Lessons on Arts Funding Can Be Learnt From City of Culture

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 19 June 2009

Reference: CAL 06/08/09

Northern Ireland can learn lessons from Liverpool, the 2008 City of Culture, on the impact arts funding can have on the whole community. That’s the message from the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure after its two day fact-finding visit to the city.

The Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into funding for the arts in Northern Ireland. During the visit, Members met with local politicians, university researchers, and representatives from the arts sector, as well as visiting key cultural venues in the city.

Committee member Mr Raymond McCartney MLA, said: “The Committee held some very useful discussions with the Lord Mayor and the Leader of Liverpool Council. We discussed the impact on a region of having a strong cultural policy and proper funding for the arts, both in terms of the economy and community regeneration.

“We were particularly impressed with the way Liverpool focused on participation. This meant that the people of the city felt they were part of the cultural expression and had a sense of ownership of the arts in their region. That strategy contributed to closing the gap between the professional arts organisations and community based arts, something which our Committee is looking at as part of its inquiry.”

Mr Ken Robinson MLA, Committee member, said: “We were struck with the enthusiasm and the commitment of the people we met in Liverpool. All of the stakeholders seem to have come together – the politicians, the commercial sector and the grass roots arts organisations – to create a vibrant approach to culture and the arts.

“We saw first hand how investment in the arts can bring positive change to a city and the wider region, and really bring the arts to people in the community. There is also a strong commitment to creating a legacy and a long-term commitment to the arts which is something which our Committee’s inquiry is addressing.”

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