Spotlight Friday- Arts and Business NI

There are many things that when you initially hear them put together in a sentence cause you to pause for a moment. These are things that have been put together that make you question the world and its decision making processes. Being an avid researcher and lover of all insights and trends, I take it upon myself to give most a try. Bulletproof coffee being one of the more recent ‘trends’ to hit the world. My verdict so far, butter blitzed in coffee is not quite as unappetising as it sounds. However, it is still not particularly tasty and whether it is better for your health, I am not sure. I will be sticking with my aeropress for now, after all I am an advertiser not a nutritionist.

Arts and Business however is a combination that needs no introduction. Business has been linked to the arts for centuries, Aristotle and the Greek Tragedies, Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre in London there really are no shortage of examples. A natural combination that creates and drives new opportunities increasing reach and impact.

At PBD we are big believers in the power and sway that business and arts collaborations can have. Our MD Jaime Steele is a board member at Arts and Business NI and currently we are running Illustration Awards in collaboration with the Ulster University’s School of Arts to support young talented illustrators.

Last week we got to see just how beneficial collaborations between artists and business could be at the Arts and Business Awards 2016. Held at one of Belfast’s most iconic arts venues- The Grand Opera House. For those who don’t know Arts and Business NI, they are an incredibly innovative and forward thinking organisation. Established in 1987 as a UK wide network for creativity, with the goal to support and help cement creative collaborations between the private and cultural sectors. Becoming an independent Northern Irish charity and firm in 2011 with the goal of creating an influential network of creative partnerships across Northern Ireland. At their core is the belief that the arts can have a transformational effect on the lives of all they touch.

“These creative partnerships are helping business re-imagine products, markets and brands, and authentically engage with communities, customers and employees.”

Mary Trainor-Nagele, Chief Executive Arts & Business NI

In order to achieve these transformations, Arts and Business NI focuses on training, research and culturally relevant promotions.It has developed a deep rooted understanding of how best to achieve fluid collaboration between the industries. Arts and Business NI currently has 97 arts members and 65 business members committed to collaborations spanning across visual and performance arts.

“At Arts & Business NI we work to help the arts prosper and businesses grow. We forge dynamic collaboration and initiate creative partnerships. We seek to add value and differentiation- to inspire and innovate.” 

Mary Trainor-Nagele, Chief Executive Arts & Business NI

Last Thursday’s awards highlighted the incredible work that Arts & Business NI are currently doing in the country. One of the stand out collaborations highlighted was Edwards & Co Solicitors & Lyric Theatre’s work with Hydebank Young Offenders centre. Together creating new opportunities for these young individuals through the medium of Art. We asked Chief Executive Mary Trainor-Nagele to tell us a little more about why it is so important to develop and strengthen connections between the arts and businesses:


“Our annual Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards shine a light on the many successful partnerships that have been formed between arts organisations and businesses in NI. Partnerships that are exemplars of what can be achieved when Arts and Business intersect. These winning partnerships are based on creating a shared value between both organisations. There is synergy and alignment of aspirations and values and they are delivering opportunities and benefits to both.” 

Mary Trainor-Nagele, Chief Executive Arts & Business NI

We couldn’t agree with Mary more. During the awards we were treated to a full array of some of the incredible artistic talent that currently resides in Northern Ireland. Duke Special kicked the evening off with a phenomenal performance from his upcoming album ‘Look out Machines’. Pint Sized Productions delivered a captivating performance, holding our attention for its entirety. The actors taking us back to a Belfast gone by and exposed us to the raw emotions of the time from the perspective of two young adults. Finally, we were mesmerised by Premiere Circus whose daring display of acrobatics and suspense left you wanting more. If you ever have the chance to work with any of these three acts, then do so without hesitation.

As a creative agency, we love the arts. Which is why you can find us nestled in beside the Ulster Hall, home of some of Belfast’s best performances. If you want to know more about the work Arts and Business NI are doing, you can do so here in their digital Belfast Telegraph supplement. Or if you have a project that you would like to start or get some advice on, you can contact us here.


Have a great weekend!


Jonny Agnew

Jonny is an Account Executive, brand planner, content creator and insight researcher.

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