Board Bank

What is the Board Bank programme?

Board Bank is a long standing and successful programme, founded by Arts & Business NI, which strategically places executive business professionals onto the boards of leading local arts organisations.
Making use of our unique and unrivalled network of business and arts contacts across the province, applicants will work closely with the A&BNI team to find a position that suits both their personal creative passions and professional expertise.  

Why should I consider joining?

  • Because you have a passion for the arts, and a desire to work with personal impact to help the cultural sector thrive locally.

  • Because facilitating the local arts and culture sector is a crucial part of ensuring that Northern Ireland is an attractive and enjoyable place for you and your employees to live and work, both now and in the future.

  • Because you have strategic, commercial knowledge that can add immense practical value to the work of the local arts sector.

  • Because peers in your industry who have participated all agree the experience has been profoundly rewarding.

What our Board Bank alumni have to say...

Mark Walker  Trustee Director, Thrive

Mark Walker Trustee Director, Thrive

"I had recently ‘retired’ as a finance director of a healthcare organisation with a career in private sector finance. This was with the intention of keeping involved with business but with only a sketch of a plan in mind. As things can sometimes happen, a neighbour aware of my intentions, and being a senior manager in Arts & Business, asked if I had heard of the A&BNI Board Bank Programme. My answer was no but that soon changed as I responded positively to the ‘invitation’ to find out more and sign up. 

The programme is designed to introduce participants to being a trustee member of an Arts organisationThis involved a very instructive ‘ice breaking’ approach to the role and responsibilities of being a trustee/director along with an insight to the wide variety of arts and cultural organisations that make up the ‘third sector. This was important especially for someone like me whose knowledge was limited to sitting in the 6th row of a theatre or concert hall. However, another of the benefits of Arts & Business is their approach to matching individuals with an Arts & Business member. This is based on the knowledge and skills you bring matched against what the needs of an Arts business are at that time, along with what particular sector (music, drama, history, art, theatre etc) you may have a specific interest in. 

As I have mentioned, my background is in finance therefore the matching was against member organisations that had an interest/need for someone like me. From this shortlisting, I identified Thrive who were seeking new trustees, as an organisation I would like to become involved with in support of their business plans and activities.  

As has been the case for most of the past year, getting together is a distant memory and a hopeful future but, to date, introductions and meetings have been technology led (Zoom!). My co trustees and Thrive staff have been very welcoming and am very enthusiastic about the opportunities and future, especially as opening up venues and welcoming existing and new audiences occurs. 

The Arts & Business Board Bank programme is a great approach to making the step into Arts organisation boards. It is well thought out and made up of good introductions to the realities of board membership delivered in a friendly an informal manner. Allied to the matching process, this is something that I can recommend to anyone considering getting involved to help make a difference."

Cormac Maguire, Associate, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Cormac Maguire, Associate, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

"I became familiar Board Bank through some of the charitable projects my office, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, organised in collaboration with Arts and Business. As an Architect I was looking for a role within which my skillset could make a useful contribution. Arts and Business suggested the Crescent Arts Centre would be a good fit, given their Victorian-era listed building and the need for expertise in construction matters for some upcoming work. As my first appointment to an Arts board my experience has been very positive. The existing board members were very welcoming and helpful, and I have been able to get immediately involved to support some of the refurbishment, repair, and estates management projects currently under development."

What is included?

A one-to-one diagnostic session with a member of the A&BNI team. This consultation will discuss your personal passions and career objectives, capturing SMART data to enable successful board placement.

‘Fundamentals of Board Membership’ induction seminar, delivered by A&BNI's Head of Arts. This seminar will help you understand more about Trustees’ roles in the cultural sector and includes legal and financial responsibilities, the role of advocates, and gives a view of the current marketplace.

Advocacy & Ambassador Training delivered by A&BNI's Marketing Manager. This session will equip you with a practical understanding of best practice when acting as an advocate for your organisation and the arts sector. 

Financials Training delivered by A&BNI's Head of Arts, framing financial management within the cultural sector; the session provides a detailed understanding of forecasting, planning, cash flow and more. 

Facilitated opportunities to join the board of an arts or cultural organisation.A&BNI will arrange an introduction with the board of a carefully selected arts organisation, until a match is agreed. You will attend up to three board meetings as an observer, before officially joining the board.

Access to a full year's calendar of A&BNI’s cultural and networking events, designed to allow you to form connections and build your art sector knowledge and contacts. This includes our flagship annual Governance and Thought Leadership Event.

Ongoing support, advice and guidance on governance, board development and changes in charity law for the duration of your board term from the team at Arts & Business NI.


£200 + VAT per participant (Arts & Business NI Member rate)                              


£300+ VAT per participant (non - A&BNI Member rate) 

Costs are payable only upon acceptance into the programme.

Am I eligible?

  • Applicants have experience of working at a senior level within their industry.
  • Applicants will be located in Northern Ireland.

How do I apply?

TheBoard Bank programme has closed for 2021. You can register your interest for our 2022 programme by contacting Maeve McMcKervey using the details below.

Let's talk

For further details and any questions, please contact Maeve McKervey  

Arts organisation seeking board member?

Please fill in our Board Matching form here. We will use this to understand the skillsets you require, and we will be able to ascertain if we can facilitate a candidate match that fits your needs. 

In the earlier stages of your career?

Take a look at Young Professionals on Arts Boards, our placement programme for those beginning their career here.

Download the Board Bank 2022 Application Form

Our Funders & Partners

Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.