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Arts Council publishes findings from its 2018/19 Annual Funding Survey

Thursday 27th February 2020 at 9am 0 Comments

Pupils from Mercy College Belfast Image: Pupils from Mercy College Belfast

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today published findings from a survey of 102 arts and culture organisations in receipt of funding through its Annual Funding Programme.

A dashboard has been created allowing the interrogation of data by artform type and organisation size (as determined by income). This resource will be of particular value to arts organisations looking to benchmark their activity against the sector in which they operate. 

Findings show that small-scale arts organisations in particular continue to struggle in a funding environment that has seen average Annual Funding Programme grants fall from £131,000 to £84,000 in the four years between 2014/15 and 2017/18 – a reduction of nearly £50,000. 

A combination of annual funding cycles, limited capital investment and under capitalisation continue to constrain their ability to diversify funding, creating greater reliance on public subsidy compared to previous years.

New location data reveals a 10 per cent increase in the number of postcodes clients have visited to deliver their work, with nearly a quarter of all postcodes used based within the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland.

Other location-based data shows the extent to which organisations are working in schools across Northern Ireland to enhance the education of children and young people.  Funded arts organisations visited 518 schools of all types in 2018/19, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year.

Some key findings:

  • Over 4,000 volunteers contributed their time to support clients in 2018/19.  The majority were female and supported the activities of medium-scale organisations.
  • Just over 1 per cent of the workforce were drawn from minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • At an overall sector level, 50 per cent of employees were female and 50 per cent male.  This parity was largely replicated across all employment types, with the notable exception of managers, where over two-thirds (67 per cent) were female.
  • The proportion of income received from local authorities has grown over the last three years, suggesting a stronger, more engaged commitment to arts and culture, which can help to drive forward a broader range of ambitions around health, the economy and social value.
  • Despite a reduction in ticket sales for large-scale organisations, the average ticket yield increased from £19.14 to £21.87, a difference of £2.73 per ticket compared to 2017/18.


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