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What’s the Big Idea?

About the initiative

What’s the Big Idea? sought out, encouraged and funded innovative and creative ideas and approaches for reaching disadvantaged young people in Northern Ireland. The initiative ran from 2003-2007, during which £1,249,479 was distributed through 33 grants across Northern Ireland, ranging from £2,000 to £100,000, from one-off projects to multi-annual programmes.

These 33 organisations, all with young people at their heart, answered our question – what’s the big idea? – in many different ways, sometimes framing a new set of further, more meaningful questions.

All of the projects funded were permeated by distinct values:

  • Inspirational ideas and risk-taking approaches
  • High-quality processes and creative projects
  • New creative methods and imaginative ideas
  • The facing and admitting of difficulties
  • Minimum bureaucratic fuss
  • Young people’s ideas at the core of each initiative
  • Strong emphasis on maximising opportunities for young people and on developing their artistic talents

Through the Foundation’s two advisors in Northern Ireland – Shona McCarthy and Frances Macklin, from Rubyblue Consultancy – What’s the Big Idea? facilitated projects which aimed to inspire young people to explore their creative potential and their relationship to the wider world, through high-impact, long-term engagement with professionals from the creative sector.