Hargey welcomes funding awards for disabled artists

Date published: 21 March 2022

Seventy-four d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists have been awarded funding to support their professional practice.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey with University of Atypical CEO Damien Coyle, and award recipients James Ashe, Joel Simon, Helen Hall and Anushiya Sundaralingam

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey today met some of the artists who had been funded by her department including Belfast visual artists, Joel Simon and Anushiya Sundaralingam; Craigavon illustrator, James Ashe and Newtownabbey dancer and choreographer, Helen Hall.

Welcoming the awards through the d/Deaf and Disabled Artists Support Fund, Minister Hargey said during a visit to University of Atypical’s Belfast-based gallery: “Our local arts sector is so important in terms of the contribution it makes socially, creatively and economically to the lives of individuals, communities and wider society. 

I am delighted that this funding has provided our local d/Deaf and disabled artists with much needed financial assistance. The support has helped enable the artists to invest in developing their careers, improve their skills and buy equipment and materials.

“It was a privilege to be able to meet some of these artists today and hear more about their amazing work and the vital role University of Atypical plays in supporting d/Deaf and disabled artists.”

The £148,000 has supported 74 grant recipients, thanks to collaborative funding from Department for Communities and Arts Council. The scheme has been delivered by The University of Atypical for Arts and Disability, with the awards of £2,000 supporting artists across a range of art forms including visual arts, dance, music, comedy, drama, literature and multi-art form.

University of Atypical CEO Damien Coyle said: “ We want to thank Minister Hargey for her ongoing support for d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists.  Her commitment to the arts and disability sector  during the covid-19 pandemic has been of vital importance and the financial support she set in place has been a lifeline for those who encountered real economic hardship.  

"This funding programme should be seen as the Department for Communities investing in the future of  the Arts and in d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists as  the work created through this funding programme will have real benefits for communities across Northern Ireland. We should not underestimate how important this funding was in supporting d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists to continue with their professional practice during lockdown.” 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Case studies are available from the University of Atypical, for further information contact Teri Kelly - teri@kellypr.co.uk
  2. The funding is part of the Executive’s Covid support. The scheme opened in October 2021.
  3. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  5. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI

Share this page

Back to top