Summary of Key Issues facing the Arts and Culture Sector in Northern Ireland as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU

The following issues have been identified following direct consultation with the sector, facilitated by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

1. Visual artists are finding it more difficult to source supplies and material as GB suppliers aren’t willing to ship to Northern Ireland. As a consequence, alternative suppliers are being sourced in the EU.

2. There is a lack of sector specific knowledge on the import and export of goods and new rules relating to the outward and inward movement of artists. Existing information sources, including are wholly inadequate. NI needs a single, authoritative, and accessible source of information.

3. NI artists are becoming less visible to the EU market because of the new legislation restricting the movement of visual art and artists. This will have an impact on potential employment opportunities.

4. It is more difficult to bring artists to NI. This has been managed, to an extent, during lockdown via virtual platforms, but in-person engagement is fundamentally important to artists work.

5. Currently the voice of NI arts and culture sector in UK negotiations is weak. Our unique position demands a stronger lobby.

6. Anecdotal evidence points to some NI organisations formally constituting themselves in the RoI to ensure they are able to secure EU funding (e.g. Creative Europe). It is unclear whether funded activity will be able to be delivered in NI, in any meaningful way. This is not an option for small to medium scale arts organisations who don’t have the capacity.

7. The inability to access Creative Europe funding will restrict the expose of NI audiences to a diverse range of social perspectives, including those from other post conflict societies that provided perspective to their own lives.

8. Trans-national partnerships that once generated opportunities for community artists to work in interface areas (e.g. Fountain and Bogside areas of Derry) are now not possible.

9. The impact on touring companies is four fold:

  • a major source of funding has been lost;
  • they are being replaced by receiving houses in EU countries because of the additional red-tape;
  • restrictions of touring N/S will remove earned income which represents up to 25% for some organisations;
  • N/S cultural exchange will be severely impacted upon.

10. Northern Ireland large scale receiving venues such as the Grand Opera House have shortened autumn runs by touring autumn productions such as Grease and Six, the Musical to mitigate against potential disruption. This will have a direct impact on box-office and other earned income sources as well as the wider night-time economy of Belfast and Derry.

11. Northern Ireland will become a less attractive destination for musicians of all genres as fees paid here are a lot lower compared to the EU. The additional cost and uncertainly associated with travel to NI will impact on the diversity of the artistic product here. This is of particular concern given Belfast’s bid to become the UNESCO City of Music.

12. The EU is a vital marketplace for emerging and existing NI musicians, enabling them to develop their skills, grow a fan base and earn an income. For example, the market for Irish Traditional Music isn’t in Ireland, it’s in countries like Germany and France.

13. Given the significance Brexit from an NI perspective, it would be important for it to be added to the terms of reference for the newly formed Cultural Taskforce

Accompanying Documents: