Funding, Artists

Arts Council of Northern Ireland announces £82,559 National Lottery funding to support the careers of 12 exceptional artists

20th December, 2023

12 exceptional artists from Northern Ireland have been announced as the latest recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) and are set to benefit from £82,559 funding. ACES is a professional development programme supported by The National Lottery which provides funding awards to Northern Ireland’s most talented emerging and mid-career artist artists, helping them to create new work and develop their professional, artistic careers.

A group of the ACES awardees sitting together in a dance studio with one of them holding a guitar.
Pictured are ten of the twelve 2023-24 ACES awardees including, (L-R back row), Gilly Campbell, Joint Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland with awardees, Sinéad Owens, Jonathan Brennan, Jan McCullough, Thomas Wells, Sally O’Dowd, Toby Buckey, and (L-R front row), Jo Zebedee, Hannah Anderson, Myles McCormack and Jill Crawford. Visit for information on all arts funding opportunities.

Watch the ACES video above.

Awards under the Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) are made annually to artists working in music, visual arts, drama, dance, literature and participatory arts, and are among the most prestigious awards offered by the Arts Council. This year’s awardees include three literature awardees, one drama awardee, four visual artists, three music awardees and one circus awardee.

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £7,000 each to develop new work, many of the 12 artists will partner with a professional organisation or leading artist, at home or abroad. Some of these partners include Brassneck Theatre Company, Circusful, Movin On Music, The MAC, Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Ulster Orchestra and Strand Arts Centre.

Gilly Campbell, Joint Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to award £82,559 to 12 exceptional artists from Northern Ireland, thanks to The National Lottery players. These artists are already established and highly regarded in each of their fields and the ACES awards are given in recognition of their work to date. The award also provides them with the financial support to take their careers to that vital next level.
“The ACES programme has been running successfully for several years now and addresses the need for on-going skills development and training within the arts sector here. A warm congratulations to all 12 ACES awardees. We’re excited to see their ACES projects develop in the year ahead.”

The 12 artists awarded ACES funding 2023-24 includes:

Visual Arts

Jan McCullough

Jonathan Brennan

Sally O'Dowd

Thomas Wells


Jonathan William Corry

Martin Coyle

Myles McCormack


Sinéad Owens


Jill Crawford

Joanne Zebedee

Toby Buckley

Circus/Carnival/Street Theatre

Hannah Anderson

ACES group photo 23-24
Arts Council of Northern Ireland ACES awardees 2023-24. Top row (L-R) Jan McCullough, Jonathan Brennan, Jo Zebedee, Sally O'Dowd, Thomas Wells & Toby Buckley. Bottom row (L-R) Hannah Anderson, Jonathan Corry, Jill Crawford, Myles McCormack, Martin Coyle & Sinéad Owens.

The Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) forms part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) which is administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annually with funding from The National Lottery. Visit for information on all funding opportunities.