Smashing Times December Newsletter: Strength in Disability

Hello and welcome to the December edition of the Smashing Times Newsletter. As 3 December was the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the theme this month is ‘Strength in Disability’.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines disability as ‘long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.’ The World Health Organization states that ‘almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life. An estimated 1.3 billion people – about 16% of the global population – currently experience significant disability.’ Ireland’s Census 2022 findings, published by the CSO, reveal that a total of 1,109,557 people (22% of the population) reported experiencing at least one-long lasting condition or difficulty to any extent.

Across the world, persons with disabilities encounter discrimination and barriers every day that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis with others. For example, they are commonly denied their rights to be included in school and the workplace, to vote, to participate in sport and cultural activities, or to consent to or refuse medical treatment. A disproportionate number of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, often marginalised and in extreme poverty. Indeed, to take a recent example, Human Rights Watch have said that Israel’s present bombardment, blockade, and ground offensive in Gaza is taking a huge toll on Palestinian civilians with disabilities, as they face greater difficulties fleeing attacks and accessing desperately needed necessities and humanitarian aid.

Yet, for many persons with disabilities, creating art represents a chance for fulfilment, self-expression, catharsis, self-understanding, or simply a means of making sense of life’s tumult. Through providing a dedicated space for artworks exclusively by persons with disabilities, we aim to offer important exposure to artists from an often-neglected minority.

Read on for artist contributions from Featured Artist Mary Duffy, in addition to Jack Kavanagh, Lindsey Power, Ailís Ní Ríain, and Anthony Cullen. Following this is company and partner news, 10 We Admire, and Grants and Opportunities.


‘There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.’
         – Robert M Hensel

‘Art is supposed to make you feel something, and I began to realise my appearance was my art. My body, my face, my scars told a story – my story. But I guess that’s how life works sometimes – noticing beauty only in retrospect and poetry, in silence.’
         – Alice Wong

‘He saw all this gay, hurtful life spread in generous haphazard prodigality around him like a warm sea, and he grew weak with tongueless tenderness, with the murderous longing to step over the threshold, through the waiting door, and stay forever beyond the lighted window, and never know the hunger for voyages, never heed the wind-whispering hailing call across impassable seas.’
         – Christy Brown


On the left, Andrea Bocelli, grey-haired, holds a mic and wears a white jacket and an off-white scarf. On the right, Sarah Brightman, dark-haired, also holds a mic, and wears a white dress.
Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

‘Time to Say Goodbye’ by Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli is an Italian tenor who was born visually impaired by congenital glaucoma. At the age of 12, he became completely blind, following a brain haemorrhage that resulted from a football accident. Since 1994, Bocelli has recorded 15 solo studio albums of both pop and classical music, three greatest hits albums, and nine complete operas, selling over 85 million records worldwide. One of his best known collaborations is ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ (1996) featuring Sarah Brightman, an English version of his 1995 hit ‘Con te partirò’. The song has topped the charts over and over since it was first released. The music was composed by Francesco Sartori, an Italian trumpet player, pianist, and composer, while the lyrics were written by songwriter Lucio Quarantotto. Due to the international acclaim Bocelli found with the song, he went on to release further versions in other languages. Click here to listen to ‘Time to Say Goodbye’.
Seven people, comprising the key cast members and writer-director of the film CODA, two of whom hold Academy Awards, stand in front of a step and repeat backdrop doing the I Love You sign in American Sign Language.
The cast, director, and writer of CODA

Winner of the 2022 Academy Award for Best Picture, CODA is a 2021 coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Sian Heder. It stars Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, the titular, teenage child of deaf adults (CODA) and only hearing member of her family, who attempts to help her family’s struggling fishing business while pursuing her own aspirations of being a singer. The film, which is an English-language remake of the 2014 French-Belgian film La Famille Bélier, casts deaf actors to play the deaf characters, who communicate using American Sign Language. CODA won numerous awards, including all three of the nominations it received at the 94th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Watch the trailer here.
Blindboy Boatclub, with his trademark shopping-bag mask, sits on an armchair in a black hoodie and blue jeans, against a blurry background. He stares at the camera with sullen intensity.
The Blindboy Podcast

David Chambers, known by his professional pseudonym Blindboy Boatclub, is an Irish satirist, musician, podcaster, author, and TV presenter. Hailing from Limerick, he is best known as one half of the Irish comedy hip-hop duo The Rubberbandits, who wear plastic shopping bags as masks to conceal their identities. Since 2017, Blindboy has been making The Blindboy Podcast, a podcast featuring interviews and coverage of social issues. The eclectic podcast contains short fiction, interviews, and comedy, as well as regular discussions of mental health, masculinity, and other sociopolitical issues. Blindboy was diagnosed with autism in his 30s, which he describes as feeling like ‘the curiosity I was born with never left me’. Listen to the podcast here.
Art Inspires
In the foreground, Mary Duffy is seen from behind painting a self-portrait with her left foot, and wearing a red floral-pattern dress. In the background to the left, her reflection is visible, revealing her expression of concentration and the bits and pieces of her artist's studio.
Featured Artist: Mary Duffy

Our Featured Artist for December is the Irish visual artist Mary Duffy. Based in Wicklow, Mary has been an artist her entire life, using many different artforms, from performance to photography, installations, and painting. Currently engaged in painting, her media of choice are cold wax and oil paint. You can visit her website here.

Mary’s three artworks below tap into themes of disability, individuality and character, and humanity. With dark, cryptic backgrounds, thick brushstrokes, and a striking use of colour and shadow, Mary brings her subjects to life in all their vivid, pulsing thereness.
A painting of a woman wearing a white, blue, and grey dress, her expression somewhat solemn and forelorn, her legs crossed. The background is a shifting blend of dark blue and black.
Portrait of the Artist

Acrylic on paper. 65 x 50cm

This self-portrait by Mary Duffy displays not just a reasonable likeness to herself but an arresting depth of character. As Mary herself says, ‘While it’s clear I have no arms, that fact is hinted at and not “in your face”. My lack of limbs is incidental to the portrait, but I think the twist of my hip gives an indication that there is something different going on here which requires a second glance.’ Portrait of the Artist was selected and sold at the RHA annual exhibition in 2015.
A painting showing a man in a blue jacket and beige trousers sitting in a wheelchair, his hands crossed. The floor beneath him is a gold-tinted mauve, the background purple and blue.
Donal Looking Dapper

Oil on canvas. 50 x 40cm

A charcoal drawing of a man resting the side of his head on his right hand, gazing out at us with an ambiguous mix of tenderness and watchfulness. He is surrounded by a swirling blackness.
Sketch of Donal

Charcoal on cartridge paper. 40 x 30cm
Some time ago, Mary Duffy had an ambition to complete a series of 10 portraits of fellow disabled people. She tentatively named the series Stigma. Though simple in concept, the series proved difficult to realise. As she says herself, ‘At the risk of sounding naïve, I did not foresee that my sitters would not behave like professional models. They were ordinary people, with busy, complex lives. In addition, we were all dealing with significant impairments, as well as challenges with comfort and stamina. These matters strangled my progress and taught me how to fail.’

The oil painting and charcoal drawing above are of Donal Toolan (1966-2017), a fierce and eloquent disability rights campaigner who was also Mary’s friend. She did the oil painting in 2006 when Donal came to her studio, completing it in one sitting. Mary undertook many more portraits of Donal in the following years, like the quick charcoal study shown above, from 2012.
In a wheelchair, Jack Kavanagh wears a sky-blue shirt and blue jeans, smiling slightly to his left. Behind him is a potted dark-green plant, two sets of railings, and, behind them, an off-white wall.
‘Diverse Ability, Not Disability’ From the Only Human Podcast by Jack Kavanagh

In this episode from his Only Human Podcast, speaker Jack Kavanagh from Dunshaughlin, Co Meath breaks down and challenges the conventional societal understanding of disability, offering some astute and progressive insights into the area. As he prefaces this episode, ‘I don’t necessarily believe in disability, I believe in people and people have diverse abilities. The thing that enables or disables any individual is the environment in which they exist. The legal, cultural, social, physical, mental, and emotional environments we live and work in are the places that either dampen our potential or allow us to flourish.’ Click here to listen to this episode on Castbox at the click of a button.

In the years since Jack Kavanagh suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury in 2012, leaving him with 15% muscle function, he has challenged the perceived limitations of his situation. In 2014, he gave the acclaimed TEDx Talk Fearless Like a Child, Overcoming Adversity (watch here) and in 2019 was named one of JCI Ireland’s Ten Outstanding Young People Of The Year, while his 2016 documentary Breaking Boundaries (watch here) received several international awards.
An abstract painting with a swirl of orange, purple, and light blue, with white in the centre and background, and what might be black fingers poking out from the top left of the swirl.
Whirlwind by Lindsey Power

Acrylic, ink, watercolour, and Posca on paper. 84 x 59cm

Created during a time of upheaval, Whirlwind by Lindsey Power was inspired by the protagonist of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, who exclaimed, ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore.’ It was made as a direct response to the artist feeling lost and outside of her reality, as she juggled multiple problems related to her health, separation, and consequential homelessness. The alien landscape represents the artist’s battle between hope and fear.

Lindsey Power is a multidisciplinary fine artist who uses her creativity as a positive way of coping with the effects of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her artworks have been exhibited, published, and collected internationally, opening dialogue about mental health issues to reduce stigma and inspire others to harness the power of artistic pursuits. Visit her artist Facebook page here.
An image reading Ulysses Journey 2022 and displaying James Joyce's Martello Tower in Sandycove against a dark-blue background, superimposed by a button to play a video.
‘I will see if I can see’ by Ailís Ní Ríain
‘I will see if I can see’ (Irish: ‘Feicfidh mé má thig liom feicsin’) is a 2022 short film by Ailís Ní Ríain. With classical accordion, prepared piano, and pre-recorded voice with video, the film comprises 1960s cine camera footage taken by Jim Henry in and around Doohoma, County Mayo. It is inspired by the opening of ‘Proteus’, chapter or episode three of James Joyce’s Ulysses. In this chapter, it is nearly 11am and Stephen Dedalus is walking on Sandymount Strand. He closes his eyes and taps his way along the beach with his walking stick as he thinks about different theories of vision. The short film contains extracts from James Joyce’s Ulysses in Irish, translated and recorded in the 1980s by Jim Henry. 

As Ailís herself explains, ‘I selected a series of images/sequences which I felt added an additional resonance to the accordion and prepared piano lines, and to the themes being explored in Joyce’s text. There are references to the beach, to bodies, to being trapped in eternal darkness. A little boy walks backwards or forwards, echoing Stephen’s questioning whether what we see is real when he closes his eyes to hear and to see if he can see.’

Accordion: Dermot Dunne
Altered piano: Ailís Ní Ríain
Irish translation and voice: Jim Henry
Video: Ailís Ní Ríain

Ailís Ní Ríain is a classical composer originally from Cork. She works broadly in the area of music, theatre, and installation, and is particularly passionate about the fairer representation of D/deaf & disability in the arts. Click here for her website, and here for her most recent album, The Last Time I died.
A colourised screen print showing what resembles an upside-down child, light grey, surrounded by a layer of dark blue, and with a background of pinkish red.
Night Falling by Anthony Cullen

Screen print on paper. 42 x 30cm
Night Falling, a colourised screen print by Anthony Cullen, was inspired by night-time struggles in an orthopaedic children’s ward in an Irish hospital in the 1980s, which he attended between the ages of five and ten. The patients in the ward were dealing with recovery from surgery and loneliness. It forms part of an overarching art project he is presently working on, entitled The Hierarchy of Seriousness. I was visiting the hospital because the nerves in my arm were damaged due to an injury at birth, but I felt I was way down the hierarchy of seriousness. 

On his experience in the children’s ward, Anthony says, ‘I was visiting the hospital because the nerves in my arm were damaged due to an injury at birth, but I felt I was way down the hierarchy of seriousness. Initially, this ward didn’t make sense, but it had a profound effect on how I see myself and the language I use about my own body. I use memories of the uniqueness of this space and the people within it to unlock insights into complex human experiences.’

Anthony Cullen is a Sligo-born artist interested in testing and exploring the structures and systems around us, with the aim of understanding our responses to them, particularly in relation to communication and desire. With extensive drawing and research supporting his practice, he primarily uses video, installation, and performance to engage with an audience. You can visit his website here, and his Instagram profile here.

Smashing Times News

A woman with long black and grey-died hair, wearing black, is seen from behind standing in a field of tall orange flowers. The sky above is white and grey.
Concluding Projects

A number of projects in which Smashing Times Centre for the Arts and Equality are involved are reaching their end. Below is some information on three such projects.

As the Erasmus+ funded Remembrance project reaches its conclusion, we are delighted to share the project outcomes, an online digital book, an online platform for assessment of cultural heritage, and a war and remembrance training approach. The latter is based on a theatre workshop model that aims to promote knowledge on the most significant EU wars and conflicts, highlighting important learnings from cultural heritage remembrance and fostering debate to highlight the importance of freedom and respect for democratic values.

The project partners are AHE, Łódź, Poland (lead partner); Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, Dublin, Ireland; Instalofi Levante Sl, Valencia, Spain; University of Cyprus, Cyprus; and Panepistimio Thessalias, Greece. Click here for more information on this project.

Smashing Times are delighted to have been involved in the DUB-IN project over the past two years. Funded by Erasmus+ programme, the project reaches its conclusion in early 2024. The DUB-IN project caters for people with psychosocial disabilities (PwPD) suffering from severe mental health issues such as schizophrenia. The DUB-IN project has developed an online Training Service which will 1) Provide trainers and practitioners with a pioneering solution to support PwPD in building social skills and 2) Develop a quality intervention and an attractive learning opportunity, based on the art of dubbing, which will open new opportunities as voice actors, increasing the diversity of existing voices. 

The project partners are Fundacion Intras, Spain (lead partner); SSPS (EKP) Greece; Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, Dublin, Ireland; Pro Mente, Austria; EPR, Belgium; and National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. We look forward to sharing all the project outcomes in early 2024; in the meantime, you can read more about the project here.
Empower Active Young Citizens to Influence Society (AYE)

The Erasmus+ funded project Empower Active Young Citizens to Influence Society (AYE) is almost completed. This project, led by Smashing Times, aims to promote young people’s initiative and civic engagement. It also seeks to contribute to quality and innovation in youth work by developing a range of engaging methods, tools, and a non-formal learning programme to foster the inclusion and civic engagement of young people, with a particular emphasis on young people at risk of marginalisation and social exclusion.

The project partners are Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality (lead partner), Dublin, Ireland; Inthecity Project Development B.V, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Fundația Centrul Educațional Spektrum, Miercurea Ciuc, Romania; Social Youth Development Civil Non-Profit Society, Kalamata, Greece; Soluciones Techno Professionales Counsulting, Zaragoza, Spain; and Ici et Ailleurs, Etang-Salé, France. The final project outputs will be available on the Smashing Times website in early 2024. More information on this project is available here.
A close-up of a candle's flame against a blurred background of darkness peppered with red, turquoise, and yellow lights.
Season’s Greetings From Smashing Times

Smashing Times would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. 2023 has seen Smashing Times perform in Áras an Uachtaráin for Bloomsday; present States of Independence exhibitions, installations, and performances in Kerry, Donegal, and Dublin; run the annual Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival in October; and conduct many more activities in Ireland and abroad. It has been an incredible year for the organisation as we continue to address issues of equality and social justice through the arts. We very much look forward to continuing this journey in 2024.
A maroon graphic displaying the text 10 We Admire in white.

10 We Admire

In line with our theme of ‘Strength in Disability’, this month’s 10 We Admire has been chosen from a wide pool of companies who are working to confront myths about disability, and to radically transform theatre practices by telling stories through the lens of disability, paving the way for the normalisation of inclusive practices. There is an ever-growing movement of companies and collectives rewriting the stage rulebook, ensuring the true breadth of experiences of neurodiverse, deaf, and disabled people are represented on stage, just like the rest of society.

As Emma Selwyn of the collective Not Your Circus Dog states, ‘Neurotypical and most able-bodied people are allowed to show a wide range of humanity – let’s not forget that neurodivergent people have just as wide a range of humanity too. It’s just on slightly different terms.’
Blue Teapot Theatre Company

Originally founded in 1996, the Galway-based Blue Teapot Theatre Company has evolved from a community arts project within the Brothers of Charity Services Galway to become an award-winning independent theatre company that supports an increasingly rich and diverse practice. Working to radically transform theatre practices by telling stories through the lens of disability, they pave the way for inclusive practices to become the norm. By pushing the boundaries of what is possible, they celebrate creativity and challenge the narrative about intellectual disability. Read more about Blue Teapot Theatre Company here.

Chickenshed is a theatre company for everybody. Based in London, for fifty years they have created bold and beautiful work based on their limitless belief in people. Through their productions, performance training, education courses, and outreach projects, their mission is to create wonder out of chaos and change out of challenge. ‘We succeed together or not at all. This is our vision of how the world should be – a society where everyone can flourish. We’re here to shake things up by sharing our experience with each other, with those who hold power and with those who feel they have none. We do this on stage, off stage and wherever people come together.’ You can read more about Chickenshed here.
Compagnie de L’Oiseau Mouche

In 1978, a group of actors, directors, and social workers in France launched a theatre workshop with seven people with mental disabilities. The group denounced the absence of people with mental disabilities on the theatre stages of the time and the fact that any artistic practice was systematically associated with therapeutics. Their first creation, Pantins à vendre (Puppets for sale), triumphed at the Lille Opera and toured for two years. The workshop soon became the Compagnie de l’Oiseau-Mouche (The Hummingbird). In 1981, it became a professional company, based in Roubaix, with twenty-three permanent acting positions. Since then, some forty artists have directed the actors. The Théâtre de l’Oiseau-Mouche is a space for encounters between multiple artistic visions, and for interactions between the invited artists and the actors of l’Oiseau-Mouche. It supports creation by hosting numerous teams in creative and research residencies. Read more about this pioneering theatre company here.
Mind the Gap

Founded in 1988 by Tim Wheeler and Susan Brown, Mind the Gap exists to enable people with learning disabilities and autism to be part of an arts sector free from discrimination, where people are trained, respected, and employed equally, and feature every day on stage and on screen. The company works with learning disabled and autistic artists to deliver a bold, cutting edge, and world class artistic programme. A programme that excites, surprises, and challenges audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. Click here to read more about Mind the Gap.
Moomsteatern is an inclusive professional theatre company based in Malmö, Sweden. Actors with learning disabilities are employed on a full-time basis, on stage most often integrated with non-disabled freelance actors. The sole aim of Moomsteatern is to produce performing arts of high artistic quality. The theatre was established in 1987 with the express goal of working towards artistic objectives only, eschewing all therapeutic and social aims. This means that the focus group is always the audience, the story, and the art. Moomsteatern is a non-profit foundation, with 15 employees including artists, technical staff, and administration. Read more about this theatre company here.
National Disability Theatre

As of June 30, 2023, the UK’s National Disability Theatre’s (NDT) operations have stopped. The NDT Handbook, a free digital resource published on 1 July, 2023, is scheduled to remain on this site through 1 June, 2024. The National Disability Theatre was an organisation centred on the principles of disability justice, striving to employ professional theatre artists who create fully accessible theatre and storytelling that cultivates authentic, sensitive, and progressive attitudes towards disabled people. It also sought to change social policy and the narrative about disability culture, while providing a guiding model in accessibility for the arts and cultural sector. You can read more about the NDT here.
Not Your Circus Dog

Not Your Circus Dog is a UK collective of learning disabled and neurodivergent performers who are unapologetic and perform what the describe as ‘shameless, sexy punk crip cabaret’. With luscious lip syncs, sweaty dances, and verbatim stories, Not F**kin Sorry was their first show. Click here for more information on the Not Your Circus Dog collective.
Ramps on the Moon

Ramps On The Moon, a UK collective, enriches the stories they tell and the way they tell them by normalising the presence of Deaf and Disabled people both on and off stage. Alongside New Wolsey Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse, Leeds Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, and strategic partner Graeae Theatre, they share learnings between partners and across the industry. The work they do as a collective enables theatre buildings and workforces to break down barriers to those who may think theatre isn’t for them. Read more about Ramps on the Moon here.

Shed is a non-mainstream musical theatre project where the journey is more meaningful than the destination. Based in Helsinki, Finland, their activities provide children and young people with the opportunity to be presented as their own, unique individuals. Each of us has a need to be seen – regardless of what age or appearance we are, what kind of body we were born into, or what kind of opinions and ideas we represent in the world. The aim of Shed is to establish musical theatre that emphasises diversity in Finland, making it a country where people dare to believe in dreams and be seen just as they are. You can learn more about Shed here.
Teatr 21

Teatr 21 is a Polish theatre company whose actors are mainly people with Down syndrome and autism. During their 18 years of activity, they have created dozens of performances which have been presented in theatres and institutions all over Poland. In addition to its artistic activities, Teatr 21 is also involved in education, theatre pedagogy, publishing, and organising conferences, lectures, and work in international networks. Currently, Teatr 21 is part of the Centre for Inclusive Art project, which is the first social cultural institution in Warsaw entirely dedicated to the work of artists with disabilities. Its main task is to include various social groups in the field of art, culture, and science. Read more about Teatr 21 here.

News From the Network

A woman with brown hair and wearing a grey sleeveless top stands left of centre, facing right with a distinct look of apprehension. In the background is a kitchen.
Sinéad O’Loughlin’s Short Film ‘Lamb’ Longlisted for an Academy Award

Smashing Times were thrilled to hear that former staff member and friend Sinéad O’Loughlin’s short film ‘Lamb’ was longlisted for the 2024 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. In ‘Lamb’, written and directed by Sinéad, an ordinary day takes a sinister turn for a woman and her child when a stranger walks into their isolated rural home. ‘Lamb’ has previously been awarded Best International Short Film at the 2023 Bengaluru International Short Film Festival, first prize for Best Screenplay at the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, and Best Irish Short at the Dublin International Film Festival. The short film premiered in Tribeca and continues to tour on the festival circuit nationally and internationally.

‘Lamb’ is supported by Screen Ireland as part of its Focus Shorts scheme for emerging filmmakers with bold and original voices. The film stars Aoife Duffin and Éanna Hardwicke, and is produced by Lara Hickey for Copper Alley Productions.
Dr Philip Finn stands at a podium, speaking in front of a blue Arts Council pop-up with the Arts Council logo. He wears a mustard jumper, grey jeans, and glasses.

Dr Philip Finn shares insights on his research on artists at the intersection of work and welfare

Arts Council Event on Disability Benefits Reform Green Paper

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) has published a Green Paper which proposes reforms to the system of disability payments in Ireland. The purpose of a Green Paper is to encourage thinking and discussion, and to prompt suggestions as part of a consultation process. Click here for the Disability Green Paper, and here for the easy-to-read version.

DSP are now inviting submissions from individuals and stakeholder organisations, particularly people with disabilities, Disabled Persons’ Organisations, and Disabled Persons’ Representative Organisations, to share their views on the proposals in the Green Paper. The deadline for submissions is 15 March, 2024.

On Wednesday, 29 November, the Arts Council of Ireland held a research briefing and consultation event at Project Arts Centre, entitled ‘Artists with Disabilities – Rights, Work and Welfare: Research briefing and policy consultation on proposed Disability reforms’. The event, which had a strong turnout both in person and online, comprised a welcome address, a research presentation, a presentation on the Arts Council’s proposed approach to responding to the Green Paper, and a panel discussion, the last of which can be viewed here. For more information on the Arts Council’s actions on the Green Paper, please click here.

Call for Applications to Emma O’Kane Bursary

CoisCéim Dance Theatre are delighted to announce the open call for applications for the Emma O’Kane Bursary 2024. The Emma O’Kane Bursary is an award for independent artists who want to think beyond the boundaries of their art form and practice, and to explore dance or a physical language in their work. It honours the exceptional ethos and artistic practice of artist Emma O’Kane who died in 2021.

The Emma O’Kane Bursary is open to artists of all types and talents, from anywhere, at any stage of their career. If you have the curiosity to explore and integrate dance, movement, or other forms of physical language in your work; the courage to push art form boundaries and to challenge norms; and the ambition to be the best that you can be as an artist, CoisCéim Dance Theatre would love to hear from you. The deadline for application is 12 noon, 8 January, 2024. Click here for more information and to apply, and here for the application form.

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth logo.

National Disability Strategy Calls for Submissions

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth (DCEDIY) are heading the development of a new National Disability Strategy. DCEDIY have requested the National Disability Authority to lead on some elements of the consultation.

The consultation comprises a number of strands, including online thematic focus groups, a national questionnaire, and town hall-style in-person meetings. Disability organisations and in particular Disabled Persons Organisations (DPO), are invited to make a written submission. The national questionnaire will be available for individuals, but if you are not part of an organisation and would like to make a written submission, you are welcome to do so. They ask that in your responses you focus on solutions and tangible actions that can be done to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

See more information here. There is also an option to make a video submission; see here for an Irish Sign Language (ISL) video on how to make a submission. Please answer the questions in the National Disability Survey Written Submission Template and submit to by Friday, 12 January, 2024.

Grants and Opportunities

A person on a silver Apple laptop, their right hand on the mouse, their left raised in the foreground.
For writers, artists, and creators
Cork County Council Arts Funding 2024

Cork County Council invites applications for arts projects and activities that may be eligible for funding under the following grant assistance schemes in 2024.
  1. Arts Grant Scheme
  2. Artists in Schools Scheme
  3. Tionscadail Ealaíon nó Imeachtaí a úsáideann an Ghaeilge
The Heritage Council: Heritage Organisations Support Fund

The Heritage Organisations Support Fund aims to build the capacity of non-governmental organisations working in the heritage sector in Ireland by providing funding towards their core costs. The deadline is 15 January, 2024. Further details can be reached through our Grants and Opportunities page.
ArtLinks Bursary Award 2024

The ArtLinks partners in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford’s local authorities are pleased to announce that the Professional and Emerging ArtLinks Bursary Awards 2024 are now open for submissions. These awards are designed to support artists to develop their practice by providing artists with the time and resources to think, research, reflect, and critically engage with their art. The deadline is 22 January, 2024. Further details can be reached through our Grants and Opportunities page.
EURORESO AWARD 2023: Call for Initiatives
EURORESO are seeking submissions for the EURORESO Award 2023. The topic for this year’s award is ‘New skills for a better future’. They are looking for projects and initiatives that help people get new skills for quality jobs; foster skills development for more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and fair societies; and are innovative and use new technologies. The deadline is 31 January, 2023. Further details can be reached through our Grants and Opportunities page.
Schedule of Arts Council Funding Opportunities 2024
The Arts Council of Ireland have shared a schedule of Arts Council funding opportunities for 2024. Funding will be offered through 27 award schemes, all within the context of an unprecedented level of demand. Further details can be reached through our Grants and Opportunities page.
Job Opportunities and Tenders

Development Manager (Maternity Cover), Irish Architecture Foundation
At a time of strategic and spatial development, and with a new Director, the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) is seeking to recruit a dynamic, experienced, and highly motivated professional to fulfil the full-time role of Development Manager (Maternity Cover). The deadline is 5 January, 2024. Further details can be reached through our Grants and Opportunities page.
Administrator (Part-Time), Irish Theatre Institute/Safe to Create

The Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) is looking for an enthusiastic, motivated individual to join their team working on the Safe to Create programme. The deadline is 15 January, 2024. Further details can be reached through our Grants and Opportunities page.
That’s it for now. We will be back in the New Year with our January edition of the newsletter, themed ‘Rebirth and Renewal’, which goes out on 25 January. Please keep an eye on our website and social media for more information on artist and news item submissions.

Wishing you a joyful, restful Christmas and New Year,

Féilim Ó Brádaigh and Niamh Clowry