The Arts Council today published its Annual Review 2017-18, recounting many of the highlights of the Year in the Arts in Northern Ireland, supported by Arts Council exchequer funding from the Department for Communities as well as National Lottery funds. 2017-18 represented another outstanding year of accomplishment by artists and arts organisations, working hard against a backdrop of increasing funding pressures to continue to provide the full range of creative activities, from large-scale festivals to local-level community projects.
Our artists, writers and performers promoted Northern Ireland’s creative and cultural reputation abroad at a growing number of high-profile international showcase events, including Womex in Poland and the Jaipur Literary Festival in India. The legacy of Seamus Heaney was honoured with the establishment of the new posts of Children’s Writing Fellow and International Visiting Poetry Fellow in a partnership between the Arts Council and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast.
Twenty up-and-coming artists embarked on the ACES programme, which provides bursaries and career development/mentoring opportunities with professional arts organisations, and we acknowledged the contribution to Northern Ireland’s creative life of four mid-career Major Individual Artists, each of whom were awarded substantial grants to develop a new body of work of lasting value.
The Annual Review 2017-18 reminds us all of the breadth of contribution that a rich creative environment makes to the quality of everyone’s lives in Northern Ireland.