Northern Ireland in 100 stories - Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
In the past couple of years, we’ve had many conversations with local arts and culture organisations, funders and local government. We’ve talked with them about NI audiences’ demographics, behaviours and motivations. We looked together at how Covid had impacted audiences’ engagement patterns. Some will say there’s not a stone we left unturned. However, there’s one colossal topic we barely touched upon: What does art mean to people’s lives?
The value of arts and culture is something that as a sector, we often struggle to describe. It’s not about what we do, it’s not about how much we make from ticket sales and it’s not about how often people go to things. When we have to report on the impact our programme had on audiences, we all look at our post-event surveys and gladly let our funders know that 98% of attendees said they enjoyed the experience. But what does that actually mean? How did they enjoy it? What is it that they enjoyed? Why? At thrive, we believe that this is what actually matters. And who could tell us how and why the arts matter better than the people who take part and attend?
This year, we are going places to meet 100 people in all 11 council areas of Northern Ireland. Our tenth stop was at Carrickfergus Library, in Carrickfergus, Mid and East Antrim Council, where we ran interviews with 9 locals.
Northern Ireland in 100 stories is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Mid & East Antrim council area one-to-one interviews were held on on 8th February 2023 in-person in Carrickfergus Library, as well as online.