14/01/2003

NI cultural affairs officer begins work in Washington

NIO minister Angela Smith has announced the setting up of a cultural affairs post in the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington.

Announcing the appointment of Anne Barton, an American citizen who has direct experience of arts and culture in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, the Minister said the establishment of the post of Cultural Affairs Officer in the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington was both "challenging and exciting".

"It offers a window of opportunity to promote all aspects of Northern Ireland’s rich culture and talent in the United States and to spread the news that the Province is a quality venue for reciprocal visits," she said.

“It is also a wonderful opportunity for many of our culture and arts interests to broaden their horizons and, at the same time, help to create a positive image of Northern Ireland abroad. If we can help them to break into their equivalent field in the USA, audiences there will be able to see at first hand the wealth of talent and creativity which exists in Northern Ireland. This could encourage more Americans to visit the Province to experience our arts and culture in its homeland," she added.

Ms Smith said she believed that the new post had the "potential to bring significant benefits to Northern Ireland" and that the holder of the post would therefore be working very closely with my Department.

Duties for the new cultural affairs officer will include:
  • Identifying opportunities in the USA for the development of Northern Ireland talent
  • Identifying opportunities for sponsorship to support the development of the range of Northern Ireland culture and arts interests
  • Identifying and promoting opportunities, along with financial support, for international exchange
  • Promoting Northern Ireland as a quality venue
  • Integrating arts and cultural elements into Northern Ireland trade missions and events
  • Developing an international marketing strategy for Northern Ireland arts and culture
Anne Barton, who is currently on a one-week visit to Northern Ireland to meet officials from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and representatives from its partner organisations, undertook graduate work at the National University of Ireland in Galway and toured as an actor in Belfast, Londonderry and Dublin as well as having worked with the Philadelphia Festival of the Arts.

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