Arts and Disability Connect

| October 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

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Orla Burke, Darragh O’Callaghan and Conor Madde, recipients of the new Arts and Disability Connect scheme.

Arts and Disability Connect is a new scheme designed to support artists with disabilities to make new and ambitious work.

In this first year of the awards, seven artists have been awarded €25,000 under three strands:  New Work, Mentoring and Training.

Actor Conor Madden and visual artist Darragh O’Callaghan have received the two New Work awards.

Conor Madden will use the award to develop a new piece of writing called “Broke” with the Abbey Theatre.  Conor is a professional actor who has worked with major companies such as Pan Pan, ANU, Loose Canon, Rough Magic Theatre Company and The Abbey Theatre. He has appeared in the RTÉ’s award winning series “Love/Hate”, TV Series and “RAW” and most recently played Antonio in “Twelfth Night” at the Abbey Theatre.

Darragh O’Callaghan has been awarded a New Work award to develop a body of work called  “Interiors” in collaboration with Cork Film Centre.  “Interiors” will explore personal landscapes of isolation and anxiety that characterise living with mental health issues. Darragh is a visual artist whose practice focuses on the body as a site of action, working with photography, video, performance and more recently drawings.

Four artists have received Mentoring awards.

Danny Aherne, a dancer with Spoken Dance, an integrated dance company from Limerick, will work with Mary Wycherley, one of Ireland’s best known artists working in Dance Film.

Mary Nugent, an established dancer with Croi Glan, an integrated dance company based in West Cork, will work with trained ballet dancer, Dawn Mulloy and further develop her dance skills.

Orla Burke will to work with writer and dramaturg, Kaite O’Reilly on developing a feature length performance script.

Sighile Hennessy, a member of Equinox Theatre Company, an ensemble based company set up in 2009 by KCAT Art & Study Centre, will work with Susie Lamb on developing movement within her practise.

Finally, Niall Stokes has been awarded an Arts and Disability Connect Training award to train as a Jazz pianist.  He has a background in music and is an accomplished guitar player.

Speaking about the new scheme, Pádraig Naughton Executive Director of ADI said, “Arts and Disability Connect is all about new work, mentoring and training.  I very much look forward over the next year seeing the 7 awarded artists with disabilities create new work in theatre and visual arts, develop new relationships with practitioners in a range of art forms and gain new skills.  It is an opportunity for these artists to realise their artistic ideas and learn through their practice.

Liz Powell, the Arts Council’s acting manager for arts participation added, “Arts and Disability Connect is an important new suite of awards offered by the Arts Council in 2014 and is specifically tailored to the needs of the arts and disability community in Ireland. The Arts Council is delighted at the response to ADC in this first year, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of the awards in the coming years. We have welcomed, in particular, the opportunity to work with Arts & Disability Ireland in developing this new strand of support for artists with disabilities.”

The ADC scheme is funded by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and managed by Arts & Disability Ireland on a pilot basis in 2014. It offers artists the opportunity to connect with other practitioners or venues, make a change in their practice, ‘step up’ in terms of scope and scale, reach new audiences and to engage in mentoring and training. It has been created in response to the changing needs of the sector in the Republic of Ireland and in line with Arts Council commitments outlined in its “Arts and Disability Policy 2012 – 2016”. The scheme succeeds the Arts Council’s previous support to the all-island Arts and Disability Awards Ireland.

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