Starling Start is a creative practice and consultancy with a focus on arts, place and collaboration.


Projects are always rooted in understanding place and creating change, from investigative research into Belfast’s historic alleyways, to feasibility for the future of Northern Ireland’s most at risk heritage asset.


Visit the Starling Start Portfolio for a snapshot of recent projects. If you’d like to commission or collaborate with Starling Start, please get in touch by using the contact form below.

Who we are:


Starling Start is led by Amberlea Neely, a consultant and creative practitioner with unique expertise in arts and placemaking. Amberlea likes to approach things differently, questioning, listening and innovatingShe is a critical thinker with a wide skill set including research, writing, facilitation, mapping, evaluation, and problem solving. Amberlea has an extensive network due to more than 15 years’ experience in the sector. She holds an MSc in Cultural Management, a PgCert in Executive Leadership and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art.

Amberlea founded Starling Start in 2019. Previously she was Acting Director at non-profit PLACE, leading on developing cutting edge creative, intelligent and inclusive public engagement in the built environment in Northern Ireland. Amberlea is currently a Lecturing Associate on the MA Arts Management at Queen's University Belfast, and she is a panellist on the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Reimagine Placemaking initiative.  Amberlea was Chair of Northern Ireland’s largest visual arts festival, Belfast Photo Festival, and she was a founding Director of Platform Arts.

Amberlea works with a diverse range of organisations, artists, architects, designers, educators, producers, and communities of practice.

 Murmuration of Starlings backdrop by Rinky Design / Starling Start Logo by Betsy Bailie.



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