Users Support #SaveCultureNI Campaign

Our users have rallied to tell the Arts Council of Northern Ireland how and why they use our website and associated digital platforms - read what they have to say

On Friday, March 21, we learned the devastating news that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland had withdrawn Culture NI's funding because 'it is not a frontline service', meaning that the Culture NI website, social networks and enewsletters will be forced to close in the near future.

We immediately published the news on the Culture NI home page, outlining the implications of the cut and asking our users to fill in an online form to register their opposition direct to the Arts Council. The response has been overwhelming. In the days ahead, we will be compiling the almost 1,000 responses we have received thus far, and using them as part of an appeal to overturn the Arts Council's decision.

In the meantime, however, we wanted to share a handful of the incredibly uplifting comments that our users have submitted, revealing how they use Culture NI, from where and why.

Arts Attendance and Ticket Sales

'I find Culture NI the best way to find out about what's going on in the arts in Northern Ireland.  I live in a rural community and rely on email newsletters and my Facebook to find out what's going on throughout Northern Ireland.  We don't have a lot of money but are prepared to travel to go to events that we think are special. Without Culture NI I simply wouldn't have found out about many events that I have subsequently paid to see. If you cut Culture NI, you're cutting the chance for my hard-earned money to go into the arts.' Deirdre

'Culture NI is where I choose what shows to spend my money on, where I plan my social life and where I find out about things that I would never otherwise know about. I can't believe that any funders would think that digital marketing was somehow expendable in the 21st century.' Brigeen, Derry

'I am a dad of two young children, aged 8 and 5-years-old. Because of this site, we were able to attend the children's book festival in the Waterfront, where my girls were able to meet the authors at a story-telling session. I could see an instant change in my eldest... she began writing her own stories and reading more and more books by herself.' Graham, Bangor

'Culture NI is brilliant because it's a round-up of everything – theatre, music, film, books and galleries. I know that I can trust reviews and previews, which are well-written by experts who have no hidden agenda, so I have booked shows based on their recommendations. When people know about shows and gigs, they spend money on tickets, which supports arts organisations. Culture NI is like the glue for the arts in Northern Ireland.' Heather, Belfast

'As I live in a rural area, I may not realise arts events are on. Culture NI lets me know about events, and just last week I attended a drawing course at the School of Arts as a result of the advertising. Culture is extremely important, especially in NI, and this website let me know about a variety of events, some costing very little, that I was able to attend.' Christine, Killyleagh

'I've been lucky enough to win a few tickets to things I otherwise would not have went to see. Culture NI has definitely made the arts more accessible to me and it's a great way to find out whats going on in NI.' Emer, Belfast

'Culture NI is one of the few resources that give me regular updates about what is happening in NI, and although I live in New Zealand and can't attend any shows, it has given me great information about future album releases.' Odhran

'Culture NI's regular email updates are my main source of information regarding local events, and if it wasn't for their correspondence I probably wouldn't be aware of at least half the things I buy tickets for. Please make sure they don't close!' Lisa

'I love that it covers all arts in Northern Ireland – particularly arts that aren't covered by mainstream press... We have a very limited arts media in the country and by cutting back on Cuture NI it's going to get increasingly difficult to have marginalised arts covered in any great depth.' Ruairi

‘As catalyst for engagement and promoting the creative industries, Culture NI is unrivalled.’ Rich, Belfast

Cultural Tourism

'We are in Los Angeles and rely on you to keep us current.' April, LA

'I have been reading Culture NI for the past ten years. Although I live in the US, I spend three months in Belfast each year. I have distributed CNI widely in the US and many who visit the country have found the site invaluable for all manner of cultural information while they are visiting. I know many people who visited the [Happy Days Enniskillen International] Beckett Festival over the past few years and came to know of it through Culture NI. Please reconsider your funding for this online resource.' Philip, Illinois

'On many occasions I have visited NI as a direct result of reading information and events on Culture NI. It's a fantastic resource, both for locals and tourists and would be a sorry miss.' Sarah, Edinburgh

'I'm from Donegal and am a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, this is always the first place I would check for for events and activities that are taking place. This would be a great loss for everyone.' Deirdre, Donegal

'Culture NI keeps me updated on what's going on in Northern Ireland. I am a travel agent based in Leeds and Culture NI informs me which I pass on to my clients as recommendations of where to travel for UK city breaks or relaxing country breaks in Northern Ireland. I also plan my trips back to Northern Ireland to see family around events.' Sharon, Yorkshire

'It goes without saying that Culture NI keeps me in constant touch with all that is happening on the arts and culture scene in Northern Ireland. It has been my one port of call, and informed and educated me throughout the years. I have purchased novels and poetry, which I wouldn't have heard of. When home in Belfast, I have attended concerts, exhibitions and plays after discovering them on the website. It is an incredibly short-sighted decision to close this website. We can be so proud of what has been, and is being achieved by the arts community in Northern Ireland. This sends out entirely the wrong message to our children and our wider communities.' Noel, Staffordshire

'As an expatriate Northern Irish arts journalist, there is no better way for me to find out about events that are worth writing about or even travelling over to attend than the Culture Northern Ireland site.' Clare

'Oh, what a shame. I love this information about NI and culture, even living in Bavaria I find it inspiring.' Janne, Bavaria

'Culture NI is an invaluable resource for finding out about cultural events in Northern Ireland. Cutting it is incredibly short-sighted, and disregards the boost to the economy it provides by generating tourism and interest in the events it promotes.' Peter

'As a foreigner, this website helped me to understand and integrate into the culture of NI. Without it I would not have discovered, visited, attended all the fabulous places, resto/cafe, or shows... Please save Cultural NI!' Reyha, Belfast

'Culture NI helps me socially. I am disabled and find it hard to get out at times and Culture NI helps me find out about events and get a social life. It would be a shame to see it go.' Derek

'As an elderly person, living alone with mobility problems, it has not always been easy for me to know that events are taking place in the province. From this website, it has been easy for me to know what is happening and for me to book online to attend many events. Closure of this website will now return me to the Dark Ages, and it will be very hit and miss if I can keep up with arts events, which brighten my days. This website has been my window on the arts world for many years.' Jack

'We live in a rural area 50 miles from Belfast and Culture NI is a very helpful way of finding out what is happening in the cultural world of the city. If this site disappears, we will be cut off.' Eva

'Mental health is the most important thing in the world. Art allows people to express themselves through different types of mediums and this has proven to help mental health dramatically. Culture NI informs the public of ongoing art events and helps keep Northern Ireland's population mentally healthy.' Ruairi

'Up to date information about all that is going on in the arts. Broad and inclusive of all culture, even the queer stuff.' Mel

Promoting a Positive Northern Ireland

'Please don't shut down this resource! It brings together all the great things happening in NI and keeps citizens informed of positive news, reviews and cultural outputs. There is enough bad news out there... this is the one positive thing about NI that populates my inbox.' Jane

'Culture NI lets me know what's going on and [encourages] people to get off the sofa and go see what their city is trying to offer them. It makes people from all sides of Belfast come together to watch a play, listen to a gig or do a workshop without the back drop of political b******t. So by removing the funding it will have an effect across the city.' Aileen

'Culture NI is a valuable resource for [arts] education, with reviews, interviews and updates on events.' Lisa

'It gives us hope, pride and joy in the good of the community. The arts unite communities like no other in times of hardship – a historical fact.' Tony

'Culture NI has been critical in supporting new and emerging talent across the province in a meaningful way. It has been key to enhancing the cultural capital of our country, and to simply cut its funding is a travesty. The short-sighted madness of the current cuts to the arts are a travesty and an utter disgrace... These political decisions don't represent my wishes, or those of anyone I know.' Aisling

'As a Northern Ireland native, I am keenly aware of the importance of the past and the promise of the future. Nothing can connect today to the past and the future as effectively and consistently as culture. It is a source of comfort, education and continuity. In a rapidly changing world that elevates and discards the latest fashion in record time, culture is like an oasis in the desert. Culture NI helps us appreciate where we have come from, gives that past meaning and context, while ensuring that we grow up in an environment that enriches us.' Robert