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Arts Council announces twenty seven new awards for minority ethnic artists

Monday 15th November 2021 at 5pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today announced details of awards worth £107,000 made to 27 minority ethnic artists and creative practitioners for mentoring or residency opportunities.

Thanks to funding for good causes from the National Lottery, the awards made through the Arts Council’s Minority Ethnic Artists Mentoring and Residency Programme are worth up to £5,000 each and will create opportunities for specialised training, research, cultural exchange, networking and learning for individual artists, creative practitioners and arts administrators

The programme was set up initially as a pilot scheme, informed by the Arts Council’s Intercultural Arts Strategy and aims to help individuals at every stage of their career; supporting skills development and career pathways, inspiring excellence and increasing opportunities for young and emerging minority ethnic artists and creatives.

In addition to creating the new funding awards for Minority Ethnic artists, the Arts Council has also established a Deliberative Forum to generate an improved understanding of needs and to inform future decision making.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Art Council of Northern Ireland, explained:

“Thanks to National Lottery players who raise £30 million for good causes in the UK every week, we are very pleased to announce these new awards, as the first step in addressing the barriers to access and participation which minority ethnic artists face.

“We made 27 individual awards today to artists from a range of disciplines including music, visual arts, dramas, poetry and dance. We look forward to seeing the proposed projects develop over the coming weeks and months and hope this vital funding will help increase the visibility of work created by minority ethnic artists living and working in Northern Ireland.

“Indeed we were pleased by the level of strong applications for mentoring or residency opportunities and we were fortunate to be able to find additional Lottery resources so that in this pilot year of a new and innovative programme we could support as many viable applications as possible.

“It is imperative that we develop greater diversity across all our art forms in Northern Ireland. Providing more funding opportunities like this one, for as many as possible, in order to create new and significant art that reflects our society, is strategically important to the Arts Council”.

Justin Kouame is one of the artists who will benefit from the scheme; he hopes to secure mentoring support and develop his body of work as a visual artist. This is the first time he has applied to the Arts Council for a grant to support his work. He sought asylum in Northern Ireland from the Ivory Coast back in 2009 and says the grant will help him to integrate into the artist community here, enable him to purchase quality materials and equipment, and allow him to commit more time to his practice.

Justin Kouame said

“I am delighted to receive this award from the Arts Council’s National Lottery funds because it means that I can at last give myself the time and the materials I need to develop as a visual artist. I have so many ideas for my work - I combine painting, drawing, photography and installation, and I just want the chance to keep building my skills.

“I am really looking forward to working with my artist mentor, Yvonne Keenan. This award will provide the time for our tutorials, research, visiting galleries and creating new work. I hope to grow my skills in portraiture and produce work that I can exhibit to encourage other asylum-seekers and minority ethnic artists to develop their talents and self-esteem - for me, making art is not just a livelihood, it is therapy”.

Click here to view the list of awards made

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