Belfast’s art scene is ‘damaged’ by lack of studios, report says

Belfast’s art scene is ‘damaged’ by lack of studios, report says
A woman holds a sign reading: MAKE BELFAST BELIEVE AGAIN

Artists have been calling for more affordable studio space to be made available in Belfast

The shortage of studio and rehearsal space for artists and musicians risks causing “serious damage” to Belfast’s cultural life.

That’s according to a “cultural mapping” report carried out for Belfast City Council.

He also said that Belfast was “lacking in museums and art galleries” compared to other similar cities.

Among the long-term ideas proposed for funding culture in Belfast, the report suggested the introduction of a hotel tax.

Other UK cities, such as Liverpool, Edinburgh and Bath, have also looked at introduction of a “tourist tax” to pay for cultural events.

Councils in those cities have considered a small additional charge on hotel rooms of £1 or £2 to raise extra money to spend on culture, but the introduction of such a move may necessitate a change in legislation.

artists recently held a protest in the cathedral quarter of Belfast to appeal to more affordable workspaces.

Some of those who participated had they lost their equipment and job in a fire in a Donegall Street building in early October.

The cultural mapping report was commissioned by Belfast City Council and the Communities Department.

Conducted by consultancy Daisy Chain Inc, it looked at how many museums, galleries, theatres, music venues and arts centers Belfast had.

But it also looked at how much space and accommodation was available for artists, musicians and others in the creative sector to work and rehearse.

“The lack of secure tenancy for artists’ studios in Belfast has put this sector in crisis,” the report says.

‘No space to work’

He said there was an “immediate need to provide space for creative people to work” and that it was “an existential threat that, if left unaddressed, will cause serious damage to the cultural fabric of the city.”

“Urgently, we recommend addressing the shortage of affordable studios in Belfast,” the report continued.

“This shouldn’t be limited to visual artists: we include musicians, writers, theater makers, and all creative producers.

“Belfast study groups have waiting lists and when art students graduate every year there is no space for them to work.”

The report says that while the Cathedral Quarter area of ​​the city was once “home to vibrant art studios”, rising property prices caused them to leave.

Other established studios, such as Vault Artist Studios, home to over 100 artists and the city’s first tool library in East Belfast, were nearing the end of their leases and looking for new facilities.

Members of Array Studios, who won the prestigious Turner Prize in 2021They were among those who spoke with the authors of the report.

The report suggested a number of buildings in the city that could be used to provide more study space, including the former Belfast School of Music on Donegall Pass in south Belfast and a former supermarket on Royal Avenue.

He also said that Belfast had fewer museums than comparable cities like Dublin, Edinburgh and Rotterdam.

“There is a gap in the infrastructure for both museums and galleries,” he said.

The report said that the Golden Thread Gallery had a long-term plan to create a new venue and gallery for contemporary art in the center of town, which could “provide a destination for visitors to the gallery and the region.”

“Golden Thread’s years of planning and consideration for this project puts them in a good position to overcome this project and increase the contemporary art offering in Belfast,” the report concluded.

In addition, more detailed research will be carried out into Belfast’s venues, galleries, studios and museums and the number of people who use them.

The report was presented to Belfast City Council’s Growth and Regeneration Committee in November and is likely to be discussed when full council meets on December 1.

Leave a Comment