What next for the arts? – 12 May

Date and time: Saturday 12th May, from 2pm to 6pm
Venue: The ARC (view map)
Admission: Free
Tickets offered on first come first served basis and can be reserved by contacting gabri@capartscentre.com

The arts sector in Northern Ireland is in crisis. After years of funding cuts and issues around governance and strategy, the sector is teetering on the brink of collapse.

Recently the entire edifice of public subsidy for the arts has been brought into question. The forum will feature speakers from the world of arts management and cultural policy, and promises lively and informed debate.

The event concludes with a book launch and wine reception for the recently published, Culture, Democracy and the Right to Make Art by Alison Jeffers and Gerri Moriarty

Guest Speakers: Prof Eleonora Belfiore, Dr Steven Hadley (Chair), Dr Alison Jeffers, Gerri Moriarty, Dr Stephen Pritchard, Conor Shields


  • 2.00pm – Welcome and Introductions – Conor Shields and Dr Steven Hadley
  • 2.15pm – Past – A Radical and Unreported History

The trajectory from the post-war establishment of Arts Councils around the UK, through Jennie Lee’s White Paper in 1965, across the intervening years of various funding policies and mechanisms, both in GB and NI – from Keynesian, through Thatcherite, Blairite etc milestones, turning points and descents, have led us here.

Gerry Moriarty, Dr Alison Jeffers, Conor Shields: Each speaker will talk/present for 10 minutes

  • 3.00pm – Present – Arrivals and Departures

The cultural policy space that has emerged in recent years and the contemporary challenges within –not just in response to austerity but more wholly only around policy formation and initiatives and their characterisation, the current agenda on resource management and the range of challenges like hyper-instrumentalisation, art-washing and de-funding.

Professor Ele Belfiore, Dr Stephen Pritchard, Dr Steven Hadley: Each speaker will talk/present for 10 minutes

  • 3.45pm – 4.00pm – Break
  • 4.05pm – Future – Uncharted territories

Where do the aspirations for the arts, artists and communities forge their future path? What trends and trajectories can we start to anticipate, formulate and challenge to assert what direction culture takes within the firmly democratic ambitions of peoples and places against the demands of the individualised culture of commodification and consumption? What are the implications of these directions of travel?

Each panel member to offer a 2 minute provocation as to what the future holds.

  • 4.45pm – Closing Remarks
  • 5.30pm – Book Launch – Film – Wine and Cheese

Guest speakers

Prof Eleonora Belfiore

Eleonora Belfiore is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University. She has published extensively on cultural politics and policy, and particularly the place that notions of the ‘social impacts’ of the arts have had in British cultural policy discourses. With Palgrave she has published, with Oliver Bennett, The Social Impact of the Arts: An intellectual history (2008) and co-edited with Anna Upchurch a volume entitled Humanities in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Utility and Markets (2013). More recently, her research has focused on researching the politics of cultural value, and she was Director of Studies of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value (2013-5) and co-author of its final report, Enriching Britain: Culture, creativity and growth, published in February 2015.

Eleonora is researching the cultural value of everyday forms of cultural participation in her role as co-investigator on the AHRC funded Connected Communities project ‘Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values’, and as the research partner on the Fun Palaces Ambassador Programme, a 3-year project funded by Wellcome and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Eleonora’s interest in the Tate Exchange lies in her longstanding commitment to exploring the social and cultural value of the arts and of public cultural institutions, and to working collaboratively with artists and professionals in the creative sectors.

Dr Steven Hadley

Dr Steven Hadley is an arts manager, writer and lecturer whose work has taken him around the world to deliver consultancy and training for the cultural sector.

Steven has over 20 years arts marketing and management experience in both the visual and performing arts, most recently as Chief Executive of Audiences NI, the audience development agency for Northern Ireland. He has experience of working with a wide range of arts organisations, funders, local authorities and government departments and recently sat on the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) Ministerial Arts Advisory Forum working to develop a new ten-year strategy for the arts.

Alongside writing for Arts Professional, The Stage, The Conversation and the Journal of Arts Marketing, Steven has delivered training and keynotes at conferences in Spain, Norway, Sweden, Ireland and the Czech Republic. He works with a wide range of clients on both a short-term and ongoing basis in an arts management and consultancy capacity and has most recently been engaged on a long-term contract with NI Opera.

Steven holds an MA, MBA and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. For the past five years he has been lecturer and Module Convenor for Audience Engagement on the MA in Arts Management at Queen’s. Steven was awarded a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast for his research on audience development and the ideological function of democracy in English cultural policy.

Dr Alison Jeffers

Alison Jeffers is a Lecturer in Applied Theatre and Contemporary Performance. Having graduated with degrees in Drama and English from the University of Manchester in 1984 Alison pursued a career in theatre and community arts before completing an MA in Theatre Studies at Leeds University in 1992. This was followed by eleven years of teaching in both further and higher education before embarking on a PhD in 2004 on a studenteship from AHRC as part of In Place of War. Her PhD on refugee theatre in the UK was revised and published as a monograph by Palgrave Macmillan under the title Refugees, Theatre and Crisis: performing global identities in 2010. This book was awarded a TaPRA prize for promising research by an early career rsearcher in 2012.

Alison is a part of the Applied Theatre Research Cluster which builds on Drama at Manchester’s reputation for developing theatre practice and research beyond the University in a variety of education and social contexts.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerri Moriarty is an independent arts consultant. She was one of the artists who marched on the Arts Council demanding more funding and support for community arts in the 1960s. She has continued to work in community arts as well as being an arts consultant, trainer and writer in the UK, Ireland and beyond.

Dr Stephen Pritchard

Stephen Pritchard is a final-year PhD researcher at Northumbria University exploring how activist art and radical social praxis might create spaces for acts of resistance and liberation. The research particularly focuses on interventions which support movements that oppose gentrification, displacement and corporate capitalism and seek creative new approaches to developing radical socialist democracies. His work is deeply rooted in critical theory. His deeply intradisciplinary approach spans urban geography, aesthetics, politics and political theory, cultural policy, economics, decolonisation and border thinking, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theories, sociology, and visual and material cultures.

He has lectured and presented widely including at the Royal Geographical Society Conference 2016, the Association of American Geographers 2016 Conference in San Francisco, Durham University, the University of Warwick, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts and Arts Council England National Office. He was one of a panel of academics consulted in the production of Everyday Creativity: From Great Art and Culture for Everyone to Great Arts and Culture by, with and for Everyone, a radical proposal for rethinking cultural policy for Arts Council England. He also a published academic and an established blogger. Stephen has recently completed his first commission for The Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/hipsters-artists-gentrifying-capitalism.

Stephen is also a Senior Research Assistant in Arts and Humanities at Northumbria University, director of the community arts collective dot to dot active arts, community arts practitioner and activist.

Conor Shields

Conor Shields is chief executive of the Community Arts Partnership. He leads a dedicated team of artists, managers, trainers and co-ordinators, providing advocacy programmes, information and training services and 10 separate community and schools-based arts projects across Northern Ireland.
Conor is a multi-instrumentalist, a sometime poet and film maker and has worked with theatre companies, broadcast media and film, development education and community development agencies, and has facilitated workshops through a range of disciplines in theatres, community settings, schools and prisons. He has helped devise and lead a range of festivals, research projects and development programmes both at home and abroad.

Along the way, he has studied Law, Politics and Voluntary Sector Business Management at London School of Economics, University of Ulster and Cass Business School London respectively.

He is a ministerial appointment to the board of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland as well as the Ministerial Arts Advisory Forum and sits on both the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Intercultural Arts Steering and Community Arts Strategic Review Groups. He has co-chaired the Arts Policy Forum and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) Departmental Monitoring Group (Culture and Arts), is a founding director of Culture Night Belfast, sits on the board of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, having been a co-founder of the ‘Let’s Get It Right’ campaign, and is also a founding steering group member of the #ArtsMatterNI campaign group.

Related Posts

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.