The Arts Council has designed this programme to assist organisations to deliver arts projects which contribute to the growth of arts in the community for new and existing audiences and which reflect the diversity of Northern Ireland’s society and culture. We want to support activities which benefit the people of Northern Ireland or that help arts organisations in Northern Ireland carry out their work.

In addition, the Council wishes to support programmes which

  • Encourage the involvement of under-represented groups including those from black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities;
  • Encourage the involvement of children and young people, older people, or people with disabilities with organisations and artists of the very highest professional standards across the disciplines;
  • Promote innovative, original work by Northern Ireland artists, especially in drama and dance, which tours outside the company’s administrative base; and
  • Advance collaborative audience development projects

What you can apply for

Applicants should give careful consideration to the feasibility and timing of touring work, public presentations, large scale projects and conferences in light of potential ongoing or re-occurring issues due to Covid-19.

You can apply for arts activities that last up to one year. These can include the following:

  • Projects, events and programmes of activity together with related overhead costs associated with the delivery of the project/event or programme
  • Projects which promote under-represented groups including those from black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities
  • Continuation of salaries of existing administrative and/or arts posts. except for staff who have taken up the offer of the Governments furlough scheme
  • Commissions and Productions*
  • Research and Development
  • Audience Development – to meet the needs of audiences and to help arts organisations develop ongoing relationships with audiences
  • Touring (in more than one local authority area)
  • One-off, large-scale national arts events, such as conferences, which take place in Northern Ireland and benefit people and artists from across Northern Ireland and beyond
  • Presentations or exhibitions (in more than one local authority area) of work by international artists and arts organisations
  • Organisational/skills development to ensure you are fit for purpose after COVID-19.
  • Specialist skills for on-line presentation of existing or new work
  • Projects which are planned to reach significant audiences through ‘live’, ‘as live’ or recorded digital performance, publication, broadcast, reading, recording, and/or other audience channels
  • Modest requests for capital equipment, website design and upkeep costs and digital platform development will be assessed on a case by case basis and these must be integral to project design and/or delivery and/or specific project costs.

Who can apply?

The Arts Council welcomes applications from the widest possible range of organisations and in particular from applicants whose projects benefit individuals categorised under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. You will be required to provide proof that you have a legal constitution.

  • You do not have to be primarily an arts organisation, although the focus of the project must be on arts activities.
  • Registered charities and other organisations which cannot distribute profits may apply for funds.
  • Local Authorities are eligible to apply but they are a low priority.
  • Commercial organisations can only apply for support if the project is primarily for the benefit of the public rather than their own commercial interests.
  • If your organisation has a limited membership, or is a school, college or university, you must show that the project will benefit the wider public.
  • Public sector agencies can apply for projects which are outside their statutory remit.
  • Groups of organisations (consortia) working together to deliver specific project are eligible to apply.
  • In most cases we expect the activity to take place in Northern Ireland. However, organisations based outside Northern Ireland can apply where they can demonstrate significant benefit to the people of Northern Ireland.

How to apply?

You must apply using our online system. We will not accept applications in hard copy or by email.

  • Online applications may be edited, saved and returned up to the closing date.
  • You must submit all mandatory enclosures associated with the application at the same time as your application, ie. they must be uploaded to your online application prior to its submission. These enclosures are listed on the Attachments page within the online application and are detailed below.
  • Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to upload all documents to the system as there can be long delays as the closing deadline approaches and the system will shut down at 12 noon precisely on the closing date, Monday 16 May 2022. If your complete application is not fully uploaded when the system closes, your application will not be accepted.
  • If you submit your application by the closing deadline, you will receive an automated email advising that your application has been successfully submitted to the system. If you do not receive this email, your application has not been submitted.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that we receive the application form and uploaded enclosures by the closing time and date.


Download Guidance notes here

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is Monday 16th May 2022 at 12pm
Decisions will be made by Friday 1st July 2022