Deadline for disabled and deaf artists

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Locally-based disabled and deaf artists have an opportunity for financial support to develop their work under the iDA (individual disabled/deaf artists) grant scheme.

The application process opened on December 1, with the deadline for applications Friday, 15th January 2016 at 4pm. Artists can apply for up to £5,000.

The iDA grant scheme is aimed at helping Northern Ireland based individual artists who are disabled or deaf. It is managed by the Arts & Disability Forum with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. IDA was set up last year to replace the cross-border Arts & Disability Awards Ireland scheme.

Chris Ledger, Chief Executive of the Arts and Disability Forum, said that iDA was a flexible grant scheme supporting disabled and deaf artists to produce new work and gain new experiences.

She added: “The grant scheme is open to proposals from all types of disabled people including unseen conditions such as diabetes, dyslexia, epilepsy and mental health conditions. It targets artists who are on a personal career path, who can give evidence of talent. The scheme is open to all art forms and supports artists to develop work of extremely high artistic merit.”

Last year, a total of nine artists were allocated grants - five visual artists, two dancers and two musicians. Their impairments ranged from physical disability, visual impairment, mental ill health and learning difficulty. The bursaries allowed each artist to produce new creative work or receive professional mentoring.

Fionnuala Walsh, Head of Participatory Arts at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council is pleased to support this important programme, which encourages the production of new work and addresses the need for disabled and deaf artists to have on-going training and skills development within the sector.”

This year, the Digital Arts Studios in Hill Street, Belfast is for the first time offering a residency for a disabled/deaf artist, to complement iDA fund. Information on the DAS residency will also be available from 1st December at The residency will provide a disabled/deaf artist with 24-hour studio access, technical support, free audio/visual equipment hire and access to training. The Arts & Disability Forum is supporting DAS to deliver this residency and it is likely to to be first of many such collaborations.

The deadline for iDA applications is Friday 15th January 2016 at 4pm. Artists will be able to download the criteria, guidelines and application form and monitoring form from the ADF website from 1st December and advice will be available from ADF staff and freelances.

You can also follow ADF on Facebook ( and on Twitter (adf011) for details of artists’ application briefings.