will not be accepted.

It is your responsibility to ensure that we receive the application form and documents by the closing time and date. 

All of the information you provide will be held on computer. This information will be used for the administration of applications and grants, for producing statistics and information on successful applicants.  Remember to keep a copy of the completed form and enclosures for your own records.

NOTE:  Applications submitted in hardcopy, by fax, disk or e-mail will not be accepted. You may only apply online.
 

Please consult the programme Introduction Notes and Guidance Notes before completing and submitting an application to this programme. 

 

LPF Guidance Notes
LPF Sample Application Form
Instructions for uploading documents
Lottery Project Funding Indicators
Funding for Individuals
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The Rosemary James Memorial Trust Award

This scheme is open. Deadline for applications: Thursday 18th October 2018 at 4pm

Rosemary (Rosy) James died in 2010, having bequeathed over £500,000 to establish an annual bursary in her name to help artists, designers and makers to pursue their careers by developing a new body of work. ‘The Rosy James Bursary’ will be administered by the Arts Council on behalf of the Rosemary James Trust. The value of the annual award is up to £15,000.

Who can apply?

This unique award is directed at makers steeped in practice using materials singly or in combination. Such materials might include fired clay or glass; fine or base metals; textiles using any kinds of applications; wood; plastics; paper or other materials not included in this list, where the emphasis is based upon the transformation of materials through the use of sustained practice towards a series of critical outcomes.

It aims to assist makers to investigate and develop a body of work which would otherwise be unaffordable.

The period of the award will culminate in an exhibition of work on public display in Northern Ireland.

How to apply?

Please consult the programme guidance notes before making a hard copy application.
Sample application
Guidance notes

What can you apply for
The main thrust is to be directed towards the body of work but may also provide assistance towards

  • Travel abroad to pursue additional skills, training or research
  • Residencies/Master classes
  • Research (materials, technology, practices)
  • Collaboration with makers and artists in other disciplines

What you cannot apply for

  • Self-Commissioning or publishing costs
  • Prolonged study at centres of further and higher education
  • Work that forms part of under-graduate or post-graduate study or is intended to be assessed as part of an academic course
  • Work which forms part of your professional or academic employment.  This does not exclude those working in an academic institution or statutory body who are continuing to pursue their crafts  practice
  • Study leading to a professional qualification
  • Applications to fund or establish websites
  • Applications relating to projects/commissions already in receipt of Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds
  • Applications relating to residencies or rent of premises at venues already in receipt of Arts Council funding (for example, residencies to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre).

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is Thursday 18th October 2018 at 4pm
Decisions will be made by Friday 30th November 2018

Funding for Individuals
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Support for the Individual Artist Programme

Sorry, this scheme is closed. If you need help please contact us

All applications to the programmes listed immediately below must be for projects that will take place between 1st November 2018 and 31st October 2019. Applications for these programmes must be submitted by 4pm on Thursday 16 August 2018.

  • General Arts Awards
  • Artists' Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES)
  • Major Individual Awards (MIA)
  • Artists' International Development Fund (Individuals)
  • Self-arranged residencies
  • Mike Moloney Award
  • Anne O'Donoghue Award
  • WOMEX

 
Artists may apply to more than one scheme but you will only be awarded one grant in any funding round.  If you choose to apply to more than one scheme:

  • You must complete a separate application form for each scheme.
  • The projects within each application must be significantly distinct.

Who can apply?

Artists of all disciplines and in all types of working practice, who have made a contribution to artistic activities in Northern Ireland for a minimum period of one year within the last five years.

In a limited number of cases, individual technical staff/administrators of professional artistic companies may also be eligible.

Employees of statutory bodies, undergraduates and postgraduates are eligible to apply but they must prove that the funds which they are seeking are for work/costs which are not properly the concern of their employer and/or are not related to their academic study. Employees of statutory bodies, undergraduates and postgraduates must submit evidence of this in the form of a letter on headed paper from their Head of Department (see Section 5.4 on the application form).  In the case of post-graduate students, the letter must clearly state the title of the student’s PhD thesis and include a declaration by the Head of Department that “The project for which funds are being sought does not form part of any academic work undertaken in relation to the above-titled PhD nor will it be assessed as part of any academic course”.  Please note that the Arts Council may use its own judgement in determining this matter.  Applicants undertaking a Masters or a PhD must also include a separate statement which provides information on how the project applied for differs from their Masters or PhD work.  This is listed as a mandatory enclosure in Section 5 of the application form.

Who cannot apply?

Applicants who have already received an award, within the previous 12 months, under the scheme to which they are applying.  This 12 month period runs from the date of the previous award letter

Applicants who have broken the conditions of any previous award within the previous 4 years (taken from the date of the letter of offer).

How to apply?

Please consult the programme guidance notes before making an application. All applications must be completed online.

SIAP Guidance Notes
SIAP Sample Application
SIAP Evaluation Report
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