With the Assembly election just around the corner, representatives from the arts, cultural, creative and business sectors packed the Baby Grand in Belfast’s Grand Opera House for a chance to quiz candidates about their views on creativity, culture and the economy.
A first for the arts sector, the hustings was organised by Arts & Business, Audiences NI, Voluntary Arts Ireland and Stratagem. Prospective Assembly candidates from the five main Assembly parties included the Alliance Party’s Stephen Farry, the DUP’s Nelson McCausland, the SDLP’s Declan O’Loan, Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff and the UUP’s Mark Finlay.
Chaired by the BBC Arts Extra Correspondent Marie-Louise Muir the crowd heard first from one of the most influential figures to emerge from the Derry/Londonderry arts scene, Declan McGonagle, who is currently the Director of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.
Just before the hustings kicked off, many of those involved took a moment to share their thoughts on the value of the arts and the benefits of a thriving culture and arts sector to Northern Ireland. Some of the candidates were also able to offer an insight into their respective parties attitudes towards the arts.
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