Cultural Policy in Northern Ireland: making cultural policy for a divided society

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Northern Ireland (NI) is a small region of the United Kingdom with a history of violent conflict associated with the national and religious identities of its inhabitants. Post-conflict societies face complex challenges in the development of cultural policy, particularly where some cultural markers have become associated with antagonism or political affiliation. This chapter will focus on how the social, spatial, educational, religious and political divisions in NI – coupled with deep socio-economic deprivation and a lack of political consensus – mean that many issues relating to cultural policy are neglected. We chart how the history of NI has left significant barriers to shared culture within NI, leading to inertia on policy in relation to community relations and social cohesion. That being the case, we show how the government Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI), the main arm’s length body for funding, have clear policies relating to how the arts and culture can alleviate socio-economic problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Global Cultural Policy
Place of PublicationAbingdon
ISBN (Print)9781138857827
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2018


  • Northern Ireland
  • cultural policy
  • divided societies
  • creative industries policy
  • public policy.


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