This week, as northern Ireland anticipates the restoration of the Stormont Assembly, the arts sector is in turmoil, as Conor Shields explains. Last month Sir Kenneth Branagh received the Freedom of the City of Belfast. This celebrated son of the city paid tribute to the support he had received from its arts organisations and despaired about the funding crisis we are once again faced with. He began his career in those dark days that cast a long shadow in Northern Ireland but is now recognised as one of the greatest in his profession, emblematic of the persistent talent that we nurture in this wee corner of the world. A few weeks ago, many of those like me, who manage arts organisations, were at an event in one of Belfast’s most prestigious arts spaces. We listened with intense disappointment as the chair of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI), John … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Conor Shields is convenor of Arts Matter NI and chief executive of the Community Arts Partnership