Sunday, 13 November 2011

Comics in Northern Ireland

Yes, it's been over a month since I last looked at thse blogs - things have just been so hectic. I've been working on a number of new projects which have really nothing to do with either writing or comics. It's part of my other persona in community work and a lot of it seems to be taking over my life. And I'm struggling to get some writing done on two books at once - and do television and radio work as well. So comics I'm afraid has come slightly down the pecking order. We're finding it very difficult to advance with the comics - plenty of ideas but few outlets. There's another tranche of CIIF money coming up here in Northern Ireland - this is the Creative and Innovative Industries Fund which is designed towards setting up creative new businesses - but none of us are really considering applying. It's co-funded by the Arts Council who in my view and the vierw of many others are not all that interested in the arts at all. We applied both to the Arts Council and the CIIF, who said that they didn't really fund comics as it was too risky a venture for them. This does not appear to have been true as they have just funded a comic - which sells at £6 for about 30 or so pages - run by the Greater Shantallow Community Arts. Now I have absolutely no problem with a community group producing a comic - and this looks to be a one-off - and genuinely wish them all the best. But is it something that the Arts Council under the CIIF should be involved in - are they setting up a business? They may very well be and if so I would love them to get in contact through this blog because I can then meet and discuss strips with them. However, I doubt that many other groups will get any money out of the Arts Council - I know of groups in Belfast who ar involved in graphic work have been trying for years without even the remotest chance of success. Under the last CIIF granting the money went to all the usual suspects - local Borough Councils, who are hardly creative businesses, Government agencies, a firm which made greetings cards and a jewellers shop. Of course the Minister in charge at that time was Nelson McCausland who is well known for his rigid views and meddling in various aspects of life, the new Sinn Fein Minister doesn't seem to be making much of her post either. So I think we're in the wrong place at the wrong time - and will remain so for some time. In the meantime we'll have a meeting around the start of December and see where we go from here. Maybe a move to the US is in order and get out of Northern Ireland?Too old for that now. Anyway, still have the blog - that's always something!

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