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Arts Council of Northern Ireland announces Annual Funding Programme awards for 2022-23

Friday 1st July 2022 at 2pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today announced that 95 arts organisations will receive largely standstill funding for 2022-23 from their Annual Funding Programme. The annual programme award of £13,012,490 will support the core and programming costs of those organisations who are central to the arts infrastructure in Northern Ireland today.

With £8,531,011 of exchequer funding from the Department for Communities allocation, and £4,481,479 from Arts Council’s National Lottery sources, the total fund offered £13,012,490, is the largest funding allocation made to arts organisations each year.

Chair of the Arts Council, Liam Hannaway, said,

“I am pleased to announce the annual funding awards today and thank both the Department for Communities and the National Lottery for the support that allows us to allocate this crucial support. It remains a financially challenging time for everyone working in the arts, and though we were able to award largely stand-still public funding for 2022/23, we are facing a weakened creative sector, working with reduced income and facing higher costs of delivery.

“In fact funding for the arts in Northern Ireland now sits at an all-time low, compared to other parts of the UK and Ireland. Despite fulfilling almost identical functions, investment in the Arts in NI sits at only £5.44 per capita, based on 2022/23 budget figures. This contrasts sharply with Wales at £10.35 and the Republic of Ireland at £25.90 per capita. A reinvestment in the arts is needed to regenerate a sector which struggles year on year to make ends meet”.

Mr Hannaway said the Arts Council had recently met arts organisations and both he and the Chief Executive, Roisín McDonough had engaged with the Department for Communities and informed them of the current stresses,

“The Arts Council met with our key organisations in April and May and in response, brought their concerns to the Department for Communities. We are making the case for more investment in the arts and creative sectors here so that we can afford to deliver the Programme for Government targets we are charged with; ensuring as many people can access and participate in the arts as possible. We all know that through the arts, significant and positive change happens - we bring communities together, build a stronger economy and improve mental health and wellbeing for all. Our recent bid to the Department to increase the funding baseline for the arts in NI, can help strengthen our arts sector and allow us to deliver on these important outcomes.”

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council said,

“The consequences of the pandemic and other inflationary costs and issues, are being felt everywhere and by everyone in the arts and creative sector. This is set against a backdrop of reduced public investment in the arts which has fallen by 28% in cash terms over the last decade, from £14.1m to £10.1m, closer to 49% when inflation is taken into account.

“This year, our core arts organisations are to be congratulated for proposing an inspirational range of arts events and activities as the sector fully reopens. They support hundreds of individual artists, providing employment and opportunity, delivering touring programmes and entertaining audiences on stages in our fine venues, while providing tuition and educational outreach to communities across Northern Ireland.

“They also help build the reputation of Northern Ireland abroad, delivering an important and inspirational impact for a relatively small public spend – so for all of that, we take this opportunity to thank them for their resilience and spirit.”

Some of those organisations offered Annual Funding Programme awards include the following:

Organisation 2022/23 AFP funding offered (£)
Greater Shantallow Community Arts, Derry-Londonderry 132, 015
Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Derry-Londonderry 112,910
Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, Fermanagh 47,415
The Armagh Rhymers, Armagh 58,790
Open House Festival, Bangor 49,400
Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast 56,674
Array Studios, Belfast 25,477
Drake Music Project NI, Newry 51,224

Greater Shantallow Community Arts (GSCA), Derry-Londonderry
AFP funding offer: £132,015

Greater Shantallow Community Arts (GSCA) is a community organisation based in Derry-Londonderry and their aim is to provide direct access to the arts for those living in disadvantaged communities. The key objective of GSCA is to bring arts and cultural activity to areas of significant marginalisation and deprivation, and address complex social issues like social exclusion, isolation, lack of opportunity and poverty. They are a trusted arts partner, delivering key services to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in their community. Core funding enables the organisation to offer a year-round programme of creative activities benefitting over 1,400 people every week, delivered from their purpose-built, high-quality community arts centre, 'Studio 2'.

Echo Echo, Derry-Londonderry
AFP funding offer: £112,910

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company is based in Derry-Londonderry where it has its home studios in Waterloo House on the historic City Walls. Echo Echo was founded by Ursula Laeubli and Steve Batts in Amsterdam in 1991 and the company worked extensively throughout Europe before moving to Derry in 1997. Echo Echo favours collaborative and co-operative working methods. The company is organised as an ensemble with a group of artists who are committed to long term collaboration and mutual support. Echo Echo creates touring, site and event-specific productions, an annual festival of dance and movement, a programme of artistic residencies, performances by visiting artists and companies, and a wide variety of participatory projects with a broad range of groups and individuals.

Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, Fermanagh
AFP funding offer: £47,415

Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre supports the development of dance and is the only professional and participatory dance organisation in Northern Ireland that is based in a rural location in Fermanagh. The company has three primary areas of work including; professional dance performance locally and internationally, a programme of participatory and community development, and a schools education programme that runs in conjunction with curriculum needs.

The Armagh Rhymers, Armagh
AFP funding offer: £58,790

The Armagh Rhymers deliver quality arts to a variety of sectors in society, many from the most deprived backgrounds. A lot of their work takes place in schools providing quality storytelling & bespoke interactive plays using music, song, dance, puppets and masks. They also take part in a wide range of events and festivals such as the Belfast Mela, Halloween in Derry City, and the Big Arts Festival in Ballycastle. The Armagh Rhymers have also toured internationally in USA, China and Europe.

Open House Festival, Bangor, Co.Down
AFP funding offer: £49,400

Open House Festival was established in Belfast in 1999 and moved to Bangor in 2013. It’s a popular annual summer festival that takes place every August in the beautiful seaside town in County Down. At the heart of the Festival is an eclectic programme of events, including folk on a boat, an island picnic trip, pop-up restaurants, local interest talks and tours alongside a run of shows in the beautiful Bangor Castle Walled Garden, which include music, theatre, comedy, spoken word and film.

Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast
AFP funding offer: £56,674

Oh Yeah is Belfast’s dedicated music hub, a resource for music makers and also for the music industry. It was constituted in 2007 in the belief that music is a valuable agent in Northern Ireland, a catalyst that changes lives for the better. The venue offers affordable rehearsal space, a live venue, a music exhibition, a café space, a recording studio, a song-writing room and workshop spaces. Their programmes focus on talent development, promotion and celebration, industry mentoring, youth development and community outreach as-well as arts and older people projects, music industry incubation, music tourism and heritage. They run the annual Women’s Work Festival and the NI Music Prize.

Array Studios
AFP funding offer: £25,477

Array studios was established in 1994 by a group of early career artists intent on making a difference to the world of visual art in Belfast. Over the past 20 years Array has seen a vast number of artists come through the doors working in painting, print, drawing, sculpture, sound, video, performance, ceramics, photography and more. Members have exhibited worldwide and locally and are deserved recipients of numerous awards and funding bursaries. Array also hosts short-term residencies and exhibitions in their InCube space. In 2021 the Array Collective won the prestigious Turner Prize. The Array Collective is a group of individual artists rooted in Belfast, who joined together to create collaborative actions in response to the socio-political issues affecting Northern Ireland. Array’s studios and project space in the city centre acts as a base for the collective.

Drake Music Project Northern Ireland
AFP funding offer: £51,224

Drake Music Project Northern Ireland is based in Newry but works across the region with a studio in Belfast also. The organisation provides access to independent music making for children and adults with complex disabilities. Workshops in composition and performance skills are afforded by the provision of adapted computer interfacing technology allowing people with disabilities the opportunity to express their creativity in an independent and controllable environment.

To view the list of Annual Funding Awards offered visit

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