Nerve Centre Wins Backing for Innovation

The Nerve Centre in Londonderry is investing £180,700 with support from Invest NI, the EU and the Arts Council for Northern Ireland in the development of an innovative electronic ticketing system for arts venues.

Invest NI is providing £105,000 under the Leapfrog scheme from the EU’s PEACE 2 ‘Technology Support for the Knowledge-based Economy’.

The support for the Nerve Centre, a multimedia arts and technology operation based at Magazine Street in Derry, was announced today by Pearse Moore, the centre’s director, Kevin Helferty, manager of Invest NI’s North West Local Office (NWLO), and Roisín McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council.

Said Mr Helferty: “This is a very significant investment by one of our most innovative organisations with an impressive track record in helping arts and the wider community to harness the benefits of digital technology.

“Invest NI’s support for this important project is in keeping with the focus on promoting innovation, enterprise and international business within our draft Corporate Plan.

“The e-ticketing system will benefit the creative industries sector in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland. In time, there will be opportunities to export the technology to other markets,” he added.

Roisín McDonough said: “The Arts Council has been driving the vision of an integrated electronic ticketing system for the main arts organisations across the whole of Northern Ireland, and has injected almost £1 million into this initiative.

“The Nerve Centre’s invaluable assistance in facilitating state-of-the-art ticketing services for 20 arts organisations, working alongside the newly-formed audience development agency, Audiences Northern Ireland, marks a major step forward in our collective ambition to encourage new audiences for the arts and to build on existing ones.”

Mr Moore said: “The project is being developed to address the need to introduce ticketing and marketing technologies to enable arts bodies to manage their sales and enable marketing efforts based on actual attendees.  There is currently no comprehensive method in place that addresses this need.

“It will also enable the Arts Council and the other arts bodies to collect reliable data on audiences, attendance levels and sales, to facilitate greater marketing collaboration.

“Other important benefits include the promotion of a sharper focus within these organisations on marketing and an easier means by which local authorities and tourism organisations can compile ‘What’s On’ information and sell tickets. It could, therefore, be of considerable benefit to the tourism industry and could lead to new employment opportunities in this important sector.”

The project, which is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, will be internet-based and will initially involve 20 arts organisations. The site is projected to process annual sales of 33,000 tickets.

The investment is expected to provide three new jobs, one of which will be on a temporary full-time basis.