Newtownabbey dancer awarded grant for work

Newtownabbey artist Helen Hall has been awarded a grant through the Creating Time Awards, a new fund to support Northern Ireland’s d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists to develop their work and enable them to reach new audiences.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:11 am

The University of Atypical on behalf of the Unlimited and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation has awarded £1,000 grants to eleven d/Deaf and disabled artists to support their professional development.

Awards were made to artists in the disciplines of Dance, Literature and Language Arts, Drama and Theatre, Music and Opera, Visual Arts, Film, TV and Combined Arts.

This is the first in a series of grant programmes funded by Unlimited and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to support d/Deaf and disabled artists living and working in Northern Ireland

Helen Hall. Pic by Joe Fox Photography.

The next programme, the Chris Ledger Legacy awards, opens in May 2021 and is named after the former CEO of University of Atypical who sadly passed away in the summer of 2020.

Dancer Helen will use the funding to enable her to work with a dance mentor and to employ a photographer to document some of her work.

Helen said: “I am currently working on a number of dance-based projects and research ideas. Some examples are a new commission for University of Atypical; explorations into developing dance and visual arts and continuing development of a work aimed at children.”

Belfast choreographer Suzannah McCreight will be her mentor and Helen feels this could challenge her practice on many levels – creation, choreography, technique, audience and intention.

She added: “I would like this to be a task-based mentorship, and will ask Suzannah to set me tasks that I can either bring to the creative process or use to evaluate and reflect on my work.

“These would hopefully them be ideas and skills I can also bring to future work. I believe such a mentorship, under someone with Suzannah’s experience, would help me grow and develop professionally and creatively as an artist.”

The Creating Time awards are designed to provide d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists with funding to access mentoring to enhance knowledge or skills, develop new ways to promote their work or simply to buy the time needed to continue with their professional practice.

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, Unlimited, commented: “We are delighted to be able to use some of our emergency funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation to support artists based in Northern Ireland, an ambition we have wanted to fulfil for some time.

“It’s part of a continuing relationship with University of Atypical - enabling us to learn from each other and support these exceptional disabled artists from Northern Ireland to connect with those from England, Wales and Scotland as part of our alumni.”

Sean Fitzsimons, Chairperson of the University of Atypical, stated: “Covid-19 has caused great difficulties for many people in our community – especially the d/Deaf and disabled artists - but thanks to the generosity of Unlimited and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we are able to provide much needed funding to help d/Deaf and disabled artists continue working and to facilitate career development opportunities.

“The awards recognise the contribution d/Deaf and Disabled Artists make to the arts sector and to the community in Northern Ireland.”

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