2021 Graduate Award

University of Atypical’s 2021 Graduate Award

University of Atypical 2021 Graduate Award in association with Ulster University, has been awarded to Nina Oltarzewska. Nina will receive a prize of £300 towards her professional development and support from the University of Atypical.

The annual UofA Graduate Award supports an exceptional d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artist at the beginning of their professional career. Nominations were invited from Belfast School of Art, Ulster University, to recognise the talent and promise of a D/deaf, disabled or neurodiverse student.

The panel considered Nina’s work as exceptionally promising, exploratory and innovative; her work is created from experience and deep emotion and has a fearlessness that is exciting.

Sean Fitzsimons, Chairperson of University of Atypical, joined in celebrating all nominees and in congratulating this year’s winner saying:
“The UofA Graduate Award in association with Ulster University, serves to amplify and elevate artists who identify as d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse. The 2021 winner Nina Oltarzewska, is a gifted and dynamic artist emerging from the BA(Hons) Fine Art course. We anticipate this artist will continue to develop work that will challenge and innovate as she continues in her professional career.”

Originally from Paris, France, Nina is a multimedia artist using sculpture, performance, video work that expresses emotions through immersive experiences. Nina uses space to create an intimate environment that involves both visual and auditory senses. She describes the goal of her work is ‘to build up momentum, until the work speaks to that glimmer of hope that we all somehow sense.’

On hearing of her win Nina said “I am honoured to have been granted this award. The role the University of Atypical plays in supporting the neuro-divergent, d/Deaf and disabled people is of great importance and I cannot wait to work more closely with them in the near future”.

Brian Connolly, Associate Lecturer, Sculpture/Lens, BA Fine Art at Belfast School of Art, Ulster University “The School of Art at Ulster University is delighted that Nina has been selected by the University of Atypical, for their Graduate Award this year. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that this has been a very challenging year for both students and staff. Under such difficult circumstances the artworks and exhibition is a credit to all the final year students on the BA Fine Art Course.”

The University of Atypical is the lead disabled led organisation working on behalf of artists in Northern Ireland who are d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland provides core funding to the University of Atypical. For more information on our work please email administration@universityofatypical.org.


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