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Arts Council announces £6.9m emergency funding to individuals working in the Creative Economy in NI

Wednesday 24th February 2021 at 3pm 0 Comments

Jordan Adetunji, Belfast Alternative hip hop artist Image: Jordan Adetunji, Belfast Alternative hip hop artist

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, on behalf of Department for Communities (DfC) and in collaboration with Future Screens NI, has announced details of 1,562 individuals working in the Creative Economy, who are set to benefit from £6,910,794 of emergency funding.

This second round of the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP) is in addition to £4.274 million already awarded to individuals since April 2020; it makes up a total of £33m of emergency Covid-19 funding from DfC to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors which have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

IERP is designed to provide much-needed financial support to those working in the Creative Economy at a time when essential elements of the arts, cultural and creative sectors have been decimated due to venue closures, festival and event cancellations and the disappearance of live audiences.  The fund offered individuals the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £5,000 each and £7,500 each for those with a disability. 

Roísín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Arts Council is today offering 1,562 awards to creative individuals across Northern Ireland totalling £6,910,794. This is the second call this year for the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme (IERP 2); an exceptional response from the Minister and NI Executive in the ongoing pandemic to support those working in the creative sector. The programme was co-designed with the Department for Communities and we received applications from a footprint much broader than ACNI’s usual remit for individual artists. It also included all those working in the creative economy such as venue support staff, set designers, technicians, comedians, DJs, rappers, editors and proof-readers among others.

“Today’s announcement of support to these individuals will provide reassurance to those facing enormous personal challenges as artists and creatives at this time. We are hopeful that our artists, arts organisations and the wider cultural and entertainment sectors can resume creative activity safely at some point later in 2021. These are the sectors that have been disproportionately impacted throughout this crisis and are likely to be the last to emerge from the lockdown.”

Minister, Deirdre Hargey, Department for Communities, said:

“I am pleased to say that my Department has been able to meet all of the eligible claims for financial support from the Individual Emergency Resilience Programme 2 (IERP).

“This fund built on the initial, Artist Emergency Programme (AEP) opened in April 2020 as a direct response to the impact on the sector of Covid-19.

“These latest allocations bring the total number of individual artists my Department has been able to support from this fund, to 2865 people.

“The allocations are in recognition of the crucial importance of the arts and culture sector and the social, creative and economic contribution it makes to our entire society. I will continue to do everything I can to help the sector during this hugely difficult time”.

Professor Paul Moore, Director Future Screens NI said:

“Future Screens NI welcomes this second round of much needed emergency relief funding. It provides those individuals who are the backbone of creativity across the region with a much-needed lifeline during these difficult times while investing in the future sustainability of the arts and creative industries in the region.

“Throughout successive lockdowns the creative sector has strived to deliver high quality experiences in safe and socially distanced ways, including digital performances and workshops.  Future Screens NI has been proud to have provided funding for these crucial endeavours during the crisis and we will continue to do so.”

Examples of individuals offered funding include:

  • Bernadette Morris - Tyrone/Armagh Musician/TV Producer/Director - £1,998.00
  • Enda Kenny - Belfast Costume designer, Milliner, textile artist and leather worker - £3,000.00
  • Iain Young - Ballymena Lighting Designer/Engineer - £5,000.00
  • Felicity McCall - Derry-Londonderry Writer - £5,000.00
  • Emma Buchanan - west Belfast DJ - £5,000.00
  • Justin McGurk - Cookstown Singer/Songwriter - £5,000.00
  • Diane Henshaw - Fermanagh Visual artist - £5,000.00
  • Tara Vij - Derry-Londonderry Freelance marketing, copywriter and designer - £2,000.00
  • Luna Kalo - Newry Actor and performing artist - £7,426.00
  • Jordan Adetunji - Belfast Alternative hip hop artist - £5,000.00
  • Scarlett Clarke – Crossgar  Stationer - £1,299.00


Bernadette Morris (Tyrone)
Bernadette Morris is a gifted singer-songwriter from Co. Tyrone who now lives in Armagh.  She is also a TV producer and director.  Bernadette’s debut album, All the ways you wander, achieved positive reviews,  extensive radio and television airplay, and her subsequent EP, Where the Heart is, recorded by Arborist’s Ben McAuley, were very successful in establishing the artist in Ireland and enabled Bernadette to tour Germany, Belgium and Australia.  She has also supported stalwarts of the folk and traditional music scene including Cara Dillon, Eddi Reader and Julie Fowlis and has also co-written with Cormac Neeson, Donal Scullion and Rioghnach Connolly.  Bernadette has performed at the National Celtic Festival in Australia, Celtic Connections in Scotland and for the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtarán.

Enda Kenny (Belfast)
Enda Kenny is a costume designer and has been working in Costume departments in theatre, film and television as a designer maker for the last 20 years. He is trained in dyeing/ textiles, prop costume and millinery.  He has been based in Belfast for the last 10 years where he works from his studio space.

After graduating from a Degree in Model making and design from Arts University in Bournemouth Enda moved to London to pursue a career in costume.  He has worked on theatre productions for Saddlers wells, National Theatre, London, Tokyo Ballet, Ballet Lorent, Palace Theatre, London, Lyric Theatre,Belfast. His opera work includes work for English National Opera, Royal Opera House  Covent Garden, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos-Lisbon, Northern Ireland Opera and Opera de Montpellier.

His impressive TV and film work includes Krypton Superman 2(Assistant Costume Designer), His Dark materials-BBC (Specialist Leather Worker), Outlander S4-Starz ( Prop Costume Supervisor) and Game of Thrones.

Iain Young (Ballymena)
Iain Young is a freelance lighting technician and engineer working in the entertainment industry in Northern Ireland whose year-round work has been severely impacted with the closure and cancellation of live music events and festivals.  Throughout the year he works with touring artists, DJs, production crews and club nights.  He also works on major summer music festivals such as VITAL, AVA, Belsonic, CHSQ and Electric Picnic.

Emma Buchanan (Belfast)
Emma Buchanan is a DJ based in Belfast whose work has been decimated as a result of the closure of the bars and nightclubs where she performs.  Having excelled on the DJ circuit throughout her career, Emma is becoming one of the top Female DJs in the province. Playing regularly in bars and clubs in Belfast and all across Northern Ireland with a music style that covers House, Disco, Funk, Soul and RnB.  Emma has also been featured on Cool FM, has been a finalist in a MixMag DJ competition and has an upcoming guest mix on Jon Boi's Shutdown Spotlight podcast.

Justin McGurk (Cookstown)
Justin McGurk is a full-time singer, writer and performer with popular Co Tyrone based, country, rock ‘n roll band, The Boogie Men. The 5-piece band has toured extensively throughout Ireland, UK & Scotland with St Patrick’s Day performances in San Francisco USA and Australia. 

In 2006 Justin won the nationwide “Search for Star Ireland” and went on to represent Ireland at the CMA Global Artists Showcase in Nashville Tennessee where he had the pleasure of sharing the Riverfront stage with some of his idols including Keith Urban, Brad Paisley & Alan Jackson. 

He has written songs with Grammy-Award winner Josh Kear, Kris Bergsnes who have had their songs used by Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum.  He has also written songs for two of Ireland’s biggest stars, Nathan Carter and Mike Denver.

Diane Henshaw (Fermanagh)
Originally from Islandmagee in Co. Antrim, visual artist, Diane Henshaw, studied her BA and MFA in Fine Art at UUB & practised in Belfast at Queen Street Studios artists collective for just under a decade before moving to Fermanagh where she is now based.

Diane Henshaw has exhibited her work in Europe, North America, Asia and Indonesia. She has held numerous international artist residencies in Antwerp, New York, Kerala, New Delhi and Orissa, South India, and has been artist-in-residence in Ireland at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Monaghan, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Mayo, and The Model in Sligo.  The artist is a founding member of Outland Arts and The Drawing Box and her work is in many private collections both nationally and internationally.

Tara Vij (Derry-Londonderry)
Tara Vji runs a marketing a small pr company in Derry-Londonderry called Highlight PR.  She also creates and publishes a free monthly magazine, Highlight Magazine.

Felicity McCall (Derry-Londonderry)
Felicity McCall is a talented full-time writer from Derry Londonderry who won the Tyrone Guthrie Award for script/playwriting in 2009. She has written many novels.  Her first novel, Reckoning, was published by Guildhall in 2006 and her book, Agnes Jones, was made into a feature film which aired on UTV in 2007. Her novel, Finding Lauren, appeared in 2007 and her factual book, A Mother's Nightmare, was published by Blackstaff.  In 2011, her collection of short stories was published by Guildhall and her teenage novel, Large Mammals, Stick Insects and Other Social Misfits, was published by Little Island in 2012 followed by The Pigeon Men; and most recently Tombstones Lie, a memoir. 

The writer is also very active in the writing community in Northern Ireland, in prose, film and drama and she is also a creative writing tutor in the community working in mental health, and has worked consistently with The Playhouse in youth theatre. Felicity was Derry City and Strabane District Council's, Woman of the Year for the Arts, in 2011.

Luna Kalo (Newry)

Luna Kalo is an award-winning theatre, film and TV actress, known for performing complex, strong, unique female leads. She has worked professionally as a versatile, multilingual performer in the creative sector in Northern Ireland and abroad. She has trained in European theatre schools, thanks to several merit based scholarships: Lecoq in Paris, Estudis de Teatre in Barcelona, and Antonio Fava’s Commedia dell’Arte School of Performing Arts in Reggio Emilia, Italy. She won an Individual Artists Award from the University of Atypical to attend the Ivana Chubbuck studio in Los Angeles, California.

She has toured professionally in theatres throughout France, Spain, Italy, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Portugal. Notable film credits include, HBO Game of Thrones, Maeve Kincade in Her Very Own (Belfast and Cork film festivals) Annie Walsh in, Racht, for Paper Owl Films, TG4 and the title role in, Banshee, an independent, experimental horror film.

Jordan Adetunji (Belfast)
Jordan Adetunji is currently taking the UK Hip Hop scene by storm. At such a young age and hailing from Belfast, he is making waves locally and further afield.  He is a nominee for the Urban Music Awards ‘One to Watch’ and has racked up well over 300,000 streams on Spotify alone. He has released videos on huge UK Platforms such as GRM Daily as well as Link Up TV and has been featured by the BBC performing many of his pieces.  His style of music ranges from Afrobeat to Trap and heavy rock with some influences of soul and funk.  Jordan has done campaign shoots with Puma and has featured in Dazed magazine.

Scarlett Clark (Crossgar)
Scarlett Clark is a stationer, at The Design Hut, who creates beautifully designed, bespoke greeting cards, wedding invites and prints. As many occasions have been cancelled this year, she has lost the majority of her work.  Scarlett studied Media and Production at university and later graphic design and photography where she developed her skills and passion for wedding stationery and photography.

List of IERP awardees

The Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme is now closed, with all available funds now allocated.  Visit



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