Culture website to continue despite 100 percent budget cut

Over 1,000 responses, opposing cuts to Culture Northern Ireland, delivered to No�r�n McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland (Left) by David Lewis, director of Culture NI (Middle) and Limavady-based artist and Culture NI user Francesca Sargent (Right). The website will be forced to close after Arts Council cut its entire budget.  Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.
Over 1,000 responses, opposing cuts to Culture Northern Ireland, delivered to No�r�n McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland (Left) by David Lewis, director of Culture NI (Middle) and Limavady-based artist and Culture NI user Francesca Sargent (Right). The website will be forced to close after Arts Council cut its entire budget. Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

The Nerve Centre has pledged to keep the Culture NI website going until every avenue of appeal with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is exhausted.

Northern Ireland’s most popular arts and cultural website Culture NI (www.culturenorthernireland.org) had its entire budget cut by Arts Council of Northern Ireland last month.

The recent #SaveCultureNI campaign received more than 1,350 heartfelt responses from the public and arts sector, which have been submitted as part of a formal appeal to the Arts Council.

David Lewis, Director of Communications & Digital Content at the Nerve Centre, said: “The responses show clearly the economic and social impacts of Culture NI, which is driving arts attendance and ticket sales, cultural tourism, social inclusion and good relations. The website is paying for itself many times over.

“The Nerve Centre would like to thank everyone who has responded to the campaign,” he said.

“We been overwhelmed with the level of support from Ireland north and south, UK, Europe and as far away as America and Australia. Our users have spoken loudly and clearly, saying that Culture NI is a loved and much-valued frontline service. We hope that the Arts Council will listen to these views and reconsider their decision.”

The award-winning Culture NI website has been promoting Northern Ireland’s arts and cultural scene for the past decade, and is used by hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Pearse Moore, Chief Executive of Nerve Centre, said: ”The Nerve Centre is committed to ensuring that an invaluable and thriving cultural network is not lost to Northern Ireland’s arts and cultural sectors.

“With marketing budgets of arts organisations under severe pressure, this is completely the wrong time to cut the sector’s key promotional tool. The Nerve Centre will continue Culture NI’s frontline services, albeit at a reduced level, until every avenue of appeal is exhausted.”

The Culture NI website was relaunched in January with the Arts Council axing its funding without warning last month. News of the cut was a complete shock as the website is viewed as key cultural asset and frontline service for the arts community. The lost of funding has put five digital content jobs under threat at the Nerve Centre.