Powerful partnerships between the corporate and cultural worlds took centre stage at the 2024 Arts & Business NI Awards in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre this week. Two North West organisations took home the top awards at the ceremony, attended by over 200 guests from business and the arts.
The Millennium Forum Theatre & Conference Centre and Alchemy Technology Services were named ‘Arts Organisation of the Year’ and ‘Business of the Year’ respectively at the event, which recognised the impact that creative business collaborations have had in Northern Ireland over the last year.
The Millennium Forum, one of Ireland’s largest purpose-built theatres, was recognised for its long-term commitment to delivering inventive projects with local businesses, including its recent ‘Centre Stage’ partnership with Aircoach, which engaged the local community as part of the youth musical FAME and supported the development of arts and culture amongst the younger generation.
Alchemy Technology Services claimed the highest recognition in the business category for its commitment to engaging with the arts for the benefit of its community, staff and customers. Each year the company supports a range of creative initiatives which engage employees and support local arts providers, enhancing talent development and community connections.
Other worthy winners at the event included Golden Thread Gallery & Translink, Belfast International Arts Festival & Belfast Harbour and Kabosh Theatre Company, amongst others.
CEO of Arts & Business NI Mary Nagele comments: “Year on year, our awards tell the important stories of the incredible partnerships cultivated in the corporate and cultural sectors here.
“Visionary private sector leaders recognise the value that connecting with arts organisations brings in so many ways – from motivating a workforce to addressing skills gaps, from supporting the needs of local communities to attracting staff and customers. Arts organisations also thrive through connecting with the business sector, using their skills and creativity to make great things happen and raise their profile while doing so.
“Every winner at this year’s awards can be proud of the contribution they’ve made, not only to their own organisation and their partner, but also to the cultural and economic fabric of Northern Ireland overall.”
1. Creative Community Engagement Award
Recognising an arts and business partnership, which used the power of creativity to engage with local communities and achieve a positive impact.
WINNER Golden Thread Gallery and Translink
Highly Commended Le Foyer des Artistes and Alchemy Technology Services
2. Creative Workplace Award
Awarded to a partnership between an arts organisation and a business that used creativity to help the business connect with, inspire and uplift their workforce.
WINNER The Playhouse and Alchemy Technology Services
Highly Commended Belfast Exposed and Baker Tilly Mooney Moore
3. Creative Communications Award
Awarded to a partnership between an arts organisation and a business that engaged the arts to elevate their communications campaigns, reaching new audiences, increasing engagement, or raising their brand profiles to new heights.
WINNER Millennium Forum and Aircoach
Highly Commended Belfast Exposed and Victoria Square
4. Commitment to Diversity Award
Recognising a partnership between an arts organisation and a business that uses creativity to address issues relating to equality, diversity, and inclusion.
WINNER Belfast International Arts Festival and Belfast Harbour
5. Leaders on Arts Boards Award
Awarded to an exemplary board member who, in a voluntary capacity, has added outstanding benefit to an arts organisation.
WINNER Margaret Mann, Open Arts
Highly Commended Jonathan Moore, Open House
6. A&B NI Choice Award
Special recognition award chosen by Arts & Business NI, recognising an outstanding individual or organisation from the Awards nominations, which has risen above the rest by demonstrating something unique, inspirational, or innovative. This award is presented with a £1,000 bursary.
WINNER Kabosh Theatre Company
7. A&B NI Arts Organisation of the Year - £3k bursary
Special recognition award chosen by our judges. Recognising an outstanding arts organisation from the Arts & Business NI member network which has excelled in delivering business partnerships, demonstrating excellence, innovation and ambition. This award is presented with a £3,000 bursary.
WINNER Millennium Forum
8. A&B NI Business of the Year
Special recognition award chosen by our judges. Awarded to a pioneering local business from the Arts & Business NI network which has been an active ambassador for the arts and has worked in partnership to deliver innovative creative projects.
WINNER Alchemy Technology Services
Arts & Business NI is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.