Nine disabled artists from Northern Ireland have been announced as recipients of the iDA (Individual Disabled/Deaf Artists) scheme, a dedicated arts funding stream which allows them to develop their professional artistic careers.
Managed by the Arts & Disability Forum (ADF), awards under the iDA scheme have been made annually to deaf and disabled artists working in a range of artforms.
The bursaries, which are supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will allow each artist to produce new creative work or receive professional mentoring. The 2015 artists include 5 visual artists, 2 dance artists and 2 musicians. The artists have impairments ranging from physical disability, visual impairment, mental ill health and learning difficulty.
Chris Ledger, Chief Executive, Arts and Disability Forum, commented; “Disabled and deaf people can have fruitful and successful careers in the arts and the grant scheme recognises this and supports artists to develop work of extremely high artistic merit. The scheme is open to artists in all artforms and with all types of disability including unseen conditions such as diabetes, dyslexia, epilepsy and mental health conditions.”
Fionnuala Walsh, Head of Participatory Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “Congratulations to the new recipients of the iDA scheme. These grants are given in recognition of the artists’ work to date and to provide them with the necessary support to take their careers to the next level. The Arts Council is pleased to support this important programme, which encourages the production of new work and addresses the need for disabled and deaf artists to have on-going training and skills development within the sector.”
Through the ADF’s support, disabled artists have developed unique artwork of extremely high artistic quality, some progressing to a level where they have received international recognition. The iDA scheme’s purpose is to identify, encourage and nurture individual talent amongst disabled practitioners. This is the last scheme to be managed by the ADF as for 2015-16 the fund will transfer to Arts Council management.
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