Smashing Times welcome the announcement of Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD, of a new bursary scheme for women artists titled the ‘Markievicz Bursaries’. Awards under this new scheme will be made annually to up to 5 artists/writers (either individual artists working alone or in collaboration with others) to a maximum value of €20,000 per individual or group. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will partner with the Arts Council on the governance arrangements and the administration of the scheme, which will open for submissions from mid-January to mid-February, with bursaries to be awarded in May 2019. The scheme will be open via a public call to female artists working in all arts genres supported by the Arts Council. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has also said that considering the importance of the language revival movement during the revolutionary period, and the Department’s particular responsibilities to support the Irish language and the Gaeltacht, one of the bursaries each year will be assigned to an artist working in the Gaeltacht and through the medium of the Irish language. Applications from individuals or groups within culturally diverse communities and from people with disabilities will also be encouraged under the scheme. Minister Madigan said: ‘On this the 100th anniversary of the enactment of legislation to allow women to stand in general elections, I am pleased to announce a new scheme that both honours Countess Constance de Markievicz – herself an artist – and provides support for female artists from all backgrounds and genres in producing new work that reflects on the role of women in the period covered by the centenary commemorations and beyond. Today is particularly pleasing given the importance of culture, heritage and the Irish language to this Government. The Taoiseach has put on the record a very public commitment to double spending on arts and culture by 2025. Today is yet another important step along this road.’ About Countess Constance Markievicz Countess Constance Markievicz was a politician, revolutionary, nationalist, suffragette and socialist who served as Minister for Labour from 1919 to 1922. A founder member of Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army, she took part in the Easter Rising in 1916, when Irish republicans attempted to end British rule and establish an Irish Republic. She was sentenced to death but this was reduced on the grounds of her sex. On 28 December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin TDs, formed the first Dáil Éireann. She was also the first woman in the world to hold a cabinet position.