Arts Council of Northern Ireland presents to the House of Commons Select Committee

8th July, 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland was invited to give evidence on Wednesday 6th July 2022 to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee*. The aim of the session was to provide evidence on the role and impact of the Creative Cluster* initiative on the Northern Ireland Creative Industries.

Male in blue shirt using virtual reality headset.
Organisations Digital Evolution Awards

The Arts Council’s Creative Industries Development Officer, Matthew Malcolm, provided evidence to RT Hon Greg Clark MP (Chair), Aaron Bell MP, Tracey Crouch MP and Rebecca Long-Bailey MP. Commenting on the opportunity Matthew Malcolm said,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to accelerating growth opportunities in the Creative Industries and encouraging innovative practices that cross artform boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector. We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to present research findings and evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee where we hope it will influence and guide future policy making and decisions in relation to the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland.”

Within the Science and Technology Committee the Arts Council had the opportunity to outline the prioritisation and allocation of Arts Council Creative Industries funding. The Arts Council also highlighted the role of the Creative Industries Cluster (Future Screens NI) and demonstrated the benefits this partnership had provided including the academic contribution to delivering innovation funding and further developing the Creative Industries ecosystem to connect artists and creative technologists.

Key evidence included the following:

  • The Creative Industries in Northern Ireland is a significant contributor to the economy supporting 29,000 NI jobs with a value of approximately £1.311bn (3.1% NI GVA)
  • Since 2020, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has invested almost £600,000 (£589,471) into the Creative Industries, focusing on digital innovation and increasing capabilities within the arts sector, with £182,068 of this investment coming from Future Screens NI; the NI Creative Cluster.
  • This funding has encouraged collaboration between artists, academia and creative technologists through a successful partnership with Future Screens NI.
  • Demand for digital innovation funding within the arts sector is high; between 2021 and 2022 applications significantly exceeded budget for these programmes; with only £220k available despite over £1.4m or applications (16%).


* The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee exists to ensure that Government policies and decision-making are based on solid scientific evidence and advice.

* The Creative Cluster programme is an £80m investment from the UK Industrial Strategy, through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which aims to drive innovation and skills in the Creative Industries in the UK and to create products and services that can be marketed globally. There are nine Creative Clusters across the UK and Northern Ireland’s Creative Cluster is Future Screens NI.