Creating Time Awards 2020/21

Creating Time Awards 2020/21

First series of Unlimited grants awarded to d/Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent Artists

Winner of The Voice, Andrea Begley, is one of 11 d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists to be awarded £1,000 by a new grant programme run by the University of Atypical.

The Creating Time Awards is the first in a series of grant programmes funded by Unlimited and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to support Northern Ireland’s d/Deaf and disabled artists to develop their work and enable them to reach new audiences.

Talented singer songwriter Andrea from County Tyrone and niece of Irish Country singing legend, Philomena Begley, said the grant would help her develop her audience reach and generate new products.

She explained: “As a visually impaired artist there are some things that I struggle to do and this grant will afford me the time and expertise of someone who is sighted to collaborate with me. Many online and digital platforms aren’t built in an accessible way, so a task like setting up an email marketing list for my fans is impossible for me. With the grant, I also plan to develop designs for merchandise that can be sold along with CDs; it’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time.”

The Creating Time awards are designed to provide d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists with funding to access mentoring to enhance knowledge or skills, develop new ways to promote their work or simply to buy the time needed to continue with their professional practice.

Awards were made to artists in the following disciplines: Dance, Literature and Language Arts, Drama and Theatre, Music and Opera, Visual Arts, Film, TV and Combined Arts. The next programme, the Chris Ledger Legacy awards, opens in May 2021 and is named after the former CEO of University of Atypical who sadly passed away in the summer of 2020.

Awards were made to 11 established and emerging artists including:

Shannon Sickels (Yee), is an award-winning playwright best known for Reassembled, Slightly Askew, an autobiographical, audio-based artwork about her experience of falling critically ill with a rare brain infection and her journey of rehabilitation with an acquired brain injury.

Robin Price is a visual artist with a background as a theoretical physicist and his work centres on interactivity and technological interventions. He alters everyday devices so that the devices can be seen anew.

Grace Fairley is an artist and illustrator who graduated in 2019. Her animation ‘Submerged’ was commissioned specially for NI Mental Health Arts Festival. ‘Submerged’ is a short animation highlighting the feeling of being absent from your body

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, Unlimited, commented, “We are delighted to be able to use some of our emergency funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation to support artists based in Northern Ireland, an ambition we have wanted to fulfil for some time. It’s part of a continuing relationship with University of Atypical – enabling us to learn from each other and support these exceptional disabled artists from Northern Ireland to connect with those from England, Wales and Scotland as part of our alumni.”

Sean Fitzsimons, Chairperson of the University of Atypical, stated, “Covid 19 has caused great difficulties for many people in our community – especially the d/Deaf and disabled artists – but thanks to the generosity of Unlimited and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we are able to provide much needed funding to help d/Deaf and disabled artists continue working and to facilitate career development opportunities. The awards recognise the contribution d/Deaf and Disabled Artists make to the arts sector and to the community in Northern Ireland.”.

The Creating Time award recipients are:

Music and Opera

Andrea Begley

Die Hexen

Drama and Theatre

Shannon Sickels


Helen Hall

Linda Fearon

Literature and language

Geraldine O’Kane

Visual Arts/ Film/TV

Grace Fairley

Patrick Hickey

Lucas Dillon

Robin Price

Combined Arts

Luna Kalo

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