Ignite Your Creative Spark During Creativity Month

The month-long programme launches with hundreds of creative events across NI

This March why not 3D print a trench periscope, find out how to get ahead in the creative industries, explore maker culture, and experience some big bangs with time-travelling scientists? They are just some of the activities in this year's packed Creativity Month programme of more than 150 workshops, conferences, and special events.

An initiative of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, in partnership with Culture NI and the Nerve Centre, Creativity Month celebrates creativity and the creative industries in the north of Ireland.

Throughout the month of March, Creativity Month 2016 will showcase the work of a diverse range of organisations, across government, business, education and the community and voluntary sectors, who are developing creative and innovative solutions to societal challenges.

Participating venues include Libraries across Northern Ireland, PRONI, the Nerve Centre, The Market Place Theatre, W5, Crescent Arts Centre, FabLab Belfast, National Museums NI and the Linen Hall Library.

Families have a host of exciting activities to keep them entertained throughout the month. On March 5 and 19, the Ulster Museum with FabLab Nerve Centre are encouraging children of all ages to explore museum objects using the latest in digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printers. If that doesn’t ignite your child’s creativity, head over to W5 for ‘The Big Bang Theatre’ and get involved in an exciting live experiment filled with drama, danger and humour.

Colin Neighbourhood Partnership in west Belfast has a full calendar of events and workshops for all ages - everything from basket making classes, creative craft and circus workshop to Science Magic with W5, participants will be spoilt for choice.

British materials scientist, engineer, broadcaster and writer at University College London, Mark Andrew Miodownik will be guest speaker at Create: Innovate: a one-day conference in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh on March 1.  The event will celebrate and promote ideas of creative entrepreneurship, cross-sector collaboration and innovation through experimentation.

Festivals happening during March include Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival (March 2 – 6), Ulster Festival of Art & Design (March 8 – 11), Belfast Children’s Festival and Imagine 2015: Festival of Politics and Ideas (March 14 – 20).

Other highlights include a Creativity Showcase featuring winning arts and business partnerships from the Allianz Arts & Business Awards 2016 and the Royal Television Society NI Student Awards celebrating innovative and creative content that students from Further and Higher educational institutes across Northern Ireland have produced.

Creative & Cultural Skills and Creative Skillset will bring together young people aged 13-16 for an interactive ‘Creative Careers’ event in partnership with the Belfast Metropolitan College and the North West Regional College, Derry~Londonderry. A wide range of industry professionals from across the creative industries including music, design, performing arts, animation, gaming, film, TV, make-up and photography will speak with pupils about their own career journey and offer careers advice to those interested in pursuing a job in the creative sector.

Also, for young people, aged 15-18, showing a spark for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship is ‘Generation Innovation Night of Ambition 2016’, managed by NISP CONNECT and sponsored by Deloitte Digital. Attendees have the opportunity to meet with, learn from and work together with some of Northern Ireland’s most inspirational role models.

At the launch of the programme, Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, said: 'Creativity month is a wonderful opportunity to find out more about the Creative Industries here in the north. I am pleased to see a variety of organisations coming together in this celebration of creativity. The creative and cultural sectors can act as a catalyst to tackling challenges in the economy, education, health and the environment. They have a key role in helping to promote equality and tackle poverty and social exclusion. I encourage everyone to get involved and explore their creative side in the coming month.'

David Lewis, director of communications & digital content at the Nerve Centre: 'Creativity Month is bringing creativity, learning and fun to communities across Northern Ireland. I hope that this year’s programme will appeal to people of all ages and would encourage everybody to try a new creative experience this March. Full details are on the Creativity NI website, www.creativityni.org.'

The programme is now available via www.creativityni.org along with the latest creative events, news stories and videos.