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Celebrating Creative Partnerships

26 Jun 2019

Celebrating Creative Partnerships

75 guests recently gathered in U105 to recognise and celebrate the arts organisations and their business partners who received funding in 2018-2019 from the Arts & Business NI (A&BNI) Investment Programme (funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland), which stimulates and strengthens partnerships between business and the arts.

The event, kindly sponsored by A&BNI business member Citi, provided inspiration to businesses in the audience by giving examples of how other businesses are partnering with arts organsiations to deliver strategic commercial objectives via creative collaborations.

Mary Nagele, CEO at Arts & Business NI thanked the business and arts partners for the creativity, energy and vision that they bring to utilising the important fund.

Each year Arts & Business NI makes the case and applies for the Investment Programme fund within our Arts Council of NI application. In times of limited resources, innovation can be inhibited. The Arts are about pushing barriers and challenges norms - hence arts organisations are perfect partners for fresh thinking and new approaches. This fund offers both the arts and business partners a safe space, an R&D fund, to test opportunities that use creativity through the arts to support private sector companies in addressing key business issues such as retaining and attracting talent, creatively developing staff or to address important societal or wellbeing issues in communities and the workplace.”

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, welcomed the variety and depth of the partnerships celebrated at the event, highlighting how much the two sectors can achieve when they combine their distinctive strengths.

These partnerships are bringing a wide range of significant opportunities and benefits to both parties. We are nourishing a healthy interdependency, whereby our communities are strengthened by the presence of a rich creative culture and an enterprising business sector, just as these same communities provide a source of inspiration for our artists and a source of revenue for our businesses. Everyone benefits.

One of the partnerships supported through the Investment Programme fund was Citi and Tinderbox. Arts & Business NI works closely with all Citi Networks to introduce creativity in to their programmes of activity, and connected Citi disAbility Network with Tinderbox to develop an innovative staff engagement project around mental health, to mark World Mental Health Day 2018. The partners scheduled a dedicated on-site performance of ‘The Man who Fell to Pieces’, a ground breaking comedy that deals with the profound themes of Mental Health, followed by a Q&A around issues raised. 80 Citi staff attended the on-site performance, and participated in the Q&A session.

Post-performance, Citi followed up with 9 Tinderbox staff workshops over the ensuing months, enabling Citi staff to explore Perception, Inclusion and Diversity.

Leigh Meyer, Managing Director, Citi Belfast Site Head and key sponsor of the event commented:

“Thanks to the introduction from A&B NI to Tinderbox, we now have a thriving relationship and have rolled out a series of theatre based Mental Health Awareness workshops, open to all staff, throughout 2019.  We have five diversity networks in Citi Belfast, and utilising the Arts & Business Investment Programme support, in partnership with Tinderbox we have developed a series of fantastic events with each network this year."

Patrick O’Reilly, Artistic Director at Tinderbox, led guests in an interactive, fun sampler of the Perception Programme workshop currently being delivered in Citi. Additional performances on the day included Katie Richardson and the Glider Band, whilst Beat Carnival performed a rousing drumming finale to the event.

Another partnership supported by the Investment Programme was ISL Waste Management (ISL),The Grand Opera House and Beat Carnival’s exciting ‘Electro Funk Junk’ project. As a commercial waste management company, ISL Waste Management prioritises supporting education to change perceptions surrounding waste. Aimed at Primary 7 pupils, the school engagement initiative encouraged the school children to think more about recycling, while engaging them in music workshops and technology. Barry Donaghy, MD at ISL commented:

“Creating music from junk was a fascinating idea and the creativity of all the young people involved was a joy to support. Opening their minds to the fact that we cannot live in a world of single use products is vital and at ISL we are dedicated to helping our children lead the way.”

Business member U105 kindly provided the fabulous event space - Peter McVerry Executive Director at U105 commented:

As a keen advocate of the Arts, U105 was delighted to welcome fellow Arts & Business NI members to our state-of the-art waterfront broadcast studios and showcase our hireable event space with stunning views over the ever-changing Belfast skyline”. Please contact Peter if you are interested in the U105 event space.

An inspirational full colour booklet, kindly designed and printed pro bono by Whitenoise Design Ltd and Nicholson & Bass, was launched at the event, giving summaries and photographs from the 32 amazing partnerships which received funding through the Investment Programme in the last financial year.

If you would like to find out more about adopting a creative approach to your business challenges, please speak to Maeve McKervey about A&BNI business membership on 028 90735150 or email m.mckervey@artsandbusienssni.org.uk

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