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Insight Gathering in Northern Ireland

Updated: Jun 28

At the end of May, we teamed up with our partners at Belfast City Council to co-convene a series of activities across Northern Ireland as part of 'the future of local cultural decision making' - our flagship open policy development programme for 2024.


The ambition was to gather perspectives from NI's dynamic creative, cultural and heritage sectors on range of themes and research questions that a 'coalition of the willing' across the four UK nations have come together to tackle.


Over the course of two days, the Culture Commons team:


 

  • Co-convened a high level roundtable with Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) and senior officers from local authorities, including Newry, County Down, Banbridge, Craigavon and others to understand the readiness for more community involvement in citizen decision making in different parts of NI.

 

 

  • Explored holistic and place-based support for the creative industries, engaging with Belfast City Council’s own innovation and investment teams, sector incubator ‘Catalyst’ and UKRI Cluster leads at Future Screen NI and Queens University Belfast.

 

Image: Meeting between Culture Commons and (From left to right:) Jonathan Mitchell, University of Atypical; Christine Osbourne, Belfast City Council; Sarah Jones, NI Science Festival; Ruth McCarthy, Outburst Queer Arts Festival; Dr Jane Morrow; Sophie Hayes Crescent Arts Centre; Katherine McDonald, Craft NI; Trevor MacFarlane, Culture Commons; Stephen Beggs, Green Arts Collective; Alanna Reid, Culture Commons; Nisha Tandon, ArtsEkta.

Image: Meeting between Culture Commons and (From left to right:) Jonathan Mitchell, University of Atypical; Christine Osbourne, Belfast City Council; Sarah Jones, NI Science Festival; Ruth McCarthy, Outburst Queer Arts Festival; Dr Jane Morrow; Sophie Hayes Crescent Arts Centre; Katherine McDonald, Craft NI; Trevor MacFarlane, Culture Commons; Stephen Beggs, Green Arts Collective; Alanna Reid, Culture Commons; Nisha Tandon, ArtsEkta.


The Culture Commons team are already on with synthesising findings from the conversations over the last few days.


Culture Commons Director, Trevor MacFarlane said:

The very specific context that the sectors are operating within here really can't be overstated. But it's been fascinating to discover that some of the challenges and opportunities are very much shared in the other three UK nations. We're now looking forward to co-designing a suite of new policies with colleagues from Northern Ireland that could make for a more equitable and sustainable ecosystem of cultural investment and governance across these islands.

We're extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to these discussions, to the Northern Ireland Executive Department for Communities for sponsoring Belfast City Council's participation in the programme, and to our 29 partners who continue to support us.


To find our more about 'the future of local cultural decision making' programme, visit the programme hub: https://www.culturecommons.uk/futureoflcdm

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