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Arts Council board advertises for a new chair and vice-chair

Current top post holder's term marked by controversy

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Comments: Chair John Edmund ruffled some feathers over remarks on funding

Comments: Chair John Edmund ruffled some feathers over remarks on funding

Comments: Chair John Edmund ruffled some feathers over remarks on funding

A competition to appoint members to senior positions at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's has opened.

Applications are being sought for the posts of chair, vice-chair and three board members at the body.

Current chair John Edmund was appointed for a term of up to four years in January 2017.

Dr Katy Radford was appointed as vice-chair earlier this year, with effect from July 1 to December 31.

The Department for Communities (DfC), which oversees the arts sector here, announced the open competition for new appointments yesterday.

According to the Arts Council website, the chairman receives £10,100 per annum.

The vice-chair is paid £3,535 per year.

The board member positions are unpaid, but the holders do receive expenses in relation to their duties.

Applications for the roles are particularly welcome from women, ethnic minorities, young people and people with disabilities, DfC said.

Mr Edmund's term as chairman has been marked by controversy.

In 2018 he faced calls to resign after he slammed the sector's "high level of dependency" on grants.

The consultant marketing professional was subject to a backlash after he suggested that the creative sector should be run more like a business.

Mr Edmund made his controversial remarks after it was revealed that the local arts budget was likely to be cut by more than 8%.

He appeared to support the cuts, and said the funding model for the arts had "created a high level of dependency and, frankly, has not been sustainable for some time".

That same year Arts Council staff submitted a letter of protest concerning Mr Edmund after he refused to give an assurance to DfC that the body had treated all communities fairly.

The row erupted after he declined to provide the assurance in a letter to Ian Snowden, former deputy secretary for the engaged communities group at DfC, that the Arts Council was operating according to equality principles.

The staff's letter, which was sent to Arts Council chief executive Roisin McDonough on behalf of 80% of workers at the organisation, stated that they had been "moved by extraordinary events to write to you and strongly refute the comments made by John Edmund, chair, to Ian Snowden, deputy secretary of DfC, in his letter to Mr Snowden of August 20, 2018".

Belfast Telegraph