Funding, Artists

New £150K disabled-led programme to improve digital technology skills for artists

30th May, 2022

A new £150,000 disabled-led digital technology programme for artists delivered by artists has been launched by the University of Atypical for Arts and Disability (UofA).

A female in a pink blazer and a male in a blue checked waistcoat holding a selection of digital equipment including a camcorder and a dictaphone.

Digital Horizon, funded by the Santander Foundation’s Financial & Digital Empowerment Fund, is a three-year professional development initiative supporting the Disability Arts sector in Northern Ireland.

The programme will deliver opportunities for d/Deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse artists to pursue new ambitions through the use of digital technology that will support them in their career.

Digital Horizon will also offer finance management workshops, an annual Digital Innovator award for an artist using technology for professional practice, and opportunities to showcase, sell and promote artists and their work.

For the first stage of the programme UofA is seeking artists across a range of artforms, who identify as d/Deaf, Disabled or Neurodiverse, to lead masterclasses which will take place over the three years of Digital Horizon.

Edel Murphy, Head of Business Administration at UofA, who is leading the programme said:

“This is an exceptional opportunity for important and exciting development for the Disability Arts sector in Northern Ireland over the next three years, made possible through the Santander Foundation. We are now seeking high level artists who use technology to elevate or inform their practice to apply to be our Digital Horizon leaders so that we can inspire others to embrace new technologies.”

UofA is the lead sectoral organisation for arts and disability in Northern Ireland. UofA is disabled-led, taking an empowerment-based approach towards d/Deaf, disabled and Neurodiverse people’s involvement in the arts as audience members and creative practitioners. The organisation is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “This impressive new initiative will help to strengthen the Disability Arts sector in the region and enable our disabled artists to learn new skills in the use of emerging digital technologies when creating artwork.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Michael Long said:

“This new Digital Horizon programme is a fantastic initiative which is sure to maximise digital potential for the Disability Arts sector and it’s a great way to encourage and represent diverse artistic perspectives.’

Applications are now open for artists to apply to lead a Digital Horizon workshop by making a proposal to the scheme. There are four decision making deadlines: 3 August 2022, 23 November 2022, 10 May 2023 and 22 November 2023

Application forms are downloadable from the UofA website or by email request: