Arts & Business NI knows that when business and the arts work together in truly mutual partnership, both become stronger.


Background & History of A&B NI

Arts & Business Northern Ireland (A&B NI), formerly known as the Association of Business Sponsorship of the Arts (ABSA), was set up in Northern Ireland in 1987 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012. It was originally set up as part of Arts & Business Limited a UK wide creative network that advocates and facilitates creative partnerships between the private and cultural sectors.

In November 2011 A&B NI became an independent Northern Ireland company and charity but still maintains its strong links with Arts & Business in England, Scotland and Wales. Arts & Business Northern Ireland's principal funder is the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI).

A&B NI’s arts remit covers the performing arts, literature, visual arts and crafts, museums, libraries, heritage and film. We facilitate creative partnerships between business and the arts through research, training and the promotion of culture. With 25 years of experience driving dynamic collaborations in Northern Ireland, we have extensive expertise in the interface between the arts and business. We invest in research to understand the value of collaboration between commerce and culture and we use that knowledge to identify and promote opportunities for outstanding collaboration. At the heart of our work is the belief that the arts have the power to transform and change lives on both an individual and corporate level. To make this happen, our extensive network connects the arts and business communities. Fundamental to our impact is to provide training and consultancy which will drive best practice and learning for both sectors. All of our work celebrates the courage of business and individuals in supporting the arts and culture of the UK. In Northern Ireland we have 97 arts members and 65 business members.

What They Do

  • They advocate the power of the arts and engage in business development in order to grow the corporate marketplace for partnerships with the cultural sector.

  • They work with businesses to develop a deeper relationship with the arts.

  • They offer incentives to new and returning business sponsors in order to grow the range of businesses engaging with the arts on a regular basis.

  • They deliver training, advice and support in arts sponsorship and engagement with business to the arts.

  • They advocate and broker business based creative development to position the arts as a catalyst to help achieve business solutions, while securing new income streams for the arts and cultural sector.

  • They enlist individuals in business through our Board Bank and Young Professionals programme placing them on cultural and arts boards to deliver skills and in-kind resources to the cultural sector

  • They deliver sponsorship training and support to the arts to help build their capacity to develop relationships with, and bring in funding from, the private sector.

  • They advocate, train and run programmes designed to increase individual giving for the arts.

  • They deliver board & governance training and development to arts and cultural organisations to strengthen and sustain the sector.