posted on January 19th, 2018

Creative Citizens of Mid and East Antrim


Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been shortlisted for the UK’s National Campaign for the Arts, the ‘Hearts For The Arts Awards 2018’. The only Council in NI to be short-listed for the awards, they were nominated in the category for ‘Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion’ thanks to their ‘Creative Citizens’ programme.

The ‘Heart of the Arts’ Awards celebrate the work of Councils and individuals with the councils who over come financial challenges in order to maintain the arts in their community. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council launched the ‘Creative Citizens’ program in 2015 in partnership with Voluntary Arts Ireland. The programme aims to empower the local communities and those within them to stay involved in the arts through engaging with local and regional organisations and creative collaboration across all areas of the community.

Other councils nominated include:

  • Oxford City Council: Journeys to Oxford at the Museum of Oxford
  • Calderdale Council: Landlines and Watermarks
  • Denbighshire County Council: Lost in Art
  • Manchester City Council: Manchester Day

The programme is getting noticed on a large scale, with Mid and East Antrim’s very own Liam Neeson OBE, Freeman of Ballymena, weighing in on the programme. “The Borough has always had a deep creative pool in all the arts. It’s wonderful and, personally exciting for me that this pool is being tapped into and explored by this wonderful creative alliance. I’ve very proud of you all!” The renowned actor is, himself, a great example of the amazing creative talent the area has to offer.

Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE, Producer of Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields, the former chair and CEO of Columbia Pictures also commented, saying “The Creative Citizens programme is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to experience the arts.” This year the campaign received more nominations than ever before and from all four UK nations Nominations were received for awards in four categories:

  • Best Local Authority Arts Initiative,
  • Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor,
  • Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer, and
  • Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion.

Over 20,000 people participated in over 150 arts and culture related events, ranging from Church trails to Café sessions and has proved to be one of the largest cross community projects the Borough has ever seen. It has offered new opportunities for local people to experience the arts in some cases for the first time and in the most unusual places. The winners of the Hearts For The Arts Awards 2018 will be announced on Wednesday 14 February.