Artists Support #SaveCultureNI

From well-known novelists and musicians to budding actors, Culture NI has helped promote the work of artists at home and abroad for a decade – read what some of them have to say

'At a time when the arts needs to be promoted it is an act of lunacy to withdraw funding from the website at the heart of that promotion.' Owen McCafferty, playwright

'As a young opera singer from Northern Ireland, I have a huge passion for the arts, especially at home. It's difficult enough for young artists to get word out about their own events... Please don't make it harder for artists to share information about their events. We need more services like Culture NI, not fewer.' Elaine, Derry

'It has long been my belief that the arts on this island, like air and water, do not recognise any man made division. It's quite simple: the more we inform, co-operate, collaborate and experience excellence in the arts, the better our lives are... To cut funding to Culture NI is not only a blow to the essential strategic activity of "informing" the global audience, but completely stupid short term trimming.' Rita Duffy, artist

'As a classical music composer, Culture NI always was supportive of my work and allowed space for others to write about me and my music, one of the very few outlets available here in Northern Ireland for such publicity. It will be a great loss to those of us who, especially in classical music terms, are now almost totally without any hope of good reviews and good articles about the scene here. I think it was a mistake to cut funding to Culture NI without considering some of the consequences and perhaps finding a way forward with a sense of collaboration.' Philip Hammond, composer

'Art does not exist in a vacuum. Culture NI supported and promoted my work before anyone else would. It gives a voice to independent artists in Northern Ireland and it would be a blow to our whole culture if their work is stopped.' Aiden Largey, filmmaker


'They culturally move forward in a time of backwards thinking in this province. It'll be a shame if another voice is made to go silent because of it.' Robyn G Shiels, winner of the NI Music Prize 2014

'Over the years, I have been interviewed by Culture NI, which has helped to promote my practice. Not only that, I have also been able to try my hand at writing reviews for Culture NI. I am saddened at this shortsighted decision and ask that it be reconsidered.' John Baucher, photographer

'My new book, Big Yellow Taxi, has been in my head since I heard the news: 'You don't know what you've got till it's gone...' Except with Culture NI, we do know – thousands of us – and we know that its passing would be a sore and sorry loss for the arts here.' Glenn Patterson, novelist and screenwriter

'Culture NI is a lifeline for those of us who have moved away from NI to the US. It provides connection to a reliable and informative resource. I enjoy keeping up with the reviews, especially in the visual arts, and learning about new ventures in which I can participate as a practising artist.' Angela, Carrickfergus

'It's all we've got.' SOAK, musician

'Culture NI has played a vital and central role in our flourishing arts scene and has been a unifying and nurturing force in what otherwise would be fragmented and disparate. It has promoted both established artists, and perhaps more importantly, energetically highlighted the work of new artists across all genres. I am personally indebted to it, both for its continued interest in my own work and for introducing me to so many other creative artists and wonderful events. I very much hope the necessary funding can be found for it to continue and I am certain that our cultural life would be much poorer without it.' David Park, novelist

'I am shocked and saddened to hear of your funding cuts. I have always found Culture NI to be a most effective vehicle for promoting and encouraging attendance at arts events. I know through my own experience that your promoting of events must have had an economic benefit, through tickets sales and the usual spend associated with attending an event. Why cut such a relatively small sum that has such devastating consequences from an already grossly-underfunded sector that received a pathetic 1/1000th share of the overall grant? Those in control show absolutely no appreciation or understanding of the core value. Barbaric.' Neil Martin, composer


'As a musician working around Northern Ireland, the Culture NI website has provided incredible support down the years. The quality of the writing has always been first-class, whether interviews, live reviews or features. Aside from its contribution to my own career in providing coverage, it has always been a go-to for me to find out what is going on in the local music scene. It will be an extremely sad loss if it was to be deceased.' Arborist, musician

'It's a crying shame that Culture NI might close down. All the talk in the world about creativity and the arts won't make up for the loss of this important platform for all those writers, artists, musicians and others engaged by the arts. I know many people interested in the North and its culture were first connected through Culture NI. I hope the decision will be reversed or that other funding can be found to support this crucial link between the North and the global community.' Gerald Dawe, poet

'As an artist I find it an invaluble access point to what is going on in Northern Irish events, stopping me feeling trapped in a rural isolated area.' Wendynicole, Limavady

'We are so grateful for the incredible service Culture NI provides to the community. We have benefited from this hub of culture info both as arts lovers and artists. Culture NI reviewed our recent album release and had us perform as part of their Front Room Sessions. Their support was so valuable to our project. Without it, I don't know how we could have reached the local art loving community who have now connected with us. We are devastated at the possibility of its closure.' Lisa Henderson, founder of Lisaire String Quartet

'It's the only Northern Irish culture website that deals with local shows and obscure events in Belfast. A lot of people traveling to NI use it to find out what events are happening and what places to see in NI.' Adam Laughlin, comedian

'I am an actress (albeit a struggling one) and I wouldn't being doing what I love if it weren't for Culture NI. It truly is a lifeline for a lot of people out there. It's a disgrace that culture is being downgraded.' Hannah, Ballymoney

'Culture NI is a vital information hub for the arts in the North, where all the varied disciplines are provided much needed support and promotion. As the creative industries continue to grow here, the role of Culture NI can only become more important. As an author from Northern Ireland, Culture NI has always provided a platform for my work, which I have found invaluable.' Brian McGilloway, novelist

'It's unique. It's a one-stop shop of what's on/reviews/news in Northern Ireland. A 'go-to' website that will be sorely missed.' Leesa Harker, playwright

'For years as a young unknown Ulster-based musician. I could only hope for an interview from local press, TV or radio. Culture NI was one of my very first interviews and it really lifted me up when I needed it, and helped me to go on and follow the dream. I have went on to make a career in music, and although living on the other side of the world, have always kept on top of all things cultural in Northern Ireland by visiting this very site.' Ciaran Gribbin, INXS frontman

'Having lived in Northern Ireland for a number of years in the past, working as a professional musician and teacher, I got to know many of the province's artists, writers, poets, actors and musicians. I have found Culture NI to be the fountain of all knowledge. The arts contribute massively to the economy, and because they also attract overseas visitors they need the type of platform that Culture NI does so well. Please continue what has been your invaluable support until now.' Piers, France

'Culture NI has been an invaluable resource for artists of every kind, but perhaps most importantly – most vitally – for artists in development, offering coverage, reviews and publicity, as emerging talents find their feet and refine the stories they tell. The online reviews and features have been such a useful resource for theatre companies, musicians and writers, all of them trying to get coverage and a means of amplifying their stories. This decision puts an end to a lot of that development. I'm gutted that funding cuts could deprive this struggling scene of one of its most effective megaphones in support of new artists.' Anthony Toner, singer-songwriter

'I am dismayed to learn that the Culture NI website faces sudden and imminent closure. I use the website multiple times a week, especially if I'm not in Belfast, to keep up with everything that's happening in Northern Ireland across the arts. Culture NI is an invaluable resource. It is not just a listings magazine, it's also a real treasure trove of material, interviews, reviews and opinion pieces, with fledgling artists and our most established arts practitioners. If it closes, I and many others, both in Northern Ireland and beyond, will feel – and be – that little bit less connected. I am grateful for the support that Culture NI has shown me, from the very beginnings of my career and regularly since, and I hope that enough people speak publicly to make a difference to the ACNI decision.' Lucy Caldwell, novelist

'Culture NI reviewed one of my art performances. Using this review I have received work and grants, which have forwarded my career and given me paid work. I feel the cuts on these organisations have not been so well thought out. Maybe by cutting this country's obsession with funding international artists over local artists we could find funds that would support us.' Jamie, Carrickfergus

'CultureNI is invaluable to my work. It helps my work reach the widest possible audience and integrates it with other artistic work, much of it supported by ACNI and DCAL. CultureNI is in the frontline of audience development and in the promotion of indigenous artistic work. I urge ACNI and DCAL to review the current decision and maintain a vital piece of arts infrastructure in Northern Ireland, the loss of which would severely hamper artistic practice, development and sustainability.' Dave Duggan, playwright


'As an artist, Culture NI is one of the only regular platforms we have to get press to thousands of readers. Do not let this go.' Best Boy Grip, musician

'It's the first place I go to for listing of arts events in Northern Ireland. The website has signposted me to brilliant plays, books and films I might otherwise have missed. I trust the reviews. They are well written, informative and entertaining. Culture NI has supported me as a local author. I am very grateful for the way the website has highlighted my writing and stimulated interest in my books both locally and an internationally.' Tony Macaulay, author

'Culture NI was the first to interview me about my art. It wrote the first revue of the Visual Arts Fermanagh exhibition. It created the template of interest for further press coverage on radio, Irish, English and European newspapers. Without Culture NI, I would not have gained experience of being interviewed. I would not have had my art exposed to a larger population beyond my locality. To cut this [website] would be to remove the lowest branches of the tree – the most essential to beginning the climb.' Alan, Fermanagh

'As a filmmaker making feature films without any budget or official support, Culture NI has been vital for me to promote my work. Without it, a wealth of non-commercial but significant work would struggle to be noticed. It's closure would be a factor in driving new ideas and voices out of Northern Ireland.' Michael McBroom, writer/director

'I cannot believe that Culture NI, one of the best sources of information within the Northern Ireland arts and culture family, has had its resources cut entirely. I know that over the years Culture NI has been a huge supporter not just to me but to everyone within the arts. This is hurting everyone and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. From a tourist's perspective, I know from first-hand experience how Culture NI always guided folk in the right direction. No matter what outlet you visited, you could access an enewsletter and find out what was going on. The loss of work for the immediate staff and over 50 writers, for the sake of saving a minimal amount of money, is hard to fathom. Please show your support.' David Holmes, DJ and film composer