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Maiden Voyage: An Exhibition Celebrating making it 2015-17

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This exhibition showcases crafts developed along the journey through Craft Northern Ireland's flagship 'Making It' programme. For over ten years the programme has supported designer-makers as they take their first steps towards establishing sustainable craft businesses. Running until 29 April.

"The maiden voyage of a ship, aircraft or other craft is the first journey made by the craft after shakedown"

Maiden Voyage: An exhibition of five NI designer-makers from Craft NI’s ‘Making It’ Programme 2015-17

Location: The Foyer of the Belfast School of Art, Ulster University

Dates: March 20th – April 29 2017 (Note: the University will be closed for Easter from 17-23 April)

Featuring: Andrew Cooke, Helen Faulkner, Malcolm Murchison, Sasha McVey and Wendy Ward

The five makers featured now see their time on the programme draw to a close as they set sail on their individual journeys at the helm of their enterprise. As the makers are mostly alumni of the Belfast School of Art it is particularly fitting that this celebratory launch should take place where their creative careers began.

Alan Kane, Chief Executive of Craft NI has said, "Craft NI are immensely proud of the success of the making it programme over the past 10 years. Making it was a cutting edge, innovative programme which provided wholistic support for embryonic craft businesses. Over 90% of participating businesses are still operating indicating just how successful the programme has been in helping to establish and grow sustainable craft businesses. In addition a very high percentage of the participants have gone on to enjoy international recognition and success. We hope that the ultimate replacement for making it will build upon this fantastic achievement and take it to even greater levels of success."

Grainne McVeigh, Director of Invest NI has said"Invest NI is delighted to have supported the Craft NI “Making It” programme over 12 years. “Making It” has encouraged entrepreneurship within the Creative Industries sector and, appreciating the time consuming nature of artisan craft businesses, it has helped makers to dedicate time to develop a strategy for business growth. Since 2005, this programme has provided participants with mentoring, a greater understanding of finance and a strong sales and export marketing focus ."

Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,“The "Making It" programme has been an unprecedented success supporting a number of craft businesses since its introduction in 2005. Globally there has been a marked shift from the declining traditional ‘heavy’ industries to the Creative Industries and that is also reflected here in Northern Ireland. Our creative sector remains one of the few areas of economic growth and is a vital source of our competitive strength, wealth and job creation.”

Where: 25-51 York St, Belfast BT15 1ED