“The Arts Council is committed to supporting emerging artists of promise. One of the ways we do this is through the Next Generation Bursary Award which supports professional artists from across Ireland at an early stage of their career.”
I am proud to have been a recipient of this award for 2017.
With the crucial financial freedom provided by the bursary, as well as the support of Mermaid Arts Centre, I have spent the year immersed in my practice, further developing and finding opportunities to produce Montague, Peat, Dolly, as well as working on the early stages of new ideas.
The award has given me the time and space to find the next stories; to create, dream, plan, test, reflect; to think strategically about the future; to find opportunities, platforms and networks for my work. It has been an incredibly rewarding and fruitful year.
As part of the bursary, I joined 12 other Next Generation artists at a week-long residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in County Monaghan.
A residential workplace for artists, the centre was founded by the visionary theatre maker William Tyrone Guthrie who, with the advice and encouragement of his family, bequeathed his entire estate and family home to the State with the proviso that it would be used for the benefit of artists.
The bursary recipients came from a wide variety of artistic practices: visual art, music, opera, dance, traditional arts, film, circus, architecture, literature. The week was a mix of working solo on our own projects, sharing work, and a lively and invigorating mix of conversation and debate.
It is difficult to describe how inspiring our time together was. Realising the similarity of experience on our separate journeys – the, highs, lows, costs, crises, risks and rewards – was a deeply galvanising experience.
The working relationships and friendships formed in this week are not something I foresaw, but have become a hugely important part of the year gone by.
Photos by Barry Cronin. Group: pictured L-R stairs; Niamh Campbell, Kate Heffernan, Sean Daly, Tara Kennedy, Leanne McDonagh, Tom Lane, Rouzbeh Rashidi, Laura Fitzgerald, Thomas Johnston, Laura Dowdall. Pictured centre L-R: Darragh McLaughlin, Katie Watchorn, Paul Gaffney.