Arts council funding for ehtnic groups

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The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is opening up opportunities for ethnic minority groups to take part in the arts, through a series of new funding programmes designed to support artists to develop community-based projects.

Artists have until August 16 to apply for funding from two new programmes within the Arts Council’s Support for Individual Artists Programme – Minority Ethnic Individual Artists Award and Artist in the Community Awards.

Statistics show that over the last decade the minority ethnic population has risen steadily in Northern Ireland. The latest figures available estimate that that immigration rose significantly in the five years between 2003 and 2007, from 7,200 people to 19,400 people.

This announcement follows the launch of the Arts Council’s first Intercultural Arts Strategy last month which signalled the organisation’s commitment to invest £300,000 over the next three years to promoting cultural diversity through the arts.

The Minority Ethnic Individual Artists Award and Artists and the Artist in the Community Awards are the first in a series of practical steps the Arts Council is taking to address the needs of ethnic minority communities in Northern Ireland by improving access to the arts.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said the two new funding programmes will help create opportunities for communities to come together.

“These two funding programmes are the first in a series of initiatives we’ve developed to engage communities through the arts to create a better understanding of our own identities and celebrate multiculturalism,” she said. “By supporting artists to research and develop their arts practice within this setting, these programmes will open new dialogues, promote understanding and help deliver a better future for everyone”.

Up to three artists will be presented with grants of £1,500 this Autumn through the Minority Ethnic Individual Artists Award. The grants will be used to support new projects, specialised research, personal artistic development, and the purchase of materials and equipment.

An additional two grants will also be awarded up to the value of £5,000 under the Artist in the Community Award scheme. Working with a professional arts organisation, successful applicants will be asked to reflect, research and reconsider art practice within an intercultural context.