University of Atypical celebrates Arts and Access, Belfast

The University of Atypical, formerly known as the Arts and Disability Forum, hosted a celebration of artists’ talent and venue commitment at the Atypical Gallery in Royal Avenue.

Thirteen of Northern Ireland’s leading disabled artists have received individual Disabled/Deaf Artists Awards (iDA) awards totalling £17,000 to develop their work. The majority of those artists were part of the celebration, with playwright Shannon Yee speaking about her experience of iDA and poet, Alice McCullough performing a poem to illustrate the effect of her iDA award.

As well as focusing on artistic talent, the event also presented Arts and Disability Equality Charter awards to venues that have worked to improve access and facilities for disabled and deaf people in all areas of their work.

Strule Arts Centre was again credited with the Excellence award, having worked closely with Omagh Access Group to enable deaf and disabled people to participate freely in the arts. Gerry Knight spoke about the venue’s hard work.

Enniskillen Castle and the Millennium Forum received Arts & Disability Equality Charter plaques to commemorate reaching Charter status, and the Ardhowen Theatre was presented with a certificate as evidence of its commitment to working towards Charter status.

The awards were presented by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey. The Lord Mayor praised the great work taking place to advance the cause of disability arts in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland.

For more information about the work of the University of Atypical, visit

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