12 years of ‘making it’ celebrated with exhibition at Belfast School of Art
To celebrate 12 years of making it, a business development programme for designer-makers, an exhibition entitled, Maiden Voyage, will show at the Belfast School of Art, Ulster University until 29 April showcasing a range of crafts created by some of the participants of the impressive programme established by Craft NI and Invest NI.
The Maiden Voyage exhibition will showcase the work of five local designer-makers who are coming to the end of their participation in the making it programme including Andrew Cooke, Helen Faulkner, Malcolm Murchinson, Sasha McVey and Wendy Ward, who have all established profitable businesses through the help of the mentoring and support provided by the programme.
The innovative programme, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, aimed to support emerging designer-makers to establish sustainable businesses. Throughout its duration the programme supported the creation of over 40 businesses, of which 90% are still in operation. Funding for the programme has now ceased but Craft NI are working closely with the Arts Council to identify a suitable replacement.
Alan Kane, Chief Executive of Craft NI has said,
"Craft NI are immensely proud of the success of the making it programme over the past 12 years. making it was a cutting edge, innovative programme which provided holistic support for embryonic craft businesses. Over 90% of participating businesses are still operating indicating just how successful the programme has been in helping to establish and grow sustainable craft businesses. In addition a very high percentage of the participants have gone on to enjoy international recognition and success. We hope that the ultimate replacement for making it will build upon this fantastic achievement and take it to even greater levels of success."
Grainne McVeigh, Director of Invest NI has said,
"Invest NI is delighted to have supported the Craft NI making it programme over 12 years. making it has encouraged entrepreneurship within the Creative Industries sector and, appreciating the time consuming nature of artisan craft businesses, it has helped makers to dedicate time to develop a strategy for business growth. Since 2005, this programme has provided participants with mentoring, a greater understanding of finance and a strong sales and export marketing focus."
Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,
“The making it programme has been an unprecedented success supporting a number of craft businesses since its introduction in 2005. Globally there has been a marked shift from the declining traditional ‘heavy’ industries to the Creative Industries and that is also reflected here in Northern Ireland. Our creative sector remains one of the few areas of economic growth and is a vital source of our competitive strength, wealth and job creation. We look forward to working together with Craft NI to identify a suitable alternative programme.”
The making it Maiden Voyage exhibition continues until 29 April. Note: the University will be closed for Easter from 17-23 April and there will be no access to the exhibition during this time