WOMAD NI is Northern Ireland's flagship world arts programme designed and delivered by Beyond Skin in partnership with the WOMAD Foundation & WOMAD Festivals.
WOMAD - World of Music Arts & Dance, now in its 34th year, having hosted festivals and education programmes in twenty-six countries - is considered as the pioneer of multicultural festivals, representing the highest standard of international arts. Rock Icon Peter Gabriel is the co-founder of WOMAD.
Established in 2004, Beyond Skin is an organisation based in Northern Ireland developing and delivering innovative ground-breaking diversity & global education intercultural arts projects in an aim to address issues of racism & sectarianism.
A sister organisation to WOMAD Festivals, The WOMAD Foundation is an education charity which uses the arts as a catalyst for change & innovation, undertaking projects which nurture the innate creativity within young people.
Combined, these two bodies create the WOMAD NI partnership presenting one the most ambitious and exhilarating community relations intercultural arts programmes hosted in Northern Ireland; contributing to developing a more peaceful, equal and inclusive society.
WOMAD NI projects are what you would expect as part of WOMAD brand: exceptional quality; professional artists; honesty; participant focused good practice, combined with inventive ideas. Some artists delivering the projects, of WOMAD NI caliber, are based in Northern Ireland. The majority are spread worldwide through the WOMAD network.
“WOMAD have found an excellent partner in Beyond Skin to work with us in delivering our shared goals of using the Arts to challenge children & young people's prejudices & unlocking the creative spark within. Understanding the world as a single global community has never been more important than it is now, wherever you are. WOMAD looks forward to this being the start of a long term partnership in Belfast leading to a festival event in the near future.” Chris Smith, WOMAD Director
“WOMAD is a brand recognised the world over for its contribution not only to world music, but also to promoting education, community development & cultural understanding & we are extremely proud to be bring their work & ethos to Northern Ireland.” Darren Ferguson, Manger Beyond Skin
“From the very first WOMAD in 1982, children have been fundamental to the vision of WOMAD and from the outset the WOMAD Foundation has been bringing the magic of the festival into the classroom, entertaining and inspiring thousands of children. The students and their teachers have discovered all sorts of music art and dance from all over the world, in a wonderful and very personal way.There are few moments that are as vivid or enjoyable as when the kids, themselves, become a part of the sounds, traditions and colours of another culture.If we truly want a world full of global citizens, we have to start bringing the world inside the classroom.” Peter Gabriel
"To provide opportunities through the World of Music, Arts & Dance for diversity & global education, access to world culture and personal & artistic development; enabling the growth of a peaceful confident shared creative society, where everyone feels welcome to celebrate and share their identity."
The WOMAD Belfast programme was launched in January 2013 supported under the Belfast PEACE III Plan by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through the PEACE III Programme.
From the initial investment of £16,000 by Belfast City Council Peace III in January 2013, the WOMAD in Northern Ireland programme has grown exponentially and expanded across the province, becoming WOMAD NI and attracting additional investors.
Hosted over 450 workshops & 6 large showcase events - provided paid employment to over 50 professionals & artists - engaged over 4.000 direct participants - enabled 140 people to gain a qualification in Understanding Diversity through the World Of Music Arts & Dance.
Along the way - bringing communities together - empowering young people - raising local confidence and understanding of different cultures - helping to prevent anti-social behavior, and reducing racial and sectarian incidents.
WOMAD NI projects continue this year, 2016, leading to a large WOMAD Festival...Now that's what we consider to be the definition of a legacy!