PLACE response to Arts Council of Northern Ireland funding decision
4 April 2019
Yesterday we received the disappointing and shocking news that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has decided not to continue funding PLACE.
In the 15 years since PLACE opened its doors as the Architecture Centre of Northern Ireland, our small, dedicated team has delivered numerous high-quality events, exhibitions and projects that engage the public in architecture, urbanism and the built environment. As well as our flagship events - the annual Open House Belfast architecture festival, the Urban Design Academy for young people and our podcast series, The Infinite City - we produce exhibitions, events and tours throughout the year. Our work helps to deliver policy - most notably, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Architecture Policy - and this has been reflected in consistent support from Arts Council of Northern Ireland through Lottery and Exchequer funding.
Yesterday we were notified without warning that have been offered three months of funding in order to ‘exit’ Arts Council of Northern Ireland support. This puts PLACE at immediate risk of closure. The impact will be strongly felt by the organisation’s three employees and the PLACE board, as well as several freelancers, our team of volunteers and the thousands of people who enjoy our activities and projects.
There is no other organisation delivering the same unique mix of activities that PLACE does. We connect architecture, public art, placemaking and urbanism to the general public, helping people to understand and influence transformations in the built environment. We believe that this understanding inspires active citizenship, creating, in turn, more democratic, inclusive, and safer places which promote wellbeing.
In this, our 15th year, we are ready to deliver our most ambitious programme to date. We have developed new partnerships with community organisations, with fellow arts and cultural organisations and with architectural and engineering practices. We are ready to reach out to more communities, more young people, more built environment professionals, and more artists than ever before. We are looking forward to working with our partners and stakeholders on projects that are already underway - some of them include the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arup, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Public Health Agency, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, The British Council, Arts & Business Northern Ireland, University of Atypical, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Belfast International Arts Festival, Visual Artists Ireland, Belfast City Council and our benefactors.
We will do whatever it takes to ensure the future of our organisation. While we do this, we call for your support. If you have positively benefited from our programming over the past 15 years, please share your experience with us via our social media channels (@PLACENI on Instagram,Twitterand Facebook). If you would rather contact us privately, send us a direct message or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We stand in solidarity with other arts organisations who may also have received shocking news yesterday morning.
The PLACE board and staff.