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The future of cross border co-operation in the Arts

15 March 2021

We are delighted to announce that the ARINS project has selected The Audience Agency to research and write a report entitled The future of cross border cooperation in the Arts.

 The report will investigate the interconnections between the arts sector in Ireland, North and South. Mapping cross border cooperation in public and industry bodies it will offer an assessment of the existing landscape in terms of policy and practice and make recommendations for future policy design. The final report will be presented to leaders of arts organisations, policymakers, researchers and representative bodies. 

The Audience Agency works internationally with partners in both academia and the cultural sector, and have extensive experience working in Ireland, North and South. The team has experience working with public and industry bodies, including the Arts Councils in both Belfast and Dublin. Their expertise includes both asset and digital mapping, policy analysis and design and communication with wide ranging groups of stakeholders. 
The research team for the project will be led by Dr Steven Hadley, academic and consultant, and include Sophia Woodley, Head of Innovation and Policy Research, Jonathan Goodacre, Senior Consultant International, Richard Turpin, Chief Research Officer, Oliver Mantell, Director of Policy Research, Anne Torreggiani, CEO and Penny Mills, Chief Consulting Officer with support from Professor Justin O’Connor and Matti Allam. 

ARINS—Analysing and Researching Ireland, North & South is a joint project led by the Royal Irish Academy and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs . It is a multi-year initiative that brings together experts from various disciplines to provide evidence-based research and analysis on the most significant questions of policy and public debate relating to options for the future of Ireland, north and south in a post-Brexit context.

Anne Torreggiani, CEO of The Audience Agency says: 

“We are excited to start working on this future-looking brief and are hopeful that the results will have a transformative effect, supporting enlightened, collaborative, citizen-first policy across Ireland and putting it at the forefront of this thinking internationally.” 

Dr Steven Hadley, Research Fellow at NUI Galway and leader of the research team says: 

“This is a vital piece of work which will provide the evidence base to inform policy and  funding decisions of key significance to the future of the cultural sector across the  island of Ireland. We look forward to engaging fully with all stakeholders.” 

This report will contribute to the “Cultural and Educational” strand of ARINS. Led by Dr Catherine Wilsdon, Notre Dame, and Ruth Hegarty, Royal Irish Academy, the work of The Audience Agency will be overseen by an advisory committee which includes Valerie Bistany, The Irish Writers Centre, Professor Diane Urquhart, Queen’s University Belfast and Colin Murphy, playwright and journalist.
The Audience Agency will map existing cross border cooperation in the arts sector, from a policy perspective and on the ground practice; perform a gaps analysis; and identify opportunities for future policy design. This will be done using both qualitative and quantitative research including a series of interviews, surveys, seminars and roundtable discussions. These events will be organised and run by The Audience Agency in collaboration with the ARINS Executive Committee. The report will be circulated to policymakers, leaders of arts organisations and relevant groups, as well as academic researchers. It will be made publicly available on the ARINS project website ( once published in January 2022. 
Part funding for the project has been secured from the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund. If you have an interest in this project, please contact

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