INQUIRY INTO CULTURAL TOURISM AND THE ARTS
PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY
BELFAST: THE STATIONERY OFFICE
SESSION 2001/2002 FIRST REPORT
Ordered by The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure to be printed 23 May 2002
Report: 01/01 R (Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure)
COMMITTEE FOR CULTURE, ARTS AND LEISURE
VOLUME 3 -WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS RELATING TO THE REPORT
COMMITTEE FOR CULTURE, ARTS AND LEISURE:
MEMBERSHIP AND POWERS
The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure is a Statutory Departmental Committee established in accordance with paragraphs 8 and 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement and under Standing Order No 46 of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Committee has a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, and has a role in the initiation of legislation.
The Committee has power to:
- consider and advise on Departmental budgets and Annual Plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
- approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee Stage of relevant primary legislation;
- call for persons and papers;
- initiate inquiries and make reports;
- consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure.
The Committee was established on 29 November 1999 with 11 members, including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, and a quorum of five.
The membership of the Committee is as follows:
- Mr Eamonn ONeill (Chairperson)
- Mrs Mary Nelis (Deputy Chairperson)
- Dr Ian Adamson
- Mr Fraser Agnew
- Mr Ivan Davis
- Mr David Hilditch
- Mr John Kelly (replaced Mr Barry McElduff with effect from 4 February 2002)
- Mr Kieran McCarthy
- Mr Eugene McMenamin
- Mr Jim Shannon
- Mr Jim Wilson
The Report and Proceedings of the Committee have been published by the Stationery Office by order of the Committee. All publications of the Committee have been posted on the Northern Ireland Assembly website: www.ni-assembly.gov.uk
All correspondence should be addressed to the Clerk to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland Assembly, Room 424, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX. Tel: (028) 9052 1574; Fax (028) 9052 1063; e-mail: email@example.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS
VOLUME 3 - Written Submissions
Written Submissions Page
ANNEX 1 - North of Ireland Band Association
ANNEX 2 - Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association
ANNEX 3 - Castleward Opera
ANNEX 4 - Lyric Theatre
ANNEX 5 - Brain Waddell Productions Ltd
ANNEX 6 - Additional submission from Brian Waddell Productions Ltd
ANNEX 7 - Cinemagic Film Festival
ANNEX 8 - Northern Ireland Film Commission
ANNEX 9 - Belfast Public Libraries
ANNEX 10 - Linen Hall Library
ANNEX 11 - Environment Heritage Service
ANNEX 12 - Centre for Migration Studies
ANNEX 13 - Glass Ceiling Theatreworks
ANNEX 14 - Museums & Galleries of Northern Ireland
ANNEX 15 - School of Archaeology & Palaoecology
ANNEX 16 - Ulster Historical Foundation
ANNEX 17 - Omagh District Council
ANNEX 18 - Gael-Linn
ANNEX 19 - Irish Genealogy Ltd
ANNEX 20 - Belfast Festival at Queens
ANNEX 21 - Feile an Phobail
ANNEX 22 - National Trust
ANNEX 23 - Antrim Borough Council
ANNEX 24 - Independent Professional Theatre Group
ANNEX 25 - Belfast City Council
ANNEX 26 - Ards Borough Council
ANNEX 27 - Lisburn Borough Council
ANNEX 28 - Down District Council
ANNEX 29 - Ultach Trust
ANNEX 30 - Arts & Business for Northern Ireland
ANNEX 31 - Ballymena Borough Council
ANNEX 32 - Northern Ireland Hotels Federation
ANNEX 33 - Arts Council of Northern Ireland
ANNEX 34 - Additional Submission from Arts Council of Northern Ireland
ANNEX 35 - Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
ANNEX 36 - The Nerve Centre
ANNEX 37 - The Genealogy Centre
ANNEX 38 - The University of Ulster
ANNEX 39 - The North West Archaeological & Historical Society
ANNEX 40 - Northern Ireland Tourist Board
ANNEX 41 - Additional submission from Northern Ireland Tourist Board
NORTH OF IRELAND BANDS' ASSOCIATION
4 March 2001
1. I am submitting written evidence on behalf of the North of Ireland Bands' Association (NIBA).
2. Founded in March 1907, the North of Ireland Bands' Association represents approximately 80 bands (accordion, brass, concert and flute) from all over Northern Ireland and from County Donegal. The Association is non-political and non-sectarian.
3. The object of the Association is to promote the knowledge of music amongst its members by holding band contests and in such other ways as may be considered appropriate from time to time. The NIBA organises the Championship of Ireland Bands Contest (including the World Championship for flute bands) in October each year in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, and its affiliated Leagues organise various 'own choice' and entertainment contests at a variety of venues throughout Northern Ireland.
4. Apart from its main role in relation to the organising of band contests, the Association assists District Councils with the organisation of outdoor band concerts in public parks, town centres and at seaside venues.
5. The Association's contests regularly attract a number of bands and their supporters from Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. More bands could be encouraged to participate if greater prize money were on offer or if the Association were in a financial position to provide assistance with travel costs. The Arts Council or the Northern Ireland Tourist Board could perhaps offer some financial assistance for this purpose.
European Brass Band Championships
6. Currently the NIBA is investigating the possibility of attracting the European Brass Band Championships to Belfast in 2004. This would have major tourist implications, attracting bands and their followers from 15 or 16 countries throughout Europe.
7. In achieving its main objective, the European Brass Band Association has undertaken to promote brass bands throughout Europe through the planning, organisation and supervision of the annual European Brass Band Championships.
8. Belfast has not previously hosted this competition (or any other major national or international brass band event). It is likely that the EBBA will look favourably on any application from Northern Ireland, as they are keen to attract new countries and cities who wish to host the European Brass Band Championships. The stature of the event demands a major venue (ideally a concert hall with 2000 capacity) and Belfast's Waterfront Hall would be an ideal venue for the event. Belfast would be easily accessible and the recent increase in quality hotel accommodation in Belfast would further facilitate visiting bands and their supporters.
9. The NIBA and its affiliated leagues assist District Councils with the organisation of outdoor band concerts at Christmas and throughout the summer months. These concerts which are held in public parks, town centres and by the seaside are a considerable attraction to tourists and visitors to Northern Ireland and help to reflect the culture of the Province.
10. However, given the unsettled weather conditions which prevail in Northern Ireland and the above average rainfall, these events are often washed out. Covered bandstands do exist but these are often very old and badly sited resulting in most of the performances having to take place in the open air. A great opportunity exists to provide covered accommodation for bands and also covered viewing areas for audiences. If grants were made available to Local Authorities for this purpose outdoor covered arenas could be provided in parks or by the seaside. These could also be used for various musical and other cultural activities and would allow visitors to be entertained even during inclement weather.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
11. Until recently bands gave regular performances and held contests at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The museum no longer has the resources to finance such ventures. It would be beneficial to bands, the museum and tourism if additional funding could be made available to the museum to finance band performances from time to time over the summer months.
Parades, Pageants and Cultural Presentations
12. Bands take part in parades, pageants and cultural presentations which offer visitors and others an insight into the various cultural traditions of Northern Ireland. If increased funding were made available to the various organisations staging such events quality bands could be hired and the undesirable elements which sometimes take part in such activities could be eliminated with huge savings in policing costs etc.
1. Grants should be made available by the Arts Council/Tourist Board to the NIBA to help finance band contests which attract overseas visitors.
2. The necessary support should be made available to the NIBA to ensure that the European Brass Band Championship is staged in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast in 2004.
3. Additional funding should be made available to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum to allow band performances to re-commence at that venue.
4. Grants should be made to Local Authorities to help finance the building of suitable outdoor covered bandstands and viewing areas.
5. Funding should be made available to organisers of parades, pageants and cultural presentations to enable them to hire quality bands.
The Executive Committee of the North of Ireland Bands' Association has expressed a desire to be invited to present oral evidence.
W J CLEMENTS
royal scottish pipe band association
northern ireland branch (nib)
1. Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch, formed in 1950.
2. Largest branch in the world, with 96 competing bands on registration.
3. Organises and runs "Sole Piping and Drumming Contests"; "Quartet Piping and Drumming Contests"; Indoor "Mini Pipe Band" Contests and Outdoor "Full Pipe Band Contests".
4. Has the most advanced piping and drumming school in the world.
5. Our bands have won the World Championships in Grades 4b through to Grade 2 many times and Grade 1 twice.
6. Our Drum Majors have dominated world competition for years holding all championships, which include Ulster, All Ireland, British, Scottish, European, Cowal, Worlds, Australian, New Zealand and South African.
Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch (NIB)
1. The above branch was formed 51 years ago, it covers all six counties, to assist with administration it has four sections Co. Antrim, Co. Down, Co. Fermanagh, and Mid Ulster.
2. The NIB is the largest branch in the world with 96 competing bands in registration. There are approximately 2000 musicians in the branch and these are backed up by about 200 plus voluntary workers; we have no full time workers and no offices.
3. All pipe band contests throughout the world are held in accordance with RSPBA rules; the different pipe band leagues and associations around the world are affiliated to the RSPBA and abide by their contest rules. These leagues and associations include Canada, USA, Irish Pipe Band Association, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe etc.
4. The NIB organise each year approximately 4 solo piping, 1 quartet piping and 5 mini band contests and these are held in the early part of the year at indoor venues, from the last Saturday in May until the full band outdoor contests start. The Sections are each allocated on Saturday for Section Championships.
5. The branch runs at least 4 contests each year always visiting Bangor, Newcastle and Portrush. Other contests move their venues around NI.
6. The most prestigious of these is the Ulster Championship (held annually) and the bi-annual All Ireland Championship, which is held in the ROI and NI year about under the direction of a "Joint Association Committee".
7. In Scotland, most outdoor contests are enlarged into Highland Gatherings, which includes Athletics, Heavy Sports, Highland Dance and, of course, bands. There are five major Championships each year when no other contest can be held. These include the European, the Scottish, the British, the Worlds and the Cowal. The Cowal and the World attract crowds between 40, 000 and 60,000.
8. In Europe the two main events, which include other sorts of music are in Lorraine, Brittany, which lasts for 4 days, and Aiden Biesen lasting 1 week. These attract hundreds of thousands of spectators.
9. In 2000, the Italian festival at Viareggio included a NI band for the first time and repeated this again in 2001. This year, the band will also travel to Nice and take part in a festival there for the first time.
10. All down the years we have tried to enthuse the NI Tourist Board as to the potential of Pipe Band contests or gatherings but have never been able to get their full support to sell, package or publicize our events to the extent that we would have liked.
11. The Glenarm Estate in 2000 staged the World Championships of the Highland Heavy Sports over several days. Our bands took part but we were unable to fit in another Saturday contest. Nevertheless it is our understanding that this event attracted 44,000 spectators.
12. As well as contests, the branch runs the NI festival of Piping and Drumming annually at Ballyearl, Newtownabbey. A sub-committee of the branch runs the Piping and Drumming School, which is second to none in the world. We feel a summer school could be organised to attract overseas pupils and visitors.
13. There is such a huge potential for tourism and we have no staff to develop this ourselves. It is the opinion of the branch that funds should be made available to pay for a professional firm of researchers to carry out an in-depth survey of all our assets and draw up a development plan to promote our movement in all its aspects. I can assure you the NIB would cooperate fully in any such scheme.
14. I have been a member of the NIB since 1968,during that time I have held a great many posts with the branch, most notably treasurer for 10 years, vice chairman for 4 years and chairman for the past 14 years to date and I would gladly take part in talks with anyone at any time to further the cause of our culture and pipe music which we in the movement all love.
W J CROZIER
9 March 2001
1. Castleward Opera is Northern Ireland's only Opera Company. We use professional singers and orchestra with our own amateur chorus. Locally based professionally trained singers perform suitable roles. For most major roles we use overseas based singers but give preference to performers of Northern Ireland or Ireland origin.
2. Regrettably we have insufficient information on our audience make up to enable us to make as comprehensive a reply as we would wish. This summer we intend to rectify this deficiency, so at a later stage we should be able to supply additional evidence.
3. Castleward Opera offers a unique experience, which has proved to be extremely popular with visitors. Each year we present two opera seasons and a series of other events.
- A summer season in June at Castle Ward, the National Trust property near Downpatrick. Usually we have a total of 18 performances of two operas.
- A winter season in the Grand Opera House.
- This year we will present a series of concerts throughout the province, with varying appeal eg Harry Ramsdens in March and November 2001.
4. We believe that opera in general and Castleward Opera in particular can make a useful contribution to the development of tourism in Northern Ireland. Although Opera is a minority interest, tourists attending operatic performances tend to come from groups, which produce the highest daily spend and therefore the greatest benefit per tourist to the local economy. The general impression created by Castleward Opera is one of well-being and is a perfect counter to the normal world image of Northern Ireland.
5. Tourists attending operatic performances fall into two main categories,
- Operatic Tourists whose main reason for coming is to attend the opera. We have quite a number of people who come from the Republic to attend our performances. Some of these stay overnight and the Portaferry Hotel in particular offer weekend packages. Although we have evidence of some people coming from further afield, this category would only be attracted if the operas performed were not part of the standard repertoire. Wexford Opera has built up a very successful Festival on the basis of presenting non-standard works. Unfortunately the Northern Ireland opera going public is extremely conservative. They prefer standard works and we therefore incur a severe financial penalty at the box office when we perform little known works.
- Tourists interested in opera who have been attracted to Northern Ireland for other reasons but are looking for entertainment. As opera is primarily a musical experience, foreign tourists, unfamiliar with the English language can enjoy it as much as locals can.
6. Unfortunately opera is a very expensive art form. We receive financial support from the Arts Council, business sponsors and Down District Council but none from any tourist source since 1997 when new guide lines were adopted by the Tourist Board. We would be happy to explore with local tourist organisations, hotels etc, the possibility of promoting cultural tourism.
1.1 introduction to the lyric theatre
The Lyric Theatre is Northern Ireland's leading producer of professional drama, and enjoys a central role in the country's arts infrastructure.
The theatre celebrates its 50th birthday this year with its history firmly rooted in the heart of the community.
The Lyric Players began life in the home of their founder, Mary O'Malley in 1951, before moving to the present purpose-built theatre, overlooking the River Lagan, in 1968. It was the only theatre in Belfast to remain open throughout the political unrest of the early 70s and is fondly remembered by thousands of locals who attended their first live performances here, grew up attending an extraordinary variety of plays, and now bring their own children to enjoy its productions. The Lyric played a crucial role in the careers of playwrights and actors such as Stewart Parker, Marie Jones, Gary Mitchell, Stella McCusker, Ciaran Hinds, Adrian Dunbar, Kenneth Branagh and Liam Neeson, who is currently the theatre's patron.
1.2 recent developments
In the last five years, the Lyric has seen a huge increase in its activities at all levels, including national and international touring, distinguished guest artists and productions, play commissions, a wide range of youth theatre activity and the introduction of a community education and outreach programme.
Last year the Lyric was awarded the Irish Times/ESB Theatre Awarded for 'Best Company'.
Other new initiatives include the establishment of a company of associate artists: actors, playwrights, directors and designers; the fostering of co-productions with distinguished colleagues and companies; and the Lyric Touring Partnership which will see the theatre increase touring throughout the North and South of Ireland.
The Lyric has recently appointed an Education Officer with the aim of expanding access, education and outreach opportunities, and developing an even stronger audience base for the future.
The newly formed Education Office has been forging new relations with secondary schools throughout Northern Ireland in its Affiliate Schools Programme and has seen membership steadily increase, with 52 schools currently enrolled in the programme that entitles them to study guides (tailored to syllabus requirements), press packs, posters and brochures, classroom workshops, discounted tickets, priority notice on shows, and free preview tickets for teachers.
A Schools Liaison Committee has been initiated, with the purpose of advising the Lyric of current educational practice and new relevant documentation, providing suggestions for programming suited to schools' needs and a forum for the committee to advise the theatre of their opinions and concerns. The members of the committee include teachers and drama advisors, members of curriculum councils and Education and Library Boards, as well as others who are integral to the education system. By establishing this collaborative process, the Lyric can explore a wider range of teaching possibilities and make informed decisions that deliver consistently higher educational value.
The office is also developing initiatives for funding, including a project aimed at disadvantaged primary schools; particularly at children who are not achieving their true potential. A second proposal is secondary school based and will involve after-school workshops tailored to the needs of our Affiliate Schools.
- The Drama Studio - the amateur branch of theatre enthusiasts who come to the Lyric to share in the satisfaction of performing plays.
- Youth Lyric - classes in theatre provided for children from the age of 5. Youth Lyric enrolment is currently at 650 and is the largest theatre school in Northern Ireland.
- Queen's University Belfast (QUB) Drama Department - Queen's maintains a specific link with the Lyric for the mutual interest of education in the arts; the theatre provides space, occasional tuition, access to professional expertise, and opportunities to observe and intern on professional productions during the school year. Recently a group of third year students rehearsed and performed their assessed practical module in our rehearsal rooms. In the current semester, four students from third year will be completing their work placements in the theatre and all first year students participated in a series of lectures/workshops that orientated them to the theatre and basic theatrical practice. Queen's students also benefit from the range of ticket discounts that are afforded to all members of our Affiliate Schools programme.
- Affiliate Schools - currently 52 schools have joined this programme that establishes more effective links with the student population of Northern Ireland. Member schools and their representatives enjoy direct, personalised one-to-one communication with the Lyric through the Education Officer, and receive individual attention and feedback in a hands-on, working relationship geared to their particular needs.
- The theatre currently provides tours to groups. This is targeted at schools and tourists via our website.
2. current relationship between arts and tourism
The Lyric's productions are currently promoted through the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau guides, Belfast City Council website and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Tourist Information sites. There are limited communication channels between arts and tourism strategic planners.
Communication and information exchange are carried out in an unplanned way. Currently the arts and tourism sector are working as individuals instead of alongside one another for a common goal.
3. market needs
There are two specific markets that have been identified as developmental areas within a cultural tourism strategy:
- Children and young people.
- Tourists - domestic and international.
4. potential new arts products
Potential projects that could be developed:
- Information Technology: Integrated websites - links from arts venues, tourist information and local council websites.
- Cultural Tours: Visitors could travel around Northern Ireland on a cultural tour. Signage and maps could point out areas of interest, similar to those currently on display for historic sites and places of interest.
- A Cultural Festival which would take place in the summer months, for example, August, would attract visitors at a domestic, national and international level. The Festival would showcase work from all arts disciplines, potentially involve workshops and specific interests for children and young people, and could be marketed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and regional tourist organisations.
- A Cultural Young Persons Camp for the summer months. There are currently several sports programmes that operate for children and young people over the summer months. These children and young people benefit from a broad introduction and participation in sport. This model could equally be applied to the Arts, where children and young people would attend a cultural programme gaining an insight and learning new skills through the performing arts, film, literature, music and visual arts.
Research could be undertaken to pin-point exactly what visitors requirements are in terms of cultural products and services that could be supplied.
Communication and participation from planners within all arts disciplines and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and other relevant tourist organisations is critical to the development of a sound Cultural Tourism strategy. Stronger links need to be forged between these groups to form a forum for planning and a pro-active and refined approach to cultural tourism.
brian waddell productions limited
Brian Waddell Productions Limited (BWPL) is Northern Ireland's longest established independent production company (company profile and selected credits included), providing up to eighty hours of broadcast television in a year. With an already high profile as a leading television production company, specialising in leisure/lifestyle programming, the company has been developing film and television drama for the past five years but is yet to be rewarded with a major commission.
Little in the modern era attracts tourists in greater numbers than a popular, long-running television series - the Yorkshire Dales of James Herriot's 'All Creatures Great and Small' in the 70s, Inspector Morse's Oxford in the 80s, the North-West of England in 'Heartbeat' in the 90s . were all hugely successful tourist promotions for their areas. Coach trips to the real-life Wicklow towns of 'Glenroe' and 'Ballykissangel' have cashed in on the popularity of the series which gave them their fictional names.
Sadly, Northern Ireland has yet to benefit from the 'Sunday night drama' treatment. Imagine the tourist appeal of the Glens of Antrim or Strangford Lough, if they were to appear as the backdrop to a successful television series. Film can have a similarly positive effect, of course - 'Ryan's Daughter', 'The Quiet Man', 'The Field' - but television is the stronger medium in tourist terms.
Why has Northern Ireland failed to produce a television drama series that falls into this category? It is certainly not for a want of stunning locations, nor for the hard work, honest endeavour and financial investment that companies like our own have contributed.
The cold fact is that the image of Northern Ireland in the UK and international consciousness is still blighted by stories of bomb explosions, soldiers on the streets and terrorists lurking around every corner. The hard news stories that still emanate from here make it difficult to sell the softer rural image, which is an equally authentic part of Northern Ireland life and towards which these popular series are inclined.
London-based decision-makers, responsible for commissioning network programming, tend to think of Northern Ireland and its television producers as parochial and lacking in experience. Because of our geographical situation, our contact with them tends to be on a pre-arranged appointment basis, when it is far more difficult to break down those perceptions than it would be if our paths crossed naturally and informally.
A third consideration is that, in common with the film industry, the television business suffers greatly in comparison with the Republic of Ireland. Section 35 (now Section 481) tax breaks lured not only films like 'Saving Private Ryan' to the South, they also attracted successful series like 'The Hanging Gale', 'The Ambassador', 'Ballykissangel' and 'Amongst Women', all made by BBC Northern Ireland's own drama department. The appeal of these tax breaks is now married to an extremely attractive exchange rate, which makes Northern Ireland appear, by comparison, extremely expensive.
How can these barriers be overcome? We have some working examples drawn from our own experience of television drama development.
Some time ago, we developed a network drama series with BBC Northern Ireland, entitled 'Stranger'. It focused on the RUC in a rural location and in a post-ceasefire scenario. It came very close to being commissioned. It attempted, successfully, to tread a path between acknowledging the Troubles as a historical context and complying with the standard rules of drama. It featured some wonderful locations in South Down, the Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough and would have attracted an excellent cast of bankable names.
Our own initial treatment got us over the first hurdle - interest and financial commitment by the BBC to the development process. A grant of £200,000 from the Lottery Fund went some way towards crossing the third hurdle - production. However, in spite of a number of scripts having been written and storylines agreed, we fell at the second hurdle.
The commissioning editor in London turned down the project and awarded the finance to a BBC Wales production, which proved an unmitigated disaster and was not recommissioned. A devolved parliament lobbying for greater representation of Northern Ireland on the terrestrial networks might have tipped the scales in our favour.
Recently, we have been developing another network drama series with BBC Northern Ireland. Under the working title 'The Receiver' it was set in a fishing village on the County Down coast, with a series of gritty storylines and a cast of interesting characters. The writer was chosen by the BBC on the basis of his excellent credentials in series like 'Ballykissangel', 'Where the Heart Is' and 'Monarch of the Glen'. We have just received the disappointing news that the chief commissioning editor in London has turned down this project, thereby necessitating yet another return to the drawing board in the quest for the elusive 'something different' that we are being asked to come up with. As there has yet to be a television drama series based in Northern Ireland and focusing on Northern Ireland life, it is difficult to gauge what is behind the thinking.
The company is also active in the area of film development, where similar restrictions in terms of funding and perception are regularly encountered. We are receiving ongoing development funding from the Northern Ireland Film Commission for two feature films, which have been on our slate for some time. Against that, we have applied, unsuccessfully, for funding from the European Media 2 scheme, the new Film Council in London, the now-defunct British Screen and the Irish Film Board. We have taken part in Arista's Media-backed Story Editors Workshop and have secured limited development money from MIDA (Moving Image Development Association) in Liverpool. We currently have an application with the Children's Film and Television Foundation in England.
Thus, we continue to cast our net far and wide in the hope of gaining support. But competition is fierce and our own experience limited. For all our credits in television programming, we do not have a track record in film making, a fact which constantly mitigates against us in the quest for financial backing.
Meanwhile, we are pressing ahead with our two feature films. They are: 'The Representative', a contemporary, adult thriller, and 'The Power Stone', a film for family audiences, which moves between the modern world and the days of the ancient legends of Ulster.
Film development is a long, often-painful and costly process, demanding patience, passion, dedication and tenacity. It is a minefield of trial and error, mainly because indigenous feature film making is still very much a fledgling industry here. As with television, we do not benefit from the tax breaks available to our colleagues in the South and there is, as yet, no tradition in whose footsteps we can follow. Every step of the process has to be financed in turn and the number of organisations willing or able to augment our own contribution, in terms of financial support, professional guidance and advice, is limited.
Film-making is an activity which has enormous benefits for the wider community. All our projects, past and present, have been acknowledged as being of high commercial and dramatic quality; they would have been shot mainly in the North of Ireland, thus creating employment, training, tourism and economic spin-offs. In addition to the difficulties involved in raising hard cash, it is also necessary to find the means to build up a profile for and an awareness of film-making in the North, so that we can generate a more positive and receptive response from international funding bodies and distributors.
In tourism terms, the value of home-produced film and drama is enormous. 'The Power Stone' was inspired by a visit to the Navan Centre in County Armagh, where some of its location shooting will be undertaken. It also carries an 'Irish roots' theme, focusing on an annual clan gathering, bringing people back to Northern Ireland from all corners of the world. Half of the film is set in the modern world, thus highlighting the natural beauties of Northern Ireland today; the other half goes back thousands of years, to pre-Celtic times and to the rich mythology of the ancient province of Ulster, which continues to exert a fascination overseas.
'The Representative' is a hard-edged genre thriller, set between the cities of Belfast and Liverpool and examining the fall-out of thirty years of the Troubles upon a young man. The Belfast scenes will capture the new-look, modern city, the riverside developments and the bustle of the university area. The film consciously promotes an unfamiliarly glossy, positive image of Belfast to international cinema audiences.
Beyond film and drama, we have produced a number of television series, with huge potential in the area of tourism. 'Gourmet Ireland', for instance, has been broadcast all over the world, from Japan to Malta, and has an all-Ireland approach. We are also developing a new series for the BBC on the subject of genealogy, which clearly has a significant role to play in the area of cultural tourism. This series is aimed exclusively at a BBC Northern Ireland audience, but, had the will and the finance been available, its obvious sales potential to America and Australia could have been developed, thereby offering additional tourism spin-off.
Northern Ireland-produced programming is hugely under-represented on all the main UK terrestrial networks. As well as stunting the growth of our own television production industry, it also means that significantly fewer images of Northern Ireland appear on UK screens. Thus, the tourism potential is drastically diluted. All broadcasters are acutely aware of the need to represent the Nations and Regions on their channels and quotas and initiatives have been put in place. The reality, however, is that these moves are not translating into an upturn in programming from Northern Ireland. We submit that the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee should take it upon itself to lobby for a fair representation of locally-produced programming across the television networks.
Brian Waddell Productions Limited (BWPL) is one of Ireland's leading independent television production company. It was founded in 1988 by Brian Waddell, who, for twelve years, was director of programmes at Ulster Television, where he worked for twenty-eight years. He now oversees the production of about eighty hours of broadcast television each year.
The company has its own camera crews and other technical facilities, dedicated to in-house production, and is based in purpose-built studios in Holywood, County Down, installed with edit suites and the latest technology.
In 1996, the company acquired DBA Television, the distinguished Belfast-based documentary makers. Brian Waddell is also chairman of two associated companies - Yellow Moon Limited, a non-linear post-production facility house, and Network Ireland Limited, an international distribution company based in Dublin.
The company has an impressive list of award-winning regional, network and satellite programme credits and, over the years, has built up an enviable reputation for high-quality leisure and lifestyle series, children's programmes and documentaries.
Among those credits are three BBC network series of GOURMET IRELAND, with top chefs Paul and Jeanne Rankin, first produced in 1993 and continuing to be screened all over the world; four DIY and home improvement series for the BBC network; three series of POT LUCK, a studio based cookery games show for RTE; three series of THE VIBE, Channel 4's weekly entertainment show for deaf and hearing teenagers; two series of OPENING NIGHTS, an all-Ireland weekly arts programme; PERIOD ROOMS, an antiques games show for Channel 5; two specially commissioned series for TV3; three BBC series of THE RANKIN CHALLENGE, with Paul Rankin on the road around Britain and Ireland (third series, CELEBRITY RANKIN CHALLENGE, about to screen); LISA LOOKS BACK, a five-part history-based drama series for Channel 4 Schools; TEN OF THE BEST, a forty-programme cookery series for Carlton Food Network.
Many of its single documentaries have also won prestigious awards. Among them are THE YEAR OF THE HARP, a profile of Irish composer Shaun Davey; RED, WHITE AND BLUE, Belfast playwright Gary Mitchell's study of the Ulster Protestant psyche; FESTIVAL VIRGIN and THE QUEEN'S JOOLS, individual diaries of the Belfast Festival at Queen's with Margi Clarke and Jools Holland; BASEBALL IN IRISH HISTORY, a hard-hitting expose of punishment beatings for Channel 4; AND THE WINNER IS . behind the scenes of Northern Ireland's dance, music and drama festivals; PUT TO THE TEST, a narrative examination of the annual Transfer Test examination for 11-year old children, which won the 1998 RTS Award for best regional documentary; FROM RUSSIA - FOR OMAGH, a unique live performance by the celebrated Kirov Chorus in the town of Omagh, a year after the bomb tragedy. The latter includes a rare interview with Kirov artistic director Maestro Valery Gergiev and won the Silver Screen Award at the 1999 US International Film and Video Festival in Chicago.
The company is very active in the area of film and drama development. Its first major project was STRANGER, a cutting edge network drama series about the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which was developed to an advanced stage in conjunction with BBC Northern Ireland. Currently in development are THE POWER STONE, a feature film for family viewing about a romance between two teenagers, who are transported back to the tumultuous days of the Ulster Cycle of legends; the thriller THE REPRESENTATIVE, a feature film, focusing on the dealings between a young Belfast man and a powerful Liverpool drugs baron; MRS SHAW AND MONTY, a film for television about a young couple who inherit a haunted hotel in the west of Ireland.
The company also has a long, prolific history in the area of corporate video production. Among the many prestige commissions it has successfully completed are for Ulsterbus, ROSPA, the Health and Safety Agency, Northern Bank and the Department of Agriculture.
Further information about the company or its services can be provided by the following members of staff.
J Brian Waddell - Managing Director
Jon-Barrie Waddell - Head of Development
Irene Boyd - Company Secretary
Mark McMaster - Facilities Manager
Richard Williams - Executive Producer
Gillian Hamill - Production Manager
Jane Coyle - Drama + Film Development/Press, PR
Tracie O'Neill - Producer
They can be contacted on the following numbers: Tel: (+44) 028 9042 7646, Fax: (+44) 028 9042 7922, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Selected Programme Credits
1990 - 92
Weekly business/consumer affairs programme - three series
1992 - 93
Weekly arts show, co-produced with Radius Television, Dublin - two series
UTV Live at 6
Twenty hours of inserts for flagship news, current affairs and magazine programme
1993 - 94
Two series of personal comparisons by public figures paired with a close relative
1993 - 96
BBC NI/BBC 1 & 2
Three series of devised cookery and travel programmes, presented by Paul and Jeanne Rankin
1993 - 94
Pacey outdoor games challenge - two series
Crackin' Country 615
Half hour country music shot on location in Nashville, Tennessee
The Queen's Jools
Award-winning diaries of Belfast Festival at Queen's, presented by Jools Holland and Margi Clarke
1994 - 95
Over the Wall
Two series of new format magazine - entertainment show for children
If I Should Die
Series of six half-hour obituaries of living Irish public figures
Room for Improvement
New series on practical DIY/home improvement
1997 & 1999
Two series of new, studio-based cookery games show (73 programmes)
Celebrity Pot Luck
Studio-based cookery games show, pairing celebrities with top Irish chefs
1997, '98, '99
Studio-based weekly teenage drama. Three series
New antique-based games show
1997 & '99
The Rankin Challenge
BBC NI/BBC 1
New cookery challenge show with Paul Rankin - third series commissioned
Lisa Looks Back
Dramatised history series
Six half-hour youth discussions on current issues
A Year at Ballymaloe
Carlton Food Network/RTE
26-part cookery series with celebrity Irish chef Darina Allen
The DIY Show
BBC NI/BBC 2
New 30-programme practical home improvement series (second series in production)
Messrs Tylak & Rooney
Zany alternative comedy/travel series
Celebrity day outings around Ireland
The DIY Show
Second series of practical home improvement show, featuring complete make-over of period house and garden
Celebrity Rankin Challenge
Third series of popular cookery show with top chef Paul Rankin and well known Irish personalities
Ten of the Best
Carlton Food Network
Ten of Ireland's top chefs are invited to present four shows each, in which they prepare, shop for and cook their signature dishes
The Time of My Life
Six prominent figures talk about their memories and life experiences during the 20th century
Built to Measure
Discovery Home & Leisure
A documentary series following the construction of an exclusive development of luxury homes
Selected Single Documentaries
An examination of Irish - French cultural connections
A glimpse behind the scenes at a traditional Irish fleadh (music festival). Winner of Light Entertainment Award at Celtic Film & Television Festival
Class of '59
Following the distinguished careers of undergraduate contemporaries at Queen's University, Belfast
Ulster at War
Mini series about World War II in Northern Ireland
The Year of the Harp
Award-winning documentary following composer Shaun Davey as he created his Concerto for Two Harps
Some Kinds of Everything
Charted the life and career of Dana, since winning Eurovision 25 years previously
Baseball in Irish History
Close up on paramilitary punishment beating for Channel 4 War Cries series
Put to the Test
Fly-on-the-wall narrative on the ordeal of primary school children preparing to sit the Transfer Test. Winner of Royal Television Society Award
Red, White and Blue
Examination of Belfast playwright Gary Mitchell's individual search for a Protestant identity
From Russia - For Omagh
Winner of Silver Screen Award at the US International Film and Video Festival, Chicago - June 2000
Live performance in Omagh by the Chorus of the Kirov Opera of St Petersburgh in memory of the victims of the Omagh bomb. Co production with Landseer Film & Television Productions
And the Winner is .
Behind the scenes at Northern Ireland's music, dance and drama festivals
Additional written submission by:
brian waddell productions limited
1. This submission is made on behalf of Brian Waddell Productions Limited (BWPL), Northern Ireland's longest established independent television production company. BWPL has an excellent reputation for high quality programming, particularly in the areas of leisure/lifestyle, the arts, children and young people's series and factual documentaries. The company is also very active in the growth area of film and drama development. It is these two specific areas on which we have concentrated in our submission and which we would be happy to discuss this morning.
2. The two witnesses are: Richard Williams and Jane Coyle. Richard is a former solicitor, now the company's executive producer, with particular responsibility for legal and business matters. He is the Northern Ireland representative for PACT (the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television). Jane is an arts journalist and critic, who set up the film and drama development unit at BWPL five years ago.
3. We believe that, in terms of cultural tourism, Northern Ireland, with its wealth of natural beauty, has huge potential. Take successful network drama series such as 'Morse', 'All Creatures Great and Small', '2000 Acres of Sky', 'Dangerfield', 'Monarch of the Glen' . which have highlighted the tourism potential of Oxford, the Yorkshire Dales, the Western Isles, Warwickshire and the Scottish Highlands. Yet Northern Ireland has yet to feature as a location on this list. Even 'Ballykissangel', which was made by BBC Northern Ireland, was filmed in County Wicklow.
4. The negative images of the Troubles continue to play a major role in influencing the decisions of programme commissioners and film studio executives, who have been unwilling or unable to put their trust in the viewing potential of original stories coming out of 'the new Northern Ireland'. And geographic location - a flight away from London - also works against us.
5. In contrast to the Republic of Ireland, we do not benefit from tax breaks (as in Section 481 - formerly Section 35) to assist with our production and bring in films and drama series from outside. Thus, the industry is not being given the means to flourish and attract the attendant tourism spin-off.
6. We have two feature films in development - one set in contemporary Belfast, the other set between the Armagh countryside of today and the Ulster legends of pre-Celtic times. And we continue to search for a series to engage the network commissioners, having had two well-advanced series turned down by the BBC.
7. We would appeal to the Committee to lobby for:
i the introduction of financial incentives to encourage both television and film production and generate investment in the infrastructure and training needed to sustain the industry;
ii secure core funding for the Northern Ireland Film Commission, thereby allowing it to extend and focus its activities;
iii political pressure to be brought to bear on television networks, which have failed to represent the face of Northern Ireland outside news and current affairs.
CINEMAGIC FILM FESTIVAL AND TOURISM SECTOR
Status of existing relationship between Cinemagic Film Festival and tourism sector
1. Established relationships with film industry professionals across the UK & Ireland e.g. Chris Cowey/David Rane/Kenneth Branagh
2. Established relationships with film professionals worldwide - Europe;USA
3. Ongoing point of contact for location and material scouting producers
4. Established working networks with colleagues in festivals across Ireland i.e. Dublin, Cork, Galway / Established relationships with festivals worldwide
5. Homegrown Product travelling worldwide
6. Northern Ireland's Cinemagic Festival In the UK
7. Cinemagic 2000 speakers building bridges in the US
8. Cinemagic's employment ethos - Foreign Nationals
1. Established relationships with film industry professionals across the UK and Ireland e.g.
Chris Cowey, the influential executive producer of TOP OF THE POPS attended Cinemagic festival 2000 to deliver a workshop to young enthusiasts. After a very positive Cinemagic/Belfast experience (comprising a tour of the new Oddysey building) Mr Cowey will return to Belfast later this year to shoot one edition of the high profile and long established music programme.
David Rane is a Dublin based producer who first came to Cinemagic as an exhibiting filmmaker in 1993. He has been in touch on a personal as well as professional level since then and last year came back to Belfast with a RTE/Canal plus Irish/French co-production crew to shoot a documentary called "Belfast My Love" directed by an ex - Belfast journalist now based in Paris and involving young people on Cinemagic's outreach project. This documentary has already been sold in Europe and is currently looking for US buyers.
Kenneth Branagh, a frequent visitor to Cinemagic returned to premiere his last year's film "Love's Labours Lost," visiting schools and communities and attracting wide ranging press coverage for cultural film.
2. Established relationships with film professionals worldwide - Europe/USA
Filmmakers from across Europe, USA, Canada come to Northern Ireland each year for the festival with one recipient walking away with a cash prize and the kudos of winning best film of the festival. For most of them it is their first visit to Northern Ireland and a positive introduction to cultural life here. Cinemagic 2000 brought connections of this sort to a pinnacle with the first visit to Northern Ireland by Roy Disney, nephew of Walt and chief executive of Disney. The chief executive of Cinemagic 2000 was also part of a cultural and economic trip to Pittsburgh,USA last year when cinemagic staged a special event screening films from here as well as hosting a masterclass with Hollywood actor Michael Keaton.
Cinemagic 2001will also stage an event as part of the British Council's UK in NY event. This festival is designed to take the best of Northern Ireland cultural projects to New York to promote a vibrant, modern and innovative image of as part a wider contemporary UK.
3. Ongoing point of contact for location and material scouting UK based producers e.g
Michael Hamlyn (producer U2 videos; Priscilla Queen of The Desert etc) former Cinemagic funder under the Paul Hamlyn foundation, returns to his Cinemagic contact regularly on film location scouting expeditions along with his professional colleagues from the UK based film industry - also seeks out new material - (currently making a film based on the life of an Elvis impersonator from Belfast).
4. Established working networks with colleagues in festivals across Ireland i.e. Dublin, Cork & Galway Established relationships with festivals worldwide
Representatives from Cinemagic travel to festivals throughout Ireland bringing our own product for exhibition as well as searching for new material for inclusion in the Cinemagic festival - this includes films and workshop facilitators. Guests travel between festivals on word of mouth.
Each year representatives from Cinemagic are invited to attend festivals and related events including the BAFTA awards (London); The Berlin Film Festival; Cannes; Prix Jeunesse (France); Cinekid (Holland); BUFF (Switzerland); Chiicago and last year Shona McCarthy chief executive of the company was invited to attend the Ishrahan festival in Iran for the first time.
5. Homegrown product travelling worldwide
"The Goldfish Bowl" an 11 minute film made by 25 young people on Cinemagic's film production unit has been on a world tour since its completion in 1999. The film recently won a prize for the best short film at the Auburn Film and Television festival in Australia.
Film product completed as part of Cinemagic's Northern Bank Outreach Project is exhibited on the worldwide web byportal designers Smashin'tv.
Former trainees on Cinemagic's Cinema Management course are currently seeking employment on film related projects in Chicago and Seattle.
Former Cinemagic employees are now working across the sector in jobs including commissioning editor at Film Four; script editing at Granada; Head of TVYP, Edinburgh and researching for New York Film festival.
6. Northern Ireland's Cinemagic's Festival in the UK
With Northern Ireland's Cinemagic festival representing a completely unique brand within the UK, we were approached in 1999 by the network of regional film theatres funded by the BFI to deliver a Cinemagic programme of events in 7 UK cities including Sheffield, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Leicester, Nottingham, Bristol, Dundee and Inverness. As a direct result of this Sheffield went on to instigate its own film event for young people " Showcommotion" which then invited Cinemagic's then Chief Executive, Shona McCarthy, to deliver the key note speech at its inception. Our colleagues in Sheffield are now looking towards Cinemagic as the model for an outreach project as well as advisers to them on a number of queries.
This year for the second year running Cinemagic has been asked to programme an event into the WOW (Writing on the Wall) festival in Liverpool in June. This festival has a strong educational focus and allows us to utilise further UK based contacts who have previously attended Cinemagic in Northern Ireland.
A representative from Cinemagic has been asked to sit in this year's judging panel for the Co-operative Young Filmmakers competition based in Manchester. This event will also take place in June.
Members of the Cinemagic Outreach Team will travel to TS2K in London this year with a view to adapting this government backed training initiative for Northern Ireland. Links with Edinburgh based TVYP will be reaffirmed at the same time.
7. Cinemagic 2000 Conference speakers building bridges in the US
David Kleeman, (Director of the American Centre for Children & Television), and a keynote speaker during last year's Cinemagic conference returned to the states enthused by what he had seen at Cinemagic in Northern Ireland and had this to say in a subsequent letter to The New York Times.
"I had the privilege to participate in the Cinemagic children's media festival there. It was an inspiring event that both celebrated and fostered Northern Ireland's new ways for the next generation........ The underlying message at each event was, Belfast is ready and eager to embrace the new economy...to become the new media hub, merging 21st century technology with the centuries old traditions of Irish storytelling."
8. Cinemagic's employment and placement ethos - foreign nationals
Cinemagic has been active in the development of an 'open house' attitude to students from countries around the world seeking employment experience here in Northern Ireland. Leah McGirr, an Australian who joined Cinemagic as a short term employee in 2000 has now gone on to find employment within the team to deliver Belfast's bid to be European City of Culture 2008.
Another trainee who came to Cinemagic through the Canadian institute has now gone on to find employment within the Arts Council for Northern Ireland's marketing department.
Cinemagic and Cultural Tourism - Potential for the Future
With support and advice to be sought from NITB on all aspects of the potential for development of cultural tourism, Cinemagic proposes:
1. Cinemagic with an existing annual homegrown audience of 15000 young people has the potential to increase overall cinema audiences thus increasing the potential audiences for all cultural activities in the future. The potential for the new First Movies scheme, Cinemagic as the main exhibitor, to increase an already existing annual audience of 15 000 young people as well as making Northern Ireland the national platform for all like minded agencies exhibiting good cultural product. This has the capacity to attract positive national media coverage.
2. Potential for Cinemagic to enhance worldwide International relations - former guests at Cinemagic meet at other national and international festivals and events and good cultural reputation of Northern Ireland spreads via word of mouth e.g international filmmakers who win the coveted prize of the best film at Cinemagic festival often meet up with former winners at other festivals. The will exists to build on this as a renouned strong brand and create a huge awards ceremony around it i.e. 'The Children's Oscars'with the potential to become a 'must be at' international event for the multimedia industry.
3. Opportunity to further and enhance employment possibilities for foreign nationals living here e.g.
Cinemagic uses interpreters for visiting guests; the possibility exists to also provide simultaneous translations of subtitled films for younger or less able audiences as we have seen done to a highly successful degree at Chicago Film Festival - this can also involve the use of celebrity actors automatically increasing audience potential.
4. Cinemagic's strong and well established brand could become a unique selling point to families from outside of Northern Ireland e.g. working with the tourist board Cinemagic could develop a weekend package trip to Belfast during the festival which could incorporate hotel and flight deals as well as tickets to Cinemagic's celebrity opening night charity premiere; opportunities for children to attend celebrity hosted masterclasses and workshops incorporating visits to W5 and the Oddysey and pre-Christmas shopping voucher deals in conjunction with the local business community.
5. Cinemagic conference 2000 speaker Carla Seal-Warner is now interested in working with Cinemagic to develop the festival as a distribution portal for European children's film to travel across North America.
6. Cinemagic would urge NITB to look at the extra cost of international flights to Northern Ireland incurred by the festival in bringing guests from across the world to Northern Ireland.
7. Cinemagic would also work with the tourist board on the development of an essential definitive cultural tourism website.
northern ireland film commission
cultural tourism and the arts
Between 1947 and 1997 five feature films were all or partially made in Northern Ireland. Since 1997 fifteen feature films have been all or partially made in Northern Ireland.
This major growth in activity can be attributed to three factors:
- The 1994 ceasefires.
- Availability of (modest) financial incentives from the Northern Ireland Film Commission and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Funds.
- The focused marketing and promotional activity of the NIFC since 1997.
film and tourism
1. The NIFC firmly believes that the historic exposure of negative images through film, television and print media have been the single largest contributor to the perception problems that the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has faced when marketing Northern Ireland as a tourism product.
The NIFC feels that sustained film and television exposure of Northern Ireland, in all its facets and cultures, offers a major opportunity to alter this negative perception, build confidence of cultural identity within the people of Northern Ireland and develop the identity of Northern Ireland as a tourist destination.
2. The definition of tourism must not be confined to those who visit Northern Ireland for leisure purposes. The activities that generate "commercial tourists" must be given equal weight to those activities that generate leisure tourism.
The fifteen films that have been partially or entirely made in Northern Ireland since 1997 have contributed in excess of £7m in direct spend to the Northern Ireland economy. This has been spent not only on Northern Ireland resident cast, crew, facilities and locations but also on hotel accommodation and in restaurants.
This direct spend from feature films and television drama does not require a large-scale investment from Northern Ireland. Between June 1999 and December 2000 the NIFC's Film Production Fund invested £315,000 in four feature films. This modest investment has returned a direct spend to Northern Ireland of over £3m (a factor of almost ten) in only eighteen months. Sadly the NIFC's Film Production Fund was a single grant of £500,000 from the Peace Programme and is now fully allocated.
While direct spend is an important factor in the tourism benefits of film and television production the real benefits come from leisure tourism driven by a popular film or series. BALLYKISSANGEL has revolutionised the tourism industry in the Republic of Ireland. A large area of the west of Ireland still benefits from the popularity of THE QUIET MAN nearly fifty years after it was released. It is important that Northern Ireland realises the need to be a "film friendly" country that can attract the long running series and major feature films.
film and culture
1. We cannot expect the international film and television industry to produce writers, directors and producers that understand, explore and expose the true identity of Northern Ireland. How often have we seen films and television drama that fails to represent Northern Ireland in a fair and honest light?
The NIFC is fully committed to developing Northern Ireland resident talent so that it can expose our diverse cultures on an international stage. Creative teams are grown and nurtured and the NIFC is in the best position to help resident talent reach its fullest potential in the international film and television industry.
2. Our visual heritage is essential to the cultural education of both our children and to cultural tourists. The NIFC has developed a unique DIGITAL FILM ARCHIVE. This is a searchable database that has fifty-five hours (only 1% of the material held in archives around the world) of film and television from the history of Northern Ireland digitised and ready to be viewed on a computer. These computers are already at six sites around Northern Ireland and one is based in the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.
We invite the Culture Arts and Leisure Committee to view the DIGITAL FILM ARCHIVE and see the archive's potential for itself. The Chairman of the NIFC, Colin Anderson, has written to the Culture Arts and Leisure Committee offering to make a presentation to the Committee on all aspects of the work of the NIFC.
background to the nifc
- The Northern Ireland Film Commission is responsible for the development of the film industry, and film culture, in Northern Ireland.
- The Film Commission was established in 1997 as a result of the findings and recommendations of a review of the (then) NI Film Council commissioned by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI) and the Department of Economic Development (DED). The Film Commission is a company limited by guarantee governed by a Board of eleven directors: five are nominated by government, six by appropriate industry bodies. The Chairman is Colin Anderson OBE, founder and Chairman of the Anderson Spratt advertising group. Lord (David) Puttnam is Honorary President. The company employs fourteen staff in Belfast.
- The Film Commission is now primarily funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), via LEDU (the small business agency). The Film Commission's other funders include UTV, BBC Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Skillset (the National Training Organisation for the audiovisual industry), the International Fund for Ireland, the EU's INTERREG programme, the Training and Employment Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
- This additional funding covers the NIFC's industry training programme; a short film production scheme; and specific marketing and information activities including a cross-border locations database and a digital film archive project. The NIFC has been in receipt of £1.5m of EU Peace Programme funding since 1997: £0.5m has been allocated to the development of 42 feature films and TV drama series; £0.5m has been invested in the production of six feature films in 1999-2000; and £0.5m was allocated to the NIFC's operating and marketing costs from 1997 to 1999.
- The Film Commission is contracted by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) to provide assessment and monitoring services for all film applications to its Lottery Arts Fund. The ACNI has allocated in excess of £3 million to film projects in Northern Ireland, since January 1996, on the recommendation of the NIFC. Some £2.3 million of this has been for production.
- The Film Commission is responsible for distributing revenue funding (from its own grant from DCAL) to five cultural organisations: Queen's Film Theatre in Belfast; the Foyle Film Festival and the Orchard Cinema, managed by the Nerve Centre in Derry; the Cinemagic International Film Festival for Young People; and the Belfast Film Festival. The NIFC's revenue grants to these organisations total £113,000 in 2000-01.
The mission of the Northern Ireland Film Commission is to develop Northern Ireland as an important location for the production of films for cinema and television.
the work of the nifc
The Film Commission has six primary area of activity, all of which are integrated in a unified approach to the development of the audiovisual industry - an industry with the potential to make a positive economic and cultural impact on Northern Ireland.
The six areas of activity are:
1. Marketing to promote Northern Ireland as a base for film production.
2. Film development and production funding.
3. Training for the industry.
4. Location and crew finding and other information services for producers.
5. Film exhibition and media education development.
6. The preservation of the audiovisual heritage of Northern Ireland.
To support the Mission the Northern Ireland Film Commission has six main objectives.
The NIFC will promote awareness of Northern Ireland locations, crews and facilities to producers nationally and internationally, and will promote films produced in Northern Ireland.
The NIFC will make effective use of public funds to support the development and production of films in Northern Ireland and to encourage private sector investment in the industry.
The NIFC will ensure that the training needs of the industry in Northern Ireland are met, and will ensure that producers engage local trainees when appropriate.
The NIFC will develop and provide a comprehensive information service, in print and digitally, on all aspects of film in Northern Ireland and in Europe.
The NIFC will promote the development of cultural cinema and will encourage the study of the moving image and convergent technologies in Northern Ireland.
The NIFC will encourage the preservation of the audiovisual heritage of Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Film Commission is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in Belfast on 26 February 1997, registered number NI 31997. The Northern Ireland Film Commission is governed by a Board of eleven directors.
Five of these directors, including the Chair, are nominated jointly by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).
One of the DCAL/DETI nominees is from UTV and one is from BBC Northern Ireland.
The other six directors are nominated by the following bodies:
British Screen Finance* (BSF): UK Film Finance Company
British Film Commission* (BFC): UK National Film Commission
British Film Institute (BFI): UK Cultural Film Agency
Skillset: UK Industry Training Organisation
Pact: UK Producers' Trade Association
Arts Council of NI (ACNI): Arts Lottery Fund NI Distributor
* Note: these organisations have been incorporated into the new UK Film Council, and the Film Council's nominating arrangements to the Board of the NIFC are currently under review.
Note: following the appointment of the new Chairman in December 2000 a number of other directors will change by March 2001.
board December 2000
The current members of the Board are:
Colin Anderson OBE (Chairman): founder and Chairman, Anderson Spratt Advertising Group (DCAL/DETI nominee)
Dinah Caine: Chief Executive, Skillset (Skillset nominee)
Anna Carragher: Controller, BBC Northern Ireland (DCAL/DETI nominee)
Julian Crozier: Consultant; former Chief Executive, Training and Employment Agency (DCAL/DETI nominee)
Margo Harkin: Producer/Director, Besom Productions, Derry (DCAL/DETI nominee)
Dermot Lavery: Producer/Director, Double Band Films, Belfast (Pact nominee)
Paul Moore: Senior Lecturer Media Studies, University of Ulster at Coleraine (BFI nominee)
Derry O'Brien: Managing Director, Network Ireland Television, Dublin (BFC nominee)
Simon Perry CBE: former Chief Executive, British Screen Finance (BSF nominee)
Desmond Smyth: former Managing Director, Ulster Television plc (DCAL/DETI nominee)
The Arts Council of NI is due to nominate a new director.
Note: following the appointment of the new Chairman in December 2000 a number of other directors will change by March 2001.
BELFAST PUBLIC LIBRARIES
1. Belfast Public Libraries include Belfast Central Library, a network of twenty-one branches, two mobiles and other library services covering the Belfast Education and Library Board area. Most people would generally understand the use of libraries as
- Information centres
- Venues for cultural activities
- Recreational facilities
Belfast Central Library is the province's largest public library. Resources appealing to tourists include the Irish and Local Studies Department with a substantial stock of publications on a range of local topics, a Music Library including material of Irish interest, a Newspaper Library and a high quality reference collection.
2. We define culture as the ideas, customs and art shared by people of a country, region and ethnic group, often used to describe the arts more generally but can be extended into political and historical areas. Cultural tourism is used to define those visiting a country in order to understand and maybe participate in its unique culture. In the context of Northern Ireland cultural tourism would cover a range of areas including arts, politics, history, language and tradition.
3. Belfast is a 'gateway' to other parts of Northern Ireland, with many tourists passing through this provincial capital. Libraries are seen as safe, neutral and welcoming places and our libraries are known to be used by tourists. The increasing development of the Network of Learning Gateways in public libraries allows tourists to access a range of IT services including internet, e-mail and word processing. An information point in the foyer of Central Library, holds a range of local tourist material, local events calendars and is used frequently by tourists. Temporary membership is available allowing borrowing rights for visitors. We are aware of a variety of tourists using Belfast Public Libraries including:
- General holiday makers touring Belfast and Northern Ireland
- Backpackers - tend to be heavy users of e-mail facilities
- 'Troubles tourists' - interested in the political culture of the province and Northern Ireland as a 'conflict' location
- Business travellers with information and recreation needs
- Academic tourists - often writers and researchers
- Day trippers
- Cultural visitors during festivities and events
- Distant contacts seeking information before a trip
4. Three areas of cultural significance to tourists that can be actively promoted are built heritage, cultural heritage and events.
The built heritage - Glasgow has successfully exploited the tourist potential of the built environment and should be seen as a potential role model. Belfast Central Library is a fine, Victorian building regularly visited and photographed by tourists interested in the built environment and a fine collection of rare Irish publications from 16th century to the present. Holywood Arches Library is a modern building, winner of the Public Library's Group New Building award. It has a statue of C. S. Lewis outside reflecting the locality's link with the famous theologian and writer. Shankill and Falls Road branch libraries are regularly visited by tourists, who view them as landmark buildings in the development of local areas.
The cultural heritage - Central Library houses unique archives covering a range of people and events, including important sources for the cultural history of the province.
- Historical material includes F. J. Bigger archive and Riddell Collection.
- Literary material is reflected in the manuscripts and correspondence of Amanda McKittnick Ross and Sam Thompson (available by appointment) and by a Theatrical Collection.
- Andrade Collection is an archive associated with a major British scientist.
- A Fine Book Room Collection includes rare botanical illustrated books, examples of important European publications.
- Government publications for the UK, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland along with some covering Ireland in the 19th century provide a resource for political culture.
- Antiquarian and current maps.
- A collection of newspapers including British and Irish titles, and more specifically those covering historic Ulster, including some dating to the 18th century.
- Irish language and Ulster Scots material.
- An extensive holding of early Belfast printed books.
Arts Venue - Libraries are traditional venues for cultural events. Belfast Public Libraries hold over 500 events a year throughout the city, from storytelling sessions to literary readings to exhibitions. Among the high-profile exhibitions mounted by the library over the last few years are:
- C. S. Lewis
- 1798 Rebellion
- Forest Reid - with material from the
- Ashmolean Museum
- The Famine
Touring exhibitions are being actively examined under the Cultural Diversity 21 initiative. Exhibitions are also hosted by Belfast Public Library including:
- Belfast Civil Record
- Regular photographic and art exhibitions by local community organisations.
5. The central role of libraries in the relationship between cultural and tourist sectors in Northern Ireland is essentially that of facilitator and information provider. Belfast Public Library has no current formal partnerships with the Northern Irish Tourist Board or other tourist bodies. We carry some Northern Irish Tourist Board material, including annual reports and statistics in our Irish and Local Studies Department. Our role of information provider, our extensive network of Belfast branches and our substantial opening hours would make us potentially prime holders of Northern Irish Tourist Board free tourist material.
6. Recommendations for action
- To set up a forum for tourism/heritage/arts providers to examine the promotion of culture and develop a strategic plan. For example, to look at existing festivals and cultural events and their potential for development in line with such world events such as the Edinburgh Book Festival.
- There is a need for Central Government direction, advice and support on
in the context for tourism.
- Enhanced funding required for the upkeep of built heritage, the conservation of cultural heritage and promotional events.
LANGUAGES OF ULSTER PROJECT
The Linen Hall Library's Languages of Ulster project has now been in existence for just over one year and grew out of an earlier cross-community Irish language project. The aim of the Languages of Ulster project is to examine and celebrate the rich diversity of languages spoken in Northern Ireland - looking not only at the position of Irish and Ulster Scots but also at the myriad of other languages spoken within our province by the ethnic minorities who have made their home here.
The project has been funded by the Community Relations Council under the European Union SSP.
Throughout the year, we have worked closely with other organisations in Northern Ireland who also have an interest in language issues. We have so far organised two major exhibitions on linguistic diversity. The first of these, which was opened by the minister for Arts, Culture and Leisure, was held in the Indian Community Centre in Belfast in June 2000. The exhibition was ground-breaking insofar as this was the first time all the different groups had come together to work on such a project. In addition to the exhibition itself, we also produced an accompanying booklet entitled "Ten Key Phrases". This gave some useful phrases such as "Please" and "Thank you" in a number of different languages.
The exhibition later came under the umbrella of Diversity 21, part of the Northern Ireland Millennium project. The aim was to make a more professional exhibition - the first one having been done without any external funding - which could go on tour around the province. Having the external funding was a great advantage to us as we were able to produce a much brighter and more cohesive exhibition. In addition, both financial constraints and more importantly time restrictions meant that we had not been able to have submissions from all the ethnic groups in the province. As part of the European Year of Languages, the expanded exhibition was launched in the library on 25 January 2001. The launch was attended by members of the Council of Europe and the European Union and was jointly hosted by the Linen Hall Library and the Northern Ireland Centre for Language Teaching at Queen's University. A more comprehensive edition of the booklet was also published for the event which included the ten key phrases in all the official languages of the European Union as well as most of the minority languages spoken in the British Isles. Speakers at the launch included the Minister for Education, Mr Martin McGuinness and Mr John Hume MP MEP who was instrumental in introducing the Minority Languages bill in the European parliament. The exhibition is currently on tour throughout Northern Ireland.
Other events organised as part of the Languages of Ulster programme include classes in different languages - Irish, Ulster Scots and Mandarin. Classes in Mandarin and Ulster Scots were offered at beginners' level. As classes in Irish have been held in the library for some ten years now, they are offered at beginners, improvers and advanced level. These classes have proved very popular with people from a wide range of backgrounds and a variety of age-groups attending them.
A one-day seminar was held in May, examining placenames and identity-placenames of both Irish and Ulster Scots origin were discussed. Again the attendance was varied according to age and background with everyone from complete novices to experts in the field present. Because the question of identity was included, there was some lively and thought-provoking discussion and much audience participation.
There was also a one-day seminar entitled "A Wheen o' Buiks" which looked at Ulster Scots history and literature from the collections in the library. Although initial attendance at this event was fairly small, interest has been expressed from outside organisations and it is intended to repeat the seminar.
Over the next few months it is intended that the library will work with Chinese Welfare Association on compiling a history of the Chinese community in Northern Ireland. It is also hoped to build on the contacts made through working on the exhibition and accompanying booklet to develop a project which fully reflects a multi-cultural society.
It is important that any cultural tourism programme developed within the Northern Ireland context reflects both a unique and a multi-cultural society. Emphasis should be placed both on that which makes us different from other parts of Britain and Ireland and that which brings us together. To this end, it is possible to reflect on the diversity of languages spoken in the province and the influence which they have on the variety of English spoken in Ulster. While the emphasis must necessarily be placed on the two languages which have had the greatest influence, Irish and Scots, the roles of other lesser spoken languages such as the various forms of Chinese should not be ignored.
There are a number of ways in which the language programme could be incorporated into an overall tourism programme. Firstly, the current Languages of Ulster exhibition could be expanded and developed, and perhaps given a permanent location. The accompanying booklet, giving the ten key phrases could also be expended and made available at many more locations. As part of its programme for Adult Learners Week to be held in May, the library will be organising a series of hour long lunchtime sessions. Each of these will devote approximately twenty minutes to a discussion on the role of the language in Northern Ireland with about forty minutes for learning a few key phrases in the language. With particular emphasis on Irish and Ulster Scots, this is a programme which would have considerable appeal for those coming to trace their ancestors and could be held in genealogy centres and libraries where this type of research is undertaken.
Language can also be explored through consideration of the placenames in a particular locality. Again, a series of workshops etc could be held throughout Northern Ireland especially in the summer months to examine these features.
A third way in which language can be examined is through music and song. This is of particular interest to those with only a basic grasp of the language as they are able to become involved in events while practising their language skills. Again much of the emphasis would probably be on Irish and Ulster Scots, but other ethnic minority groups would also be able to make a significant contribution.
Central to all of this is the need for much closer co-operation and co-ordination of the work of all the groups involved. Although there are a number of different organisations working the field of languages, there is no central co-ordination of programmes. While there are obviously differences of emphasis between the groups and not all them face the same difficulties, there is enough common ground to allow them to work together on particular aspects which would be of interest to visitors to the province. Additionally, it is important that the timing of events be considered. Even allowing for the traditional "Twelfth Fortnight" a visitor to Northern Ireland in the summer season would find it difficult to find events which could be described as reflecting our unique culture. Co-operation on these projects would also help to emphasise the fact that ours is a multi-cultural and pluralist society - not just "two tribes".
Co-ordinator Languages of Ulster Project
Environment & heritage service
6 March 2001
1. Environment and Heritage Service (EHS), an agency with the Department of the Environment, maintains 181 historic monuments in state care, and has statutory and policy-based responsibility for some 15,000 archaeological sites, 8,500 listed historic buildings, 15,000 industrial heritage sites, 700 historic gardens and 3,000 historic shipwrecks. Its data holdings on these sites can be accessed through the Monuments and Buildings Record, housed in city-centre Belfast.
2. EHS's primary responsibilities are to protect these sites, insofar as is possible, and also to promote their appreciation. It is in the context of this second aim that the Committee's inquiry is germane.
3. All EHS sites are open to the public and many of them are an important resource for 'Cultural Tourism'. Historic monuments and buildings have infinite potential for uniting culture and tourism. On the one hand they define mankind's position in time and place (eg prehistoric tombs on mountain sides, early churches on islands, early castles on the east coast, the network of canals, railways and harbours) and on the other they have a very wide distribution. One can enjoy Belfast city centre historic buildings such as the Opera House (as well as what happens in it) and the Crown Liquor Saloon. One can enjoy boating on the Shannon - Erne waterway, but the experience is enriched by seeing Crom, Enniskillen, Portora and Tully Castles. In Tyrone, far from urban centres, one is still able to marvel at Creggandevesky Court Tomb, Beaghmore Stone Circles and dozens more mysterious, sculptural wonders of prehistory.
4. From a tourist point of view, this visual embodiment of past cultures is a large part of landscape and cultural identity, just as Greek and Roman temples, Egyptian pyramids or French chateaux are icons loved by the whole world.
5. EHS is conscious that many of its sites may be approached through 'Cultural Tourism and the Arts'. Historic monuments and buildings may have cultural or artistic associations. At Bellaghy Bawn, EHS has combined a historical display with a poetry library based on the support of local hero, Nobel Prize Winner Seamus Heaney. Unfortunately, EHS has not yet found a partner on the Arts side to manage the literature aspect. Interest is considerable - American, Dutch and Japanese visitors have all enjoyed the Heaney 'experience', but as yet EHS has not found an appropriate body to partner it in management. On the other hand EHS has had some success at Enniskillen Castle where two museums (the County Museum and a Military Museum) have the use of the buildings for their displays.
6. Historic monuments and buildings may also be used as venues for events and for the staging of drama or art exhibitions. A combination of Arts, using fine settings for performance, or display, could be much improved. District Councils, with support from the Arts Council, occasionally support schools or local groups (eg Magherafelt Women's Group). EHS has had drama, music and craft events at Bellaghy Bawn, Hillsborough Market House, and Carrickfergus Castle. Opera at the National Trust's Castle Ward is a regular event, but Hillsborough, Enniskillen Castle and Bellaghy Bawn are all suited to extra Arts input. EHS held opera outdoors at Grey Abbey on one successful occasion. Other possibilities would be Shakespearean drama in the grounds of Narrow Water Castle (16th century), chamber music (or brass bands) in Hillsborough.
7. EHS also works with organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund in seeking to ensure the preservation and appreciation of such sites, including access to them. In this context, EHS, NITB and HLF have become aware of a number of applications to HLF towards funding of access schemes to the countryside, for natural and built heritage appreciation. A potential problem has been identified in the lack of 'joined up' awareness of these applications, with overlaps and duplication, and the three bodies have agreed to approach the Countryside Activities and Access Network towards clarifying the issues which have to be taken into account (eg access, signage, traffic implications, sustainable tourism) when formulating applications.
8. In the USA, Canada and Japan, and elsewhere, there is a tradition of recognising study time abroad as part of the curriculum. It is accredited either by the tutor accompanying a group, or by the host country offering agreed supervision. EHS has had American students working on archaeological sites like Navan Fort and at Plantation sites, sometimes with their own tutor, sometimes under local supervision. In maritime archaeology there has been international collaboration. The funding for such ventures may be difficult to arrange. In many European countries, the visitor/participant would pay for the privilege. Study need not always be focussed upon archaeological excavations. It could be history, painting, general culture etc - but a clear agenda is needed. In England and Ireland, university halls and staff regularly provide courses for secondary, university and adult education programmes at Easter and summer breaks.
9. Commercial marketing of such courses, or of independent tours around historic monuments and buildings, is virtually non-existent for Northern Ireland.
10. EHS has several hundred items of architectural sculpture in store, ranging from an Early Christian high cross to a 19th-century African Head from a Belfast warehouse. If funding and an appropriate venue were available, there is potential for exhibition and study, and the potential for modern sculptors to exhibit in or beside such a facility.
11. For the purposes of the CAL Committee, we are assuming that 'Cultural Tourism and the Arts' does not include natural heritage tourism (such as bird watching, countryside and hill walking etc).
Central Management Branch
the centre for migration studies at the
ulster-american folk park, omagh
9 March 2001
1.1 The mission of the Centre for Migration Studies is 'to be a leading international institution for the study of human migration, focusing on the peoples of Ireland world-wide'. Its main resources are:
- A specialist reference library of 10,000 books (Ireland's foremost specialist migration studies collection), open to the public five days a week
- The Irish Emigration Database containing over 30,000 items of primary source material (passenger lists, journals, emigrant letters etc), accessible to the public in the CMS Library and in the headquarters of the five Education and Library Boards (not yet on the internet)
- Specialist personnel engaged in research, teaching, and publication, and in providing an information service to visitors.
1.2 CMS is a project of the Scotch-Irish Trust of Ulster in partnership with the Ulster-American Folk Park. Its other core funder is DCAL. The CMS Library is supported by the five Education and Library Boards. Other main partners are the two Universities and Enterprise Ulster. CMS is committed to supporting the Ulster-American Folk Park as it develops into a Museum of Emigration (concerned with the whole of the Irish diaspora) within the Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland.
1.3 Current visitorship to the CMS Library is over 4,000 per year. About 50% of visitors are from the United States. Many of these are in search of their 'roots'. While CMS is not primarily a family history centre, we do make a significant number of referrals to specialist family history centres such as the Ulster Historical Foundation. A major activity of CMS is hosting the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium, which takes place every two years (since 1976), held alternately in the United States and in Northern Ireland. The recent Evaluation carried out by Research Evaluation Services on behalf of DCAL highlights the potential for the future development of CMS in the context of a coherent, cross-departmental strategy for Cultural Tourism.
2. The status of the existing relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors in Northern Ireland
2.1 In our view its status may at best be described as embryonic. We were impressed by the efforts of Mr Feargal Kearney of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and others to develop a coherent cultural tourism strategy for Northern Ireland, and were disappointed that it has not been implemented.
3. Areas within aspects of the arts that have the potential to be incorporated into a cultural tourist product that can be actively promoted by the tourist industry
3.1 Literature is one such aspect in which CMS has a strong interest, running a very successful Autumn School on 'The Literature of Irish Exile' over the weekend 21-22 October 2000 as a Millennium Festival event. We benefited from membership of the Literature sub-group set up and supported by NITB, seeing the potential of a coherent strategy for marketing events on the theme of literature. Our intention is to make the Literature of Irish Exile Autumn School an annual event. Absence of a coherent cultural tourism strategy makes our work more difficult.
4. The support required by cultural activities, including languages, to enable that heritage be maintained and enhanced
4.1 The absence of a coherent approach to the provision of family history information in Northern Ireland is a continuing embarrassment. We need to rethink our attitude to 'roots' visitors to Northern Ireland and consider them as members of the extended Northern Ireland community. We should be providing them with a world-class family history information service. Although Northern Ireland is not (as is the Republic) required by the terms of the Good Friday Agreement to 'cherish its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage' nevertheless it might consider doing so. In other words, this would mean Northern Ireland undertaking to 'cherish its special affinity with people of Northern Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage' and giving concrete expression to that commitment by providing the best possible family history information service.
4.2 Also, there is a need for the provision of comprehensive and easily accessible information about the range of cultural activities in Northern Ireland in a form suited to the particular needs of the tourist. As an example of this, CMS will be hosting in May a two-week residential course on the History of Irish Emigration for students from the University of Radford, Virginia. The students will be free at the weekends and will be encouraged by their tutor to sample the 'cultural' life of Northern Ireland. How well tailored to the needs of such 'cultural tourists' is the current provision of information?
5. Recommendations that would strengthen the link between culture and tourism
- In our view the NITB proposal for developing Cultural Tourism should be revisited
- There should be a formal commitment by the government of Northern Ireland to 'cherish its special affinity with people of Northern Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage'
- One example of giving concrete expression to this commitment should be the provision of a first-class family history information service, tailored to the needs of the tourist
- Easy access should be provided to a comprehensive information service about the cultural life of Northern Ireland, tailored to the needs of the tourist
- There should be a concerted and sustained effort to market Northern Ireland as a tourist destination for cultural facilities (such as the Centre for Migration Studies and the Ulster-American Folk Park) and events (such as the Literature of Irish Exile Autumn School)
- Marketing of cultural facilities and events should be themed (eg Literature)
B K LAMBKIN (Dr)
glass ceiling theatreworks
1. Janice Kennedy is Company Manager of Glass Ceiling Theatreworks, set up in 1999 with two central aims:
a. to provide employment opportunities for those, who have undergone theatrical and artistic training, to work in the industry of theatre in Northern Ireland;
b. to work with and place other expressive art forms in the arena of theatre.
Glass Ceiling Theatreworks has completed one successful production as a platform event at BT Studio, Waterfront on 24 November 2000. This theatre production entitled 'Arrivals' placed film, created by disability, media organisation Medi-Able, within a live theatrical event. It also provided paid employment opportunities for 3 ex-graduates from BA arts and theatre courses at University of Ulster, 1 ex-graduate from N.D. theatre course at BIFHE and 1 ex-graduate of BA music course at Queen's University.
Janice Kennedy is also Associate Lecturer in Performing Arts at Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education and is presently undertaking her Doctorate in Theatre on a part-time basis at University of Ulster. Her research concerns training of the actor and the industry of theatre in the island of Ireland.
terms of reference
2. I consider it to be of great significance that the original Belfast Agreement, the basis upon which the Northern Ireland Assembly has been formed, stipulated a number of areas of importance for new local government. These included 'tourism', 'language', etc but 'culture' was not included as a category. Culture, of course, refers to the values, customs and expressions of a community and a society. Culture also refers to the arts which bring quality and meaning to human existence. However I do note the Mission Statement of DCAL:
"To promote the social, cultural and economic prosperity of Northern Ireland through developing the capacities of all our people for creativity and innovation."
This Inquiry is most welcome as the first of many which will place culture as a central agenda for quality of life in Northern Ireland. I do admire the aim of this Inquiry but our present political climate is still unsettled with stability and cohesion of government not yet resolved. This certainly affects the existing relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors in Northern Ireland. There have been, for example, many instances of exchange between local and international artists over past years under the auspices of ACNI and Belfast City Council. However the status of the existing relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors of NI is not a cohesive one. It is a relationship requiring optimism for the future of this country. (Several hotels were bravely built after the Ceasefire in anticipation of tourists.) The relationship between the sectors needs to be addressed and developed through proactive, governmental policy such as this Inquiry seeks to ascertain.
3. A central area within aspects of the arts that has the potential to be incorporated into a central, cultural, tourist product I consider to be the Belfast Festival at Queen's. Over many years this festival has brought national and international artists to NI and the assertion that NI has a cultural life as active as any European country. The Lyric Theatre, Belfast, has attempted to develop local playwrights and actors. The Lyric Theatre can be actively promoted as our national theatre with a central focus on producing theatre work which reflects the present, crucial point of evolution of our nation's experience as we attempt to heal the divisions of our nation's past in the formation of the Northern Ireland Assembly. At a community level the work of organisations such as Community Arts Forum have highlighted indigenous talent expressing local identities and concerns through the means of the expressive and the performing arts. Unfortunately the BEAT (Belfast East Arts Initiative) Carnival was not held last year after 5 wonderful yearly events. I myself took part in every Carnival and I often thought it a missed opportunity that this fantastic event of colour and music should not be televised to the world! This touches on the news to the world of positive and lively arts events which can take place in this country more usually associated with the 'Troubles'. Local film making is an area I also consider to have potential for development as an investment in the cultural economy and one which would ultimately enhance tourism. The new Cathedral Quarter in Belfast has great potential as a cultural tourist project. As a member of the arts community I am very interested in the input of Belfast City Council to a whole new arts centre there. I also feel that the Cathedral Quarter has potential for an exciting 'fringe arts' area for new, young and emerging artists in all areas of the arts - young artists who do not see themselves in terms of local, 'tribal' communities but as citizens of Europe and the world.
4. I will address the 'term of reference' identifying support for cultural activities in terms of the work of Glass Ceiling Theatreworks. As an educator working in performing arts I am observing an increasing amount of young people coming on to our course at BIFHE. In the 2000 academic year nearly 50 young people gained entry on to the National Diploma in Performing Arts to study and train in the areas of theatre and dance. I am concerned here as both an educator/trainer and a manager of a theatre company. Theatre in Northern Ireland has been rather isolated in terms of it being an industry. I am reassured by DCAL's strategy for development, 'Unlocking Creativity' which identifies action agenda for training and employing people in the cultural industry. The infrastructure of theatre as an industry could be proactively developed by such governmental focus. When such young people as these complete their training in theatre, where are the identified areas for their professional employment progression? Employment opportunities within identified and promoted aspects of the infrastructure of our theatre industry will bring development of this emerging, human resource skilled in the performing arts. This kind of support and recognition from government, progressive, coordinated and long term, will add to the future of tourism. Support requires further thinking on the arts and culture as a creative industry, with the emphasis on 'creative'.
5. To strengthen the link between culture and tourism I would confirm overall the need to promote the diversity of cultural experience expressed by the arts in Northern Ireland. Encouraging different sectors of the community to work together to create shared, cultural, arts events could attract tourism, especially the American tourist market. As I have above stated, placing arts and culture as more central thinking in governmental policy and recognition of arts and culture as a creative industry will enhance opportunities for cultural tourism. The Myerscough Report of 1996 has explored the arts in relation to the NI economy and its findings are to be noted on the basis of making recommendations of this nature. It would be considered a useful recommendation that DCAL make an audit of existing arts activities in terms of a baseline analysis of inputs, outputs and outcomes as referred to in the report: 'Opening Up the Arts' (A Strategy Review for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 2000). This is a proactive context for strategy development where recommendations arising from audit etc may be made concrete as actions and policies.
magni (museums and galleries of northern ireland)
23 March 2001
Data compiled by John Gilmour, Director, Ulster American Folk Park, Anne McMullan, Marketing Officer, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Linda Ballard, Executive and Policy Assistant to the Chief Executive, MAGNI.
1.1 MAGNI, the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, comprises the Ulster Museum (together with Armagh County Museum) the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and the Ulster American Folk Park. The new Science Centre, W5, which opens later this month in the Odyssey Centre, Belfast, is also a component of MAGNI. MAGNI is the largest single cultural organisation and the most visited attraction in Northern Ireland, with total attendance for 1999 being calculated by NITB to be 497,812 people.
1.2 Opening Horizons, the document setting out MAGNI's vision for the future, was published in 2000. This document highlights MAGNI's policy to be customer focussed, which is important on the local and international scenes, and which embraces all visitors, including tourists. Opening Horizons demonstrates the vast range of activities available through MAGNI. These are of relevance to the Arts, Humanities and Sciences, and as developments at W5 readily demonstrate, these categories are not mutually exclusive, so that displays and exhibitions focussed on the Sciences may also be relevant to the Arts.
1.3 Opening Horizons also illuminates MAGNI's commitment to make a meaningful contribution to the cultural, economic and social life of Northern Ireland. To do so, it is necessary to cater to tourists, and MAGNI does so by:
- inviting visitors to explore the way of life of the people of Northern Ireland;
- exhibiting and interpreting our environment and history;
- encouraging innovative and creative approaches to the Sciences;
- illuminating the theme of emigration from Ireland;
- displaying our important art based collections.
1.4 In terms of Arts based provision, MAGNI has a unique product. The collections encompass important works of Irish and of international fine, decorative and applied art. Local crafts and folk art are featured, and MAGNI also collects and interprets dance, music, language, narrative and traditional customs. Methods of interpretation include formal exhibitions, performances, talks, demonstrations, participative sessions, workshops and courses, all of which are accessible to local and to international audiences.
1.5 MAGNI is therefore a key player in Northern Ireland's cultural sector, and has much to contribute to the tourist sector. Its activities and exhibitions readily have the potential to be incorporated into a cultural product that can actively be promoted by the tourist industry.
2. history and current position
2.1 MAGNI enjoys a close if semi formal relationship with the tourist sector. For example, members of MAGNI staff gave representation on VANI, and were involved in the strategy to develop and structure the Regional Tourism Organisations established in 1999. Staff members are or have recently been involved in discussions with various teams and committees established under the auspices of the NITB and RTOs. This ensures that appropriate MAGNI representatives are consulted and have opportunities to contribute directly to the process of evaluating and identifying sustainable cultural tourism projects.
2.2 MAGNI's multi site structure ensures that this representation is available throughout Northern Ireland. In the west, John Gilmour, Director of the Ulster American Folk Park, is presently the Chairman of Sperrins Tourism Ltd, and the UAFP has a long history of working closely with the NITB. In the east, Anne McMullan of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is a member of the board and working group for the Kingdom of Down, and of the NITB Marketing Action Group. The UFTM is a trade member of the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau and of the Kingdom of Down Regional Tourism Authority. The UFTM is also working with the NITB and other partners within the Incentive and Conference business sector, and works closely with Belfast Tourism and North Down Tourism to promote and deliver cultural events. In Belfast, the Ulster Museum is involved in an initiative directed at the new market created by the promotion of Belfast as a destination for cruise liners, while W5 is acknowledged as a world class visitor attraction.
2.3 Members of MAGNI staff are also involved in tourist initiatives in partnership with the tourism sector in the Irish Republic. A recent development at the Ulster Museum offers dedicated Study Days on a range of topics directed towards groups of Americans who are being brought to the North by tour operators from the Irish Republic.
2.4 Members of MAGNI staff have also worked closely with NITB as representatives on a wide range of cultural tourist product groups exploring potential on issues as diverse as literature, industrial heritage and art.
2.5 Out of state visitors count for a significant percentage of guests to each MAGNI site, although precise statistics can be difficult to determine. Many are brought by local family members as part of an apparently in state group. At the Ulster American Folk Park, out of state visitors drawn from other parts of the UK, from the Irish Republic and from North America account for some 40% guests to the attraction. The Centre for Migration Studies at the UAFP plays an enormous role in facilitating research into family and cultural origins of out of state visitors expressly seeking information about their local roots. Since the 1990s, Armagh Museum has registered a significant but unquantified increase in visitors from the Irish Republic.
2.6 English is not the first language for a proportion of these out-of-state visitors. The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum has addressed this issue by providing translations of visitor information into a range of European and Asian languages including Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese.
2.7 MAGNI has a very broad based appeal for the specialised academic market. International scholars of the highest calibre visit all sites to further their research. Their influence as opinion formers in their own places of origin is vital to the development of the positive image and consequently the promotion of Northern Ireland as a tourist destination.
2.8 MAGNI has worked in partnership with other organisations, including the British Council to organise and promote Study Tours for international academics in a very wide range of subject specialisms. These too establish the positive image of Northern Ireland.
2.9 MAGNI regularly hosts international conferences drawing representatives from throughout the world. The vast range of collections and expertise available throughout MAGNI ensures the widest possible diversity of conference themes in the Arts, Humanities and Sciences and in Museum Studies can be addressed. Many of these conferences are arranged in partnership with other academic bodies including the universities. This appeal is registered throughout MAGNI. The Ulster American Folk Park enjoys strong partnerships with academic and cultural institutions in the USA and Canada, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum has worldwide informal academic connections and is more formally associated with many academic bodies across the globe. At the UFTM, extensive research has been conducted in relation to the Titanic. This has resulted, for example, in superb exhibitions shown both at home and abroad, and in the publication of staff member Michael McCaughan's book, The Birth of the Titanic which has been produced both a local and an American edition, and which has been translated for the European market. In partnership with Queen's University, the Ulster Museum will soon host an international conference on the theme of prehistory. This will shortly be followed by a conference on marine conservation. As another example of the vast available diversity, costume historians from the United Kingdom, North America and Europe recently attended a conference based at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
2.10 The last mentioned conference is a particularly interesting example of a MAGNI partnership that both brought a wide range of culturally directed visitors to Northern Ireland and had a direct development impact on local arts in industry. A competition was arranged in dress design for students at the Ulster University, and a Senior Designer of the long established commercial firm of Wallis assessed this. The standard of student work was extremely high, and completed designs were modelled as a fashion show held at the Ulster Museum. Prizes were awarded, and due to the international nature of the conference, it was possible to arrange to exhibit the best design in the United States.
2.11 In addition to attracting tourists to the country, MAGNI helps to promote a positive image of Northern Ireland abroad as a result of staff making working visits to other countries. Several members of MAGNI staff have lectured and had work published abroad. The wide range of academic and cultural contacts and the very high international regard for the activities of MAGNI help to establish recognition for the environment of and for cultural activity in Northern Ireland.
2.12 MAGNI's collections are also highly regarded internationally, and many travelling exhibitions based on these have been and are in the process of being organised. Every year, loans of individual items are also made internationally. This emphasises the cultural importance of the object and illustrates the role of MAGNI's collections in promoting a positive image of and helping to establish prestige for Northern Ireland.
3. suggestions and recommendations for the future
3.1 MAGNI's Vision Statement, Opening Horizons, outlines the creative programmes in which the museums intend to engage in the course of the coming decade. W5, the first of these programmes to be realised, will open to the public at the end of this month. These creative programmes offer tremendous potential to attract visitors, and MAGNI seeks to work in partnership with the tourist sector to ensure that this potential is exploited to the full.
3.2 The programme Unlocking the Creative Arts, is of particular relevance to this inquiry into cultural tourism and the arts. Unlocking the Creative Arts is an exciting initiative that will place MAGNI's important arts based collections in an interactive interpretative context. It is designed to support Belfast's bid to become European City of Culture in 2008.
3.3 The experience of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao gives a very clear illustration of the true potential of a development like Unlocking the Creative Arts for stimulating urban renewal and economic activity. Broad parallels can be drawn between Belfast and Bilbao. They are similar in size, have industrialised pasts and have experienced dramatic levels of civil unrest. The establishment of the Guggenheim revolutionised the image of the city, and investment in the project was recouped in a single year as a result of increased economic activity, the consequence of the interest stimulated by the development.
3.4 This experience helps to highlight the status of the object as the contemporary focus of pilgrimage. Cultural tourism demands the REAL THING; genuine works of art and museum specimens that cannot be experienced elsewhere must be available to be enjoyed and appreciated. MAGNI is uniquely placed to fulfil this demand for Northern Ireland.
3.5 The Guggenheim in Bilbao has quickly become recognised as a symbol of the city, one that resonates internationally. It is an example of the results that can be achieved from rigorous economic appraisal to ensure viability and sustainability, and from careful branding of a high quality product. It is vital that all developments aimed to support and encourage cultural tourism takes full account of these issues.
3.6 Alignment of the cultural tourism sector is support of MAGNI as these creative programmes in the arts, humanities (including, for example, history and linguistic policy) science and the environment are developed will help ensure that heritage is maintained, enhanced and sensitively positioned to attract visitors to Northern Ireland.
3.7 Understanding and appreciating the role of all MAGNI sites and their potential as providers for cultural tourism will also support MAGNI's capacity to contribute to the tourist sector. It is also important to understand and appreciate the range of MAGNI activities. For example
- the Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park attracts large numbers of American tourists who avail of both the unique library and the emigration database to facilitate their investigations into their family backgrounds;
- the Armagh Museum has also registered increasing interest from visitors enquiring about genealogy;
- the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum offers demonstrations, courses and workshops on traditional local crafts that attract a wide range of participants eager to learn these skills;
- the Ulster Museum hosts dedicated Study Visits tailored to accommodate the new market created by visiting cruise liners.
3.8 Supporting the development of international networks will help to promote Northern Ireland as a destination offering the highest quality of cultural experiences in an increasingly sophisticated tourist market.
school of archaeology and palaeoecology
the queen's university of belfast
1.1 The Department of Archaeology was established within the Queen's University of Belfast in 1949, becoming the School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology in 1998. Over the fifty-year period the School has earned a sterling reputation for its high quality teaching (at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels) and for its research. Centred on the study of human material culture and the history of the natural environment and its chronology, this latter work provides the basis for much of the cultural heritage research undertaken in Northern Ireland. The research undertaken within the School is recognised as being of national and international importance. In an article in the Independent the School was described as being at the "cutting edge" of archaeological research (Hodges 2000, 8), while the high quality of the published results of its work earned the School a Grade 5 in the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise of UK Universities. In addition, in November 2000 the School's Palaeoecology Centre was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize, for Further and Higher Education.
1.2 The level of public interest in archaeology has grown extensively over the last decade, to the point where the discipline has even been described as "the new Rock and Roll" (Rees 2000, 18). The School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology regards the archaeological heritage of Northern Ireland as a rich resource, and one that is of fundamental importance to cultural tourism. The School, therefore, wishes to use this opportunity to emphasise to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee the importance of this resource.
2. Our Archaeological Heritage
2.1 Archaeological monuments can be seen throughout the Northern Irish landscape, each one a record of past human activity in a locality and each containing a wealth of information on how our ancestors lived. For people living in an area a local monument can become a focus, a source of pride and reinforce a sense of past for the community (Donnelly 1997, 4). In addition, this is a resource that belongs equally to both traditions in Northern Ireland, and an understanding of our archaeological heritage can help to illustrate our shared past.
2.2 As is the case in other parts of the United Kingdom, visits to historic buildings and ancient monuments also form a significant component of the tourist industry. During 1999 visits to historic properties represented 7% of the total visitor number figure for Northern Ireland (NITB 2000, 4). While it is important that our cultural heritage is marketed to foreign audiences, thereby helping to increase overall foreign tourist numbers in Northern Ireland, it is equally important to remember that 79% of all visits to tourist attractions in 1999 were made by Northern Ireland residents or home tourists (ibid., 14).
2.3 In Northern Ireland the Environment and Heritage Service of the DOE NI is responsible for the protection, care and presentation of 181 State Care monuments including major sites such as Navan Fort, Devenish Island and Carrickfergus Castle. Information relating to each of these sites is attractively and comprehensively presented to the public through display boards. Other examples of our built heritage are protected by organisations such as the National Trust, which has preserved 31 properties, including country houses and industrial archaeological monuments.
2.4 Within this framework, the School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology undertakes research on individual monuments and archaeological landscapes. Long-term programmes of research have been undertaken at the Late Neolithic landscape surrounding the Giant's Ring at Ballynahatty, County Down, and at Haughey's Fort, a Late Bronze Age hill-fort located close to Navan Fort in County Armagh. The School is also interested in the archaeology and history of the Gaelic Sea Province and intends to undertake a major fieldwork programme in Argyll and North Antrim. The excavation at Dunineny Castle in Summer 2000 represented the first site to be investigated in this new research design.
2.5 The results obtained during the School's research fieldwork and excavations are published in a host of academic books, monographs and journals of both national (eg Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Emania) and international (eg Antiquity) standing. Our archaeological heritage can only be exploited fully for cultural tourism, however, if this information is made available both to home and foreign visitors. The School regards public outreach as a very serious issue. Popular accounts of research excavations are published in magazines such as British Archaeology, Archaeology Ireland and Current Archaeology, while the School offers a Certificate Course in Archaeology in conjunction with the University's Institute of Lifelong Learning. In addition, School staff have been responsible for two notable books which describe the archaeological heritage of Ulster for the general reader (Mallory and McNeill 1991: Donnelly 1997). Each book provides a chronological journey through the province's past and compliments other texts such as the Environment and Heritage Service's guide to the historic monuments of Northern Ireland (HMSO 1987) and the recently published Historic Ulster Churches (Walker 2000) which reviews the province's ecclesiastical history and architecture. A range of leaflets, booklets and general guides produced by groups such as the Environment and Heritage Service, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the National Trust, local councils and community groups also provide regional overviews and site-specific information for the enthusiastic cultural tourist.
2.6 While the School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology recognises the importance of public outreach, its primary function is as an academic institution. As such, we believe that the better promotion and marketing of our archaeological heritage for cultural tourism would require a co-ordination of the efforts of archaeologists working within government, charity, academic, commercial, community and museum sectors. We believe that this can be achieved through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and we suggest that this work could usefully be supported by an Archaeology Officer working within this organisation.
3.1 We would respectfully request that the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee include reference to the archaeological heritage of Northern Ireland in their inquiry into Cultural Tourism and the Arts, and we strongly believe that our archaeological heritage should be actively promoted by the tourist industry in Northern Ireland.
3.2 The School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology would be willing to provide the Committee with further information or advice on this subject should this be required.
This submission has been prepared by Professor Gerry McCormac (Head of School), Dr Colm Donnelly (Archaeology Projects Officer), Dr Finbar McCormick (Lecturer) and Ms Sarah Gormley (Research Assistant).
School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology
The Queen's University of Belfast, BT7 1NN
Donnelly, C., 1997: Living Places: Archaeology, Continuity and Change at Historic Monuments in Northern Ireland, Institute of Irish Studies, Belfast
H.M.S.O., 1987: Historic Monuments of Northern Ireland, sixth edition with revisions, Belfast.
Hodges, L., 2000: "A to Z of Degrees: Archaeology", The Independent, 27/1/2000, 8.
Mallory, J., and McNeill, T., 1991: The Archaeology of Ulster, Institute of Irish Studies, Belfast
N.I.T.B., 2000: Survey of Visitor Attractions - Annual Report 1999, Northern Ireland Tourist Board Research Department.
Rees, J., 2000: "History - the Future of TV", Radio Times 8-14/1/2000, 18-22.
Walker, S., 2000: Historic Ulster Churches, Institute of Irish Studies, Belfast.
ulster historical foundation
background on ulster historical foundation
Established in 1956 the Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF) was an integral part of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland until 1988 when it became an independent trust. It is now an educational charity, governed by a Board of Trustees, and employing 37 staff (17 full-time and 20 part-time). In fulfilling its mission UHF undertakes a range of activities including: publishing and distributing historical and educational books; operating a family history research service; organising heritage conferences; servicing a membership society (Guild); and undertaking lecture tours both locally and overseas. The Foundation also runs a New Deal/Work Track training programme for the unemployed that includes the development of a major computerised archive of genealogical records.
Ulster Historical Foundation is centrally placed to take advantage of initiatives to promote cultural tourism in relation to genealogy within Northern Ireland. Receiving partial grant-aid from the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, the organisation is a not-for-profit educational charity, offering high quality services and pursuing objectives that are closely aligned to many of the Department's own strategic goals. In the provision of services, UHF continues to demonstrate excellent value for money and make a real contribution to the local economic and cultural life of Northern Ireland.
The Foundation's role is unique among organisations within both the public and commercial sectors in Northern Ireland. Each year UHF undertakes overseas lecture tours in the USA, GB and Australasia, organises family history conferences and maintains an interactive e-commerce website that has the potential to become a major portal and entry point for the overseas visitor curious about historical research in Northern Ireland. UHF has the ability to actively promote existing and new products that will contribute to a better understanding of our heritage, particularly in the field of genealogy.
For 45 years UHF has been at the forefront of genealogical research in Northern Ireland and over time has been instrumental in developing genealogy as a cultural tourism product. In so doing UHF has fulfilled the objective whereby ". helping people to trace their ancestors ." [UHF] would foster an interest and a pride in 'Ulster overseas' and would 'build up international goodwill towards Northern Ireland'. The long-term strength of the Foundation has been the ability to diversify services around its core activities and main goals, which are:
- To strengthen links with the Diaspora through the provision of education and information.
- To make information and publications on family, local and Irish history more readily available and to facilitate learning and skills development in this field.
- To contribute to a better understanding of the historical and cultural background to contemporary affairs in Northern Ireland and to promote a greater awareness of cultural diversity.
- To preserve and make more accessible genealogical and historical records and to utilise these heritage assets for the enrichment of the community.
- To provide efficient, effective and responsive service delivery and to encourage the personal development of all staff and volunteers.
UHF's ROLE IN CULTURAL TOURISM ACTIVITIES
1. The Ulster Historical Foundation has forty-five years experience and, through both its reputation as one of the leading genealogical research organisations in the British Isles and by proactive overseas promotion, has been successful in developing a high profile amongst the Irish and Scots-Irish communities overseas.
2. Early recognition of the marketing potential of the Internet has enabled UHF to position itself at the forefront of Irish genealogical services on the Web. The Foundation established its site almost six years ago and has developed this, at relatively low cost, to the point where it now features searchable databases and an online bookstore together with full e-commerce facilities. The numbers of visitors is currently averaging over 500,000 per annum.
3. The Foundation enjoys a strong competitive position in relation to the quality and standing of its research service. Its team of researchers possess the experience, knowledge and expertise necessary to undertake complex investigative archival research and present first-rate interpretative reports on the findings. This differentiates UHF from other research agencies and private genealogists.
4. As part of the Irish Genealogical Project, a North/South initiative launched in the early 1990s, the Foundation has developed a major computerised archive of genealogical records that is improving the efficiency, performance and success rate of the research service as it continues to grow.
5. Widely recognised as a leading publisher and distributor of high quality historical, educational and genealogical books. These books are recognised as contributing to acceptance and understanding of cultural diversity. In addition, many of the publications are of specialised nature, some being re-editions of major titles which were long out-of-print. In this sense, the Foundation is appreciated for making available important scholarly works that would otherwise remain unpublished.
6. The experience of staging ten residential conferences, each attracting around eighty overseas visitors, has enabled UHF to acquire expertise in the areas of events management and cultural tourism. The annual conferences are now internationally recognised for their professionalism, varied programmes, and customer care.
7. UHF has the unique capacity to stage intensive overseas lecture tours that can attract both Irish and Scots-Irish audiences. No other organisations within the island of Ireland engage in this type of missionary activity on the scale of UHF tours and the handful of mainly Dublin-based genealogists that have attempted such work have proved incapable of catering for the Scots-Irish market.
8. The enormous potential for Irish and Scots-Irish 'roots research' has been enhanced by the development of the Internet. There is seemingly no ceiling to this captive market for tourism services promoted through the Internet. The Foundation has taken a leading role in servicing this demand.
9. The surge of interest in Ulster local studies, as reflected in the proliferation of local history societies across the Province, provides an opportunity through which local societies, community groups and individuals can make a contribution to development of services.
10. If the current political climate in the Province remains positive then a significant growth in the cultural tourism industry should follow. Departmental support for initiatives to take advantage of the increased demand would ensure cultural tourism providers like UHF, are well placed to take advantage of such a situation.
11. Statistics from a range of sources indicate the potential of genealogy related tourism to the Northern Ireland economy. There is estimated to be up to 70 million people of Irish ancestry world-wide. Some 44.3 million of the American population are considered to be of Irish descent, and of this group some 5.6 million identified themselves as being Scottish-Irish (source - Marketing Opportunities 1994 Northern Ireland Tourist Board, figures US Census 1990). Whilst interest in genealogy has traditionally been strongest in the US, Canada and Australasia, there is also a large and growing number of people in England and Scotland for whom roots research is a growing obsession.
12. A recent survey conducted by Guinness in Great Britain indicated that one in four young people in GB believe they have Irish ancestors, and nearly half of 18-34 year-olds in GB claimed to have Irish connections.
13. More reliable information from NITB detailing the actual number of visitors, indicates that there were 1.65 million visits made in 1999 by people outside of NI. It is evident that an increasing number of these visitors are here either to specifically pursue genealogical research or show an inclination to avail of opportunities whilst here.
14. The Foundation has much anecdotal evidence to support this hypothesis. In UHF's experience there is normally an upturn in visitor activity from March through to June, a slowing off over July, with renewed activity in the August to November period. There is a substantial opportunity for developing and sustaining tourism in the off-peak periods. Indeed there is every reason to believe that the season can be extended to make genealogical activities available throughout the whole year.
15. The Foundation's annual family history conference is staged each year in September. This has the effect of extending the season, just as visitor numbers begin to fall, and brings additional revenue to providers in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. The value of this additional business to local traders can be considerable in years when the peak season has been adversely effected by poor weather, civil disturbance or by external factors such as currency exchange rates.
16. The value to the local economy is that the genealogical tourist is typically not a high season visitor. Owing to the origin of this type of visitor, their preference is usually to travel out of season. Indeed those visitors from North America and Australasia often deliberately avoid high season as they do not come to NI to enjoy good weather. In addition, visitors from GB and the Republic of Ireland are apt to travel at off-peak times to avail of discounted air and ferry rates. Because GB and the Republic are the main target areas for promotional activity (NITB statastics), there exists in these groups, a relatively untapped and sizeable market for genealogical pursuits.
17. Aside from the tourism aspect, there is an increasing recognition that the Diaspora represents a tremendous resource in an era of globalisation. It provides a bridge between the local, national and global; it multiplies international influence, and it opens up channels of communication and economic contacts not available to other small states.
18. The Foundation has been to the fore in developing genealogical services directed principally to the overseas marketplace. Through experience UHF has responded by developing niche tourism products to cater to this demand. The success of these innovative products demonstrates the value of roots tourism to the local economy.
19. From the many contacts developed over the years, UHF has worked with local groups, tourism providers, academic institutions and government agencies to forge a partnership through which opportunities can be exploited. The strength of UHF's position is in measure due to its historical association with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, where the organisation was able to build up its own corpus of quality research material, professional expertise, and long-standing relations with the historical, cultural and tourism sectors. Although separated from the Record Office since 1988, UHF continues to work closely with PRONI. Together both organisations have gone forward in partnership in the provision of genealogical services and more recently in the digitisation of historic sources.
20. In fulfilling its objectives the Foundation has continually sought to develop channels through which its scholarly and academic research, and publications programme, can be made accessible to the general public. This has been a major step in educating the overseas communities as to the resources that are available, and has resulted in many roots tourists coming to NI for the first time for that specific purpose. It has in turn also brought UHF into the tourism sector as a provider and has equipped the organisation with important event management skills.
21. The Foundation's activities over the past 45 years has clearly demonstrated the potential of roots tourism and the contribution it can make, not only in economic terms but also in developing a positive image, and promoting a greater understanding of Northern Ireland abroad.
suggestions and recommendations
22. Given the Foundation's strong profile within Northern Ireland, UHF would be keen to participate in the Department's ongoing research in this area.
The Foundation has noted with interest, the key task in year 2 of DCAL's Corporate Strategy, of developing genealogy related services. Given UHF's standing as major research organisation; its long association with PRONI; and the extensive management experience acquired in hosting cultural tourism events, Ulster Historical Foundation would be keen to be involved at an early stage in the Department's discussions on genealogy services. UHF has previously taken part in focus group discussions with NITB, Bord Failte, etc., to explore the potential for roots tourism on the island of Ireland, and would welcome the opportunity to participate in such a forum for NI, should it become available through the Department.
23. Further Departmental support could develop UHF's overseas outreach activities as an effective mechanism for disseminating information on cultural tourism, specifically promoting genealogy and historical publishing to key target groups.
24. Effective long-term support for the work of the Irish Genealogical Project indexing centres would greatly enhance the servicing of the roots tourism sector.
The closure of ACE and withdrawal of adequate funding to support the ongoing work of the IGP centres in Northern Ireland, in constructing genealogical databases, has serious implications for developing roots tourism business in NI. The overseas visitor in search of their ancestry often develops a strong affinity with the actual location from where their ancestors came. The ability of genealogical research organisations like UHF to bring overseas visitors to the more disadvantaged parts of NI, is a major strength in the overall development of roots tourism at the local level. The advantage of the IGP has been that it can bring much needed revenue direct to areas of high social need and provide a platform where these communities can sell themselves to this tourist market. Another significant success of IGP, has been the provision of training and employment opportunities, made available to individuals from some of the most economically deprived areas.
25. The four Irish Genealogical Project Centres in Northern Ireland, of which UHF is the designated centre for Antrim and Down, should be involved in any consultation process devised by DCAL with the Northern Ireland Tourism Board for launching roots tourism programmes in Northern Ireland.
There has been a recent initiative by the Bord Failte - The Irish Tourist Board in co-operation with a major tourism operator to begin offering roots/cultural holidays. We are aware through communications received from Irish Genealogy Limited (IGL) that NITB is investigating a similar initiative in Northern Ireland. With considerable experience in major event management, the Foundation can make a fundamentally important contribution to any such initiatives.
The Foundation would welcome an opportunity to give oral evidence and would like to extend an invitation to the Committee or their representatives, to meet with key personnel from UHF to offer a more in-depth submission to this inquiry.
OMAGH DISTRICT COUNCIL
20 March 2001
Omagh District Council has been engaged in the promotion of cultural tourism in a positive and proactive manner since 1995. In response to a survey of visitors to the main attractions in Omagh District Council area in the summer of 1995, Omagh District Council established the Sperrins Cultural Partnership in September 1995. The main finding of the research was that there was an issue in relation to the availability of cultural type events, particularly in the evenings within the area. The Sperrins Cultural Partnership comprises a number of groups and individuals who were already engaged in the organisation of cultural events and programmes but who all operated independently of each other. These include, Teach Cheoil, Rouskey, Teach Eoin, Fernagh, Dun Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre, Scottish Pipe Band Association, Marshall Country Trail Committee, Teach Gaelach, Formil, Alice Milligan Summer School Committee and An Creagan Visitor Centre.
The aims of the partnership are; (i) to co-ordinate the annual programme of events of all the constituent members and market that programme and (ii) to assist the constituent members in terms of infrastructural development. Omagh District Council acted as facilitator for the group and undertook all the administration.
In the period since its establishment the Sperrins Cultural Partnership has produced and marketed an annual programme of cultural events which have also included all the main events which have taken place at both the Ulster American Folk Park and The Ulster History Park. The events have spanned the main tourist season in each year with some events in the two shoulder seasons. The Partnership has been funded largely by Omagh District Council with some initial support from Central Community Relations Unit and more recently with substantial support through Omagh District Partnership. The Sperrins Cultural Partnership has enjoyed some moderate success since its inception and the highlight of the programme will be the All Ireland Scottish Pipe Band Championships which will take place in Omagh on Saturday 7 July 2001. This event is expected to attract 7,000 - 8,000 visitors to Omagh on the day.
In addition to the Sperrins Cultural Partnership Omagh District Council owns and manages the Ulster History Park and has had substantial input into the development of the Ulster American Folk Park. Both parks have been consistently in the top ten visitor attractions in Northern Ireland over the past ten years. Omagh District Council is currently developing a new cultural tourism strategy for the next three years in conjunction with all its partners.
2. The Way Forward:
A number of issues need to be taken on board in any consideration of the way forward for cultural tourism. These are listed below:
- There is already a sufficient critical mass of cultural tourism product in Northern Ireland. This includes activities in both the Irish and Ulster/Scots traditions. Much of the activity is happening in an organic and very often unstructured fashion. This is very much part of its integrity as a folk tradition. It is therefore essential that any attempt to co-ordinate, develop and market this activity is sensitive to the nature of the activity and to its importance to individuals and communities. However this does not overlook the fact that such activity does have great potential for development as a tourism product and undoubted appeal to international visitors to Ireland and Northern Ireland. The development and marketing of the cultural activities of both traditions should be a central part of the process of normalisation. This will require a delicate but realistic engagement with the governing and umbrella bodies already active in the field of culture and a practical and pragmatic development and exploitation of the channels of distribution in the tourist industry. This has not happened to any great extent to date.
- The activities referred to above are mainstream in terms of the levels of interest and participation by local people and yet they receive very little in terms of public funding. The traditional arts budget of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has been and still is inadequate to develop this sector properly. In any other country with such a vibrant folk tradition (in both its manifestations) this product would be the flagship of the Arts Council.
- In terms of the heritage product there has been substantial capital investment in heritage centres and theme parks over the past fifteen years. Northern Ireland has now a range of high quality visitor attractions many of which have interpretations of cultural heritage which are world class. These include The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, The Ulster American Folk Park, The Ulster History Park, The Navan Centre, The St Patrick's Centre in Downpatrick, The Tower Museum, Derry etc. The development of these centres and the projected visitor numbers was premised on a substantial growth in the overall number of visitors to Northern Ireland. This has not materialised in the manner envisaged and consequently there is a serious issue of sustainability to be addressed in relation to many of these centres. Revenue funding is a pressing issue for many of the centres and their operators. It is well understood by those in the sector that DCAL does not have sufficient finance in the museums and heritage budget to support such centres. There is a need for DCAL to fight for a larger budget for the heritage and museum sector and to consider the issue of sustainability in relation to the cultural tourism funding which will shortly come on stream.
- There is a need for a more coherent and joined up approach to be developed in terms of the marketing of the museums and heritage sector. There is scope for greater co-operation and more joint initiatives between attractions which have complimentary subject matter. Such joint initiatives may lead to economies of scale, shared costs and shared expertise.
- One of the key features of the tourism industry in the Republic of Ireland is the number of small local festivals which prevail. The cornerstone of all of these festivals is the level of community ownership which exists. In bringing forward the cultural tourism programme there is a need to be cognisant of the importance of local ownership of events and to channel support to develop such commitment and events.
- It is essential that the cultural tourism product is brought forward in a carefully planned, integrated, cohesive and fully inclusive manner. The main areas for support should be: product development; capital development; marketing development; events and festivals. It is important to avoid sectionalism and petty rivalry. By growing the overall market everyone benefits.
Head of Arts and Tourism
cultural tourism - language based
1. The Present Situation
1.1 Northern Ireland can offer beautiful scenery but no guarantee that the visitor will be able to appreciate it given our climate.
1.2 Although the peace of the last few years has led to some improvement in our image we still have a problem in this area. This problem applies equally to GB, mainland Europe and North America.
1.3 Local tourism - people on holiday at home and visitors from the Republic is minimal.
1.4 Increasingly visitors want to sample the culture of the area they are visiting and discover what makes it unique.
1.5 The "niche tourism" market is growing all the time.
2. Cultural Tourism
2.1 This concept in NI has so far remained largely untapped even though it has the potential to:
2.2 Attract visitors who would not normally consider NI as a holiday destination.
2.3 Introduce tourists to parts of NI that they would not normally visit.
2.4 Offer "niche tourism" to those interested in music, genealogy etc.
2.5 Extend the normal tourist season
2.6 Encourage locals and Republic of Ireland residents to holiday here.
3.1 The impact of the landscape is central to the visitor's experience and a strong case can be made for the provision of an explanation/translation of, at least, our major towns and counties. The issue of sign posting can be divisive, however, some action needs to be taken to meet this need whether through sign posting or promotional literature.
3.2 There are a large number of Irish speakers who live in or regularly visit NI. To date no measures have been taken to facilitate them in our museums and visitor centres. A strong case can be made for the provision of signage printed leaflets and, where such exists, audio tape, eg Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Ulster American Folk Park etc. This would undoubtedly lead to greater use of these facilities and by Irish medium Schools and by Irish students in mainstream schools.
3.3 Cultural Heritage Tourism - there is a market in this area for events which have no language requirement, Genealogy - which has major world wide interest, Mythology, Folklore, Literature, placenames, Song.
3.4.1 Language tourism - there is in excess of 20 million speakers of minority languages in the European union. Many of those want to experience other minority languages and to learn about the revival of Irish. To date this market has been largely untapped apart from West Belfast.
3.4.2 Language tourism - there are 1.43 million speakers of Irish in the Republic of Ireland, 143,000 in Northern Ireland and 60,000 speakers of Scottish Gaelic in Scotland. These people would be interested in the language collected in Northern Ireland, mainly in the Sperrins and South Armagh. These recordings are available but are not being used.
3.4.3 Language tourism - there are large numbers learning Irish both at home and abroad and a small number of residential weekend courses are organised. There is a market there for such courses in former Gaeltacht areas and for increased cross-border co-operation for such courses. There is a potential large market both at home and abroad for such courses.
There is a vibrant music scene here both in traditional, marching band and song. This niche market needs to be developed.
There is a significant potential for developing language based cultural tourism. However, without planning and support it will never be exploited to its full potential. DCAL must commission a report on the potential for developing language based tourism.
FERDIE MAC AN FHAILIGH
Manager of Cultural Schemes Northern Ireland
irish genealogy ltd
27 March 2001
1. Irish Genealogy Ltd
1.1 Irish Genealogy Ltd is the umbrella body for genealogy on the island of Ireland. Our Board members include representatives of the Irish Family History Foundation, the Association of Ulster Genealogists and Record Agents, the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, the Ulster American Folk Park, and public sector representatives including Bord Failte.
1.2 Our brief is to boost roots tourism and economic activity on the island of Ireland, and the local communities in particular, by completing the Irish Genealogical Project. The Irish Genealogical Project aims to computerise church and civil records of births , marriages and deaths and make these available through a network of 34 designated county-based genealogy centres.
1.3 The designated centres for Northern Ireland are:
- Armagh Ancestry, St Patricks Trian Armagh
- Ulster Historical Foundation, Balmoral Buildings Belfast
- Heritage World, Dungannon
- The Genealogy Centre, Bishop St Londonderry.
1.4 Irish Genealogy Ltd is represented on the Northern Ireland Cultural Tourism Partnership Group and supports the objective of developing linkages between the genealogy sector and Northern Irish Tourism Board in order to develop the capacity to boost roots tourism to Northern Ireland.
1.5 Irish Genealogy Ltd is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht, and the Islands in the Republic and the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation. The company is a not for profit private company with no share capital.
2. THE Irish Genealogical Project - Progress to Date
2.1 Given that the primary objective of the Irish Genealogical Project is to boost roots tourism at the local level it is appropriate to consider progress to date in development of the "product". To date 11 million family history records have been computerised and are available to family history researchers and roots tourists at the designated county genealogy centres on the island of Ireland. The four centres in Northern Ireland have indexed and computerised 3.2 million family history records.
2.2 At the heart of the Irish Genealogical Project are the religious records of Births Marriages and Deaths which are of immense interest to roots tourist and the professional genealogist alike. 73% of the target religious records have now been computerised and are available at the local genealogy centres.
2.3 The error rate of the data inputting is 1.87% compared to the international benchmark of 3.0% for similar historical databases. It can thus be concluded that the Irish Genealogical Project is a high quality product.
3. Genealogy and Roots Tourism
3.1 The popularity of genealogy research, in the US in particular, is on the rise. In 1995 45% of Americans surveyed stated they were "somewhat interested" in researching their family history and this had risen to 60% stating they were "somewhat interested" in researching their family history by 2000.
3.2 39 million US citizens claim Irish ancestry with a further 5.6 million recorded as Scots-Irish.
3.3 The Northern Ireland Tourist Board states " ..we must also recognise and develop unique aspects of our culture that set us apart from the rest of the island of Ireland and these islands. It is only through the development of our indigenous cultural traditions that we will compete effectively with the rest of these islands"
3.4 Northern Ireland has a unique target market in the descendants of Irish and Scots-Irish who emigrated from these shores. The development and marketing of this unique and deeply personal product will encourage the descendants of these emigrants to visit the land of their ancestors in Northern Ireland. Indeed this is already happening and one of our members, The Ulster Historical Foundation, organises a series of highly successful seminars bringing family history researchers and genealogists to Northern Ireland from the North American continent.
3.5 According to Bord Failte 84,000 overseas visitors to Ireland were involved in tracing their roots in 1999. It is estimated that roots tourism was worth £34m to the Irish economy in the same year. Research confirms that the majority of roots tourists are in the managerial/professional (AB) and white collar (C1) groups.
4.1 Both tourist authorities on the island recognise the enormous potential of the roots tourist market. However, there are a number of issues which need to be addressed before the full potential of this market can be exploited in Northern Ireland.
4.2 There is very real difficulty with product definition and there is a perception that the product offering is unclear and fragmented. Irish Genealogy Ltd is actively developing a marketing strategy which will address this issue. We are developing, with input and advise from NITB, a suite of products which will deliver the original vision of the Irish Genealogy project. In this regard a pilot project has already been agreed with a major inbound tourism operator to be marketed at the May 2001 Tourism Trade Fair. The industry is very enthusiastic about this project. The experiences of this pilot will input into a strategy to develop the market in Northern Ireland
4.3 The completion of the core product - a fully computerised county-based genealogical service - needs to be addressed. The economic revival in Northern Ireland and a change in the rules for social employment schemes has resulted in a serious slowdown in the data input activity. Traditionally the training agency had supplied trainees to the genealogy centres. These trainees inputted the birth, marriage and death data from the parish records onto computer.
4.4 The large population centres, and Belfast in particular, have still large numbers of records which have not been computerised. Funding will be needed to fast track commercial completion of the data set. In addition the original hardware and software supplied for the project dates to the early 1990s and significant investment is required to upgrade to a modern pc-based system.
5.1 The huge interest in the US and Canada in particular in tracing one's roots provides an opportunity for this sector to grow assuming a coherent marketing campaign and a developed product offering.
5.2 The internet, in particular, presents enormous opportunities to capture the family history enthusiast and to bring him/her to the ancestral homeland. Irish Genealogy Ltd is developing a strategy to establish a single portal, on the internet, for genealogy on the island of Ireland. The main focus of this portal will be to encourage the family history researcher to visit Ireland and the county of his/her ancestor in particular.
5.3 Tracing one's ancestor is difficult if one is unsure of the county of origin of one's ancestor. Supported by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation our office in Armagh is building an Index of family history records from Ulster. This will enable the enquirer to be directed to the local genealogy centre which hold the relevant records. To date we have loaded in excess of 1 million indexed records onto the database.
6.1 The way forward for roots tourism is to continue the constructive dialogue with other cultural sectors and to secure the continuing professional support of the NITB under the aegis of the Northern Ireland Cultural Tourism Partnership.
6.2 Securing support for product development and marketing will enable this sector to make a real and measurable contribution towards the development of the cultural tourism industry in Northern Ireland.
6.3 Irish Genealogy Ltd is well positioned to act as an interface between the genealogy sector, the tourism industry and NITB.
belfast festival at queen's
9 March 2001
The Belfast Festival at Queen's is Ireland's largest arts festival and has been in existence for almost 40 years. The Belfast Festival is a department of Queen's University, Belfast and currently employs 6 full-time staff plus upwards of 40 people during the actual festival period. The Belfast Festival takes place each Autumn and is a 17-day event featuring around 250 different events covering all art forms including international theatre and dance, jazz, folk, classical and rock n'pop music, literature, comedy and visual arts.
The Belfast Festival is currently entering into a new phase of development with the appointment of a new director in September 2000, Stella Hall and the development of a new corporate plan.
The Belfast Festival's mission statement is:
Belfast Festival at Queen's celebrates and contributes to the creative spirit of the City, acting as a catalyst for new and bold initiatives between international and local artists and audiences, through a programme of invited and commissioned events across all art forms.
Its aims are:
- To maintain and develop its position as a high quality, innovative international arts festival.
- To foster greater ownership of the festival through partnerships and increased participation.
- To increase and develop its role as an advocate for work produced in Northern Ireland.
- To maximise participation of audiences from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, developing new audiences from overseas.
- To increase its relevance to young people, involving them in planning and delivery.
- To ensure long-term sustainability through sound financial management.
the belfast festival and cultural tourism
The Belfast Festival has throughout its history been regarded as a major highlight within the City's cultural calendar. Prior to the Peace Agreement, the Belfast Festival was the one time of the year when people came out at night to see local, national and international events that they could not see at any other time.
However with the welcome advent of peace competition for the hearts, minds and monies of the Northern Ireland population has grown significantly. People's tastes and expectations are growing more sophisticated and demand for an increasingly spectacular and 'different' festival has never been stronger.
In assessing where the Belfast Festival should position itself in the new Millennium, the organisation has taken steps to maximise the opportunities afforded by cultural tourism. To that end the organisation has been part of a steering group comprising members of the hospitality industry and Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau. This group has led to the development of a number of initiatives and more importantly created greater ownership of the Festival within the wider cultural sector.
The Belfast Festival is also a member of the Cultural Tourism Partnership, as set up by NITB. The Festival wholly endorses the work of the Cultural Tourism Partnership in placing culture at the centre of the new NITB corporate plan.
the way forward
The Belfast Festival operates on limited resources and its first priority is to maximise attendance from within Northern Ireland. However the Festival is keen to be truly international by bringing international audiences as well as artists into contact with local audiences and artists and acting as a catalyst for new initiatives.
There is a clear role for the Belfast Festival in developing in partnership with NITB and RTOs, a series of niche markets.
1. Youth - the clubbing, single 18-30s who will fly to Ibiza and Amsterdam for the weekend can get to Belfast easily and cheaply from Manchester, Liverpool and now Newcastle as well as London and Birmingham. The Festival's dedicated youth programme is developing to meet the needs of that target market.
2. Family - the Festival is increasing focussing on 'family-friendly' activities for visitors who will stay longer in Northern Ireland and will be seeking things that they can do while on their visit.
3. 'Culture vultures' - as always the Festival will cater for the discerning, possibly empty nester who wishes to attend high quality, international cultural events.
The Belfast Festival continues to be a good news story for the national and international press and has steadily increased its press coverage receiving much critical acclaim for its programming and innovation.
Recent research, carried out by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (a Manchester-based market research agency), and funded by DCAL through NIEC on behalf of the Belfast Festival at Queen's, indicates that 56% of current Festival attenders feel the Belfast Festival makes them feel proud of Belfast, 72% feel it makes Belfast a better place to be in and 75% feel the Belfast Festival provides an opportunity for celebration in the City. These brand values that are locally recognised, can be developed on an international scale to attract increasing numbers to Belfast during Festival time.
In the past, the tourist industry have questioned the time of year of the Belfast Festival and it's perceived lack of Irish or indigenous programming. These issues are now less relevant as the tourist season, particularly for City Breaks, is not confined to the summer months and the Belfast Festival will be developing a short summer programme for 2002. Also the Belfast Festival is keen to become a stronger advocate for work produced in Belfast/Northern Ireland and will be making significant moves to highlight Northern Ireland culture internationally through our festival networks and to bring groups of international promoters to Belfast to see the creative industries in action and experience what the City has to offer the overseas visitor.
Finally it is apparent that through a combination of its history, importance in the cultural calendar and its new direction, the Belfast Festival at Queen's remains a strong element of the development of cultural tourism within Northern Ireland. This is recognised by all the Festival's stakeholders, including private and public sector funders. Coupled with this are the Festival's demonstrated openness to partnership with the tourist industry and its commitment to the further success of both the City and the region in increasing internal tourism and attracting international visitors.
Sales & Marketing Manager
féile an phobail
Féile an Phobail (West Belfast Community Festival) celebrated its thirteenth anniversary last year (2000). Féile's new premises, Teach na Féile was opened on the Falls Road in 1997. The Féile committee organises a year-round programme of activities, events and festivals supported by a network of local Féile committees.
- Draíocht: - The Children's Festival
- August Féile:
- Féile FM: - a local radio station - (two periods of twenty-eight days); and
- St Patrick's Carnvial: (17 March) (This is organised by a consortium of committees from throughout Belfast including Ardoyne Fleadh Cheoil, Féile Phobail an Lóiste Úir, Lower Ormeau Festival, Markets Festival, Newington Festival and Short Strand Festival).
In addition, Féile an Phobail offers a number of training programmes, including its Open College Network (OCN) training course, in radio skills and management, and a disability programme, aimed specifically at disabled people and their families.
In the thirteen years since its inception, Féile an Phobail has established itself as the provider of the largest community-based festival organiser in Ireland helping to host the second largest festival, of any kind on the island. Its other 'flagship' event; the August Féile attracts participants and artists from around the world and offers a host of headline acts.
All events in which Féile an Phobail has an involvement, whether directly as organiser, or as part of consortium (eg St Patrick's Carnival), have a strong involvement from the Irish-language community. Féile is a signatory to the Pobal Charter and actively promotes the Irish language in all its work.
In addition to Féile's contribution to the social and cultural development of West Belfast, it has a significant impact upon the economic regeneration of the area, and contributes greatly to the income in the service sector throughout Belfast as a whole. Previous estimations of the benefit of Féile an Phobail have quantified the total benefit to Belfast from the August Féile to be approximately £950,000 in 1994 (Sheehan, et al, 1995) and between £2.0 million and £2.5 million in 1997 (Dr Sheehan, The Art of Regeneration, 1997).
The activities of Féile an Phobail have grown significantly over the past five years in terms of the numbers of events, participants, expenditure involved and the number of paid full-time jobs supported by the Committee.
The socio-economic deprivation prevalent in the West Belfast area has been well-documented. West Belfast is one of the economically and socially most disadvantaged communities in the North of Ireland. This is reflected in statistics showing much higher rates of unemployment (especially long-term unemployment), unusually high economic inactivity rates arising from long-term illness as well as disability, home overcrowding and low rates of car and home ownership. West Belfast has been at the epicentre of the 'Troubles' of the last thirty years, which have resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of local people imprisoned.
When Féile an Phobail established the first August Féile in 1988, its primary objective was to provide a positive alternative to the heightened tensions that marked the anniversary of internment and to showcase talent from West Belfast. The annual commemoration had previously resulted in serious disruption - in some cases leading to deaths among local children and young people. West Belfast has been, and remains, one of the most militarised areas of Europe. The organisers of Féile an Phobail are proud that those most vulnerable to suffering the consequences of the 'Troubles' now enjoy a range of activities conducted in a friendly, family and community atmosphere.
Despite this background, West Belfast remains a vibrant community with a long tradition of community pride and self-help. Due to the alienation of the community from the statutory authorities and in response to the political events of the past thirty years, a comprehensive network has developed. The organising Committee of Féile an Phobail derived considerable support from this network and this has led to grassroots involvement and ownership.
Féile an Phobail reflects West Belfast's community spirit, which, rather than being introverted and reactive, tries to reach out to those from differing traditions all over Ireland and further afield. It is, therefore, expected that, whilst the Irish language and culture remain core to the Committee's activities, people from different cultures across the world can share their own heritage with those from the West Belfast community. This is evident in the proliferation of African, Latin American, Chinese and Indian music, to be found at Féile, and in the discussions and debates, cultures and foods to be found at many of its large events.
draíocht/children's arts festival
Féile an Phobail organised the first children's arts festival in the North of Ireland. It was founded in 1998. Draíocht 2000 was the most successful children's festival yet held by Féile an Phobail attracting over 4,000 children to over twenty different events and activities, which were held at various locations throughout the West and North of the city.
féile fm - stáisiún raidió/féile fm radio station
This aspect of Féile an Phobail's work represents an inherent component of the Féile an Phobail vision. The radio station broadcasts for two, four-week periods each year, providing both a build up to Draíocht and the St Patrick's Carnival and an atmosphere of celebration during the August Féile.
A Cabletel calculation, based upon phone calls in 1997, estimated the station's listenership at 20,000 people throughout the West Belfast area. Over 800 people were involved in presenting the station's broadcasts, the majority of whom are attending secondary schools.
- Féile helps to channel the energy and creativity of West Belfast's young people into positive activities. It has contributed to the development of a vibrant cultural sector, centred on the Irish language, it helps to present a positive image of West Belfast, which has both economic and social benefits; Féile provides training and work experience for its staff and volunteers; in so doing, it has helped to build self-confidence within the community, especially amongst marginalized groups such as the unemployed, women, and people with disabilities, Travellers, ex-political prisoners and families of prisoners.
- In an independent sturdy carried out by Quinn Consultants and Locus Management it was found that the total income ("direct" and "indirect") generated by August Féile 2000 was £3.3 million +/- £300,000. The proportion, which was spent in West Belfast as against the rest of the city, was approximately 2:1. This figure compares with the net additional expenditure of between £1.7 to £1.9 million estimated for the 1997 Féile and reflects the growth in numbers attending the festival.
- In the thirteen years since its inception, Féile an Phobail has established itself as the largest community- based festival organiser in Ireland helping to host the second largest festival, of any kind, on the island. Its other 'flagship' event, the August Féile, attracts participants and artists from around the world and offers a host of headline acts.
- The organising Committee employs ten full-time and two part-time workers; in addition, several hundred, if not thousand, volunteers help Féile an Phobail and it various sub-committees throughout the year.
- Draíocht 2000 was the most successful children's festival yet held by Féile an Phobail, attracting over 4,000 children to over twenty different events and activities, which were held at various locations throughout the West and North of the City.
- Féile an Phobail is committed to inclusion in access and participation to the arts and culture, therefore the organising committee has developed a programme (Oscailt) designed to improve access for disabled people to Féile events, to increase their participation in the organisation of Féile's activities and encourage and assist them to organise their own.
- The St Patrick's Carnival presents a positive image of the city on a day when the world celebrates what it means to be Irish. Moreover, the festival is the culmination of weeks of effort by members of local communities who create bright and exuberant floats; it also coincides with the first broadcasting period of Féile FM.
- Already, Féile an Phobail's activities are on the vanguard of the community-led arts and cultural renaissance in Belfast. Such a driving force will be essential if efforts to attract the coveted 'European City of Culture' are to be successful. The organising committee feels that an opportunity now exists for an increase in the numbers attending its events, and it hopes that participation and involvement across the city can be improved further in the future.
Féile an Phobail has made a significant contribution to the Belfast economy. It has played a very important role in the economic, cultural and social life of West Belfast and Belfast.
In the short-term, bodies such as the Northern Ireland Arts Council, Belfast City Council, the Department of the Environment, the Community Relations Council, the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the European Union Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation, the National Lottery, the Ireland Funds, the Department of Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht and the Islands, the Department of Foreign Affairs, BBC Children in Need, Foras na Gaeilge and the International Fund for Ireland, would need to support the activities of Féile. It is essential that a comprehensive funding package for Féile for the next five years is agreed by the various potential funders.
THE NATIONAL TRUST
21 March 2001
1. This paper sets out the National Trust's response to the Culture Arts and Leisure Committee's inquiry into Cultural Tourism and the Arts, and indicates the Trust's willingness to present oral evidence to the Committee.
2. Section 2 provides background information about the National Trust which is an independent environmental and conservation charity founded to protect and provide public access to our natural, built and cultural heritage. The Trust's properties in Northern Ireland include the Giant's Causeway, Slieve Donard, and historic houses and gardens including Mount Stewart and Castle Ward (2.1 - 2.6).
3. The National Trust provides a range of cultural and leisure activities which appeal to tourists and local people, including interpretation of our coast and countryside, gardens, mills, vernacular buildings and mansions. Special events and an extensive education programme are also provided (2.11 - 212).
4. Section 3 acknowledges the existing relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors and the work already undertaken by the NITB through the Cultural Tourism Partnership (3.1, 3.2). The paper suggests that this relationship should be strengthened at a strategic level to ensure better co-ordination and maximum social, economic, and environmental benefit in ways which respect the principles of sustainable tourism (3.4 - 3.5).
5. Strong linkages are called for between the key departments of DCAL, DETI and DoE, each of which have responsibilities across the cultural, arts, tourism and heritage sectors (3.6).
6. Section 4 urges a broad definition of the arts, and identifies the unrivalled wealth of artistic and creative talents to celebrate in Northern Ireland. To fully integrate these creative arts into tourism marketing requires a strategic framework which should develop the skills of the sector (4.1 - 4.3). A number of the National Trust's current or planned arts activities are listed as examples of good tourism opportunities (4.4).
7. Section 5 acknowledges that the arts, cultural and heritage sectors are generally under-resourced and therefore not realising their full potential (5.1). The need for up to date information setting out the economic, employment, social and cultural benefits of the sectors is highlighted (5.2) as is the need for a better financial framework for the sector (5.3).
8. Section 6 sets out the points highlighted above as a series of recommendations for the consideration of the Committee.
9. The full response of the National Trust is attached.
1.1 The National Trust welcomes the initiative by the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee to undertake an inquiry into Cultural Tourism and the Arts. We believe that this is an area which has a great deal of potential to deliver sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits for the people of Northern Ireland.
1.2 The Trust welcomes the opportunity to present written evidence to support this inquiry. We would be very keen to follow this up with an opportunity to present oral evidence to the Committee.
2. Background information about the National Trust in Northern Ireland
2.1 The National Trust is an independent environmental and conservation charity founded in 1895 to preserve places of historic interest and natural beauty permanently for the benefit of the nation. The Trust has over 2.6 million members, including 34,000 members in Northern Ireland.
2.2 The National Trust has been active in the protection of our natural, built and cultural heritage in Northern Ireland since 1936; this has been achieved through acquisition, management and ownership, through the provision and promotion of public access, and increasingly through working in partnership with others.
2.3 In Northern Ireland the Trust currently owns 15 major countryside or coastal estates, over 60 miles of coastline, significant areas of Strangford Lough including foreshore and islands, eight National Insurance Reserves, Northern Ireland's only World Heritage Site at the Giant's Causeway and nine Areas of Special Scientific Interest.
2.4 The built heritage owned and opened to the public by the National Trust includes nine major historic mansions and houses, such as Mount Stewart and Castle Coole, and five industrial heritage sites including Patterson's Spade Mill and Wellbrook Beetling Mill. There are also over 200 listed buildings, 12 scheduled historic monuments, over 150 archaeological sites, most of the villages of Cushendun and Kearney, and two public houses.
2.5 This range and geographic spread of properties represents a wonderful cultural and leisure resource for all the people of Northern Ireland and for increasing numbers of tourists.
2.6 The National Trust's vision for the 21st century, as expressed in the Strategic Plan for Northern Ireland (March 2001 - February 2004) is:
To inspire present and future generations with understanding and enjoyment of the historic and natural environment through exemplary and innovative work in conservation, education and interpretation.
2.7 A key theme of our plan is to celebrate cultural diversity and local distinctiveness and to ensure that our work recognises and respects all our pasts. It is also high on our agenda to ensure that we find ways to engage with people and communities for whom we have had little perceived relevance in the past.
2.8 There are well over 1.5 million visitors each year to coast and countryside properties managed by the National Trust where access is free to all, all year round (apart from car park charges at some sites). Some of these properties, such as the Giant's Causeway, Strangford Lough and Slieve Donard have an international reputation and emotional value which contribute to the cultural identity and sense of place for many people in and beyond the shores of Northern Ireland.
2.9 There are also some 200,000 visitors to the Trust's houses, gardens and industrial heritage sites each year. The most visited properties are Mount Stewart (51,400 visitors in 2000) and Castle Ward (30,700 visitors in 2000).
2.10 Market research indicates a steady increase in out of state visitors which we predict will continue at an increasing rate as the benefits of peace and political stability impact on tourism in Northern Ireland. We believe that cultural tourism will have a major role to play in this growth.
2.11 The National Trust participates in and provides access to cultural and leisure activities at a range of levels. This includes:
- Enjoyment of coast and countryside where our culture is to be found in the physical legacy of past human activity, eg at White Park Bay where there is archaeological evidence of some of the first human inhabitants of Ireland about 6,000 years ago.
- Exploring our industrial heritage such as Patterson's Spade Mill and Gray's Printing Press, allowing a deeper understanding of the skills and craftsmanship of our forbears.
- A visit to a mansion - though no longer simply to gaze at its contents; modern visitors wish to have a more interactive experience, and are interested in the wider context of a house as well as its contents. The economic and social history of a house and its family and staff hold equal fascination.
- Participation in a variety of events, whether a musical evening at Castle Coole, a boat trip on Strangford Lough to discover its Viking links, or a craft and garden fair at Mount Stewart.
- Our formal education programme provides young people with opportunities to explore their shared cultural heritage.
2.12 The National Trust is placing a high priority in its three year plan on exploring ways to improve the nature, range and quality of interpretation we provide for visitors and local communities to enrich their understanding and enjoyment of our properties.
3. The status of the existing relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors in Northern Ireland
3.1 There is no doubt that there is a relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors in Northern Ireland. The National Trust is both a key contributor to the cultural life and heritage of Northern Ireland and a significant player in tourism and inward investment.
3.2 Much work to examine and strengthen the relationship between these two strands has been undertaken already. In particular the 1998 report commissioned by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and others entitled: "The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland" highlighted the opportunities and potential mutual benefits of developing cultural tourism. The subsequent joint appointment by NITB and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland of a Cultural Tourism Officer and the formation of the Cultural Tourism Partnership umbrella group have served to strengthen the relationship.
3.3 However, it is our view that activities across the cultural sector remain fragmented and insufficiently co-ordinated. This results in energy being dissipated and the potential impact weakened.
3.4 We believe that the relationship between the cultural and tourism sectors now needs to be strengthened at a strategic level to ensure that future developments are co-ordinated to deliver maximum benefit. The cornerstone of such a strategic relationship should be a broad definition of culture and cultural tourism. Our cultural heritage and varied and distinctive cultural activities are a strong and distinguishing selling point for marketing Northern Ireland as a tourism destination.
3.5 It is also important to stress that the development of cultural tourism must respect the principles of sustainable tourism - integrating the economic, social and environmental implications of tourism and spreading the benefit through society as widely as possible.
3.6 We note the current separation of responsibilities at departmental level between cultural heritage and leisure (within DCAL) and tourism (within DETI). There is a clear case for strong linkages and "joined-up government" at various levels across both departments to ensure an effective strategic partnership between the cultural and tourism sectors. Strong linkages must also be made with the Environment and Heritage Service of the DoE. Linkages between all the relevant committees at the Assembly will also be beneficial.
4. Areas within aspects of the arts that have the potential to be incorporated into a cultural tourist product that can be actively promoted by the tourist industry
4.1 In this context 'the arts' must also be given a broad definition, to include art, music, drama, dance, literature, poetry, story-telling, film and creative crafts - from woodwork to patchwork, silversmithing to lace-making.
4.2 Arts activities happen all over the world, but there is an unrivalled wealth of talent to be found within Northern Ireland. Each of the creative arts listed above has its champions, either past or present. For such a small corner of the world there is a wealth of artistic talent to celebrate.
4.3 The potential to integrate this artistic talent into our tourism marketing is enormous. However to do so will require a clear strategic framework which should:
- Recognise that creative talents need to be augmented by business and marketing skills.
- Ensure that adequate financial resources are generated through a range of opportunities (see 5.2-5.6 below).
- Ensure that the tourism benefit is sustainable, complements the creative activity and benefits the host community.
4.4 A number of current or planned National Trust activities would lend themselves to being incorporated into a cultural tourist product and some examples are set out below:
- In recent years the Trust has provided Artist in Residence programmes, part funded by NIE and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, at properties such as Rowallane, Crom and Portstewart Strand. These programmes have had a three-fold benefit: for the artists by providing a creative environment in which to work; for the participants, many of whom discovered the joy of creativity; and for the Trust properties and their visitors, by providing either temporary or permanent displays which have enhanced the appeal of the properties.
- On Rathlin Island the community facilities provided by the National Trust in the Manor House are being used for a range of projects including silversmithing, pottery and wood-carving. One of the most innovative projects is the use of video-phone to enable island residents to participate in Irish language classes held in Dunloy. Rathlin was the last traditional Gaeltacht area in Northern Ireland and now modern technology is allowing today's island residents to renew this connection with their past. These facilities combined with the comfortable accommodation available present sustainable tourism opportunities which would bring clear social and economic benefits for the island community and the wider region.
- The National Trust is currently pursuing the possibility of establishing partnerships to develop the Grand Yard at Castle Coole near Enniskillen as a centre of excellence for the creative industries. We envisage that this project will have a strong cultural tourism appeal, and we are happy to keep DCAL and the Committee informed of progress.
- Our Strategic Plan commits us to a learning programme at the heart of the Trust and we are currently developing a strategy for lifelong learning in Northern Ireland. We envisage that elements of this strategy might include programmes in history of art, architecture or "green building" skills or opportunities to research how 21st century technology can be applied to the continued conservation of our natural and built heritage. Many of these programmes will appeal to "cultural tourists" as well as local people.
- We will be developing a Living Arts policy for our properties in Northern Ireland, which may include activities such as exhibitions (painting, drawing, sculpture); performances (music, dance, theatre and theatre in education); residencies, workshops and master classes and talks.
5. Support required by cultural activities including languages, to enable that heritage to be maintained and enhanced
5.1 It is important to recognise that the arts, cultural and heritage sectors are generally under-resourced in Northern Ireland. As a result many organisations are not operating at their full potential.
5.2 The 1996 report by John Myerscough commissioned by the Northern Ireland Economic Research Council identified the economic contribution of the arts and cultural sectors. There is now a need for up to date and co-ordinated information which clearly sets out the economic, employment, social and cultural benefit of these sectors. This information is a pre-requisite to arguing a strong case for adequate resources for the arts.
5.3 The National Trust has commissioned studies into the economic impact of its presence in the South West and the North West of England. These demonstrate very real benefits to local communities and economies. For example the study in South West England showed that £248 million passes directly into the local economy each year and 15,500 are linked to the presence of the National Trust. A similar study will be undertaken for the Trust in Northern Ireland later in 2001 and we will be happy to share the findings with DCAL.
5.4 There is a real need for a better financial framework for arts and cultural organisations in order to fully realise the sustainable economic, social and tourism benefits which exist.
5.5 We acknowledge that there are various funding sources available, eg Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Lottery, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts in Business, corporate sponsorship, EC programmes. However, the number and complexity of sources can in themselves be barriers to drawing down resources. Some practical support to develop the capacity of organisations to bid for funds exists, for example through mentoring programmes. However, this support needs to be publicised more widely.
5.6 A frequent barrier to the development of the cultural sector - and indeed to maintaining our physical cultural heritage - is the lack of secure funding to provide sufficient staff and this needs to be addressed. This is evident particularly in the community sector at present in the transition period before the release of the new round of European funding under Peace II and the new programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity.
5.7 Longer term there is a need to ensure that arts, cultural and heritage organisations across the entire spectrum of activity, from community arts to opera, are enabled to generate adequate funding (both capital and revenue) to make the fullest possible contribution to the social, economic and cultural well-being of their communities and to securing Northern Ireland's place as a top quality cultural tourism destination.
5.8 If, as suggested at section 3.4, a new strategic framework for cultural tourism is developed, attention must be given to opportunities for personal and professional development (marketing, fundraising, finance and customer care). This will develop the capacity of the sector to meet the challenges of tourism in a new Northern Ireland. There is a range of relevant training offered at various levels, but again, this is not as well co-ordinated as it might be.
6. Recommendations on actions that would strengthen the link between culture and tourism
6.1 Based on the commentary above, the National Trust invites the Committee to consider the following recommended actions:
6.1.1 Strengthen the relationship between the cultural and tourism sectors at a strategic level. (3.4)
6.1.2 Ensure that the development of cultural tourism respects the principles of sustainable tourism. (3.5)
6.1.3 Ensure strong linkages between DCAL, DETI and DoE to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the development of cultural tourism and the arts. (3.6)
6.1.4 Develop a strategic framework to integrate arts activities into tourism marketing. (4.3)
6.1.5 Commission research to identify the social and economic impact of arts and cultural tourism activities. (5.2)
6.1.6 Investigate ways of providing a better financial framework for arts and cultural organisations (5.4), to include examining how drawing down funds from a range of sources could be simplified (5.5) and, longer term, ensuring that organisations have the opportunity to generate adequate capital and revenue funding to realise their full potential (5.7).
6.1.7 Ensure that training to develop the capacity of the sectors is developed, promoted and delivered in a co-ordinated way. (5.7)
The National Trust has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to this Committee Inquiry and we hope committee members will find our comments constructive. We would welcome the opportunity to give oral evidence to the Committee, or to assist in any other way with this process.
Northern Ireland Affairs Manager
ANTRIM BOROUGH COUNCIL
23 March 2001
Following your letter dated 30 January 2001 regarding the inquiry into Cultural Tourism and the Arts, I would like, on behalf of Antrim Borough Council's Art and Heritage Service, and on behalf of Antrim Borough Council as a whole, forward the following comments:
Antrim Borough Council welcomes the inquiry into the potential of Cultural Tourism and the Arts.
The Council feels the inquiry should take its lead from the Arts Council and Northern Ireland Tourism Board report 'The Cultural Sector: a development opportunity for tourism in Northern Ireland' published in 1998. This extensive report addresses the terms of reference outlined by the Cultural, Arts and Leisure Committee for this inquiry and whilst completed in 1998, with research gathered prior to this date, the report should act as ideal reference material.
The Council would like to emphasise the importance of incorporating genealogy, customs and culture, and in particular the existing built heritage into the potential cultural tourism product, as outlined in the Northern Ireland Tourism Board Development Strategy, 1995-2000.
The Council feels that any form of tourism development must encompass sustainable developments that enhance rather than diminish the local quality of life. It is important to enhance the cultural infrastructure for the benefit of residents and visitors alike, as opposed to developing facilities purely for tourism. The report 'The Art of Regeneration' published by Comedia in 1996 states 'where cultural investment has created major tourist attractions, they have sometimes courted the resentment of local people who feel excluded on economic or social grounds' (pg 27).
Please note that these comments have been forwarded with agreement by the Antrim Borough Development and Leisure Committee but prior to ratification by full Council. Pending the outcome of the full Council meeting on the 10th April 2001, and therefore they may be open to amendment.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me at Clotworthy Arts Centre, Antrim Castle Gardens, Randalstown Road, Antrim, BT41 4LH, telephone 028 9442 8000, or e-mail email@example.com.
Arts & Heritage Development Officer
Antrim Borough Council
the independent professional theatre lobby
Working paper on the state of Professional Theatre in Northern Ireland, May 2001
1. Who are we?
- We represent a cross-section of professionals living and working in Northern Ireland who have a strong commitment to the survival of high quality indigenous Professional Theatre.
2. What is Independent Professional Theatre?
- Independent Theatre is a collection of Theatre Companies that aren't attached to any one theatre, that tour throughout Northern Ireland and perform in various venues. Independent Theatre articulates and defines our culture from a unique perspective. It analyses and interrogates life here in a way that other theatre disciplines cannot. It is not bound by location or subject matter. It is art for everyone presented by practitioners trained in their field, often to a high standard, which offer a range of expertise and experience. It contributes to making Northern Ireland a better place to live in, work in and to visit.
3. Economic Facts Year Ending March 2000:
Though only one element of professional arts activity in Northern Ireland, we estimate professional theatre companies:
3.1 Have a combined annual turnover of £2 million
3.2 Perform to 150,000 people throughout Northern Ireland
3.3 Are regularly cited as a component of cultural tourism which is due to increase in importance in Northern Ireland
3.4 Have a proven track record
3.5 Annually spend over £1 million on employment.
3.6 Professional theatre is a valuable export. Apart from bringing success and economic benefits to Northern Ireland, it develops our image abroad. This is particularly important as Belfast is campaigning to be European Capital of Culture for 2008.
However the reality of working professionally in theatre in Northern Ireland are wage levels which we estimate average £4,500 per year for independent professional practitioners.
4. Professional Theatre is in crisis:
4.1 Government priorities are rightly committed to increasing access to the arts and investing more money in encouraging people to go to the theatre. This is an important and significant development.
4.2 The trend at present, however, is towards cutting back on the vital revenue resources which make professional art happen.
4.3 Instead, the tendency is towards encouraging increased reliance on the Lottery for the core funding of professional theatre companies. While the bureaucracy traditionally associated with Lottery has been eased somewhat recently - again a welcome development - Lottery continues to be a relatively unpredictable source of long-term revenue funding.
4.4 This situation may be less worrying for other sectors, but professional theatre has limited avenues from which to obtain financial support. It can access only a relatively small number of funds for its essential business, which is the making of professional theatre. For its survival, it is imperative that professional theatre's reliable sources of core funding is protected and shored up.
4.5 The funding situation at present is resulting in a re-focusing of priorities. We absolutely support the increased importance placed on getting people involved in theatre activity through outreach work - provided resources continue to also be fully put in place for the production of quality professional work for these new audiences to experience. Funding priorities need ideally to take cognisance of both.
4.6 Meanwhile, there is now an employment crisis in professional theatre with actors, directors, designers, stage managers and writers leaving Northern Ireland. There is a serious haemorrhaging of indigenous talent.
4.7 Numerous venues are opening throughout Northern Ireland courtesy of Lottery Arts funding. Less money is available to companies to practise their core professional functions, which result in work which fills those venues. The result is the present situation termed the 'edifice complex': plenty of venues with insufficient professional theatre for their programmes.
4.8 The crisis in professional theatre does not only affect the theatre profession. As employment falls there is a drop in cash entering the economy and a fall in the economic benefits to associated businesses in the multiplier effect.
4.9 Diminished theatre production significantly reduces Northern Ireland's capacity for increased cultural tourism at a time when the city is applying to be European City of Culture 2008.
4.10 Professional theatre has an extensive and well-developed audience network throughout Northern Ireland. If professional theatre is not supported soon, however, that audience's access to the arts will be diminished.
5. Cultural Effects:
5.1 Professional theatre in Northern Ireland is an industry in crisis. The government is to be lauded for its support of the teaching of drama at higher education and in the universities - QUB, UU and BIFHE. Nevertheless, there are dwindling opportunities for these talented young people to work in Northern Ireland. We are training them to leave. Where will the first Queen's University of Belfast drama graduates, due to emerge this year, find employment?
6. Professional Theatre funding needs the following action:
6.1 An economic impact survey identifying current performance levels, both qualitative and quantitative, identifying the future potential for theatre. This survey will then turn inform local policy towards theatre in Northern Ireland.
6.2 A long term, pro-active strategy, drawn up by the main agencies that fund theatre in close consultation and association with the professional theatre sector in Northern Ireland. We would hope that agencies and industry can work together in dialogue to galvanise the sector.
6.3 A prioritising in the allocation of voted funds controlled by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
6.4 Opportunities to present issues of concern to the main funding bodies.
Contact Eamon Quinn: Tinderbox Theatre Company, McAvoy House, 17a Ormeau Avenue, Belfast BT2 8HD.
Telephone: 028 9043 9313 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Development (tourism and promotion of belfast)
sub-committee of belfast city council
1.1 Belfast City Council is the largest of the twenty six local Councils in Northern Ireland, serving a population of approximately 300,000.
1.2 The Tourism and Promotion of Belfast Sub-Committee is responsible for the strategic tourism development and marketing of Belfast. It is a Sub-Committee of the Development Committee of Belfast City Council.
1.3 At a meeting of the Tourism and Promotion of Belfast Sub-Committee held on 7th March 2001, Members agreed to provide written evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly's Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee on Cultural Tourism.
2. Tourism Performance
2.1 In 1999 Belfast welcomed 1.6 million visitors to the City resulting in a contribution of £114 million to the local economy. Almost 500,000 of these visitors stayed in the city overnight which was an increase of 21% from 1998 statistics.
2.2 Visitors satisfaction and perceptions of the city are monitored through the Belfast Tourism Monitor which is an integrated monitoring procedure established to monitor tourism performance in the city. With regard to tourist facilities visitors rated theatres with a 93% score as good or very good.
3. Cultural Tourism
3.1 Cultural tourism is defined as:
"A powerful development tool for the 20th Century that leverages significant economic value from regional arts and cultural institutions by tapping incremental attendee bases of affluent arts-goers residing outside of the region. At its core, cultural tourism is niche marketing," (C Dickerson and Mangus 1999)
3.2 It is recognised that the development of cultural tourism will enable cities to differentiate themselves in the international marketplace.
3.3 The tourism importance of cultural tourism has been demonstrated with the European Capital of Culture initiative which has enabled cities to develop their image as cultural destinations. The case study of Glasgow has revealed that since the award of European Capital of Culture in 1990 Glasgow has developed its Cultural profile and infrastructure and has now become the top tourist destination in Scotland.
3.4 The Commitment that Belfast City Council has undertaken to develop Cultural tourism is evident in the Belfast bid for European Capital of Culture designation in 2008. A Company limited by guarantee is shortly to be constituted to research and prepare the Belfast bid. Consultation has taken place with representatives from a cross section of cultural sectors in order to define the themes and values of cultural visioning for Belfast.
3.5 The Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau was set up by the City Council, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the private sector in 1999 to market Belfast as an exciting, cosmopolitan European destination to business and leisure visitors. The Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau is promoting Belfast as a Cultural destination as part of the UK City of Culture campaign organised by the British Tourist Authority.
4.1. It is evident that Cultural tourism is an important product in attracting visitors to a City destination. The development of cultural tourism can result in increased economic benefit as a result of additional visitors. Additional investment is required in terms of product development and marketing for positioning Belfast as a cultural destination in the international market place.
4.2 The Tourism and Promotion of Belfast Sub-Committee believes it has an important strategic role to play in terms of the development of cultural tourism.
ards borough council leisure services department,
development department and ards arts committee
terms of reference
1. To determine the status of the existing relationship between the cultural and tourist sectors in Northern Ireland.
1.1 The current relationship is very informal, dependent on local authority/RTO (Regional Tourism Organisation - Kingdoms of Down) relationships and the perception of the relevant products.
1.2 In Ards Borough Council the relationship is informal but regular communication is maintained on a number of issues eg Events briefing meetings, inclusion of Arts Centre as attraction on tourism database.
1.3 A review of the Tourism Strategy for Ards Borough Council has recently been undertaken. This is presently in the process of being ratified by Council. The synergy between Tourism and the Arts has been identified within it.
2. To identify areas within aspects of the arts that have the potential to be incorporated into a cultural tourist product that can be actively promoted by the tourist industry.
- events - music contemporary/classic/jazz/blues, literature based, creative arts, concerts
- festivals - music eg Guitar festival, visual art eg puppet festival
- collections - galleries (specialist exhibitions), local retail eg Ards Crafts
- trails/tours - sculpture trail (completion end of June), poetry trail, language trail
- workshops - crafts, visual art
- attractions - craft eg Ards Arts Centre, Eden Pottery, Ards Crafts, music eg Lowden Guitar Factory
- performance art - eg theatre production - Romeo and Juliet
- themes in heritage - genealogy, Christian Heritage, industrial heritage, museums, attractions
- opportunities offered through the historical context of Ards Borough with regard to the 1798 Rebellion (bus tours and re-enactments have previously taken place)
The current cultural product in Ards provides strength for Ards Tourism/Kingdoms of Down to market.
3. To identify the support required by cultural activities, including languages, to enable that heritage to be maintained and enhanced
- Support to extend programming into tourism summer season
- Training opportunities for workshop activity eg language course, crafts course, guiding - the opportunity to learn how to run these courses effectively, Support to access wider channels of distribution for publicity material
- Marketing activity support eg packaging.
4. To report to the Assembly making recommendations to the Department and/or others on actions that would strengthen the link between culture and tourism
- greater awareness of each others activities eg currently promoted products, current marketing activity eg inclusion in tour operator itineraries (raise awareness)
- day trip market very significant in Ards eg Arts can become a larger part of this. Possible inclusion into Borough wide newsletter to raise awareness locally
- tourist attracted to the area they then need to be fully aware of the cultural product - current distribution of information through our TICs, sale of tickets, inclusion of activity in Ards Tourism Events Guide (this publication reaches a different/wider audience)
- this should lead tourism to supply greater audiences for cultural activity (cultural tourists spend more and stay longer) and during the off peak Arts season
- tourism may also provide an audience when the home market is away.
lisburn borough council
background information on the lisburn borough
The Lisburn Borough Council area covers 174 square miles of Southwest Antrim and Northwest Down with a population of over 111,500 people.
It is an area of contrasting social, historic and scenic features, from high-density housing areas on the outskirts of Belfast and around the Lagan Valley, to picturesque towns and villages of its gentle drumlin landscape. It is served by excellent road and rail links being located strategically on the Belfast to Dublin Eastern Corridor and the International Airport is only 16 miles from Lisburn, the Borough's main town.
The Borough has a sound industrial and commercial base, aided by an excellent infrastructure, and is being further strengthened by Council led initiatives which aim to improve employment prospects, encourage business and attract investment.
The rich diversity of cultures, tradition's and personal backgrounds throughout the Borough is reflected in the make-up of the Council that serves them. There are thirty elected representatives, representing five district electoral areas.
Lisburn is one of Northern Ireland's most popular market towns and is steeped in history relating to the Irish linen industry. The prestigious and award-winning tourist attraction, the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum is located in the town centre. The Lisburn Borough positions itself as a popular place to live, visit and work.
The Borough of Lisburn has the second largest district population in Northern Ireland. It stretches from Glenavy to Dromara and from Dunmurry to Moira and covers an area ranging from the suburbs of Belfast and the densely populated housing estates of Twinbrook, Poleglass and Seymour Hill through the heart of the Lagan Valley to the rural drumlin country of north east Down to the shores of Lough Neagh in County Antrim.
- Lisburn (42,110)
- Dumurry (12,771)
- Twinbrook, Poleglass & Lagmore (25,000)
- Moira (2,772)
- Glenavy (3,971)
- Hillsborough (2,407)
Of the total working age of the population of the Lisburn Borough 31,112 are male and 29,343 are female (Northern Ireland Census 1991: Economic Activity Report).
An analysis of the age structure of the population of the Borough from the Northern Ireland Census 1991 Economic Activity Report indicates that:
The Borough has a higher proportion of those in working age (16-64 age ranges) than the Northern Ireland average.
Approximately 32.6% of the Borough's population are under 19 years of age.
The Borough has a higher proportion of persons in the 20-40 age range suggesting that there is a larger proportion of families with young children compared to other district Council areas.
The Borough has approximately 17.1% of children under nine years old.
These statistics indicate an increasing demand for educational and social provision for young people in Lisburn.
From the Northern Ireland Census 1991 Economic Activity Report the employment force is defined as those living in the Borough of Lisburn who are economically active, employed, unemployed and self-employed.
The Borough has a higher percentage of the economically active, as a proportion of the total population aged 16 years and over, compared to neighbouring Councils.
This is mainly due to the lower proportion of those ages 60+ over within the population.
In general, terms the Borough of Lisburn is perceived as one of the prosperous in Northern Ireland succeeded by North Down (first), Castlereagh (second) and Newtownabbey (third). However, pockets of severe deprivation are identified in a report titled 'An Analysis of Deprivation, The Retail Sector, And Enterprise Promotion Within The Borough of Lisburn, 1997' namely:
- Colin Glen
- Old Warren
The deprivation indicators used in the analysis are:
- Car Ownership
- Economic Activity
- Lone Parent Households
- Population with long-term Illness
Figures from 1995 Lisburn Borough Council Economic Analysis shows that of those living within the Borough 17.9% are employed in manufacturing sectors. The Borough also has a greater proportion of its resident population employed in the construction industry in comparison with all of the neighbouring district councils. With 26.7% of the employed population in the distribution, hotels and catering division this represents the strength of the retail sector in the Lisburn area.
An analysis of the economically active population reveals that the Borough has a slightly higher ratio of people employed in managerial and professional positions than the Northern Ireland average and more than most of its neighbouring council areas.
The Borough has however a lower proportion of self-employed people than the Northern Ireland averages. The 1991 Census shows that this group represented 9.2% of the total economically active population of the area. Lisburn has the lowest proportion of all Southeast Council areas. Only Belfast, with 5.5% has a lower proportion of self-employed.
Lisburn has a relatively good physical infrastructure with a road network that has contributed to the development of the area. Not only is the Borough located on the north-south corridor, the transportation network also connects directly with the east-west network and well serviced to the main air and sea transport terminals. Lisburn is also a stop on the Belfast-Dublin inter-city rail service. Because of this, Lisburn has the capacity to easily attract inward visits for cultural tourism initiatives.
The tourist industry has been a growth industry within the Lisburn Borough over the last number of years worth £11.2 million of the Lisburn Borough economy (3.5% of NI average). This results from 91,000 trips (3.9% of the NI Average) and 417,300 bednights (3.9% of the NI average).
A recent Lisburn District Visitor Survey for 1999/2000 undertaken by System Three on behalf of Lisburn Borough Council highlights the followings:
The Lisburn visitor market has a relatively old age profile with nearly three times as many visitors aged 45 or over (57%) than aged between 15-34 (20%). Nearly two-thirds of visitors to the area were in the ABC1 social classes (64%) with just over a fifth of visitors to Lisburn being families (22%) while 14% were young independents and about half were categorised as Empty Nesters (48%).
Nearly half of visitors to Lisburn stated that their decisions to visit the Kingdoms of Down area as a whole were based around general sightseeing and touring (47%) while around a fifth mentioned museums and galleries (22%) or the opportunity to visit craft centres or shops (20%).
Lisburn has, therefore, performed well in recent years with increased visitors numbers and spend year-on-year. However, Lisburn is still well behind Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and North Down in all 3-performing indicators coming ninth in the number of Trips, Bed-nights and total Visitor Spend.
The Borough is poorly provided for in camping/caravan based facilities, youth hostels, country house and bed and breakfast accommodation, small family-owned hotels and large multi-purpose hotels offering leisure and conference facilities.
arts provision in the lisburn borough
The Council's principle expenditure for the arts is through the Council's new purpose-built and dedicated arts facility the Island Arts Centre.
This facility is managed by the Council's Leisure Services Department through the Leisure Services Committee and has overall responsibility for carrying out the Council's policies in respect of expenditure for the arts.
This is complemented by the Council's Corporate Strategy that identifies six key goals for development of the Council's services that are clearly relevant in the context of the arts:
- Customer Focus - putting the interests of our customers first.
- Quality - providing quality and value for money.
- Openness - strengthening communication and openness with our customers.
- Competence - delivering customer satisfaction through competence and innovation.
- Fairness and equality - promoting equality in the provision of all Council Services throughout the Borough.
- Accountability - being accountable and responsible to the people of the Borough.
The Council's commitment to the development of this Arts Strategy indicates the Council's appreciation of the value of the arts to the Lisburn Borough and below is a summary of the benefits that the Council generally seeks from investment in the arts:
I The generation of employment growth outside the arts and cultural sector in eg retail, catering, and transport sectors through the provision of arts and cultural visitor attractions.
II The generation of direct employment through investment in arts and cultural institutions and projects offering employment to local cultural workers.
III The generation of employment growth outside of the arts and cultural sector through the creation of high profile image for the area to encourage inward investment.
IV Maintaining employment in the economy as a whole by using the arts as a central focus of "image" campaigns to enhance the overall attractiveness of an area in a manner that will maintain spending, encourage visitors, sustain business confidence or attract visitors for special events and activities.
V To encourage and develop employment potentials for individuals through education programmes and training in cultural activity eg Filmmaking. This could be done through the following methods:
- Training for existing "arts professionals"
- Training for new entrants into the arts professions
- Training which uses the arts to develop life and other skills that are valid in any occupational area
VI Achieving strategic objectives in other key areas such as environmental improvements, community regeneration, and promotional activity using cultural activity.
VII To contribute substantially in terms of benefits to the community, by developing greater cohesion between communities, and by encouraging a sense of pride between communities and individuals in their towns or villages.
VIII To contribute to the "visitor experience" that is a vital element in tourism development.
As evidence of the commitment by Lisburn Borough Council to arts development in the Borough the current total annual spending on the arts is estimated at £447,167.
In recognition of the Lisburn Borough Council recognises that the arts provide a great social, cultural, aesthetic, educational and economic value to the community. For many years debate about funding to the Arts centred on what the economy could do for the Arts. Now the debate has shifted to consider what the Arts are doing for the economy. This is an important change of emphasis at a time when public expenditure is severely restricted and it is vitally important, therefore to assess the positive impact of the Arts in the Lisiburn Borough in economic terms, to support the case for the private as well as public sector investment.
This was further supported by the recent study commissioned by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Economic Council (published 1996). The study titled "The Arts and the Northern Ireland Economy" was carried out by John Myerscough and demonstrated beyond doubt, that the Arts form significant and expanding section of the economy in their own right.
In England "Arts Tourism" is a major growth sector and the concept of "Cultural Heritage" is increasing as an integral part of tourism destination promotion in the UK. Apart from the cultural and social benefits, economic benefits could be expected in the form of additional income and employment.
In 1995, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board commissioned a study to look at "Tourism and the Arts in Northern Ireland" and how it could be developed in the region. A broad steering group was formed, involving the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and other organisations from both industries. The report acknowledged that the relationship between tourism and the arts is "potentially highly complementary. The arts create attractions for the tourist while tourism supplies extra audiences for the arts. Cultural tourists spend more and stay longer."
Initial desk research established that the key things the arts provide tourism with are:
- a magnet to increase visitor numbers and in specialist markets, a prime reason for visiting;
- a means of defining a destination and adding to its overall appeal and sophistication;
- a means of adding value to a visit and increasing customer satisfaction;
- a means of generating off-peak visitor traffic and optimising the use of accommodation and transport;
In return, the main thing that tourists bring to the arts is their audience potential. However, tourists also offer the arts:
- distinct programming opportunities;
- the opportunity for a wider range of events;
- the opportunity to put on minority events that would not be possible without the extra audience;
- an audience at the time of year when many local residents are themselves on holiday;
- exhibition opportunities as well as performing arts opportunities;
- "Souvenir" and other ancillary sales income.
Lisburn Borough Council's current Tourism Strategy also stresses the importance of the Island Arts Centre as a mechanism for improving events provision as well as developing a number of smaller scale activities. It also highlights the attractiveness of low key arts activities such as street entertainment that give added-value to visitor experiences thus encouraging longer stays in the area.
Special arts-related events provision in the form of specific festivals organised during peak tourist periods also have the opportunity to encourage tourists with higher disposable income to the area and enhance the overall visitor spend in the Borough. The development of cultural "high spots" organised to meet the needs of the tourist market has already been recognised in other areas of the UK and the island of Ireland with examples like the Edinburgh Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Castleward Opera, Belfast's Festival at Queen's, North Down Borough Council's, Aspects Literary Festival and Holywood Jazz Festival, The Galway Film and Arts Festivals.
Other developments that are being developed by Lisburn Borough Council include special "arts breaks" during the summer months.
The Council's Tourist Information Centres have also proved highly successful as ticket offices for Arts events, giving people access to easier booking, better information and increased levels of customer service.
Special attention should also be given to the British Tourist Authority's 3 year British Arts Cities campaign and how it focuses on cities that offer visitors the opportunity to explore the wider range of Britain's Arts.
"We want to boost the image of cities overseas as contemporary, lively destinations. They are easily accessible "gateway" cities, but there is more we can do to raise their profile abroad. We'll be working with colleagues in the trade to encourage them to create arts packages or include Arts Cities in their existing programmes."
Full-colour brochures support the campaign with sections on each city featuring accommodation, arts venues, and event highlights. An overwhelmingly successful example of this was Glasgow in 1990 when the city was European City of Culture and the impact this had on branding Glasgow as a tourist destination.
Since Lisburn is a "gateway" town to Belfast from southern Ireland and vice-versa and tourism is fast becoming a major part of Lisburn Borough's economy, the Council is developing initiatives through the arts that will widen the visitor attraction to the area to give increased reasons for commuters to stop in the Borough and not by-pass it via the outlying motorway.
conclusion and suggestions to develop the sector
In conclusion, Lisburn Borough Council fully recognises the value that the arts can make to the development of cultural tourism. Cultural tourism is recognised as one of the main reasons why tourists visit the north of Ireland as much of the world claims to be linked to the island through its people, history and heritage.
It is difficult however to develop this potential as little cohesion appears to exist between local authorities and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) in promoting Northern Ireland as a significant tourist destination. The NITB needs to place more emphasis on cultural tourism by supporting local authorities develop tourism products so the industry can be expanded. This could be done through grant-aid schemes and joint commercial product packaging.
In order that this can be recognised Lisburn Borough Council proposes six suggestions to develop the sector:
- That NITB reinstates its Cultural Tourism Officer to the full remit of cultural tourism development to ensure that cultural tourism is placed back on the top of the tourism economy's agenda.
- That the NITB establishes more cohesive links between local authorities, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and other relevant agencies to develop dedicated cultural tourism products to express to the world the uniqueness of who and what we are as a country.
- That the NITB develops a funding mechanism to support the development and expansion of cultural tourism products.
- That a formal working group is established of key cultural tourism representatives to develop a new cultural tourism strategy for Northern Ireland in the wake of the established new Assembly.
- That a more proactive approach is taken by NITB with other major stakeholders to develop the tourism infrastructure eg hotels, B & B's etc to support the development of cultural tourism products.
- That the NITB develops a more cohesive approach with lead agencies such as local authorities and regional tourism organisations to marketing Northern Ireland as a cultural package.
CREATIVE CAPITAL AND DOWN DISTRICT
This submission has been prepared on behalf of Down District Council by Sharon O'Connor, Director of Cultural and Economic Development who is responsible for Tourism, the Arts, Museum services, Community Relations and Economic Development within the District.
1. Executive Summary
This analysis highlights a number of key ideas and proposals
- The creation by central government of a challenge fund for innovative cultural tourism projects
- The encouragement of partnership arrangements
- The establishment of joint R&D with NITB/DCAL/local government
- Support for networked approaches to tourism development
- Examples of projects which could be catalysts
2. Our view of the creative opportunity
Down District is fortunate to have an exceptionally diverse range of cultural resources. In recognition of this the council has reconfigured its own structure to reflect the economic potential to be realised by aligning cultural activity and Tourism.
The new Department of Cultural and Economic Development combines the resources of Arts Services, Museum, Tourism, Community Relations and Economic Development. The new strategy for Cultural Development and Tourism is well advanced and will be published this year.
In it, it is envisaged that linking the cultural community and regional tourism efforts will expand and enhance the use of tourism potential from the creation, presentation and promotion of the arts and cultural heritage in Down. The people of Down District will benefit through the promotion of arts and cultural heritage programmes designed to attract new visitors, stimulate the local economy, generate new jobs, create renewed pride and recognition of the value of the arts and in the cultural heritage of this creative community.
We believe that the chief inhibitor of the growth of Cultural Tourism is the lack of partnership working across the sectors. This key factor coupled with the current structures, which 'promote' as opposed to 'develop' tourism and availability of research and development funding for innovation in this sector is witnessed in the unrealised opportunity across the region.
The relationship between Cultural Tourism and the Arts is a very broad-based concept and one, which is likely to mean many different things to different people. The definition of culture could be debated at length but for our purposes we choose to adopt a model which refers to the ideas, traditions and the art of this community. Tourism for the purpose of this analysis relates to those making a journey to experience, amongst other things, our cultural expression.
In essence any successful marriage of cultural tourism and the arts must derive from the essential truth of the place. In other words rich culture and associated creative resources need to be in situ for productive exploration to evolve. The principle of sustainable development applies here as in other sectors; for example, trying to create an international opera festival in a location, which does not have a strong musical base within the arts community, is unlikely to be sustainable. Examinations of successful arts/tourism events demonstrate this core principle in everything from Opera, Poetry, Jazz, to the Irish Language.
Assuming that we can agree on the need to target particular cultural opportunities using a challenge funding mechanism, examination of the potential would be revealed through our Cultural Development Strategy. We are using a model developed by Patrick Butler to highlight the key opportunities within Down District. He usefully defines the structural characteristics of arts marketing identifying the Product as; "The distinctive characteristics of arts products are that they are cultural: they are human performances of a kind; and they tend to have strong location identities." In a local context we see that the linking of performance and location creates additional opportunities for strong market positioning and branding.
To take the example of Riverdance as the full measure of that potential, we see cultural expression routed in the truth of the place, of such high quality in content and marketing that it achieves global presence.
We believe that we have many essential truths to build on. In our work towards our production of a Tourism Development Strategy and a Cultural Development Strategy we have highlighted these in our own analysis. In general terms these may be summarised as follows:
- Artist practitioners
- Tradition, folk culture and language
- Food and Drink
- Visual and Performing Arts
Here in Down District we believe that we have a rich resource in terms of both heritage and artistic resources and we believe that we have developed models of good practice in terms of the accommodation of cultural diversity.
Our association with St Patrick and success in interpreting this for locals and visitors is a good example of this model in practice. In excess of thirty thousand local people and visitors engage in our St Patrick's Festival which strives to balance popular tastes and artistic quality in programming.
In terms of physical and human resource we are well placed to develop quality cultural tourism products.
- Unique history and traditions
- Coast - fishing villages
- Mountains - rural country life
- Historic locations - Castles, Monastic sites, Railway, Graves
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Down County Museum
- Downpatrick Railway Museum
- Downpatrick Arts Centre
- The Great Hall Development
- St Patrick's Centre
- Heritage sites, Inch Abbey, Castleward
Highest concentration (45%) of craft practitioners in NI located in Down
- Thriving and established communities of writers, artists and musicians
- Food, growers and processors, Seafood, Venison and fresh produce.
Events and Happenings
- St Patrick's Festival - embracing other traditions
- Christmas Festival - an Irish Christmas
- Seafood Festival - linking fishing villages
- Music Festivals - cross border, international
- Arts festivals - capable of huge development
Whilst sport and leisure events are excluded here it may be argued that these are important components in the cultural mix and we would most certainly see local sporting activity particularly resources such as the Down Racecourse as being key to our local cultural tourism product.
Some appreciation of the cultural wealth of this area may exist but the challenge lies in the process by which higher profile appreciation is created and sustained in the public mind and how we extend that appreciation to prospective tourists.
Creative and cultural resources are often hidden resources not always in public consciousness. The sole artist practitioner is not on show to a wider public and if we are to capitalise on creative assets we need to find platforms and showcases to create awareness.
3. Making culture visible and accessible
In developing our tourism resource it must be acknowledge that the need for research and development of new products is currently effected (or not as the case may be) by either the private sector, community based interests or local government. The level of successful development of such new product development is completely proportionate to two major constraints.
- Lack of financial resource investment in Marketing
- Promotional focus of Regional Tourism Organisations
In practice this means that whilst at a local level we can see product development opportunities, we lack the resources to take the financial risks required in a marketing led approach to new product development.
A number of interventions are required:
- investment in research and product development
- generation of active partnerships between government, tourism professionals and arts and cultural organisations
- more regional input to the development of the Cultural Tourism concept
The existing Regional Tourism Organisations are not really marketing organisations. They, for the most part, do not engage in product development, they are promotional organisations and this is a fundamental difference. This is not intended as a criticism of the excellent promotions RTO's conduct but rather a pragmatic recognition that the development of cultural tourism requires more hands-on research, development and project management than current structures can support.
To be effective marketing agencies, more investment would need to be directed at examining resources and market potential, developing new product, packaging existing product and growing brands which are of huge importance when thinking about arts and cultural events. The Kilkenny Arts Festival has grown from a small core festival and developed its own brand, which has been stretched and developed to include many integral sub themes is an excellent example of what could and should be done.
The marketing of the tourism product built onto the festival is about the active engagement of the tourism industry. Here we are starting from a leaner base with a measure of complacency evident in the parts of the industry who benefit from the undersupply of key parts of the tourism offering, accommodation and quality restaurants being prime examples.
In order to stimulate the growth of quality products within the cultural tourism area we should consider the provision of:
- Challenge funds to assist development agencies such as District Councils to do the R&D work involved in building product.
- Our lack of sophistication when it comes to packaging cultural product and directing that at tourists is a glaring omission.
- Here in Down we have the raw materials to build experiences such as opera weekends, folk music events, racing weekends, crafts, literature and painting holidays. The examination of such ideas and cultural context provides rich seams of possibility for the growth and development of knowledge based tourism.
- The Irish Christmas, experience of the place, the St Patrick's story, the music, poetry, history, landscape and tradition is largely untold in tourism terms.
4. Our proposals
4.1 Challenge Fund
The establishment of a challenge fund to support innovation in the field of Arts and Cultural tourism development.
This would achieve a number of substantial and important benefits
- To create a catalyst for Cultural Tourism development
- To assist local economic development
- To enhance international profile for cultural tourism
- To create new job opportunities
- To build new creative partnerships
- To create self esteem for our community as a whole
- To put heads in beds
Some of these objectives are supported by the work of a number of agencies. One successful model, which may be applied to the local product, is the NI Events Company, which successfully creates international profile and local appreciation through events, which they develop and promote.
4.2 Recognising what we have
We believe that such concentrated effort and commensurate marketing resources, aimed at significant events such as our St Patrick's celebration (which is the longest running and largest in the North and is run by the District Council) grounded in the reality of the local patrician legacy could build significant cultural tourism returns.
Arts events, food events, musical events, all of these happen throughout our district. What limits their potential for growth is development funds. This does require the participation of central and local government because the scale and level of the private sector will not readily support such projects, which carry risk. In building the platforms for cultural tourism we may be able to stimulate private sector participation for the future.
4.3 Stretching the tourist season
In order to grow and develop our most local industry in the Down area we are prioritising tourism as possessing the best potential for short term returns and substantial long term development.
We believe that we have a rich resource of untapped potential for cultural tourism. The need to develop this potential requires a range of resources the important one being partnerships with the organisations, individuals and agencies engaged in cultural activity along with tourism industry.
4.4 Creating the right environment
As yet we lack appropriate levels of tourism infrastructure. Next month Down District will host a number of important events such as National meeting for museum professionals, amongst others, the lack of quality hotel provision in the town of Downpatrick means that the town cannot enjoy the proceeds of its investment in museum and heritage services and visitors will stay elsewhere.
There is therefore a pressing need to stimulate private sector participation in the provision of accommodation. We also need to further develop the look of our towns and villages to make them more attractive to the tourist.
4.5 Inward Investment
The local industry will, we believe, need to be stimulated by the encouragement of inward investment in the tourism infrastructure and this job can be effectively modelled on the IDB approach to overseas investment. Significant work needs to be done in developing the data to make a persuasive case to international providers in the leisure/tourism sector.
All of this requires a more networked approach to regeneration and economic development. The regional agencies need to engage in the process of working jointly to effect physical and economic improvements. If we are to capitalise on the creative capital of this district using our historic towns such as Downpatrick we must also examine how the physical environment can be improved, revitalising the cultural quarter that we already possess and using public art and interpretation aimed at visitors.
5. Downpatrick - a centre for cultural tourism?
Downpatrick already possesses an impressive range of cultural resources. We have plans to develop the old quarter as a cultural district renovating old buildings and making available living and workspace to artists and other creatives at subsidised rates. The rebranded St Patrick's Cross area* will breathe life into the town building on the historic fabric a community of artists.
Consider what we have:-
Down Country Museum is an award winning facility in a beautiful and historic building.
Downpatrick Railway Museum a unique working steam railway museum which will link to the ancient ruins of Inch Abbey
Down Arts Centre runs a programme of events and has gallery and performance space
St Patrick Centre is a new £6.5m interpretative centre, which also has a 120-seater auditorium, gallery and meeting space.
The Great Hall a refurbished performance space seating 300 which will be complete by late spring.
6. Forward Plan
Our plans for the district will include;
- An major international Celtic music festival
- A substantially enhanced St Patrick's Festival
- A major international seafood event involving the culture and heritage of the fishing villages
- An Irish Christmas - a weeklong district wide event aimed at bringing visitors in to experience local Christmas Crafts and Customs
- Arts, Crafts and Historic Trails
- Lecture and Summer and Winter School programmes
- A number of literature and performing arts events
- A number of cultural 'weekenders', ie poetry, history and jazz
- Summer racing programme
- Further development of musical events building on associations with Castleward
Whilst we have highlighted Downpatrick we are also planning the development of new vehicles for cultural tourism in other locations notably Saintfield, Ballynahinch, Castlewellan and Newcastle.
Notable in our own thinking is the proposal to develop a major international festival themed on Celtic music and embracing potentially, Irish, Scottish, Appalachian, Breton and other forms of traditional Celtic music. We would intend to develop an international quality programme featuring many of the mainstream names in the contemporary and traditional Celtic music genre.
We would only be able to fully capitalise on the international tourism potential of such an event if we could draw on a more substantial marketing budget than our own resources, appropriate international networks and out of state promotional vehicles.
We are seeking to develop a new economy for our area, which takes account of our people and our place. We need to reinvent our tourism product recognising that it does form a mainstay of the local economy.
It is our view that Cultural Tourism has a central place in the new economy and that this is especially true in cultural landscapes such as Down.
We are working hard to build on our potential, your comments would be appreciated.
Director of Cultural and Economic Development
Down District Council
The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland.
Report NITB 1998.
The Arts and the NI Economy: Myerscough, J NI Economic Council 1996.
Marketing the Arts, Butler, P. Journal of Marketing 2000.
9 February 2001
"The diversity of language in Northern Ireland is an inheritance which everyone should share, treasure and preserve for the benefit of future generations" - Michael McGimpsey
The ULTACH Trust is a cross-community funding body which has made submissions to the Priestly and Everitt Reports on the arts in Northern Ireland. It is currently a partner with ACNI in developing a strategic plan on language arts in Northern Ireland. A partner organisation, the Columbia Initiative, has organised a number of seminars on cultural tourism in relation to the Gaelic language in Ireland and Scotland. The Trust'' Director has served on the Combined Arts, Creative Arts and Cultural Diversity panels of ACNI. The main emphasis here is on the Irish language, with some references to Ulster Scots. Some recommendations could also apply to Travellers' speech.
rationale for language-based cultural tourism
1. The Current situation
The challenges facing the tourism industry in Northern Ireland include the following factors:
1.1 Northern Ireland does not have a competitive climate. While we can offer beautiful scenery, there is no guarantee that it will be seen. Other marketable attractions are needed;
1.2 Northern Ireland has an image problem where the mass tourist market is concerned. This applies to visitors from Britain and the Republic as well as tourists from abroad;
1.3 foreign visitors who come back a second time or recommend the venue to their friends do so on the basis of how enriching the original experience was;
1.4 internal tourism is massively underdeveloped. Many local people have visited only a limited set of venues in Northern Ireland;
1.5 Northern Ireland must compete with the Republic and Scotland, both of which have well-developed cultural tourism sectors, in attracting both external and internal visitors;
1.6 tourism is becoming increasingly reliant on niche markets;
1.7 visitors increasingly wish to experience what is unique about a place and its people.
2. What cultural tourism can offer
The development of cultural tourism in Northern Ireland can provide an effective response to all these factors. It has the potential to:
2.1 attract visitors with specific niche interests who would otherwise not have considered Northern Ireland as a venue;
2.2 introduce tourists (both internal and external) to areas in Northern Ireland they would not otherwise have visited;
2.3 motivate local people to holiday within Northern Ireland more often;
2.4 provide a rich and satisfying experience even in bad weather;
2.5 offer an attraction in out of season periods, and extend the tourist season.
3. Potential of cultural (language-based) tourism
These remarks are based on the assumption that language based cultural tourism will work on a number of levels, ranging from the minority of visitors whose main motivation is language-based to the more casual tourist whose experience of Northern Ireland will be enriched by hearing a song in Irish or Ulster Scots, or through having the meaning of a place name explained. The following areas of activity could be considered:
3.1 visibility (a): One of the specific attractions of Wales, the Republic of Ireland and parts of Scotland lie in the fact that the named landscape speaks another language. Tourists are intrigued by our place names, but very little effort is made to explain them or contextualise them. While public signposting can be contentious, there is no reason why this information cannot be included in promotional material. There are areas in which bilingual signing will be welcomed, and Heritage signage attracts less hostility and could provide another attraction;
3.2 visibility (b): Explanatory plaques on historic buildings should have an explanation of the origin of non-English names. Multi-lingual presentations in museums, art galleries and cultural centres through signage, printed leaflets and multi-lingual audio guides (which work on an opt-in basis and are not obtrusive) should be considered. These approaches are extremely cost-effective ways of providing a service in Irish or Ulster Scots, and will draw attention to the linguistic diversity of Northern Ireland.
3.3 cultural heritage tourism: There is undoubtedly an untapped market for cultural events which include a linguistic element, but which do not require a knowledge of the language. There is a broad range of such topics: place names, surnames (related to genealogy-based tourism, and already highly successful), mythology, literature, folklore, song;
3.4 minority language tourism (a): There are 40 million speakers of minority languages on the European mainland, many of whom are interested in other language groups. Every year, west Belfast attracts thousands of visitors interested in the revival of the Irish language. There is a vast untapped market here which has only begun to be exploited;
3.5 minority language tourism (b): Up to half a million people in the Republic speak Irish, and 60,000 Scots speak Gaelic. Many of these people would be attracted to venues in which the Irish language was celebrated. This interest group would be particularly interested in recordings of native Irish speakers collected in four counties of Northern Ireland. Areas off the main tourist tracks such as the Sperrins, south Armagh and Rathlin Island could be promoted in this way;
3.6 minority language tourism (c): A similar approach could be taken for Ulster Scots, which is, of course, still spoken in a number of communities. However, it can be difficult for the visitor to hear Ulster Scots, as its speakers tend to adapt their speech to strangers towards a standard English norm, and it will be necessary to develop strategies to give visitors exposure to Ulster Scots;
3.7 Irish language arts: Some of the Gaelic arts, song in particular, have great potential in attracting visitors and enriching the experience of the general tourist. Other art forms aimed at Irish-speakers within Northern Ireland or in a broader Irish context could attract Irish linguistic tourism. There is a further potential audience which speaks Scottish Gaelic. It must be realised that a high quality product is essential for this niche market;
3.8 Ulster Scots arts: While these are not as yet as highly developed as Irish language arts, this area remains virtually untapped. Ulster Scots arts have the advantage of being comparatively accessible to English- speaking visitors;
3.9 language learning: It is, paradoxically, easier to begin to learn Irish in revivalist areas than in the living Gaeltachts. There have been a number of residential Irish language courses for children in Northern Ireland since the late fifties, the best-known of which is Tír na nÓg in Garron Tower. There have been irregular adult weekend residential courses during the last ten years. This area is open to significant development, particularly in developing the sector for customers from outside Northern Ireland.
3.10 co-ordination: The promotion of linguistic tourism will require a co-ordinated approach involving a large number of bodies, including museums, art galleries, cultural centres, tourist outlets, community development groups, language organisations, ACNI, third level education institutions, NITB, Bord Fáilte, the Scottish Tourist Board. Financial support and advice could be sought from the Cross-Border Language Body. The Columba Initiative, Údarás na Gaeltachta, The Gaelic Arts Agency and the Highlands and Islands Development Board in Scotland have done ground-breaking work in developing the theory and practice of linguistic tourism. The EU has a number of funding lines for promoting cross-border tourism and language development.
The potential or developing language-based cultural tourism is significant, but is unlikely to be adequately exploited without effective planning and co-ordinated support.
We recommend that a report be commissioned by DCAL on the potential for developing language-related tourism, taking on board the following areas:
- Current strengths and weaknesses
- Case studies of successful initiatives
- Potential areas of growth
- Co-ordination of activities
- Marketing strategies
- Infrastructural support
- Identifying pilot projects
ARTS AND BUSINESS
Arts & Business is a national organisation formed in 1976 in England and subsequently 1989 in Northern Ireland. We currently have a membership base of 400 business and 350 Arts organisations including most of the top ftse 100 and an extended associate network of over 2000.
Arts & Business mission is to:
Enable opportunity, creativity and performance through arts & business partnership.
We achieve this by
Providing arts organisations and businesses with the opportunity to work in partnership with each other in a way that encourages creativity and innovation thus improving the performance and sustainability of both.
Our core business is to:
Arts & Business works with a significant database of associates and members drawn from both the arts and business sectors. We provide the link between the two by:
- Providing a financial incentive for a business to partner the arts (New Partners Programme funded by DCAL).
- Proactive brokering of ideas (consultancy).
- Passing of information on new opportunities (Potential Partner Portfolio).
- Providing forums to meet with each other (Events).
- Providing information on what is happening nationally and international through alliances with Business to Arts and CIRAC.
Arts & Business is the leading provider within the arts sector of business management training via:
- Arts Company Development Programme (one year management development programme funded by DETI).
- Skills Bank and Board Bank (placement of business advisors within arts organisations either to carry out specific project or membership of a board. Part funded by DEL and Arts Council.)
- Training Opportunities (businesses providing arts organisations with free training places).
- Board Development (Development Programme for board members).
- Arts Based training (for business using the skills of artists to facilitate learning).
- Sponsorship seminars and arts advisory sessions (for arts organisations).
- Arts @ work (bringing art into the work place ie corporate arts, arts clubs, etc).
Arts & Business works hard to advocate the concept of arts & business partnership by building networks, providing case studies, disseminating best practice and keeping people informed via
- Partnership working with other agencies (Arts Council, BITC CAF).
- Public speaking.
- Account Management.
Our success is measured by: (NI only)
- Businesses engaging in arts activity (24% increase this year).
- Increase in overall business contribution to the arts annually (12% increase this year to 1.7 million).
- Numbers of arts organisations through our training programmes (28 this year).
- Numbers of associates and members engaging with Arts & Business (4% increase this year).
What we do in detail
Currently in a pilot stage in Northern Ireland, this cash incentive programme helps businesses try something new with the arts. Creative sponsorship; employee involvement; arts based training; arts in the workplace - thousands of people are discovering new ways that the arts can help their business improve marketing & communications, motivating & stimulating employees and helping to support their local community. Full programme commences 2002.
Ending 2002, this DCAL funded scheme offers a financial incentive to businesses sponsoring the arts. The ratio of funding awarded to the business is dependent on the number of times the company has sponsored the arts in the past. Assuming all criteria are met, the 100, 50 or 25% matching funding is used to benefit the sponsor and the arts organisation.
Arts Development Forum
The Forum meets four times a year and focuses on passing information on sponsorship opportunities, sharing sponsorship raising skills, creating a clear and positive image of the arts for potential sponsors and providing networking opportunities in both the arts & business sectors. Members services include research, support and advice, discounts on publications and invitations to events, plus the option to submit proposals/details to the Potential Partners Portfolio, an information tool compiled and circulated to business members four times per year.
Creative development consultancy is intended to give a member the opportunity to broaden and deepen their partnership with the arts/business. We will plan and implement specific programmes of activity on the basis of the members needs.
Arts Company Development Programme
This programme aims to improve the knowledge, skills and self awareness of arts organisations through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive training plan. Participating business trainers gain personal development and insight through working with managers with different backgrounds and perspectives.
Over a thousand business managers across the UK have gained enjoyment, valuable experience, confidence and a fresh outlook while sharing their business knowledge & experience, through advising arts organisations and museums on a variety of strategic projects. Advisers work one-to-one with an arts manager, giving coaching & advice rather than consultancy. Involvement averages 2 hours a fortnight for up to 6 months.
Business executives receive training in good board practice and are matched with a board that suits them. On the board they share responsibility for governing the organisation, boards typically meeting every three months. Through this dynamic and costs effective means of personal development, managers can make a vital contribution to the arts world while enjoying a new and stimulating challenge.
Business participants are asked to commit a small part of their training resource so that arts managers have the opportunity to develop the management skills necessary for the long-term success of their organisations. This contribution could be offering spare places on training courses or allocating some in advance, providing trainers for seminars arranged by A&B, or use of free time on computer based training.
This scheme establishes a long-term relationship between business and arts managers to address development via problem solving, coaching and management experience.
Arts & Business can provide short seminars and courses to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of Boards, through interpersonal/behavioural skills and teamwork development.
Arts Advisory Sessions
Held on the last Thursday of every month these hour long one-to-one sessions are designed for anyone seeking sponsorship. Catering to the needs of each individual, each session usually covers finding a sponsor, writing a sponsorship proposal and making relevant links with business. Free to the Arts Development Forum, there is a charge of £25+ VAT for non-member groups.
Designed not only to raise understanding of arts sponsorship, but also to give practical guidance on how to secure it. The day is aimed at those with no sponsorship experience as well as those who wish to refresh themselves of the fundamental principals and practice of this important part of the arts funding mix.
Arts Based Training
By far the fastest growing area of Arts @ Work is arts-based training - courses and workshops run by artist-trainers that address organisational and management development issues in a business. Unlocking creativity, team working, communication and scenario planning are just some of the subjects that businesses, large and small, have tackled successfully through arts-based training.
Arts @ Work
Shows in the Workplace
Animating the working environment is becoming a priority for businesses who want motivated and stimulated staff; more and more firms such as Clifford Chance and Cadbury's are inviting arts organisations, often ones they sponsor, to perform in their atria, foyers or canteens. Arts & Business can advise on appropriate arts organisations for such shows.
Performed in front of a company's workforce, a short play arrives at a moment of crises and the actor steps into the audience to ask what he or she should do; suggestions from the audience then determine how the play progresses. By encouraging discussion and debate, Forum Theatre has proved to be an excellent way to address sensitive issues at work.
Actors have long been used in training courses to play irate customers, appraisees, and many other roles. The Arts & Business database includes organisations from all around the country that offer role play services.
Corporate Art Collections
More and more businesses are developing their art collections in order to reflect their image, enhance the working environment and stimulate staff. Arts & Business can advise on specialist agencies that provide buying and curatorial services for businesses.
Companies such as Arthur Andersen and Marks & Spencer have set up arts clubs for staff. Guest artists come to the companies' premises to talk about and show their work to enthusiastic staff from boardroom to shop floor.
Art & Business has a year round programme of events, including Ministerial Receptions, Pairing Scheme Awards, a Business Forum Event, and the biennial Arts & Business Awards Ceremony. There are special business members events such as photographic workshops, special film screenings and launches.
Our publications aim to enhance understanding and promote more successful partnerships between business and the arts.
Titles include: The Sponsorship Manual, Re-creating Communities: Business, the Arts & Regeneration, Business Investment in the Arts 1999/2000, The Tax Essential.
Arts & Business personnel are happy to speak at or contribute to any forum relating to the use of arts in a private sector context. Past engagements have included, Arts in regeneration, Corporate Social Responsibility, Building Brands using the Arts, and the Business of Creativity.
ballymena borough council
6 March 2001
I refer to your letter of 30 January regarding the inquiry into Cultural Tourism and the Arts.
Firstly, both myself and our Museums and Arts Officers look forward to the debate and to the public hearings which I understand will take place in March.
Our comments at this time are limited to the following:
We suggest the terms of reference should be extended to include both Arts and Heritage.
The new Lead Museum and Arts Complex based around and in the existing Ballymena Town Hall will make a major contribution to the development of Cultural Tourism in the Borough and the region as a whole.
The Museum will provide a comprehensive introduction to the history and cultural heritage of the region and its people.
It will provide the visitor orientation that tourists require.
Ballymena Borough Council, through the Mid-Antrim Museums Service has participated in the NITB's Cultural Tourism Initiative and the development of associated strategy documents.
I hope the foregoing will be of help.
WILLIAM M YOUNG
Cultural Services Manager
NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS FEDERATION
12 March 2001
The following response concentrates on the importance of Cultural Tourism to the hospitality sector.
Our Federation has publicly welcomed the Programme for Government, which commits the Departments and agencies of Government to working together. While the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment holds ownership from the tourism industry many other departments share key roles in the development of tourism.
A strategy to place tourism at the heart of Government policy can only be fully achieved through a co-ordinated Programme for Government. We wish to see the establishment of an integrated Departmental strategy for tourism, with culture playing an important part.
Our vision is a dynamic and competitive tourism industry creating province wide wealth and opportunity across a wide range of sectors - world-class destination.
Our climate will never allow us to compete with sun and sand but Northern Ireland now has a unique opportunity to benefit from the changing pattern of global tourism. Few parts of the world have a richer heritage and a more colourful cultural backdrop. In recent years the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the tourism industry have been working to develop an understanding of the role of cultural tourism. This work has laid the foundations for future development in cultural tourism.
Throughout its history Northern Ireland has been pulled apart by the differences between its two communities. Tourism has been unable to grow in an environment of violence and fear generated by both communities. Rather than a cause for division Culture and Heritage can be a tool for bringing together all parts of our society for the benefit of all in our community.
Develop a Programme of Cultural Events and Centres
Bringing culture to life allows tourists and the local communities to join together and share the many benefits that follow. For communities that have been isolated and neglected, tourism can bring many new opportunities - not least the cultural diversity that visiting tourists bring.
Visitor numbers can be increased and enjoyment and stimulation provided. The recently opened St Patrick centre will bring enormous benefits to Downpatrick and the surrounding area in years to come.
Looking to Scotland and the Republic we can see how each has developed its cultural heritage as part of the "Brand". It is worth noting that in both cases there is no communal division but a strong sense of identity.
Another aspect is the contribution that the film industry can make and there are many examples of benefits flowing through to tourism. The Government in Southern Ireland was quick to recognise the benefits of supporting a film industry and recently approved promotion for an "Irish Oscars" ceremony to be held in Los Angeles for those films produced and shot in Ireland. Supported by many Government initiatives, Bray studios has been an important wealth generator in the Irish Republic, with visiting production teams and the technical support facilities necessary to sustain a vibrant studio facility. Over many years the Republic of Ireland has used the film industry very successfully to sell its culture, image and scenery - a destination worth visiting. Worth mentioning and considering is the film Braveheart. Shot and produced mainly in Ireland, it was Scotland and the Scottish tourism industry that got the enormous benefits that followed. The recent development of a film production facility in Belfast is to be welcomed and it is worthy of Government support to help it develop. Learning the lessons from Braveheart we should encourage films that can be filmed and set in Northern Ireland. The role of the Northern Ireland Film Commission is vital in the development of the film industry.
While less glamorous, a popular TV series can also be of enormous benefit. Many in the local tourism industry regret that popular Ballykissangel was set in Avoca, County Wicklow and not Rostrevor, County Down, as originally proposed. Other TV series such as Monarch of the Glen and Hamish Macbeth have built their popularity on rural Scotland. After the TV series tourists flocked to the seaside village of Plockton, in north west Scotland - there are many villages in Northern Ireland, like Ballycastle that can offer attractive settings.
Too often, communities in Northern Ireland have lacked a common purpose to work together and each sees the culture of the other as a threat. A programme of cultural events developed on a cross-community understanding brings enormous benefits. The Apprentice Boys initiative in the North West is an excellent example of how both communities working together, accepting the place and culture of the other, can create events that are attractive to tourism and the local community.
A well thought through strategy can therefore impact on both the visitor experience and local communities development and contribution.
Not only is Northern Ireland rich in its cultural heritage but also there is a long tradition associated with the Arts. It is worth reviewing some of the regeneration initiatives that have built their success on the Arts.
In Bilbao, Spain, the Guggenheim Museum has vividly demonstrated how an Arts centre can act as a catalyst to an entire region. The choice of Bilbao as the venue for one of the Guggenheim European centres is best understood in the context of the initiatives implemented by the Basque authorities as a contribution to the process of revitalizing the Basque Country's recession-plagued economic structure in a divided society challenged by conflict. These initiatives were also seen as a means of increasing the chances of the city's metropolitan area becoming the major reference point for European regions on the Atlantic seaboard.
The Guggenheim Museum is one of the most important ingredients in the plan to redevelop the city of Bilbao. The plan, involving a number of major projects, includes the work now in progress to develop the city's port, the revamping of the city's airport, a new Conference and Performing Arts Centre, the development of a metropolitan railway - much of it underground, and a new footbridge crossing the river at Uribitarte. An extensive area running along the riverbank by the Guggenheim Museum has been developed. The Basque authorities provided the political and cultural backing, and the financing that enabled the museum to be built and to operate, while the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation contributed its collections of modern and contemporary art, its programs of special exhibitions, and its experience in international-level museum administration and management. Opening in 1997, less than one year later, the museum had already received more than 1,300,000 visitors. The Guggenheim is only part of a long-term Basque Government initiative that has supported a variety of "Showcase" festivals and cultural events. Without an integrated programme of Culture and Arts development it is difficult to sustain key venues for any period of time.
It is also worth noting that New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliana has proposed that New York spend a record $10 billion over the next 10 years. Developed by McKinsey & Co, the plan would usher in the cities largest building programme of cultural building in more than a century. In the last 30 years New York has shown the way for cities from Houston to London to diversify their economic bases from manufacturing industries to Law, Banking, Consulting and information technology. New York sees cultural institutions as an engine of economic development. Negotiations continue with the Guggenheim Foundation to establish a new museum in New York. Expected to attract 2.5 million visitors annually, earning $570 million for New York, generating 5,500 jobs and producing $26 million additional tax revenue.
Closer to home the Lowry Centre in Salford is underpinning the urban regeneration that has taken place in recent years in one of the North West's most deprived and rundown regions. This centre has - in just eight months - established itself as the 'must see' for people in the north west and visitors to the region. And the award winning arts development is on course to create some 6,500 new jobs in the local economy. The Lowry has been a phenomenal success since it opened in April, with visitor numbers well above expectations. It is a cultural powerhouse for the north west, driving forward the regeneration of the area, and acting as a magnet for other developments that want to share in its success. The Lowry centre and associated projects will produce a total of 11,000 jobs arising from the regeneration of the Salford Quays.
Glasgow is another example of a city demonstrating the value of Culture and Arts as it sought to regenerate and improve its rather tarnished image as a faded industrial centre. In 1983 McKinsey & Co delivered a paper addressing the issue of urban decay in Glasgow. They focussed on giving Glasgow a new Heart, using tourism and retailing as twin economic pillars. The report proposed a series of public and private partnerships as delivery agencies.
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Tourist Board was established following the report. In the following years it focussed on establishing Glasgow as a destination of choice with events as the key catalyst. Using the European City of Culture (1990) designation as the springboard, Glasgow has grown its cultural environment with enormous benefits for the entire population and for tourism specifically. With a rich heritage and built on cultural development the budding image of an assertive and confident city has generated growth for tourism and the wider economy over the last 10 years. In 1983 Glasgow had 1200 hotel rooms and by 2002 this number will have swollen to 12,500. In 1989 more than £3 billion was invested in Glasgow. By 1999 Glasgow was generating the highest level of hotel occupancy and room yield of any UK city. In January of 2001, Glasgow hotels had occupancy of 85%. The service sector employs more than 47,000 people, generating more than 87% of the economic activity. Recently Glasgow has been nominated the second best retailing centre in the United Kingdom.
All these successful initiatives are driven by a community looking to lift the quality of life for all the members of that community. A clear vision built on a strategy that is understood and supported by all. It is that unity of purpose that has been the catalyst to drive success. They are excellent examples of what can be achieved by major investment in cultural aspects of life. There must be similar opportunities in Northern Ireland.
benefits to the local economy and investment
Tourism and the wider hospitality industry are heavily dependent on the quality of the destination and the warmth of the welcome. Tourism is one of the few industries to generate wealth and employment that can be shared equally across the community and stimulate investment economic development. By developing a rich and culturally understanding community we can make Northern Ireland an attractive destination that can grow rapidly providing wealth and employment across all parts of our region.
Finally, the development of an investment programme for the development of Cultural Tourism will require significant sums of money. It is essential therefore that there is proper communication, partnership and target setting.
"Cultural Tourism hits the spot for the growing army of the early, and richly, retired and the more intellectually aspiring young. It has been encouraged by worries about the traditional hedonistic sun sea and sand holidays, and a general trend towards more challenging leisure breaks for the mind as well as the body."
Anthony Thorneycroft Financial Times
"Tourism is one of Britain's fastest growing industries. It is creating new jobs, generating money to conserve our historic sites and gardens, and breathing new life into the high streets. It is important to economic success."
Janet Anderson Dept of Culture, Media & Sport
"Cities: investing in culture is simply good business."
Jeff Gorten Yale school of Management
"Northern Ireland's tourist industry has the potential to become our biggest local industry and our greatest wealth creator."
Sir Reg Empey DETI
arts council of northern ireland
1. A Development Agency
1.1 The core business of the Arts Council is shifting from the simple delivery of arts objectives to the challenge of implementing a broadly based cultural policy. The Arts Council will be increasingly adopting the role of a development agency. Part of this approach includes the need to be proactive on behalf of our sector across a wide range of issues. It is anticipated that cultural tourism will be of major significance to the Arts Council and to our sector. The Arts Council has a responsibility to work with its clients in areas such as arts tourism where there is likely to be significant developmental impact.
1.2 The arts is an essential component of cultural tourism and has influence on other areas within cultural tourism such as heritage. Northern Ireland has been in a unique position in Europe due to the ongoing civil unrest and political uncertainty. This has depressed the tourism market. The situation appears to be improving incrementally and the Arts Council is committed to supporting the sector in meeting new challenges.
2.1 A Cultural Tourism Steering Committee was brought together in 1994 by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to assess and review the potential of cultural tourism. The committee appointed a team of consultants in 1995 to undertake a study on the potential of the sector. The resulting report The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland. A Summary Report was published in January 1998.
2.2 Membership of the Steering Committee
- The Northern Ireland Tourist Board
- The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
- Local Authority Partners: Omagh, Armagh
- Northern Ireland Museums Council
- Northern Ireland Film Commission
- Rural Development Council for Northern Ireland
3. Joint Initiative between the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
3.1 The document made a number of recommendations to move the Cultural Tourism agenda forward. Central to this was the joint appointment of a Cultural Tourism Development Officer (appointed 1 September 1998) who worked from the offices of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to a programme agreed with the Arts Council. The post was located within the Product Development Unit (NITB) and Cultural Tourism was added as one of NITB's targeted areas for product development. The initiative represented the first substantial commitment by the NITB to cultural tourism.
3.2 During its deliberations the Steering Committee widened the remit of the original study to reflect a more inclusive understanding of Culture. In response, NITB made Cultural Tourism a development area and replaced the original committee with a Cultural Tourism Partnership. Although never formally constituted the Cultural Tourism Partnership assume responsibility for the initiative. The Partnership initially comprised of representatives of the various NITB product development areas.
3.3 Cultural Tourism Partnership - Sectors
- Cultural Heritage
- Industrial Heritage
- Archaeological/Christian Heritage
- Visual Arts
- Music (not yet convened)
- Performing Arts (not yet convened)
- Traditional Arts (not yet convened)
3.4 The groups were brought together by the Cultural Tourism Development Officer to reflect the headings above. It should be noted that Performing Arts, Music and Traditional Arts remain to be set up and are not therefore represented within the Partnership. This needs to be addressed. Each group nominated a representative to the Cultural Tourism Partnership, thus further augmenting membership of the committee. Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) representatives also augmented membership. Although the membership of the Partnership is admirably inclusive, it is unwieldy (currently stands at 20 members), an issue that requires consideration. A number of the product groups produced their sectoral reports.
It should be further noted that the Cultural Tourism Development Officer position is vacant. ACNI requested authority from DCAL to raise its establishment costs to re-appoint last year. No decision has been given.
4. Tourism is important to the arts - The Arts is important to tourism
4.1 There is clear evidence that the arts can unlock tourism opportunities. The cultural sector can become an engine of economic development. Cities such as Glasgow, Barcelona, Bilbao and Dublin (Temple Bar) are just a few examples of places where the arts have become a cornerstone for tourism and economic development. The arts help to define a destination adding to its overall appeal. It is also very useful in generating off peak visitors.
4.2 Properly managed sustainable tourism is important to the arts for a variety of reasons:
- Cultural tourists stay longer and spend more. (British Tourist Authority)
- Cultural Tourism grows business, generates income and local employment
- It provides work and new stimulus to artists and performers, craftspeople, writers and technicians.
- It increases audience and participation in the arts
- It improves business partnership opportunities
- It makes a region more appealing for business to relocate
- It gives creative people and the industry a higher profile
- It encourages confidence and civic pride
5. Cultural Tourism product development opportunities
5.1 Northern Ireland has a number of unique areas of arts tourism marketing strength
- Traditional Arts - which includes Music, Dance and Craft drawn from both main traditions.
- Literature - Northern Ireland's living literature heritage is rich, varied, of outstanding quality and has real international status.
- Both possess excellent unique selling points and market definition.
5.2 These artforms create opportunities for the tourist to:
- Meet and interact at a community level across Northern Ireland. (It should also be noted that many of our tourists are from the Republic of Ireland and Scotland visiting friends and relatives)
- Interact at a social level in an informal/formal environment
- Learn about the historical and living heritage of an area
- Be part of a unique and genuine experience
- Participate in a wide range of events
- Develop intellectual life
- Experience arts and cultural events in the Irish Language and uniquely, Ulster Scots and, although currently quite small, the arts of Ethnic Minorities currently provide a focus for both local and visitor interest.
5.3 Film - has perhaps the greatest potential to influence a wider tourism public. James Cameron's epic, The Titanic; Divorcing Jack (from the novel by Colin Bateman) and many distinguished actors from Northern Ireland (Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Kenneth Brannagh), serve as international ambassadors and contribute to the distinctive voice and sense of place of Northern Ireland.
There will be opportunities for all art forms through tourism and particularly for areas such as festivals, arts centres and theatres (many of which have been developed through the Arts Council's Lottery Capital Scheme)
6. Barriers to Development
- Slower political progress than anticipated (the Tourist High Season is affected by uncertainties during the summer months with the potential for community disturbance)
- Communication between arts and tourism sectors is still weak and needs to be developed
- Our competitiveness as a visitor destination is weak when compared with the rest of Europe
- Arts of Tourism infrastructure is underdeveloped and underfunded
- Weak delivery of practical objectives from the joint initiative
- Insufficient emphasis on actions, milestones and evaluation
- Not enough emphasis on Product Development
- Lack of Development Officer with dedicated responsibility
- Arts sector requires specific training on tourism issues and vice versa
7. Positive Factors influencing development
There are many factors that would have the potential to positively impact on tourism:
- Devolved Government - More direct local intervention and accountability.
- Creation of a department with specific responsibility in creative industries, museums, libraries, arts and sport (DCAL)
- Arts Council and Northern Ireland Tourist Board commitment to work together
- Arts Tourism potential noted in The Arts and the Northern Ireland Economy and The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland
- Commitment and engagement of the twenty-six district councils as an important vehicle for the delivery of tourism at a local level
- Arts Council has a close working relationship with each of the twenty six councils
- DCAL Review of Community Arts
- Arts Council of Northern Ireland and An Chomhairle Ealaíon joint study on cultural cinema
- NIFC and Bord Na Scannán film initiative
- Dance Initiatives (Major Dance Festival in Dublin, some events in Northern Ireland).
- Appointment of Crafts Co-ordinator by ACNI and the heightened profile this will give to Crafts as an important area for tourism generally
- Interdepartmental working group on Cultural Tourism - cross cutting themes leading to regional development, rural development, social development, economic development, cultural development
- The preparation of a bid to DCMS for European Capital of Culture (2008)
- Creation of an All Ireland Arts Web Portal by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council/ An Chomhairle Ealaíon
- International Summit of Fiddle Playing
- Celtic Connections Festival
- Festival of Youth and Arts
- International Sculpture Festival
- Arts & Disability Festival
- Festival of Ulster Literary Theatre
- Festival of International Chamber Music
- Festival of International Harp Festival
- Festival of International Community Arts
8. Strengthening the link
There are a number of unresolved issues identified in The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland, which still require action. They are:
- The quality and frequency of advice, information and communication between the component sub-sectors
- Weaknesses in our knowledge of the market (Eg what influences discretionary stays; what can improve the quality of the visitor's experience).
- Lack of an officer post with dedicated responsibility
- Lack of cross-sectoral bulletin/newsletter
- The Cultural Tourism Partnership is unwieldy and needs to be reviewed (constitution and position to be clearly established)
- Implementation of practical arts tourism pilots which test which initiatives really work
- The need for closer partnership between ACNI, NITB and the new All Ireland Tourism Marketing Body
- Improving training opportunities for both sectors leading to better informed staff
- Greater public profile for Cultural Tourism
- A need for professional development exchanges such as international study visits based on recognised good practice models
This statement documents some, but not all of the ways in which the Arts Council has made a contribution to Cultural Tourism, based upon its wide-ranging experience. We recognise the significance of Cultural Tourism and our contribution to it as a way of extending the reach, effectiveness and influence of the work of the Arts Council, particularly in collaboration with NITB. We wish to build upon that experience and welcome the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure's enquiry. We would be happy to provide the committee with any further information. Thank you for this opportunity to respond.
additional written submission by:
arts council of northern ireland
20 September 2001
1A brief history and statutory background
The Council, presently known as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, is the statutory body through which public funding for the arts in Northern Ireland is channelled. It was established by the Arts Council (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 and came into existence on 1 September 1995. The Council took over the assets and liabilities of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland 1994 as an interim body between the previous Arts Council (established in 1943) and the new statutory body.
The Arts Council dates from 1943 when it was set up as the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts in Northern Ireland. Initially funds were provided by the Pilgrim Trust and matched by the Ministry of Education for Northern Ireland. The Arts Council is funded via grant-in-aid by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The affairs of the Council are managed by a Council consisting of 15 members appointed in March 2000. The Chief Executive is the principal executive officer of the Council and is supported by a professional staff responsible for subject and functional areas of the Council's programme.
Principal functions related to grant-in-aid activities.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is charged with four statutory functions under the Arts Council (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. These are:
(a) to develop and improve the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts;
(b) to increase public access to, and participation in, the arts;
(c) to advise the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and other government departments, district councils and other bodies on matters relating to the arts; and,
(d) such other functions as are conferred on the Council by any other statutory provision.
In addition, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is charged under the National Lottery etc Act 1993 with responsibility for distributing Lottery proceeds allocated to the arts in Northern Ireland.
1b. what we do
We provide valuable information services to the arts community and play an important part in encouraging support for the arts from others: district councils, the education sector, economic development agencies, private sponsors and charitable trusts. We commission and disseminate research, demonstrating the importance of evidence not only for policy creation but also for advocacy. We communicate the benefits that the arts bring to wider society.
The Arts Council is also responsible for funding and developing contemporary arts in Northern Ireland, being the principal channel for government funding through its revenue and Lottery funds.
We support arts and arts activities wherever they may occur, be they in traditional venues and spaces such as galleries, theatres, studios and arts centres, as well as in youth clubs, community halls, hospitals, schools and workplaces. We make the arts accessible to different audiences in different contexts.
We also provide awards, bursaries, fellowships, travel and research grants to visual artists, craftspeople, writers, musicians, playwrights, dancers and arts administrators, amongst others.
Conscious of the growing international significance and impact of the arts, we work with other partners to promote abroad the work of artists from Northern Ireland.
1c. priorities for the next five years
The mission statement of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is: The arts: inspiring the imagination, building the future. Over the next five years, we will strive to win greater recognition of the contribution the arts make to our cultural, social and economic well-being. To achieve this, we will give priority to artists, arts organisations, arts initiatives and partnerships which:
(a) increase opportunities for creative participation in the arts;
(b) development new audiences for the arts and build on existing ones;
(c) extend opportunities for artists to develop their work and practice;
(d) strengthen the capacity of arts organisations to deliver quality experiences of the arts.
In accordance with the values set out in its strategy (see The Arts: Inspiring the Imagination, Building the Future, the Arts Council's five year arts plan 2001-2006), the Arts Council is committed to accountability, responsiveness, transparency, openness and good grant-making. Copies of the plan with full details of the consultation process involved in developing the plan and amplifying the themes and priorities are available.
2. aspects of the arts council's work
Key to the Council's work is ongoing support for the artistic infrastructure across Northern Ireland. Currently, the Council has some 130 annual or revenue clients on its list of funded organisations: these range across the whole spectrum of the arts, from major performance venues to smaller-scale community based outreach organisations. Some examples of the Council's client organisations are:
The Grand Opera House (currently in receipt of grant aid of £508,400) has been presenting theatrical entertainment since 1895 in the building designed by the greatest of British theatre architects, Frank Matcham, a real gem of the artistic and architectural heritage of Belfast. The contemporary programme presents quality live theatre 49 weeks of the year ranging from opera and ballet to children's and family shows, drama and popular musicals. It should also be noted that this magnificent facility has been the major catalyst in economic and urban regeneration of Great Victoria Street, now referred to as Belfast's Golden Mile, an example of the contribution of the arts to economic development.
Kaleidoscope, (grant aid of £40,000) is a new verbal and visual arts centre in the centre of Portadown, in Craigavon District, housed in the newly refurbished Markets Building, due to open next month.
Open Arts (grant aid of £20,000)
Open Arts is an arts and disability organisation based at the Crescent Arts Centre Belfast, though operating throughout Northern Ireland. They provide workshops across the widest range of artforms including visual art, theatre and music. One of their recent initiatives is the formation of an award winning Open Arts Choir and the Gamelan Orchestra is a familiar sight at venues throughout Northern Ireland. Whenever possible workshops are integrated.
The Nerve Centre in Derry City (grant-aid of £55,000)
Taking a leading role in nurturing the creative technologies in Northern Ireland, the Nerve Centre organises regular events at their venue (700 capacity) and screening room/theatre (60 capacity), providing performance opportunities for young, inexperienced bands throughout Northern Ireland and also professional acts from around the world.
Developments in this area increase accessibility for the public (full disabled access is available) and develop the skills of musicians.
The Nerve Centre has developed a full media education programme over the last few years, which includes music and moving image and introduces visual literacy. Work with school groups and teacher training takes place on a regular basis on how this work is integrated into the National Curriculum.
The Council's work in education includes initiatives such as the production of Sticky Fingers, a resource pack for primary schools.
Sticky Fingers part of the Voluntary Service Belfast (VSB), exists to provide artistic and creative opportunities to children across Northern Ireland. With particular emphasis on early years, children are provided with opportunities throughout the programme to explore through creative arts based play.
Within a structured framework, the programmes provided for children contain activities that stimulate natural curiosity and creativity, encourage exploration and enrich the understanding and ability to express ideas and communicate feelings.
3. contribution the arts can make to cultural tourism
Turning then to the contribution the arts can make to Cultural Tourism. It is important to consider in the first instance the Arts Council's understanding of what Cultural Tourism is. Unfortunately, there is no general or widely accepted definition of Cultural Tourism in current usage within the arts sector.
However, from a practical standpoint, we can look at it in two ways, economic and cultural. Turning to economics first, we understand from the World Travel Organisation that cultural tourism constitutes 37% of world travel, and is a rapid growth area. In addition, in this economic perspective, the characteristics of the cultural traveller are wide and varied, and cannot be easily defined or categorised into particular age, income or taste brackets, though some segmentation research has been undertaken in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Reflecting more carefully on the term culture, implicit in cultural tourism, we understand that cultural tourism requires broad definition and that the cultural tourist is interested in not only the arts as traditionally perceived, but in all that might be classified as heritage, itself a highly problematic term, comprising non artistic interests as varied as history, archaeology or genealogy; in short as part of a package or offer.
Here it may be germane to allude to the three main definitions of culture used in the sociology of culture and/or cultural studies.
1. The total network of human activity and value systems in a given society.
2. Only the 'best' artistic and intellectual products and activities in a given society.
3. Solely the artistic and intellectual products and activities in a given society.
The first definition, the total network of human activity, is clearly the definition of culture appropriate to anthropology, and, therefore, is far too broad for our purposes. Likewise, the second definition 'the best intellectual products and activities' is the traditional, some would say elitist definition of 'high culture' and is therefore too narrow for our purposes. The third definition, which is more widespread in contemporary cultural studies more closely approximates the wide variety of interests covered by the term cultural tourism. In fact, we can see that the usage of the term cultural tourism in the public mind oscillates between the second and third definitions, that is, between 'high culture' and a wider, less judgmental and more democratic definition of culture, as the sum of any society's artistic and intellectual activities, from the high to the popular.
Nonetheless, however culture is defined, it is clear that the arts, for which we are responsible, have a major role to play in cultural tourism. Moreover it is obvious the more the arts intersect with cultural tourism, the more they will benefit themselves, as well as cultural tourism. That is to say, with proper planning and collaboration cultural tourism and the arts can enjoy a fruitful synergy of clear benefit to the emerging international profile of Northern Ireland.
In light of the foregoing comments, we believe that Arts Council can most effectively contribute to the growth of cultural tourism by vigorously addressing its priorities, outlined earlier, in its Five Year Plan, which are about creative participation, audience development, supporting artists and strengthening and developing the arts infrastructure. Self evidently, each of these areas if implemented successfully will contribute cumulatively, through not always in immediately obvious ways, to cultural tourism.
We would like to discuss our work in each of these areas in a little more detail, by way of illustration.
(a) Capital Programme (including major build, refurbishment, minor build, equipment, feasibility studies and design competitions.
Budget £12,500,000 2001/02 only, normally £2m per annum
Since 1995, through the National Lottery Fund, the Arts Council has achieved its objective of providing a dedicated arts facility within a 20 mile radius of every person in Northern Ireland. Gaps still remain in the capital infrastructure, within both rural and urban areas. One aim of the Council over the next five years is to fill the gaps in provision at an appropriate scale, taking into account the demand within geographic areas.
A priority for the Council in developing the cultural infrastructure is highest design quality. To ensure this, all capital projects of over £1,000,000 must be secured by design competition. A number of our new arts facilities have won or been shortlisted for important design and architectural awards.
Also important to the quality of the built environment is public art, and the Council has been at the forefront of promoting the concept in Northern Ireland. To date we have funded 39 public art projects; with a contribution of £1.5 million. Public art is not only an important way in which to contribute to the distinctiveness of a place and to improve the public domain be it outdoors or in public buildings, but also, importantly for the Council, it gives opportunities to artists to showcase their talents and increase their income. Examples of projects funded are John Kindness's 'Big Fish' at Clarendon Dock, commissioned by Laganside Corporation; the award winning Children's Hospital at RVH, including the integrating of imaginative and sympathetic artworks by some twenty-six artists, and the Lough McNean Sculpture Trail in Fermanagh, linking the counties of Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim.
Armagh Theatre, Armagh City and District (grant from ACNI £3.67 million). Located in Market Street, in the centre of Armagh, this award winning theatre houses a 400 seat auditorium, a studio theatre and a gallery. Winner of this year's prestigious Civic Theatre Centre Vision Awards, a special prize for the greatest contribution to the improvement of a town or city centre.
Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre, Cookstown District Council (grant from ACNI £1,125,585). Situated in the heart of Cookstown, the Burnavon is a multi-use facility designed to facilitate a wide range of events and activities. As well as a 350 seater state-of-the-art auditorium, it hosts the local Tourist Information Office, with a 24 hour 'Touch Screen' information centre.
Omagh District Council (ACNI grant of £4 million). This ambitious project will provide a neutral venue for the arts in a town which currently has no purpose built arts venue. It will contribute greatly to the social and economic regeneration of the town. Following a design competition, the impressive building plans will embrace a 400 seat auditorium, a dance studio and cinema exhibition space and audio and rehearsal space.
Ballymena Borough Council (ACNI grant £2 million). Towards a high quality multi-purpose arts facility within a complex which will also house a regional museum and which will see the refurbishment of the old town hall. This development will make a significant contribution to cultural tourism in the area.
Other major capital grants include the Millennium Complex in Derry City, officially opened this month with an ACNI contribution of £2,574,244.
Verbal Arts Centre, Derry City (ACNI grant of £1,176,571)
The centre's object and principle activity is the promotion of the verbal arts and the development and improvement of knowledge, understanding and practice across the verbal arts forms, together with research, publication and provision of information. Housed in the former First Derry Primary School set on Derry City walls, the Arts Council grant contributed to the sensitive restoration and conversion of this unique building, and enabled the commissioning of artists and craftspeople to ensure the highest level of quality within the building.
Portadown 2000 for the Kaleidoscope centre (£1,090,384) already mentioned.
(b) Annual Support for Organisations Programme
Budget £5.0 million approx (2001/2002)
This programme is designed for organisations that have arts programmes running throughout the year. For the organisations which the Arts Council funds under this programme, this grant aid provides their core costs and much of their programming. In addition it is an important lever for funding from other sources.
Apart from the Grand Opera House, other examples or organisations in receipt of annual funding are:
Ulster Orchestra (grant aid of £1,250,000)
Celebrating its 35th Anniversary season, is set at the heart of Northern Ireland's artistic life, and is very much a cultural flagship of world-class calibre and acts as an ambassador to the wider world.
Ormeau Baths Gallery (grant aid of £230,000)
Housed in the former Victorian municipal swimming baths in Ormeau Avenue, and now simply one of the best exhibition spaces in Ireland. This facility was supported by a grant from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and presents a year round programme of cutting edge visual arts combining a mixture of local, national and international artists of the highest calibre.
Belfast Festival at Queen's (grant of £92,500)
Belfast Festival at Queen's will be celebrating its fortieth birthday in 2002. It is one of the oldest and the second largest Arts Festival in the British Isles. This year, under new directorship with an expanded professional staff and a new strategic plan, the Festival is renewed and focused on delivering a bigger programme than ever, with over three hundred events. The Festival has a dual responsibility to bring the best international events to Northern Ireland and also to showcase the very best of homegrown performers and artists. A lottery funded audience development programme designed to develop new audiences drives their strategy. The Festival is ideally placed to encourage Cultural Tourism, offering as it does a unique programme of events during those tourism shoulder months when otherwise programming appeal might be at a low ebb.
Lyric (grant of £475,000)
The only venue based theatrical organisation in Northern Ireland and the most important producer of professional drama and employer of professional actors in the region. It is the natural home of Northern Ireland playwrights and new works for theatre. However, a deteriorating building and a dearth of funding options have created a financial crisis for their organisation, threatening its very existence at present.
(c) Support for the Individual Artist Programme
Contribution of our artists to promoting Northern Ireland internationally
The contribution artists can and have made to the development of our cultural life cannot be underestimated. Across the various disciplines Northern Ireland can boast artists of international fame and recognition, who act as very effective ambassadors promoting a positive image of Northern Ireland abroad.
Actors such as Liam Neeson, and Kenneth Branagh have international careers, while musicians of world renown include Barry Douglas and James Galway. Senior painters of note include T P Flanagan and Basil Blackshaw, while new media artists such as Willie Doherty are coming to prominence through exploration of the political landscape in the North.
Northern Ireland's contribution to the literary arts is outstanding for a region so small, with Seamus Heaney winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, and a host of poets coming to prominence in recent decades, Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Michael Longley and Medbh McGuckian to name but a few. Playwright Marie Jones has recently enjoyed success on Broadway and in London's West End. The Arts Council is committed to creating the circumstances where artists can thrive and win the respect that their talents deserve, both at home and abroad, and to extend opportunities for artists to develop their work and practice.
To this end, the Arts Council has developed a new programme of support, with a significant uplift in resources to meet this priority from some £188,000 in 1999/2000, to almost half a million pounds in the current year. Artists can apply for grant aid towards specific projects, specialised research, personal artistic development, materials and equipment, travel and overseas residencies from as little as £1,000 to £10,000.
The recipients of the Council's four major awards of £10,000 each this year are visual artists Rita Duffy, towards a major cross art form project, exploring the theme of 'imprisonment' at Armagh Women's Prison and Susan McWilliam, towards the purchase of equipment and software essential to the creation of a new body of multi media work.
Playwright Colin Teevan towards 'buying time' to work on two adaptations and write one new original play for the Young Vic and the National Theatre and musician Brian Irvine to write, develop and perform a major new musical composition.
(d) Audience Development
This programme is designed to bring new people to the arts and to take the arts to people throughout Northern Ireland. The programme includes 3 elements:- Touring, Education/Outreach and Marketing. Applications can be made which cover one, two or all three elements.
We will fund touring of works or performances in all art forms. Priority will be given to tours which include venues outside Belfast and/or Derry.
Within education/outreach priority will be given to proposals directed at young people or which raise awareness of cultural diversity within Northern Ireland.
Emphasis will be placed on developmental marketing schemes over a period of up to three years. Priority will be given to schemes which develop new systems in audience identification, box-office based research and marketing initiatives which are based on analysis.
Prime Cut (£81,530)
To enable the company to improve its marketing with a view to developing local audiences. In the first instance the current audience base will be analysed and an up-to-date system devised to address its interests. In addition, gaps in audience profile will be identified and addressed.
(e) Access and Arts in a Community Context
Access to the Arts is designed to support arts in the community. It will support:
- New projects and initiatives which have been created for and by communities, which are designed to increase the level of participation in the arts by communities in Northern Ireland and which encourage the development of arts skills within communities.
- The enhancement or development of existing programmes;
- Projects previously funded from other sources for which funding has ceased.
Through this programme we will support projects which contribute to the growth of arts in the community reflecting the diversity of Northern Ireland's society and culture.
Priority will be given to projects which:
- address the needs of communities in areas of social and economic deprivation;
- support the involvement of children and young people;
- involve artforms or geographic areas which have not substantially benefited from Lottery funding;
- are located in rural communities.
Moving on Music £25,000 for a world music project bringing artists from various global cultures to tour Northern Ireland. Slieve Beagh Development Association, £18,000, for a programme of rural arts involving all art forms.
(f) Awards for All
Awards for All is a new scheme funded by the Northern Ireland Lottery distributors, which will give groups simple, fast Lottery grants between £500 and £5,000, with priority to small local groups. It aims to fund a variety of arts, charities, sports and heritage events that bring people together as a community. The scheme will improve access to Lottery funding for a wider range of groups in the community.
In this, the first year of Awards for All, over £2.2 million is available for distribution.
The new Awards for All programme is specifically designed for local community groups. Awards for All will place particular emphasis on groups with an annual income of under £15,000, although groups with a larger income may apply.
Since April the Council has made 75 awards under this scheme, ranging from £700 to CCE Fermanagh for tutors' fees and classes, to £5,000 to Maine Valley Accordion and Fiddle Club to promote concerts based on the Ulster Scots tradition.
(a) Relationships with other Arts Councils
The Arts Councils of these islands have a long history of co-operation. We have been working closely with our colleagues in the Art Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon since the 1970s. The two Councils provide joint funding to a range of arts organisations and programmes and have collaborated on such projects as the auditoria infrastructure review and on the development of an arts website.
In light of the fact that the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon is shortly to produce its third Arts Plan, an unprecedented opportunity presents itself for the two Arts Councils to agree a concordat for areas of mutual strategic partnership. Similarly, we have a history of joint action with our colleagues in the Arts Councils of Scotland, Wales and England which affords us a more comprehensive understanding of the broader policy and cultural environment in which the arts are located. This enables us to lobby for the arts in the UK as well as pursue such matters as Cultural Banking taxation and joint touring initiatives.
(b) Relationships with District Councils
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has a longstanding and close working relationship with District Councils throughout Northern Ireland, both at a client and practical level and at a policy and strategic level through the Forum for Local Government on the Arts. The Arts Council views the Councils as a crucial provider and animateur of the arts at a local level. The Councils also have a responsibility for tourism at a local level, were represented as partners on the Cultural Tourism Partnership and are natural allies for joint action. We have initiated Information Days on Cultural Tourism for District Council Arts and Tourism Officers and highlighted cultural tourism issues on every Annual Arts Council/Local Government Arts Conference since 1998. The new Local Strategic Partnerships will also create opportunities for the Arts Council to encourage a sustainable approach to Cultural Tourism at a local level.
(c) Relationships with other agencies
In conjunction with the British Council, and other colleagues, we have been and will continue to collaborate on the international promotion of artists from Northern Ireland and in extending our respective world-wide contacts for artists and arts organisations.
University of Ulster
The Council is concerned with training and skilling the art sector in order to strengthen its capacity and ultimately deliver quality experiences of the arts. The development of skills in management is crucial and the Arts Council championed the development of a Cultural Management Training Programme, an in-service training programme designed to enhance the effectiveness of managers in cultural sector organisations through the provision of training and skills development in business disciplines. The programme is a partnership involving the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Museums Council and The National Trust, Northern Ireland Region and is validated by the University of Ulster as a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters in Cultural Management.
Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Well documented in the Arts Council's written submission in reference to this enquiry is the Arts Council's relationship with NITB, from the formation of a Cultural Tourism Steering Committee to the publishing of the report 'The Cultural Sectors: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland'. The Arts Council is committed to strengthening our relationships with all these strategic partners as a means to developing Cultural Tourism within Northern Ireland. The Cultural Tourism partnership was subsequently formed and acts as a reference group between its member parties.
Although the key funder of the arts in Northern Ireland, the Council is rarely either a sole funder, or making grants reflecting 100% of the costs of a project. Using its limited funds to maximum effect is a priority, and applicants and client organisations must demonstrate partnership funding. To illustrate this point, in 2000/2001 the Council made grants under its Lottery programme of £1,740,807. This funding yielded £5,586,678 in partnership funding.
Some audience figures
Attendance at Performances (000s)
Grand Opera House
Ormeau Baths Gallery
6. future developments
We intend to commission scoping research into the arts practice of ethnic minority communities to help inform future policy. We will work with others and develop strategies aimed at addressing infrastructural deficiencies and unequal opportunities, recognising there are different cultural interpretations of the arts which remain unexplored in Northern Ireland.
Examples of support for Cultural Diversity
The Council initiated a Cultural Diversity Funding Programme two years ago which has supported several ethnic minority projects such as a drumming project with the Northern Ireland African Cultural Centre (grant of £1,500).
Indian Community Centre (grant £3,950). The project aims to bring experienced practitioners of Indian Music and dance to Northern Ireland to run a short course for 40 young Indian people from 7-13 years of age and two adult volunteers in order to encourage the maintenance of cultural traditions. Young people are the focal point using the dance and traditional instruments to build confidence, self-esteem and promote an awareness of Indian Culture having an equal part to play in the future of Northern Ireland. This opportunity has so far been denied most young ethnic minority people.
Language has a special place in the Agreement and the Arts Council with key parties Foras na Gaeilge, Tha Boord O Ulster-Scotch and Ultach Trust will commission research in year one in support of a more proactive language arts policy.
In recognising the importance of growing the creative industries, the Council has made a commitment to an eighteen month long study with the Centre for Creative Arts at Queen's University, Belfast. The aim of this study is to map the Creative Industries Sector, with a view to establishing a comprehensive picture of the number of jobs, the contribution of Creative Industries in professional development; to record the type of work being done and the economic impact of the creative sectors both at home and abroad. This will assist us in understanding the needs of the sector and the development of regional support mechanisms.
City of Culture
The Arts Council fully supports Belfast's bid for City of Culture in 2008, and through additional funding from DCAL, is assisting 'Imagine Belfast' to compile an imaginative bid. The ongoing support of our revenue clients, and the development of new programmes of support as outlined will be essential, as well as the Council's potential contribution to new arts buildings such as a new art gallery and city centre art centre. The City of Culture will offer a groundbreaking opportunity to market Belfast as a cultural tourism destination and by inference as the gateway to the North.
The Arts Council has been proactively consulting with the crafts sector in Northern Ireland, as its needs and potential are seriously underrepresented, and its possible contribution to the economy and the interests of the local market, as well as to the Cultural tourist, significant. The Council is currently researching the establishment of an independent Craft Development Unit with other key partnerships such as DENI, DARD and DETI for Northern Ireland, and is drawing up guidelines and an application procedure for a special initiative fund with Lottery money to encourage the sector to develop.
The Council's work in assisting with Capital developments, encompassing quality design and public art has been touched upon earlier. However, there are many other aspects of the built environment which fall into its remit, issues such as planning control, the need for a quality watchdog, education, promoting debate and community participation and the skilling of professionals, as well as the need for government itself to adopt a policy on architecture for Northern Ireland. These and many other issues are raised in draft policy prepared by the Arts Council and a special Working Party, which will go out for consultation this autumn, and be presented to DCAL thereafter.
summary of information for dcal committee
- Summary Financial Information
- 5 Year Plan
- Lottery schemes (summary)
- Individual Artist Programme
- Arts from Northern Ireland
- Creative Imperative (Everitt)
THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE, ARTS AND LEISURE
1. DCAL recognises that the relationship between tourism and the cultural sector is highly complementary and mutually beneficial. The Department is committed to the early development of a marketing strategy to promote awareness of Northern Ireland's rich cultural treasures. We will strive to ensure, within the context of cross-departmental working, that the full potential of our cultural life is realised in attracting visitors and enhancing their experience of Northern Ireland.
2. Northern Ireland's creativity and cultural expression are unique selling points. The Department is committed to helping build a positive image of Northern Ireland by developing and enhancing our cultural facilities and supporting a joined-up approach to the development of cultural tourism. This should include continued co-operation between the Tourist Board and bodies in the cultural sector, most notably the Arts Council. The Northern Ireland Film Commission also has a key role to play by attracting film and television production to Northern Ireland and promoting awareness of Northern Ireland locations. This will build confidence in Northern Ireland through new images on screens around the world.
3. The Draft Programme for Government contains the following reference:
"An agreed strategy for the development of cultural tourism will identify our priorities for product development in the area of cultural tourism, including events that are unique to Northern Ireland; [.] and visitor management in recognition of the need to ensure that the cultural [and natural] resources available for tourism are not undermined."
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board, an agency within the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, has responsibility for the development of tourism in Northern Ireland and for the marketing of the region as a tourist destination. We understand that both the Tourist Board and the Arts Council are submitting evidence to the Committee. These submissions will describe the 1998 report The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland and action taken on foot of the report, including the establishment of the Cultural Tourism Partnership and the joint appointment of a Cultural Tourism Development Officer by the Tourist Board and the Arts Council.
4. The time is right for a review of the joint initiative pursued by the Tourist Board and the Arts Council in response to the 1998 report. The Department hopes that the Committee's enquiry will help to inform decisions on what action is now required to progress the development of cultural tourism and meet the commitment in Programme for Government.
5. DCAL recognises that it can contribute to delivering the commitment in Programme for Government described above, and this is reflected in the Department's Corporate Strategy. The relevant excerpts from the strategy are attached as Annex 1.
DCAL Corporate Strategy
Goal 3 of the DCAL Corporate Strategy is 'To contribute to a positive image of Northern Ireland at home and abroad'.
DCAL has a key role to play in helping to build a positive image of Northern Ireland at home and abroad thus making Northern Ireland a more attractive location for tourism [and investment]. We can do this through various measures including the staging of high profile cultural [and sporting] events, promoting a greater understanding of our cultural diversity and heritage, developing quality products and services and making the most of our natural assets.
The talent within our communities provides us with a basis upon which to build a progressive, creative and peaceful image of Northern Ireland. The opportunities to take to the global stage are there to be developed.
- To further develop and enhance the quality and range of cultural, arts and leisure facilities and activities available in Northern Ireland.
- To work in partnership with others to raise awareness of what is available.
- To seek opportunities at home and abroad to promote Northern Ireland as a centre of excellence for culture, arts and leisure.
Develop a strategy for supporting the Northern Ireland Film Commission (Year 1)
Develop a marketing strategy to promote awareness of Northern Ireland's rich cultural treasures [and its sporting and recreational activities] (Year 1)
Design and implement a strategy for the development of visitor amenities (Year 2)
Work in partnership with MAGNI in support of its long term vision 'Opening Horizons' (Year 1-3)
Bring a programme of high profile international [sporting and] cultural events to Northern Ireland (Year 1-3)
the nerve centre
8 March 2001
An outline of the Nerve Centre and its recent activities relevant to cultural tourism.
A detailed outline of the Nerve Centre's key cultural tourism project currently in development
Basic details of other key cultural tourism projects within the Nerve Centre.
1. The Organisation
The Nerve Centre is a multi-purpose, multi-media, cultural and educational facility based within the original walled City of Derry. The Nerve Centre has been in existence for over twelve years, having developed out of the North-West Musicians Collective and diversified into film and video production, high quality animation, website design and production, CD-ROM authoring and production, the management and co-ordination of the Foyle Film Festival, delivery of a wide range of multi-media technology courses and an ongoing commitment to education in and production of music. The Nerve Centre also houses a large, purpose-built performance venue for musicians, dancers etc. All of the work of the Nerve Centre is imbued with an educational dimension and an explicit awareness of Northern Ireland's social characteristics. In an acknowledgement of this the Nerve Centre employs a dedicated Education Officer and a Community Relations Officer.
The Nerve Centre has enjoyed critical success for its productions, including an Oscar nominated film and a NESTA award winning animator, and also success on a very practical level - with a number of former trainees currently employed in the multi-media sector locally and further afield. The Nerve Centre also enjoys a good reputation and high profile within the formal educational sector, with the majority of schools in Northern Ireland having been involved on a variety of Nerve Centre projects. This educational work is currently being further enhanced through the use of the Symbols Educational Experience CD-ROM. The first Symbols CD explores the experiences of 1916 (the Battle of the Somme & the Easter Rising) and their legacy for Northern Ireland. This resource has cross-curricular applications and an obvious Community Relations dimension.
As a venue, the Nerve Centre includes a café/restaurant, a 56 seater cinema, the Northern Ireland Digital Film Archive and a dedicated performance space with a 700 standing capacity. The Cinema hosts a weekly film club which includes a strong educational dimension, with classic films used to illustrate key themes and developments in film-making. The Digital Film Archive is a permanent fixture of the Nerve Centre. The Archive was developed by the Northern Ireland Film Commission and contains almost 60 hours of archive footage of Northern Ireland's film heritage. The Nerve Centre is one of six places in Northern Ireland to host the archive and is currently exploring the development of an educational programme to showcase and exploit this important resource at a further level. The performance venue has been an important development for the Nerve Centre and the City as a whole. For the first time Derry has been able to attract regular high-quality contemporary musicians to the City. In its first 18 months of operation the venue has hosted bands of the calibre of Ash, Gomez, Ian Brown, The Hothouse Flowers, JJ72, David Gray and a host of top flight DJs, establishing the North West as a fixture on the Irish tour circuit.
2. The Cultural Tourism Dimension
2.1 The Nerve Centre is currently engaged in the process of developing a major cultural tourism resource for Northern Ireland. This resource began its first phase in February 2000, in conjunction with Local Ireland (www.local.ie) - a Dublin based Irish tourism website - and supported by PROTEUS. This phase of the project has seen over 270 localities from all over Northern Ireland being given a presence on the Internet. These localities, chosen in conjunction with the NITB, represent the majority of towns and villages in Northern Ireland, as well as the urban districts of Belfast and Derry City. To date, each of these localities is represented on Local Ireland by several pictures and some basic introductory text giving general contextual information about the area. In the majority of cases this represents the first time that these areas have had a dedicated space on the Internet.
2.2 The development of this extensive locality framework has presented the Nerve Centre with a highly comprehensive geographical baseline to act as an outline structure for the construction of a locally focussed cultural map of Northern Ireland. This will be an independent entity from the Local Ireland Site, allowing freedom of design and editorial direction for the Nerve Centre to produce a dedicated Northern Ireland Site. The core rationale underlying this is that Northern Ireland contains rich and diverse cultural identities, which are clearly distinct from those in both Britain and the Irish Republic. A dedicated cultural Site for Northern Ireland is the clearest and most positive medium for us to showcase this depth and range.
2.3 At the heart of the Website is the locality model - Northern Ireland is the sum of its parts and everywhere has its own distinct histories and its own experiences and examples of culture. The existing framework of 270 localities is ideally placed to give expression to this. A key contention of the Site is that the notion of 'place' is crucial in the formation of identity in Northern Ireland. It is this place and the idea of the 'local' that helps us to define who we are. The Site will use this locality structure to introduce the area through its history, geography and culture to locate the place in both Northern Ireland and more local contexts and explore the locality through the eyes of the artist. This information will be accessed on the Site through a series of interactive maps, allowing the user to remain constantly aware of exactly where they are in Northern Ireland. This serves to enhance the visual appearance of the Site, giving great scope for design and utilising the interactivity of the internet to its full capacity and, perhaps more importantly, makes the Site a real tool for tourists and visitors, allowing them to 'virtually' plan routes for visits and locate all of the attractions in the area that they may be visiting. This dimension will also be exploited through the development of themed trails on the Site.
2.4 Allied to this focussed locality information will be a significant body of information which will operate at a Northern Ireland level, above the localities, to provide a clear picture of Northern Ireland's high level cultural profile. This information will be categorised from the Homepage of the Site in number of specific sections including; Cultural Icons, Key Historic Moments, Museums, The Cultural Experience, Townlands, Historic Sites & Monuments, The International Context, Sport, Events, The Natural World, Industry & Agricultural and a Cultureshop. At the Northern Ireland level this information will provide an overview of NI as a whole, providing high level, general, information. At the local level the information provided will be categorised in the same way, so that Northern Ireland level information can filter directly into localities and vice versa. The interconnectedness of the content on the site is a fundamental and key feature of its information management and presentation. It is clear that 'culture' can mean many things and that it is generally the product of a range of ingredients. The Site provides an ideal framework to physically illustrate this.
2.5 If a visitor to the Site enters the 'Literature' section of 'The Cultural Experience' and chooses to look at the work of Seamus Heaney then the Heaney pages in the Literature section will be physically linked to the 'Locality' pages for Bellaghy and the other relevant localities, the 'Townland' pages which deal with those places which feature in his work, the 'Historic Sites/Monuments' pages which are relevant to Sites featured in his work, the 'Museums' pages which deal with Bellaghy Bawn, possible information in the 'Derry City' pages about St Columb's College information in 'The International Context' which will provide details of all of the commercially available Seamus Heaney literature and merchandise.
2.6 By presenting the information in such a detailed contextual framework its value is increased and a more informed understanding of the work is reached. The same approach will be adopted throughout the Site in order that aspects of Northern Ireland's culture and heritage may be explained as well as merely being showcased. An added benefit of highlighting these connections is also to diversify the interest of any visitor and present them with a range of options for any time that they spend in Northern Ireland, therefore giving an enhanced marketing dimension to any information included on the Site.
2.7 Obviously this is a highly involved undertaking, presenting the opportunity to create a cultural resource unrivalled in Ireland and Britain. A detailed cultural atlas of Northern Ireland will be an unprecedented resource for both the tourist planning a visit and a local audience either seeking to plan their cultural activities or find information about different areas of Northern Ireland. As a showcase for Northern Ireland's indigenous talent and those artists who have been inspired by Northern Ireland the Site will be a 'one-stop-shop' for a cultural profile of this, one of the most written about and commented on societies in Western Europe.
The Partnership Approach
2.8 The project obviously involves a total reliance on high quality content for its success. Without highly accurate and informed information the Site will not be able to operate effectively and can never hope to do justice to Northern Ireland's cultural strength and diversity. In accordance with this the project has engaged in the development of a series of sectoral partnerships to focus on different areas of the Site and bring expert knowledge to bear on the content. A feature of these partnerships is to share ownership of the Site across a number of agencies and organisations in Northern Ireland. It is not the intention of the Nerve Centre to be responsible for the creation of all content on the Site. Through a series of partnerships it is envisaged that this responsibility will be shared and devolved to the experts in their sectors. The partnerships that are being formed for this purpose have the potential to seek funding autonomously as independent contributing partners to the project, with funding being allocated to the partnership rather than the Nerve Centre. It is essential for the shared ownership of the Site that this is the case - the Nerve Centre is not seeking to control the information of our partners but to provide a mechanism to promote it and show it in new and innovative contexts.
2.9 Sectoral Partnerships
Museums: This section of the Site utilises the locality framework to root Northern Ireland's museums within their localities. Going beyond the basic contact information for the museums, this section will construct a virtual archive of Northern Ireland's cultural heritage. Each museum provides a selection of its artefacts to root it in its locality and highlight the way in which the story of the local is told. These artefacts will be featured through the use of digitised images/sound clips and accompanying text. There is no local precedent for this.
Townlands: The concept of the townland as a unit of land division is unique to Ireland. It is a key feature of the community and one of the features which has made the 'local' so important in Ireland today (there are over 9000) in Northern Ireland. Townlands have also played a key role in the development of today's place-names. Place-names give a great insight into the history and culture of Northern Ireland, from the old Gaelic, the Plantation, famous individuals, local geography etc place-names are very revealing and of great interest to the project. The townlands concept is also highly complimentary to the mapping element of the project.
The Cultural Experience: This section of the site looks at the unique expression of place through the eyes of the artist: poets, musicians, photographers, visual artists, dramatists etc. At the Northern Ireland level an overview of each art form and the key figures within them will be given. It is through this section that the notion of a real cultural map of Northern Ireland will be driven, developing into a catalogue of the arts in Northern Ireland with the space to emphasise the multi-layered ethnic, social and political diversity of our society.
The International Context: This is where Northern Ireland's international links are examined. The mapping model used throughout the Site is expanded to an international level as features of migration, both internal and external, are examined. Migration has had a massive impact on Northern Ireland and this section will look at how this has shaped today's identities. It is also anticipated that this section will be of particular interest to an overseas diasporan audience.
Events: The Site will contain a Northern Ireland level events guide to cover the high level festivals etc. The series of County level events guides will also feature on the Site to allow local planning of activities. It is planned that these will be searchable by date, venue, locality and activity.
Historical Moments: This section of the Site will eventually build to encompass a history of Northern Ireland. However, as an initial stage it is proposed to develop a number of key periods in Northern Ireland's history for inclusion on the Site. At the locality level, local histories will be added to the Site, and the local impact of the bigger events will be considered.
Industry & Agriculture: Northern Ireland has a very interesting industrial heritage which has played a key role in shaping the wider environment and culture. Shipbuilding and textile milling have been defining industries, set against the backdrop of a solid rural agricultural pedigree. This section will also look at Northern Ireland's modern industrial profile, particularly with regard to IT and the creative industries.
Sport: Sport is a key ingredient in the cultural make-up of any society, and Northern Ireland is no exception. The Site will present an overview of sport in Northern Ireland and look at key achievements - Northern Ireland's Olympians, Lions Rugby Players etc and different icons - Mary Peters, George Best, Willie McBride, Barry McGuigan.
Historic Sites: This section of the Site will utilise the mapping feature of the Site to plot Northern Ireland's key sites of archaeological and heritage significance.
The Natural World: This section of the Site looks at Parks and wildlife in Northern Ireland. 'Scenery and Greenery' is one of the top associations that is made with Northern Ireland internationally (after troubles related images) and this section will cater for this need.
Cultural Icons: This section of the Site introduces a range of icons to the site, individuals or items that have an instant cultural association with Northern Ireland and provide a very easily relatable access point to further information. It is anticipated that 10-12 icons will be featured at a Northern Ireland level, with further County level icons to be developed. Examples of possible icons include St Patrick, King William of Orange, Colmcille, The Titanic, Joey Dunlop, Ian Paisley, John Hume, Liam Neeson, Van Morrison etc.
Cultureshop: This section will provide a directory of connected merchandise to the various sections of the Site. It will not, at this stage at least, be an e-commence resource in itself but will direct users to points of sale.
2.10 The design of the site demands that the sectoral information is complimented by a solid framework of regional content. Much of the sectoral content will also be mapped into the localities, where relevant, but it is unlikely to have an overt or comprehensive locality emphasis. The locality information is best sourced at a local level. The Nerve Centre is not in a position to accurately survey Co Armagh for example. In order that the best quality information is attracted, and that local ownership of the Site is genuine and retained, the project will see the establishment of a number of regional partnerships. Like the sectoral partnerships, it is envisaged that these regional arrangements will be able to attract funding on their own merit as contributors to the Site. This may be sourced from local Councils, District Partnerships, LEADER etc applications can be based on the twin strengths of marketing an area and improving local knowledge and understanding. It is also hoped to attract the support of the NITB for the project, as a complimentary element of their existing cultural tourism strategy. The Site is ultimately a marketing tool as well as an information source for Northern Ireland and many of its cultural and historical constituents.
3. Wider Projects
3.1 A significant amount of work of the Nerve Centre contains elements of association with Cultural Tourism, but the Foyle Film Festival is quite explicit in this. The Festival runs over ten days in November of each year and is also the Northern Ireland International Film Festival. The Festival showcases Ireland and Northern Ireland's film talent in an international context and is internationally noted in the film community. Visitors with a specialist interest are attracted from around the world and large numbers of Irish and Northern Irish visitors visit the North-West annually to sample the atmosphere of the festival.
3.2 The venue of the Nerve Centre has also established itself as a visitor attraction in the North-West, with no real comparable facility existing locally. The programme presents a diverse range of local, national and international performers and has been an important addition to Derry's cultural profile.
the genealogy centre
30 January 2001
I simply believe that if people in North America and Australia can identify where their ancestors originated from (ie a townland or town) then they will plan a holiday to Ireland. They will want to see: the homestead (or site of) where their ancestors lived; the church where they worshipped; perhaps the school they went to; the graveyard where their ancestors are buried; and maybe even stand on the quay where their ancestor emigrated from. Place and kin hold a very strong emotional bond which could impact tremendously on tourism.
Place and Kin
Four verses from a poem written by Dave McMurdie of Regina, Saskatchewan in 1943 and dedicated to his old friend Dave Robinson of Vancouver sum up, for me, powerfully the strong pull of the Old Country. If sentiment such as this is converted into an actual trip to the old homeland the potential for tourism in Northern Ireland is self evident. It is clear that the friendships and places associated with his youth in Bellaghy, County Londonderry sustained Dave McMurdie:
THE OLD HOME TOWN
By Dave McMurdie
It's hard to live on these Prairies Dave, with its terrible frost and snow,
and it's might hard to stick it out where the Northern Blizzards blow.
But the old blood still is in me and I laugh at the Blizzards frown, for
I'm a County Derry man from old Bellaghy Town.
Oh, it's old Bellaghy Town Dave, of its scenes I love to tell,
Palmers Hill, The Shilling Hill and its famous Jean Bells Well.
The Barrack Hall and old stair head to memory I recall,
King William Street I'll ne're forget, nor the dear old Orange Hall.
There were McIntyres and Martins, Millikens and Brown, Mawhinneys and
McMurdies always at their post were found, Porters too from Old Drumlamph
and the loyal Bruces too, the loyal Blairs from Mullaghboy and those
Kennedy lads so true.
Oh I know I would die happy Dave, if I once more could roam, through those
lovely scenes and valley green where once we called our home.
To stand once more by the old Orange Hall, it would fill my heart with
joy to live those old times over again like when you and I were Boys.
Statistics would seem to back up this potential. Some 50 million North Americans and 5 million Australians claim to have Irish ancestry. It is estimated that in the US alone 35 million people have an interest in genealogy. Genealogy is the third most popular hobby in the United States and the second most popular topic on the Internet. In a recent study of subscribers to AT & T's Internet access service, it was found that 31% had gone online primarily to search for ancestors.
The Irish Genealogical Project
The Irish Genealogical Project (IGP) became a reality in 1990. The IGP envisaged the establishment of a network of centres, usually on a county basis, to computerise the major record sources and to service family history queries within their catchment areas. The following sources have been identified as the major sources to be computerised:
- Pre-1922 civil birth, marriage and death registers.
- Pre-1900 church baptismal, marriage and burial registers of all denominations.
- Gravestone Inscriptions.
- 1901 census.
- Mid-19th century Griffith's Valuation.
- Early-19th century Tithe Applotment Books.
In Northern Ireland the work of the IGP was carried out by four centres: The Genealogy Centre serving County Londonderry; Armagh Ancestry, County Armagh; The Ulster Historical Foundation, Counties Antrim and Down; and Heritage World, Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.
These four centres have built up databases for their local areas that can't be matched by any other organisation. These centres, furthermore, have the added advantage of local knowledge of their areas. They may be able to identify place names and the locations of old graveyards; they may know of useful local publications and record sources; and they will have some knowledge of the general history of the area.
Locating an Ancestor
There is no doubt that these databases increase the likelihood of identifying an ancestor. In the age before computers a fairly precise knowledge (usually a townland or parish address) of where an ancestor came from was the key to unlocking family history. As most records of genealogical value were compiled by civil parish it meant that effective genealogical research in Ireland required knowledge of the civil parish in which an ancestor lived. As a general rule the knowledge of the county of origin of an ancestor was insufficient evidence for locating them.
The starting point, however, for the majority of people, especially in the United States, seeking their Irish ancestry is at best the knowledge of the county of origin of their family. In these circumstances the database of a genealogy centre is essential to assist such people identify their ancestral origins. It will be for many the only realistic means to locate the ancestral home. From a tourism point of view the databases of the fours genealogy centres may contain the answers which would encourage many to plan a holiday in Northern Ireland.
A comprehensive review of the Irish Genealogical Project in the Republic of Ireland was published in December 1996 by the Department of the Taoiseach. It concluded that the IGP had "the potential to produce significant economic, social, cultural and political benefits to Ireland". The Irish Government continues to feel that there exists a "compelling case for supporting and resourcing the central management of IGP".
The Tourist Boards, both North and South, see family history as a means to draw increasing numbers of long-staying, high-spending, overseas visitors to Ireland. The money generated at the four research centres is insignificant compared to the indirect spin-offs to the economy from visitors seeking their roots (ie by taking a holiday in Ireland). In 1996 the Northern Ireland Tourist Board estimated that 72,000 US visitors (ie 5% of visitors) spent £20.1 million (ie 10% of tourist revenue). In 1996 US Visitors (with 80% from either California or the East Coast) spent on average £279 and stayed 8 nights. In the same year 28,000 Canadians (with 60% from the Province or Ontario) visited Northern Ireland, spending on average £321 and staying 10 nights.
I believe very serious thought should be given to how best to resource and direct the four genealogy centres in Northern Ireland in order to maximise roots tourists to the province. Serious consideration should be given to integrating the databases and local knowledge built up by the genealogy centres into the already existing network of public funded, tourist information centres. This would ultimately result in more satisfied customers and, it would encourage more people to visit the province and the homeland of their ancestors. During the off-peak season genealogy centres could be busy answering queries and/or conducting research for those intending to visit the ancestral homeland the following Spring or Summer. Genealogy centres would thus become part of the tourism network contributing to a quality holiday experience. Any money generated from research activities could then contribute towards at least some of the running costs of operating a research service.
the university of ulster
1. I would like to submit evidence in my capacity as Arts Development Officer for the University of Ulster. My role as Arts Development Officer (a recently-created post) is to facilitate the development of a range of arts and cultural activities primarily related to the Magee Campus but also at other campuses of the University as appropriate.
1.1 The University of Ulster
The University of Ulster's Vision is to be a model of an outstanding regional university with a national and international reputation for quality. The University makes a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural advancement of Northern Ireland as a region within a national and international context and plays a key role in attracting inward investment. Core business activities are teaching and learning, research and technology and knowledge transfer.
The University has restructured at faculty and school level to reflect the University's new operating environment and changes in the world of work, in the economy and in the needs of society.
The post of Arts Development Officer is within the Cultural Affairs section within the Faculty of Arts. The Faculty of Arts offers a very full provision of courses across all the Arts and Humanities at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and the University conducts high-level research in these fields as well. The University has recently announced two major cultural initiatives - The Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages and the Ulster Scots Institute.
1.2 The Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages
The Academy was established in 2000 on the basis of funding from the private and public sectors and is a major development in Irish Cultural Heritages. Eleven new appointments are to be made to an interdisciplinary Academy, headquartered at Magee, based on the high quality of research in History, Irish and Celtic, and Irish Literature in English. This is a research academy, but it will have a heritage management strand, geared to create inputs into cultural tourism, learning for leisure, and life-long learning.
1.3 The Ulster Scots Institute
This recently-established Institute is devoted to the examination and dissemination of improved understandings of Ulster Scots Heritage, as it exists within Northern Ireland, across a northern axis extending from Donegal through Antrim to Rathlin and the Scottish islands and mainland. A further aim is to embrace the global diaspora of Ulster-Scots, in the Americas and also in Australasia.
1.4 The role of the University in cultural development
The University is uniquely placed to play a major role in the arts and cultural life of the island. It has a significant pool of resources both in terms of staff expertise and facilities (ranging across 4 campus locations) that should be utilised both to spearhead initiatives and to underpin the cultural development of the region.
2. The Product
The University of Ulster has recently committed to developing both summer school and year round 'learning for leisure' activities which would draw upon the expertise within the organisation to deliver a range of programmes of interest to, predominantly but not exclusively, an overseas market (programmes will also appeal to a domestic visitor market). Such programmes must be developed in partnership with a range of organisations including local government, arts organisations, the heritage sector and cultural (including language) groupings. A pilot programme is planned for summer 2001- The Island Has Many Voices - and will be offered both as a 2-week stand alone cultural programme and as a 3-week cultural programme with English language tuition. The University is targeting the US, Far East and European markets for this year. This programme will draw on the expertise and best practice in the fields of Irish History, Literature, Language, Music and Culture and will seek to illuminate the uniqueness of Ireland and its cultures. It will also provide opportunities to engage with the issues of conflict and the current political situation (see programme attached). As well as the programme of lectures and seminars, delivered largely by University of Ulster staff, it is essential that there is a strong and wide ranging infrastructure of facilities and activities ongoing within the local environment to allow course participants to participate and experience the cultures at first hand. The pilot scheme is to be based at Magee Campus in L'Derry with field trips to Donegal and Coleraine/Antrim. The City of Derry provides a unique environment for the development of cultural programmes of study with its history, infrastructure of arts and cultural facilities and range of ongoing activities.
The University has organised a 'Talks and Tours' programme for nearly 30 years, which has an established domestic market; research has shown the potential of this type of activity for overseas market. I believe that such a product would be a major tourism asset in the cultural infrastructure of Northern Ireland and will act as a prime reason for tourists to make a visit to the region. The programmes will help define the destination and add to its overall appeal and distinctiveness.
2.1 The Island Has Many Voices
The Island Has Many Voices is the pilot scheme for 2001. It appears that there is significant potential for the development of specialist programmes of study year round which could draw on both University resources and the local cultural infrastructure. Potential themes are:
- Performing Arts -Theatre
- Performing Arts - Music
- Visual Culture - Film/Media
- Applied Arts including crafts
- Cultural Identities
- Irish Politics
(The University of Ulster has plans to develop a media archive of oral and verbal culture, which would act as an important tourism resource).
These themes are central to activity and 'roots' markets and again would be the prime reason for making a visit. It is envisaged that short specialist breaks will also be developed year round.
All schemes developed would rely upon and utilise the local infrastructure of accommodation, restaurants, attractions etc. Programmes will be targeted at both students within the educational sector (college level) and also at more mature visitors with a particular interest in Ireland and aspects of its culture.
3. What is required?
In formulating the 2001 programme it has been clear that links between the cultural and tourist sectors are somewhat ad hoc and informal with no clearly defined pathways or mechanisms for developing, packaging and marketing a cultural tourism product. If the apparent opportunities for cultural tourism and the arts are to be addressed then strategic consideration must be given to this area. DCAL should lead the development of a strategy for cultural tourism and should identify focused partnerships, strategies and actions to embrace the various opportunities. Local tourism action plans should be developed and encouraged to address the areas of cultural tourism and the arts. It is clear that for the most part, arts and tourism organisations work independently with little cross referencing or co ordination. Most arts organisations have a very different focus to that of the average tourist organisation, they tend to work at a more local/regional level.
3.2 Product/Programme Development
Once programmes and products have been identified for cultural tourism development, resources need to be made available. DCAL must ensure that funding is available to ensure the development of products of a consistently high standard. Many arts and cultural organisations already have activities which could be part of a cultural tourism product but would require their programmes and possibly human resource allocations to be increased to allow them be a consistent player in the tourism market (many would wish to embrace this tourism role but are under resourced already and so would regard it as an additional element to their core activity). In many areas the physical infrastructure is good but programming funding is required to increase and upgrade products for the tourist market.
There is a need for investment in marketing and in an accessible marketing infrastructure for cultural tourism. The current lack of such an infrastructure is a major impediment to arts organisations becoming involved in cultural tourism, as they are under resourced and unable to pursue a tourist market on an individual basis. Such marketing support could include literature production, web based activity, promotional tour opportunities, arrangement of FAM visits, display of products at consumer shows, development and maintenance of direct marketing information and databases etc. There is also a need for market research to be undertaken to identify key market segments and motivating factors for the various cultural tourism products. It will be necessary to offer financial support for marketing activity for a tourist market as for many arts organisations this will be completely new territory.
Training will be required in both the arts and tourism sectors in order for them each to understand how the other works in terms of marketing, product development and associated timescales. Arts organisations will need to be schooled in what type of product is suitable for a tourist market and the tourism sector in understanding how it can support and work with the cultural sector.
3.5 Infrastructure Investment
Investment will be required for interpretation of existing cultural products for e.g. literature trails and also for signage. This will broaden the scope of programming and make many of the regions existing assets more accessible/tangible.
It should be noted that cultural tourism supports and provides resources which residents enjoy as well as tourists and that its development thus harmonises wider social and economic progress.
4. I would welcome the opportunity for representatives of the University of Ulster to be invited to give oral evidence to the committee.
UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER
THE ISLAND HAS MANY VOICES:
AN INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL OF IRISH CULTURAL HERITAGES
Dates: Sunday 29 July - Sunday 12 August 2001
Location: Magee Campus of the University of Ulster
Academic Directors: Professors Robert Welch and John Wilson
This two-week course is based at the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages at the University of Ulster in the city of Derry. Based at the Magee campus, which is home to the world's first Institute dedicated to the study of Ulster Scots heritage and culture, the Summer School gives students an opportunity to both experience and learn about the origins of the voices, languages and accents that animate this liveliest of regions.
The program will draw on the expertise of leading scholars in the fields of Irish history, literature, language and culture to provide an in-depth but enjoyable course of learning and study designed to explore the diversity of Irish culture and heritage.
Recent discussion in Ireland has focused on the plurality of Irish cultural identities, and the need to celebrate difference while renewing traditional values and customs. The history and cultural expression of these varied identities will be discussed, studied and debated and shown through poetry, story and song. Excursions to the places and regions which illustrate this diversity will allow students to experience the excitement of these cultures at first hand.
The academic program consists of 15 contact hours per week including teaching, lectures and tutorials. The following themes and ideas will form the core of the program:
- the importance of place in cultural heritages
- the different histories of the peoples and cultures of the Northern Irish corridor, pre-Celts, Celts, Picts, Gaels, Ulster-Scots, Normans, English, and others
- mythologies of the North
- cultural identities: their constructions and uses
- story-telling and folklore
- musical traditions of the North, from the Donegal school of fiddle-playing to the pipers of Antrim and the Isles
- Irish and Scottish dance
In addition, an extensive program of guided tours and field trips will take place in;
- Derry City
- South Donegal, including Glenties and Glencolmcille
- Counties Antrim and L'Derry including Coleraine, the Giant's Causeway, the Glens and Dunluce Castle
The program will also include many cultural events such as traditional music and poetry evenings and storytelling sessions.
The faculty will be drawn from the Schools of History, Politics, Geography, English, Irish, Performing Arts and Music at the University of Ulster. Distinguished faculty, many with international reputations and widely published, will deliver the lectures. Tutorials will be by given by course tutors who will mark and return assignments.
The University of Ulster is the largest University on the island of Ireland and one of the largest in the United Kingdom. Six Faculties offer courses up to PhD level in Art, Design and Humanities, Business and Management, Engineering, Information Technology, Science, Social and Health Science and Education. Magee campus is one of four campuses and is located in Northern Ireland's historic second city. Founded in the 19th century as a college for the training of the Presbyterian ministry, Magee is the most rapidly expanding campus of the University of Ulster and has a mixture of historically significant and purpose built academic and research buildings. A place where history and progress co-exist, it has significant strengths in software development, intelligent systems, internet technologies and international business and educates students for today's global workplace. Magee is also home to the world-leading INCORE project (International Centre for Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity) set up by the University of Ulster and the United Nations University to undertake research and policy development useful to the resolution of ethnic, political and religious conflict across the world. Significant expansion plans are being initiated including a new School of Performing and Computer Arts, and development of the highly successful School of International Business, INCORE and the business innovation centres through the creation of the International Business Centre and development of the Magee Science Research Park.
The campus is situated on a pleasant hillside overlooking the River Foyle in a mainly residential quarter of the city of Derry, and is within easy reach of shopping areas and the many cultural attractions of the city.
AN HISTORIC CITY
Situated on the leading edge of Europe, Derry is one of the oldest inhabited places in Ireland. The Irish word Daire or Doire (anglicised as Derry) means an ancient oak grove. Gateway to Ireland's Northwest, it is a city pulsing with life and resonant with centuries of heritage and passion. A joyful city, renowned for its architectural splendour, and filled with celebration and inspiration, it is vibrant, outward looking and confident. Students can meander through Derry's picturesque inner city and listen to the echoes of 1,450 years of history. Stroll along its still intact 17th century walls and see the ever-changing skyline of a city constant in the warmth of its welcome. Monastic site, Plantation City, thriving cultural centre, Londonderry has played many roles in the rich pageant of Irish history. An ancient city with a youthful, vibrant heart, Derry really is a special place to study and enjoy.
Derry is also an excellent starting point for exploring the Northwest of Ireland and is well served by modern road, rail and air links. The wild and open beauty of County Donegal is just a short journey away, with the ancient towns of Donegal and Sligo and the rugged West Coast all within easy reach of the city.
Located just minutes from the campus, Magee has excellent modern single room accommodation offering a wide range of facilities. Kitchen areas are equipped with cookers, kettles, fridges and washing machines, and laundry facilities are also available.
Meals are also available from the college restaurant at a reasonable cost.
Course participants will be able to make use of the University's excellent facilities, which include modern classrooms, multimedia facilities, language laboratories, and 24-hour computer availability. All course participants will have free access to email. There is also a fully equipped sports and fitness centre on campus. Magee is also well situated for students interested in outdoor activities e.g. sailing, rowing, canoeing, and climbing.
Three credit points are available for completion of the Summer School. Students wishing to obtain accreditation should make arrangements with the School Co-ordinator.
The course fee is £850 GBP, this includes:
- All tuition fees
- Field trips and cultural visits
- Meals when on field trips
Optional visits to theatre, concerts etc not included in price.
For further information and registration, please contact:
Kate Bond Tel: 00 44 28 7137 5456
Summer School Co-ordinator Fax: 00 44 28 7137 5487
Magee Campus Email email@example.com
Northland Road Visit our website at: http://www.arts.ulst.ac.uk/academy/summerschool
This summer school is organised in partnership with Derry City Council
Farewell reception and presentation.
Evening: Music & farewell
UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER
THE ISLAND HAS MANY VOICES: A SUMMER SCHOOL
OF IRISH CULTURAL HERITAGES
29 JULY- 12 AUGUST 2001
Wednesday 8 August
Peacemaking in Northern Ireland:
Professor Alan Smith
Professor Tom Frazer
Thursday 9 August
Broadcasting in Northern Ireland:
Radio Foyle and the BBC:
Poetry and stories with Gerry Anderson, Frank Sewell, Frank Galligan
Friday 10 August
Storytelling and Folklore:
Field Trip to Antrim and the Glens
Overnight stay in Coleraine.
Ulster-Scots Evening: Stories & yarns
Saturday 11 August
Coleraine, The Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle
Sunday 29 July
Arrival and Registration
Provost's welcome & Reception
Monday 30 July
Cultures and Heritages:
Professor Robert Welch
The Englishes of Ulster:
Professor Loreto Todd
Tuesday 31 July
Derry City-histories and music
Wednesday 1 August
Contested Grounds. Historical themes:
Professor Alan Sharp
The Gaelic World:
Professor Ailbhe O Corráin
Thursday 2 August
Professor Loreto Todd
Ulster-Scots Language, Literature and Folklore:
Professor Loreto Todd and Philip Robinson
Friday 3 August
Dr Andrew Keanie
Anglo-Irish Literature - Yeats and Wilde:
Dr Andrew Keanie
Cathal O Searcaigh (bilingual)
Saturday 4 August
Place and People in Donegal:
Professor Seamus MacMathuna
Glencolmcille & Glenties:
Dr Andrew Keanie
Trip to Glencolmcille & Glenties:
(commencing two night stay in Donegal)
Sunday 5 August
Field Trip in South West Donegal
Monday 6 August
Return to Derry
Tutorial on Donegal Field Trip
Tuesday 7 August
Planter and Gael-John Hewitt Seamus Heaney :
Dr Elmer Kennedy-Andrews
Politics and Division:
Professor Paul Arthur
Tutorial Evening: Music session & pub
the north west archaeological and historical society
8 March 2001
We, in the North West Archaeological and Historical Society would wish to stress the importance of Local History Studies and the contribution these can make to help further a greater understanding of our culture and heritage. The following is a brief synopsis of the work of the NWA&HS and should be seen as an indicator of some of the Local Studies ongoing in the North West.
The North West Archaeological and Historical Society was founded in 1975/76 by a few enthusiastic members of an Extra Mural class at Magee University College.
The Society staged a major exhibition entitled "Legacy of the Ages" at Magee University College which attracted over 5000 visitors. With the success of this exhibition behind it, the Society, in 1976, staged an exhibition based on the American Bicentennial theme of Emigration out of Londonderry. This Exhibition was entitled "Westwards from Ulster". Again, this was very successful and was featured on a BBC-TV programme. The centrepiece of the Exhibition was the partial construction of the inside of an emigrant ship, together with many fine oil paintings of the famous McCorkell Fleet of ships that sailed from the port of Londonderry to America.
In 1977, the society was asked to stage a further exhibition during the city's Civic Week. The chosen theme was "The Shirt Industry" which was seen as a fitting forum on which to display the history of the city's most important industry. This exhibition was featured on BBC-TV's Nationwide programme. This exhibition was without doubt the society's most successful, up to that time.
Later in the same year the members put on a further exhibition entitled "The Armada and the Mitred Earl". This encompassed the history of the Spanish Armada and the materials recovered from the Armada ship "La Trinidad Valencera" which, in 1588, sank in Kinnego Bay, about 20 miles from Londonderry.
The exhibition also told the story of the life and times of Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, Frederick Hervey.
In 1978 the Society turned its attention to the subject of Genealogy, the subject of tracing one's ancestors. It developed a package deal for a Summer School to be held at Magee College. The Society was awarded a Certificate of Commendation in the British Airways Tourism Endeavour Awards in 1978 for the idea of the Summer School.
The following year, 1979, the Society hosted and entertained a group of visiting Americans who had come over for the first Irish Genealogical Congress which was held in Belfast, Londonderry and Dublin.
The idea of helping tourists in the North-West prompted the Society to compile and have published an Archaeological and Historical Map of the area and this proved to be very popular and sold very well.
The Society continued its efforts to publicise the history of the area and assumed an educational role by beginning to publish an annual journal entitled "Templemore". This title was inspired by the Ordnance Survey Memoirs and by the fact that this parish "Temple More", was the only memoir published when all the material had been compiled in 1837.
The Society, from its inception, has always, during the winter months, held monthly meetings and invited guest speakers to address its members on a wide range of varied topics. During the summer months it established a pattern of field trips to areas of historical and archaeological interest in the vicinity and both these continue to this day.
The Society became involved in a venture to publish "The Heritage of Inishowen", an account of the life's work of one of its founding members, Miss Mabel Colhoun. She, at the time of her death, had left her notes on the archaeology and heritage of Inishowen in handwritten form, and a few members of the Society took the notes and converted them into the book. This publication was seen as a major contribution to the history of the area.
In recent times it has been involved with exhibitions in conjunction with the Central Library (WELB), one of which "Changing Faces" was a photographic record of 100 years of photographs of the local area. This, too, proved to be a very popular exhibition with funding coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Society is lucky to have amongst its members many talented and enthusiastic people who have been working on many projects - transcribing Ordnance Survey Memoirs, recording oral history, taking part in radio broadcasts, collecting and recording gravestone inscriptions, helping at archaeological 'digs', writing and publishing journals and books and parish histories.
The main objective of the Society was to bring together individuals who would collect and record the history of the immediate area in which it existed for the benefit of the present and the future population. The Society feels it has accomplished this and since one of its other major proposals was the formation of a regional museum in the city and this has now come to fruition, the Society is happy to continue to provide a base from which to continue its work.
The above outlined activities are all part and parcel of the great patchwork quilt which is our heritage, and, without question or doubt go towards the promotion of cultural tourism. Activities like these are being repeated all over the country. Skills are being developed day and daily which add to the success of the projects.
The Federation for Ulster Local Studies (to which the NWAHS is affiliated) is an umbrella group which looks after its member societies by holding workshops, seminars and training days so that the local history societies can acquire the necessary skills to help them create their own programmes around local studies. The Federation's ability to provide guidance on a collective rather than an individual basis makes it an obvious conduit for this type of work. Local societies and the studies they undertake have a key role to play in the formation of an arena which can attract and sustain a tourist market. Our country's culture is reflected by local studies. The NWAHS, like the FULS has been in existence for 25 years and has benefited from a long-standing relationship with the Federation. A permanent method of funding for the Federation would greatly assist in the creation of long-term development plan and provide the where-with-all for establishing an even greater rapport with their member societies.
It is hoped that the department would consider putting the proper funding of local studies on a par with other arts and sports organisations. Between local societies and the FULS almost one hundred societies with the common interest of local studies are working together in harmony throughout the Province. Local history societies, working together, will continue to spread the Local History 'gospel'. Add the third side of the triangle, The Federation of Ulster Local Studies, and the message will be spread and help encourage tourism and ultimately benefit the whole country.
northern ireland tourist board
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is the agency within the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment with responsibility for the development of tourism in Northern Ireland and for the marketing of the region as a tourist destination. The key objectives of the organisation are to attract the holiday visitor to Northern Ireland, enhance the business of tourism and to communicate openly and effectively with all of our tourism partners. Our stated aim is to ensure that tourism contributes to the creation of a competitive, dynamic economy. Our success will lie in our capacity to grow tourism to Northern Ireland.
2. Current Situation
During 2000, NITB undertook a comprehensive review of its activities. Core to this review were opportunities to explore the values and attributes of the Northern Ireland holiday experience. This exercise, which we referred to as 'Building the Proposition', established the significance of the people, the place and our way of life in providing a genuine and authentic experience for the visitor. Moreover, this work has recognised the complex nature of the cultural and creative experience of Northern Ireland that, together with the experience of the people and the natural environment will guide the future policy and strategy of NITB and our tourism partners in Northern Ireland.
3. NITB and Cultural Tourism
The 1998 report, 'The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland' (copy attached) concluded that the creative and cultural industries could make a substantial contribution to tourism growth. However, the report also concluded that substantial work would have to be undertaken to make this happen. The initial outcome of this report was the establishment of a joint 'Cultural Tourism Officer' post between the NITB and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. This post, based at the Tourist Board Headquarters in Belfast, was created to take forward the principal recommendations of the report.
In November 1998, NITB produced a 'Cultural Tourism Strategy Paper 1999 -2001', see Appendix A, which set out a number of recommendations to take the programme forward. Initially, the strategy made provision for ten key areas of the creative and heritage industries - Film, Literature, Performing Arts, Music, the Visual Arts and the Traditional Arts. The heritage would be examined under the areas of Genealogy, Industrial Heritage, Archaeological and Christian Heritage and Cultural Heritage. Stakeholders within each of these designations attended a series of workshops and seminars at NITB in which the various strengths and weaknesses of the sector were explored, together with opportunities for growth. The outcome was a series of strategy papers for each area of the creative and heritage industries that emerged during 1999.
Each of the designated groups was asked to nominate one of their members to join an umbrella Cultural Tourism Partnership Group. This ad hoc group was established to represent the interests of the broad cultural sector and to guide the Tourist Board in its strategic planning and policy. The group meets regularly and has made a major contribution to the Tourist Board's emerging strategy for the development of tourism. It draws its membership from the cross section of creative industries in Northern Ireland.
4. The Way Forward
NITB has succeeded in engaging with the creative industries to mainstream creativity as a key element of our holiday offer and to evolve individual strategies for the different sectors. The outcome is a cultural sector that is more aware of the benefits of tourism - and ways to attract international visitors - and a Tourist Board that is more comfortable with the elaborate nature of the creative and cultural life of the region.
It would be our intention to mainstream this activity through the further development of the Cultural Tourism Partnership and closer relationships with other Departments and agencies within government. We envisage a policy for the development of cultural tourism that enjoys the allegiance of our varied industry partners and our partners within DCAL and its agencies. This joined up approach will ensure the development of a unique to Northern Ireland tourism product that has the allegiance of all its stakeholders. We see this ownership and understanding as key to the successful development of cultural tourism in Northern Ireland.
In practical terms, there is much that we should be doing together to profile our indigenous cultural strengths, from practical networking arrangements to specific projects in the international market place. By combining our energies through projects such as Capital of Culture 2008 and Renaissance Irlande du Nord 2003, we can bring benefit to individual artists, to our heritage and to the tourism economy. We must also see the creative industries as key to redefining our international image and to working together to secure an international perception of Northern Ireland that is based on our new reality.
cultural tourism strategy paper 1998-2001
The value of the cultural sector to international tourism cannot be underestimated. More journeys are made on the basis of the unique culture and heritage of a destination than for any other reason. In today's more sophisticated international marketplace, it is essential that the Northern Ireland tourism industry recognises the key contribution of the cultural industries to defining Northern Ireland as a destination.
In 1994, the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre commissioned a report to examine the economic contribution of the arts. This report, by John Myerscough, recognised that arts activity and the cultural sector makes a crucial contribution to a nation's wellbeing and is central to defining our sense of place. As long ago as 1990, Myerscough concluded that:-
'The arts act as a magnet, drawing people and their spending to particular localities where service industries can take advantage of an expanding customer base. Arts institutions bring life to a place. They provide a catalyst to wider developments, they have a role to play in regional economic initiatives and contribute to the succsess of property projects.'
In keeping with the conclusions contained in that report, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and a number of key partners in the cultural sector commissioned a study to examine the opportunities for mutual benefit between tourism and the cultural sector. The report, 'The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland' was launched at the beginning of 1998. A principal recommendation of that report, the appointment of a development officer was realised in August 1998 with the appointment of a Cultural Tourism Officer to oversee the collaborative development of Northern Ireland as a Cultural Destination.
In late 1998, under the auspices of the Marketing Advisory Group, a number of organisations were represented on a Cultural Tourism Strategy Group. This group met four times to discuss the various issues relating to culture and heritage as a tourism product. It is now recognised that the original report covered many of the issues that affect the cultural tourism product and had made a number of recommendations on the way forward. The above group therefore considered whether culturally related products such as genealogy, local history, Christian and industrial heritage should be aligned with the strategy devised by the cultural sector partnership in the cultural sector report. The combined outcome of both processes is summarised below.
1. Where are We Now?
The document 'The Cultural Sector: A Development Opportunity for Tourism in Northern Ireland' was launched in February 1998. This established for the first time the main strategic weaknesses in cultural tourism as a product. Essentially there has been a dearth of research and statistics within the cultural sector and it has not been recognised as important within tourism. As a new concept, it is essentially starting from a baseline of zero, so any future development must be set against this measurement. A more detailed SWOT analysis is contained within the report at page 47.
2. Areas for development
The cultural sector study and the subsequent strategy meetings were designed to be as inclusive of the sector as possible and have arrived at the following broad areas which require development - and which are crucial in defining Northern Ireland's cultural identity:-
The Performing Arts
The Heritage Sector
Museums and Cultural Heritage
and commenting on their current delivery and more importantly, their potential for development as a cultural tourism product. These are the areas that will ultimately define our unique cultural identity and their development will establish and refine our appeal to an international audience.
Crucially, we must also recognise and develop unique aspects of our culture that set us apart from the rest of the island of Ireland and these islands. It is only through the development of our indigenous cultural traditions that we will compete effectively with the rest of these islands.
3. Who and Where are our Markets?
Cultural Tourism has the capacity to deliver increased visitor numbers, is a means of defining a destination, adds to our appeal and sophistication as a destination and adds value to a visit while increasing customer satisfaction. It is also a useful generator of off-peak visitor traffic and of optimising the use of venues, accommodation and transport. But where are our markets?
All recent and current research has indicated the importance of culture as a principal reason for making a journey to Ireland. In he OTMI Consumer Journeys (July to October 1997), culture appears as significant across all consumer typologies within the key USA, German, UK and French markets. It is also worth noting that our culture is essentially who we are - and people and spontaneity are cited as important across all markets - as is nature and environment. The variety of events, festivals and the possibilities for interaction with people is crucial to the visitor's perception of not only our people and spontaneity, but of the mystery, magic and romance that they associate so strongly with Ireland.
The importance of culture is also supported in the Northern Ireland Regional Destination Study 1998, particularly in the main holiday market and across the various lifestages - independents and empty nesters in particular.
4. The Competition
Northern Ireland has to compete in a market saturated with possibilities and within an Island with a distinctive marketing edge. The challenge is to develop and market out unique selling points - those aspects of our culture that set us apart from the rest of the island and give us a unique identity within these islands. It is imperative that we:-
- Identify and develop our culture strengths.
- Create new cultural products.
- Develop linkages between all cultural sectors.
- Package and promote our cultural sector.
- Develop new markets.
- Offer a wider range of quality events.
- Deliver a peak season audience.
5. Market Segmentation
It is widely acknowledged that the cultural tourist is much more valuable since:-
- ABC1 component is higher than from tourists overall.
- They are older (increasing younger audience).
- They spend more.
- They stay longer.
6. The Way Forward
It is crucial that the cultural sector is aware of the benefits of cultural tourism to both their particular activity and to their organisation. For that reason, it will be necessary to undertake a detailed programme of awareness building at a local, regional, national and product level. This will take the following forms:-
- Meeting with core partners.
- Product relaunch of the Cultural Sector Strategy.
- Implementation of product partnerships/groups.
- Cultural sector seminars and information days.
- Developing cultural tourism partnership.
7. Roles and Responsibilities
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board will continue to be responsible for the overall branding and marketing of Northern Ireland. It is essential the NITB recognises the importance of working with the cultural sector and to that end have established a model organisational structure to undertake the development of the cultural tourism product. The partners involved in the preparation of the cultural sector report were:-
- Northern Ireland Tourist Board
- Arts Council of Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Film Commission
- Rural Development Council
- Northern Ireland Museums Council
- Omagh District Council (local authority partner - rural arts)
- Armagh City and District Council (local authority partner - Christian heritage)
It is important to note at this point that these organisations formed a cross section of agencies representing various sectoral interests and that a wider consultation took place within the sector. However, it is now recognised that a much more inclusive model is required to take forward the cultural tourism product. During the course of the consultation exercise on the best model, the following options were considered:-
A. Do Nothing
This option would allow cultural tourism to develop without any strategic direction or guidance. For the purpose of the effective development of the product, this was not an option.
B. Continue with the Status Quo
This option considered the continuation of the original cultural tourism consultation grouping (the Cultural Tourism Partnership) with its original, limited membership to oversee and develop strategies for cultural tourism. This option would also allow the cultural strategy group to develop the product. However, it became clear that the current structure of the CTP was much too limited, while the strategy group would be duplicating what the Cultural Tourism Partnership had done to date. This would not permit the fullest possible development of the product, would result in massive duplication of effort and lack of co-ordination and ultimately would not represent the breadth and depth of cultural activity. This would allow for potential conflict, as certain segments of the cultural sector would be represented while others would not. This was therefore deemed an unsuitable structure in its present form.
C. Expand the CTP Through Open Recruitment
This option would allow anyone representing a cultural sector organisation to become part of the core grouping or Cultural Tourism Partnership. However, with a sector of such enormous size, this would lead to a body consisting of hundreds of people from artists through to festival organisers, venue managers, attractions managers, government agencies etc. It was agreed that such a structure would be unmanageable and was therefore not a viable option.
D. Extend the CTP Through Product Groupings
This option would enable the Tourist Board to identify key organisations within the cultural sector who currently represent a wider product constituency and to invite representatives from that organisation to become members of the CTP. This would enable the democratic exchange of information through already effective organisational structures. However, most of the cultural sector activity is not catered for by structured representative agencies, so part of the challenge will be to create new structures where they do not already exist. This would effectively mean that all cultural products would have cluster groups representing their industry interests at a strategic level. This is the favoured option as it represents the most effect method of achieving meaningful strategic objectives for each of the key cultural products.
It is therefore proposed that this structure is implemented as follows:-
- The creation of Cultural Groups within the new RTO Structure.
- The creation of eleven cultural product groups covering the sector.
- The ultimate creation of a Cultural Tourism Partnership drawing its membership from the above. This is illustrated below:-
The Cultural Tourism Partnership would assume responsibility for the development and marketing of the cultural sector with the ongoing assistance of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It will be a collaborative approach by the whole cultural industry to develop the cultural tourism product and to develop and market the sector to the domestic and international market place.
This will achieve the following objectives:
- Target segments with high potential.
- Implement pilot or demonstration projects.
- Produce clear operational plans for each sector.
- Produce a Cultural Tourism Strategy.
- Produce a Cultural Tourism Marketing Plan.
- Produce a business plan for the Partnership.
- Monitor and Evaluate the Sector and Provide Research Statistics.
It is important to note that there should be parallel development of each product area to ensure that each receives fair and balanced treatment - the mix of activity and the choice of events etc will make Northern Ireland a much more attractive visitor location.
Over the following period, this Cultural Tourism Officer will be taking every opportunity to meet and assist groups at local, regional, national and product level to implement the recommendations of this report. It is anticipated that the structure will be implemented early in the new financial year.
ADDITIONAL WRITTEN submission by:
northern ireland tourist Board
The role of a National Tourist Board is to provide an appropriate framework within which the tourism industry can effectively market itself.
NITB sees culture and heritage as a key mainstream tourism activity and a key business growth area for the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. Increasingly NITB will focus its efforts on business support, including provision of market intelligence, to the industry.
As most of NITB activity is geared to attracting out of state visitors, it naturally follows that many NITB activities are not always visible within the province itself. NITB recognises that there is scope to improve this through better communication.
nitb and cultural tourism
Cultural tourism is a key, mainstream tourism activity and a key business growth area for the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has had ongoing dialogue with our partners in the cultural and creative industries for a number of years. From the beginning of our work on the cultural tourism initiative in 1998 we undertook to explore the tourism opportunity with over 600 individual organisations, attractions and individuals from the broad cultural sector. We retain contact on an individual and corporate basis with all of these.
Role of NITB
- To Create Demand.
- Business Enhancement.
Northern Ireland as a Holiday Destination
- Not a mainstream destination.
- Requires a special motivation.
In addition to this, we strive for ongoing improvement in all of our relationships with all of those in the cultural sector. We recognise that our relationship would benefit from more effective partnership approaches between both NITB and our partners in government here and between our staff and the cultural sector. In keeping with this, we will be launching two key seminars for the creative industries later this year using our Grow Your Business approach. The Grow Your Business process is designed to provide an opportunity for us to pool our knowledge about our visitors and their needs, identify barriers to growth and agree actions to be undertaken. The overall aim will be to arrive at a number of recommendations to target specific sectors within our main visitor markets. This will then enable the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to target its resources at those sectors and markets to encourage growth in international audiences.
the international trade and press relations
As well as undertaking the development of key relationships with the industry in Northern Ireland, we continuously strive to ensure that our international trade is fully familiar with the variety and depth of our cultural output. We include culture and heritage as key components of all of our press and trade familiarisation trips. In terms of packaging, our most recent work has involved the exploration and development of niche programmes for the not for profit sector in the USA - targeting groups of high yield visitors with specific cultural programmes. Another current activity is our work with a tour operator who is designing specialist cultural packages for the high yield market in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. These packages are 10 days in length and are Northern Ireland based in their entirety. We will continue to do this as we progress with our tourism development strategy for Northern Ireland.
The Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs), who are funded by NITB, are also involved in the development of City Breaks and Short Breaks featuring large cultural components.
cultural and heritage as a mainstream activity
Cultural tourism is crucial to both the general and special interest markets. Culture is a key element in the visit of those who have already decided to come, or can be the principal reason for a visit, particularly special interest or major events.
We have now mainstreamed culture as one of the key components of our visitor offer and this is reflected in the opening up of better and more profound conversations with other agencies such as the Film Commission and the Arts Council and with those charged with the conservation and enjoyment of our heritage. This is reflected in our emerging marketing and development strategies and should be further enhanced in the current DETI Review of Tourism in Northern Ireland.
investing in our cultural infrastructure
NITB has, over many years, invested substantially in capital infrastructure to provide space and interpretation for visitors to enjoy and understand our culture eg Ti Chulainn, St Patrick's Centre, while undertaking an ongoing critical review of its activities and relationships. This latter has been guided by a number of external factors - the implications of Tourism Ireland Limited, the changes to our economic development agencies and our own commitment to communicate better with our industry and our consumer. Culture and heritage has been a key theme throughout and we can reassure the Committee that cultural tourism is now a mainstream activity within tourism and in all of our debates with our industry.
We can always do better. We can never be the sole promoters of culture at home or abroad, but must enjoy the support and engagement of the widest possible constituency within our cultural industries. It is only through proper engagement between the arts and tourism that we can truly move forward to raise the international profile and enjoyment of our creativity and heritage. All of us must embrace this concept.
servicing the visitor to ireland
We have a highly visible presence on Nassau Street in Dublin. Major resources would be required to have a presence at points of entry in the Republic of Ireland. We are convinced that visitors already in Dublin are more receptive to information on Northern Ireland and that is why our office carries a full range of destination and product literature for Northern Ireland. Our shop window is always open to organisations to promote key events and venues. This has been taken up in the past by the likes of the Appalachian and Bluegrass Festival, the National Trust and the Belfast Festival at Queen's. The advent of Tourism Ireland will have major implications in this regard where all island marketing and visitor servicing will become the norm.
There are nine separate pages for culture from our website www.discovernorthernireland.com each of which highlights a different aspect of our creativity from literature, through film, our industrial heritage and genealogy. We would welcome collaboration with CultureNorthernIreland to develop a cohesive, high quality and meaningful doorway to the wealth of our arts and heritage. In fact we see this as a tangible outcome of this debate and one that we could work on very quickly indeed.
NITB measures the economic impact value of tourism through visitor spend - that is a responsibility within government - and bednights are a tangible and meaningful input to this. However we also measure success in other ways such as press coverage secured.
culture as a generator of economic activity
A major reason for visiting Ireland, north and south is culture and heritage. Culture, in the widest sense, can form (and does) one of the most significant parts of the general touring market to this Island. Culture will also generate high yield, low volume visitors in key markets such as those referred to earlier eg academic tours for Northern Ireland literature provided by the non-profit sector in the United States. All of our research has pointed to the opportunity and we have now embarked on a detailed marketing and development strategy to target the most appropriate markets and consumers.
insight, not sightseeing
In addition to the mainstreaming of culture activity throughout all of our promotional material - our literature, web site etc, cultural tourism requires a more hands-on and intimate approach to marketing where programmes are designed with and by specialist operators who then sell through their own distribution channels. The general touring market has less focus on this concept of 'insight not sightseeing' and will tend towards the more obvious cultural and heritage attractions. That is why our focus will be on developing more high yield, low volume business with cultural tourism.
a focus on marketing
With some exceptions, tourism marketing and market awareness is not a priority in most of our cultural institutions --particularly international marketing. We anticipate that we will meet this challenge by engaging directly with all of these institutions through the Grow Your Business Process. This will be more effective in identifying barriers to growth and to developing marketing solutions.
During 1999 we carried out a SWOT analysis in key areas of cultural development - these are contained in the reports (copies supplied to the Committee). More recently, the Irish Tour Operators Association (ITOA) have carried out an audit of provision across Northern Ireland which will inform their members of what is available. It will also inform us of what is missing or absent that would sell to potential consumers to Northern Ireland.
In many ways our biggest strength is the relative freshness that we provide and RoI struggle today with the dilution of their people experience. However, the specific cultures of this part of the Island, including the profound influence of the Scottish and English are key in forging a unique cultural experience for the visitor. This manifests itself in our music, architecture, and Christian heritage and in our industrial heritage.
our unique qualities
Our maritime heritage offers great potential for visitor growth if sensitively and appropriately developed and managed. We are currently exploring and developing aspects of our Scots-Irish links, particularly in the United States and Canada to target the large community of people who can trace their ancestry back to this part of Ireland. We continue also to develop new ideas around our literary heritage, our traditional arts and cultural heritage to ensure that we develop projects and programmes that are unique, indigenous and which sell to our consumers. An example of promotion of garden heritage in Canada is shown below.
the role of tourism ireland
Tourism Ireland, as a subsidiary of the two Tourist Boards, will be responsible for overseas destination marketing for the island of Ireland. NITB will continue to market Northern Ireland, through Tourism Ireland and through tactical product marketing activity that highlights specific aspects of our visitor experience. Culture will be a key to ensuring Northern Ireland standout in all Tourism Ireland marketing activity.
marketing to the global family
A key area here is in Roots Tourism, where people come to Ireland to explore where their family came from. This can only be achieved sensibly where all interests on the Island work together - after all, most emigration predates the boundaries drawn in the 1920s. Heritage tours of Ireland already work on an all island basis, as do specialist tours such as Houses and Gardens of Ireland. These are all consumer led campaigns and ideas.
Roots tourism is critical to the whole island - emigration is a long running theme and predates our current political boundaries. We have committed ourselves to working strategically with Irish Genealogy Limited and the members of the AUGRA (Association of Ulster Genealogy and Research Associates) and APGI (Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland). Mr Kearney is an observer on the Board of IGL, whose members include both AUGRA and APGI.
the cultural tourism partnership
The Cultural Tourism Partnership was born out of the debate we had with our cultural sector colleagues and each member was elected to the committee from their own membership eg the cultural heritage group nominated the then Chief Executive of the NI Museums Council etc. This committee played a critical role as we undertook our strategic review and wasa unique sounding board for many of our new ideas and policies as they emerged. We still see this group having a role albeit they must have membership from our partners in government including DCAL, DoE (EHS), and DARD so that they can collectively guide the strategic direction of cultural tourism in Northern Ireland. We feel that being constituted does not influence the success or value of such a high profile strategic grouping and would endorse its continuation.
Our principal barrier remains our negative image. However, we will not be able to respond to sustainable tourism growth in the absence of sound cultural tourism policy agreed between all stakeholders.
towards better partnership
NITB must provide strategic leadership to the industry based on shared vision and collective ownership. There is scope to improve this through the development of a National Tourism Strategy as has been done in both Wales and Scotland.
A strategy for tourism based on sound research and wide consultation which identifies the most effective response to the challenges which face the industry can provide the basis for better decision making and wiser choices in the allocation of scarce resources. In fulfilment of its role as the lead body for tourism in Northern Ireland, NITB should lead the process. It should, however, be one for all the tourism industry.