Trust Developing New Income Streams for Arts & Culture
Arts & Business NI's Mary Nagele and the Trust's Nigel McKinney.

Trust Developing New Income Streams for Arts & Culture

23 October 2015

Everyone in the sector will be acutely aware that these are very challenging times for arts and cultural organisations in Northern Ireland. Within the context of cuts in public funding and increasing competition for discretionary spend it is imperative that we look at how to maintain and grow our valuable contribution and meet our ambitions for the future.

Arts & Business NI advocate the importance of a mix of public and private investment in the Arts and are passionately committed to supporting the sector in finding the capacity to grow and develop in these challenging times.

We are therefore really pleased to be working with the Building Change Trust on a research and policy project examining alternative sources of financing for arts and cultural organisations. 

The project will consider how arts and cultural organisations might generate additional income from existing work or develop new income streams and the sorts of investment needed to support this. This investment might take a variety of forms.

Examples include: community share issues, loans to ease bumps in cash-flow, pre-funding of fundraising, profit sharing arrangements which provide up front capital for new developments, and crowd funding, amongst others.

Nigel McKinney, Director of Operations, Building Change Trust commented: “This project is part of the Trust’s Social Finance theme exploring new forms of investment, finance and support to create a more sustainable Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector.

"We are delighted to be working with Arts & Business NI to explore the potential of social investment to finance the activity of the arts and cultural sector in Northern Ireland".

Mary Nagele, CEO of Arts & Business NI commented “with the current pressures and problems around core funding to Arts in NI, we need to look to a mix of public and private funding. We are delighted to be working with Building Change Trust on this important research.

This research will look at initiatives in other regions such as the Arts Impact Fund and explore the potential to create such a fund for the Arts in NI considering hybrid models of social loans, public and private funding”.

The project, which is being delivered by Small Change Northern Ireland will generate recommendations on the actions needed to help arts and cultural organisations survive and prosper into the future. 

At a series of consultation events (see details below) we will explore:

a) Current issues and challenges in the funding environment for arts and cultural organisations in Northern Ireland.

b) Alternative forms of finance and their potential to help address these issues and challenges.

c) Barriers to the use of alternative forms of finance in this context.

We are keen to ensure we consult widely with the NI arts and cultural sector and would encourage attendance from arts professionals at one of the Consultation events being hosted across NI: 

  • Monday 6 November 2015, Marketplace Theatre Armagh 2pm-5pm
  • Tuesday 10 November 2015, The Playhouse Theatre, Derry-Londonderry 2pm-5pm
  • Thursday 12 November 2015, The MAC Belfast 10am – 1pm 

If you would like to attend one of these consultation events you can attend and rsvp to Sarah Mackey at