Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
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SIAP 2016 in Focus: Major Individual Awards

Wednesday 27th July 2016 at 11am

Video: Playwright Jimmy McAleavey on his Major Award from the Arts Council

Major Individual awards are intended to create the circumstances in which established artists with national/international recognition may develop extended or ambitious work. 

Artists of all disciplines and in all types of working practice, with a significant body of work who have not previously received a major award are invited to apply. In the current application round, the Arts Council is proposing to make four awards valued at up to £15,000 each to respected artists. 

Previous recipients of the Major Award include writers, Carlo Gébler, Damian Gorman, Patricia Craig, Sinéad Morrissey, Glenn Patterson and Owen McCafferty, leading contemporary visual artists, Rita Duffy, Susan MacWilliam, Cara Murphy, celebrated composer, Elaine Agnew and acclaimed pianist, Michael McHale.

Earlier this year playwright, Jimmy McAleavey was announced as one of three new Major Award recipients along with celebrated composers Conor Mitchell and Deirdre McKay. Using the award Jimmy plans to produce two large-scale new plays written for a broad audience and potentially international and touring interest.

Speaking about the award Jimmy said;

"The Major award has bought me the things artists need most - time and security.  Just knowing that I have this money feels like I have a well stocked larder, a watertight roof and a wine cellar.  It means I can approach my work not anxiously but with confidence that I have time to think, to tinker, to footer and to mature as an artist.  So often, as artists, we have to approach our work with iron will - that as soon as we come home from our jobs, often already exhausted, we must fire another starting pistol for the real hard work to start as the milliseconds fly by. 

An Arts Council Major award changes this reality and you get as much work done, if not more. To pile on another metaphor, it's like taking off the Lycra and putting on a cardigan. When you hoke in its pockets, you find the crumpled tissues of inspiration, and a fiver you thought you didn't have."

Applications for the Major Award must be submitted not later than 4pm on Thursday 25th August. Guidance notes and the application form are now available here