ACNI announces £85,688 for innovative Digital Arts projects

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Future Screens NI, has announced funding of £85,688 to support nine individual artists from Northern Ireland in the creation of a number of exciting, high-quality arts projects using innovative digital technologies.

The funding is part of the Arts Council’s Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards, a brand new funding programme supported by The National Lottery and Future Screens NI, which offered artists, across all art forms, the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £10,000 each. In addition to the funding support, recipients will also receive expert technical guidance throughout the development of their digital artwork.

The Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards aims to support those artists who are making digital art for the first time or are working with digital or immersive technology in a novel or innovative way. Those awarded funding includes:

Artist: Bethany Ashley
Project Title: Confetti

Artist: Sarah Lyle
Project Title: Reimagining 21st century puppetry for the digital space – Live and interactive VR

Artist: Gwen Stevenson
Project Title: The Earth Is Not A Screen

Artist: David Haughey
Project Title: Every Square Meter, Every Hour

Artist: Eoin Cleland
Project Title: Able

Artist: Louise Taylor
Project Title: Reinventing the Wheel – AI solution to a traditional craft

Artist: Victoria McFarland
Project Title: Immersive Storytelling Animation Project

Artist: Robert Kelly
Project Title: Markov

Artist: Deepa Mann-Kler
Project Title: The Metaverse & Me

Bethany Ashley is one of nine artists supported through the scheme who will create an artwork entitled, Confetti. The project will involve the artist using 3D printing technology to manufacture lines of poetry which will be printed in Braille. The aim of the project is to make poetry more accessible to those who have a visual impairment and who previously may have faced barriers to enjoying this great art form. The project also aims to introduce Braille to a new audiences. The artwork will be presented as an interactive gallery installation whereby poetic lines can be moved to create new poems.

Another artist supported through this programme is Sarah Lyle who will develop a project entitled, Reimagining 21st century puppetry for the digital space – Live and interactive VR. In collaboration with digital specialists, RETìníZE, the artist will research and develop a process of transforming a children’s puppet show into live, real-time animated performance; integrating theatrical quality and digital VR technology. The team will undertake a pilot event delivered live by two performers wearing VR headsets which will in real time be transformed into animated characterisation through the RETìníZE Animotive software. The pilot will be live streamed to a test group of children across Northern Ireland via a digital engagement platform.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“Today’s announcement of the Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards is welcome news and we are delighted to partner with Future Screens NI on this exciting programme. The programme will support these nine artists in the creation of art using digital and immersive technologies, and will also help artists develop skills in the use of these new technologies. This programme reflects the Arts Council’s commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross artform boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector. I look forward to experiencing these exciting projects as they develop.”

Professor Paul Moore, Director Future Screens NI, said,

“As we continue to experience transitions associated with Covid-19 it is essential that we support artists to develop the skills required to benefit fully from new, emerging and immersive technologies. Future Screens NI is privileged to partner with Arts Council NI to deliver the Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards which will enhance the ability of artists to develop ambitious creative projects employing new technologies and to develop specialist skills required to sustain the future of the creative industries”

For details on all funding opportunities visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding

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