Community Arts Partnership: Connecting Creativity and Community

Community Arts Partnership takes the lead in the promotion, development and delivery of community arts practice in Northern Ireland to affect positive change. We are an independent advocate for community arts and offer the widest possible range of assistance and opportunity to get creative and engage in community-based arts activity.

Our Approach

Our vision is to see the emergence of a just, inclusive, peaceful and creative society, where difference is welcomed and participation is valued.

We have a two-fold approach to arts development: firstly, supporting access and participation by seeking to affect policy through advocacy and leadership and secondly, promoting authorship and ownership through the active engagement in projects and programmes.



Community Arts Partnership secures public and trust/foundation funding to not only offer a core workshop programme free of charge to groups/communities/schools with limited resources for arts activities, but to maintain operations across a range of areas including advocacy, information and support services, training, research and local and international networking. CAP can also offer tailor-made creative programmes and consultancy on a fee basis. Of course, we run the ARC as well, an affordable, dedicated community arts space for you and your organisation. Check out the ARC page for further details.

Community Arts Works

Community art is a process of harnessing the transformative power of original artistic expression and producing a range of outcomes: artistic, social, cultural and environmental.

Looked at politically, socially, culturally and/or economically, community arts aim to establish and maximise inclusive ways of working, providing an opportunity for communities and their participants to continue to find ways to develop their own skills as artists and for artists to explore ways of transferring those skills.

Through this process, community arts aim to maximise the access, participation, authorship and ownership in collective arts practice.

In community arts, enabling people to be artists and as such empowering the creative ability to reflect and create is key. Then, as the definition runs, this can be applied to a range of circumstances and potentials.  Because of this ability, community arts can reach and support people where they are.  It is not encumbered by predetermined artistic ritual or history, or value judgements about good and bad.  There is real autonomy in the process and it can offer those, particularly those on the margins, an attractive, engaging and highly productive way to express that requires no more than their active willingness to take part.

It’s a right, not a luxury

The inalienable human right (UNDHR 1948, Article 27) to participate in the cultural life of our society is the bedrock of our determination to see the arts, in their fullest expression, be harnessed to support the needs of the widest possible interests in Northern Ireland, but particularly those on the margins, whose voice is sometimes hard to hear but whose need to be heard is all the more profound

Community arts holds a unique place in the relationship between professional art making, community expression and arts and audience development. Community arts, a radical, empowering and transformative agent of change, is able to support the widest artistic and community developmental needs through programme and discourse, that illustrate, illuminate, educate and entertain..

We define community as: a group or network of persons who are connected to each other by a relatively stable set of social relations that extends beyond immediate family or genetic ties, and who mutually define that relationship as important to their social identity and practice. Phew, that’s what the text book might say, but you and I know means to belong.

And of course, these relationships don’t necessarily have to be in the physical world – increasingly now, we are members of on-line or virtual communities where we are united relationally by a set of ideas, or notions and affiliations that spring from them

So, welcome to our new online community. Get involved in projects, or the Directory.

Join us and enjoy

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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.