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Children and Young People encouraged to enjoy Break-Time, Arts Care's new mental health programme
Arts Care has launched Break-Time, a new free online arts programme designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic, supported by public and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 

The programme offers a wide range of fun and engaging online workshops covering visual art, music, dance, drama, poetry, storytelling and Clowndoctor TV.  The workshops have been designed and facilitated by Arts Care's highly experienced professional artists and are suitable for parents, teachers, play specialists and healthcare staff to enjoy alongside children.  Break-Time releases a new series of creative workshops every week and there are currently over thirty Break-Time workshops to enjoy on the Arts Care website.
Funding News

The Arts Council is currently dealing with an unprecedented volume of email correspondence. It may take longer than usual for staff to respond to your enquiries. We thank you for your patience.

Our staff list is here.

Tumble Circus fairytale film selected for Circus International Film Festival 2021
Wood Trap, a film by the award-winning Belfast-based circus company, Tumble Circus, has been chosen to feature at the prestigious Circus International Film Festival, dedicated to showcasing and supporting the art of circus through the medium of film. Wood Trap is supported by the Department for Communities and Arts Council of Northern Ireland through the Organisations Emergency Programme.

Wood Trap is a circus fairytale, set in a magical forest, where a women flies through ethereal shadows and colours and is suitable for all ages. Watch Wood Trap here.

Join Tumble Circus online on 17th March at 10am, when they will reveal another new film, The Mac Carnysons, as part of the national St Patricks Day Festival.
New programme announced to support the UK art market with its anti-money laundering obligations
A new nation-wide training programme is now available to support galleries, artists and other 'art market participants' in meeting their obligations under the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) which came into force in January 2020.

The free training sessions and workshops, offering practical advice to support art market participants to understand, assess and respond to their obligations under the regime, is supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Creative Scotland.

Registration is open until 10th June. Please visit the Creative United website at the link below. 
PfG Consultation on draft Outcomes Framework 2021
The NI Executive is consulting the public on its Programme for Government draft Outcomes Framework 2021. The draft Framework contains nine strategic Outcomes, a reduction from twelve, which will set the direction of travel for the NI Executive and provide a vision for the future of all citizens.

We encourage everyone working in the arts and cultural sector to engage with the consultation and provide your own response, at:

The PfG consultation closes on Monday 22 March 2021.
Arts Council of Northern Ireland Digital Ambitions survey 
The Arts Council has developed a new survey for arts organisations to determine which key digital skills and technologies are currently used by the Northern Ireland arts sector and which key digital areas the sector has ambitions to develop. We also seek opinions on what digital knowledge, skills, and equipment would be of benefit to meet the sector's future ambitions.

The information gathered by this survey will inform the development of the Arts Council's first digital strategy.

The survey closes on Monday 29 March 2021.
NI Writers Day Book Giveaway 
The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) has joined with the Arts Council to celebrate Northern Irish writers and writing as part of the first #NIWritersDay on Tuesday 23rd March.  Linked to RSL Open – in which the RSL is asking the public to recommend excellent UK writers who are underrepresented in our literary culture – this free online day of events, hosted with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will shine a spotlight on our acclaimed poets, playwrights and authors.

To celebrate, the Arts Council has partnered with independent bookshop No Alibis who are offering one lucky booklover a chance to win a selection of books featuring writers from our distinguished NI Writers Day panel. To win, visit our facebook page and simply tell us in the comments section who's your favourite living NI writer. Competition closes at 10am on Monday 22nd March 2021. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more about NI Writers Day and register your place here.

Read more about RSL Open and how you can nominate your favourite NI author here.
Arts activities to enjoy online
The Arts Council has rounded up just some of the fantastic creative activities and performances you can enjoy online, most of which are funded by the Arts Council, the Dept for Communities and the National Lottery.

New highlights include: 

Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics (22nd – 28th March), one of Belfast's most innovative and engaging festivals, returns for its seventh year with 115 webcasts (the great majority of which are free), exploring the theme, 'The State of Us' and pertinent topics, including the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland, Brexit, climate change, COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. 

All Points North, an artist-led collaborative project managed by Belfast Electronic Arts & Music Academy, presents a new series of online music videos promoting local, emerging and established musical talent against the backdrop of venues of historical and cultural significance across Belfast City. All Points North launches online on 19th March 2021 at 7pm via Vimeo.

Watch the Arts Council's Head of Community Arts & Education, Gilly Campbell, with her weekly roundup on NVTV here.
Walled City Music Festival 2021
The Walled City Music Festival returns this month (25th – 28th March) with a stunning line-up of world-class musicians and ensembles from across the world. The North West's premier classical music festival held one of the last live events in the city before the first lockdown, and  continues its mission of bringing outstanding classical music-making to the heart of cultural life in Derry this year, in a new virtual format. 

Audiences will enjoy recitals and concerts from guest artists including world-renowned Irish pianist Barry Douglas, Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, revered cellist Li-Wei Qin, virtuosic sibling duo Kirill and Alexandra Troussov (violin, piano) and award-winning cellist Jeffrey Zeigler with his contemporary jazz p(f)unk band. There is also a series of podcasts featuring interviews with guest speakers, zoom workshops for aspiring composers, and a short highlights series from the hugely successful 2020 Walled City Music International Piano Competition.
Craft NI Resilience survey
Craft NI has commissioned BMKent Consulting to carry out research into the impact of the last year of Covid on the craft sector in Northern Ireland. The research will help Craft NI to tailor its work and help build back a stronger and more resilient craft sector.  

Craft NI is keen to gather information from as many NI-based craft makers as possible through this online survey. The survey will take about 15 minutes of your time and all information will be treated in confidence and anonymised. At the end of the survey, you can enter a free prize draw to win a Mike's Fancy Cheese hamper. 
The survey will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 21 March 2021.
Thanks a Billion: How National Lottery funding has helped projects and people during the pandemic
As the first anniversary of lockdown approaches, £1.2 billion National Lottery funding has boosted the arts, heritage, sport and community/charity sector and helped protect the future of thousands of organisations across Northern Ireland during the last 12 months. The funding has supported initiatives and programmes designed to tackle loneliness and isolation, provide support for the elderly and vulnerable young people, and those promoting physical and mental health in the community.

One such project to have benefited from the £30 million raised by National Lottery players every week is Belfast music festival AVA – Audio, Visual, Arts receiving funding of £7,200 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. AVA Festival had to be cancelled this year but thanks to the support of National Lottery players, it organised a large-scale, live-streamed event that attracted a total online audience of more than 300,000 people.
Arts Council COVID-19 advice
Keep up to date with the latest Coronavirus updates from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, including a list of potential funding sources which might be helpful to artists and arts organisations at this time. We will update this list as we go along. 

If you know of any other sources, please contact us at and we will share with the sector.
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