Ace scheme: follow in my footsteps says Bernie

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BUILDING on the success of last year’s pilot scheme, the Arts Council is encouraging artists to apply for its Artists Career Enhancement Programme, from which Portstewart author Bernie McGill benefited last year.

The programme supports individual artists to deliver new creative work and further their professional career.

The Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES) was devised to provide career developmental opportunities for artists working in literature, music, visual and participatory arts.

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, artists will be partnered with a professional arts organisation to receive mentoring and development support to help them deliver original, challenging and innovative work.

Bernie McGill (pictured), author of The Butterfly Cabinet, from Portstewart was one of fifteen artists presented with an award last year.

Working with the Seamus Heaney Centre to draft a new novel, Bernadette said, “The ACES has been a fantastic opportunity, to meet fellow writers, to get to know their work, to gain feedback on our own writing, to further our individual as well as our collective creative development, to increase our profiles with the reading public, and to make valuable contacts with the staff at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s. And it’s not over yet.

“The six Literature awardees will be reading this October at the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, as well as in a number of other venues throughout Northern Ireland. In many ways, it feels like just the beginning.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “I would encourage other artists to apply and reap the benefits of this valuable funding programme.”

As part of the programme major awards of £15,000 will also be presented, as well as smaller general arts awards up to a maximum of £1,500.

Applications for all of the awards close on September 16.