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Craft Makers encouraged to apply for the £15,000 Rosy James Memorial Trust Award

Wednesday 2nd August 2017 at 12pm 0 Comments Craft

Silversmith, Cara Murphy was the third recipient of the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award in 2016. Image: Silversmith, Cara Murphy was the third recipient of the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award in 2016.

An annual craft bursary, the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, worth £15,000, is now welcoming applications.  This unique bursary aims to assist craft makers to develop their careers by creating a new body of work which would otherwise have been unattainable without the funding award.

Administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, established in 2014, came about thanks to the generosity of Rosemary James (Rosy), a local pioneer and patron of the arts.  Originally from Belfast, Rosy had a lifelong commitment to the arts and following her death in 2010, bequeathed over £500,000 to help artists and craft makers pursue their careers. 

Previous recipients of the prestigious award include glass artist, Scott Benefield (2015) and silversmiths, Stuart Cairns (2014) and Cara Murphy (2016).

The most recent recipient of the award, Cara Murphy, whose work is held in several private and public collections, including the Silver Trust Collection at 10 Downing Street, used the funding to buy time to develop enamelling skills with the aim of creating a new body of work.  She learnt these enamelling techniques from famed enamellist, Deirdre McCrory, who also happens to be Cara’s mother.

Glass artist, Scott Benefield was the second recipient of the bursary in 2015.  Scott used the funding to develop a series of works using hand-blown glass and cabinetry, travelling to the Creative Glass Centre of America for a six-week residency to research and develop his ideas and elements of his technique.  This was followed by a week’s study in Venice before bringing the learning back to his studio in Randalstown.

Silversmith Stuart Cairns was the first craft-maker to receive the bursary in 2014 using the funds to enable him to extend and develop his practice through an extended period of regular research and investment into new equipment.  The bursary enabled Stuart to produce a new body of work, for exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally, which explored landscape, process and object through the reinterpretation of domestic forms.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented: “The Rosy James Memorial Trust Award demonstrates the power of philanthropic giving to create lasting impact.  Rosy James leaves an incredible legacy.  Her passion for craft led her to leave the bequest that will allow new work of really high quality, and of international interest, to be produced by local artists.  It will give our artists the chance to devote time to their practice over the course of a year and to develop their ideas.  We look forward to receiving the next round of applications.”

Applications are now open and will close at 4pm on Friday 22 September 2017

To apply for the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, visit


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