Deaf & Disabled Artist Support Fund

University of Atypical and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland are delighted to announce the recipients of the D/deaf and Disabled Artists’ Support Fund, a National Lottery supported programme worth £25,000. This fund has been created by Arts Council, by repurposing National Lottery funding, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its subsequent impacts upon artists.  Following a high level of interest, 31 artists were funded to undertake research projects, professional development or create new work.

The aim of this fund is to financially support deaf/disabled artists in Northern Ireland, who have suffered a loss of earnings, to undertake research, professional development or create a project. It’s also important to note that this fund is available in addition to, and not instead of, the Arts Council’s recently announced National Lottery supported £500,000 Artists Emergency Programme.

Chairperson of University of Atypical, Damien Coyle, said, “This was an extremely competitive process for awards offering vital support to deaf and disabled artists at a time when many are reeling from the economic, social and health and wellbeing impacts of Covid-19. As a consequence of lockdown, D/deaf and disabled artists have lost the opportunity to gain commissions, exhibit their work, deliver learning programmes and other means of generating income.”

He continued, “Many D/deaf and disabled artists have had to apply shielding or self-isolation guidelines due to being at high risk and this in turn has created concerns around mental health and wellbeing. D/deaf and disabled artists will use their awards to explore new methods for engagement, make preparation for promoting their work when lockdown is eased or lifted, and will have time and resources to invest in their professional practice. University of Atypical offers our gratitude to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for making these important funds available to D/deaf and disabled artists.”


Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “The National Lottery has always supported projects that help people and communities across the UK thrive. Now, funds worth £600 million are available, switching focus to support communities, arts, heritage, sport, education and the environment to mitigate the unprecedented pressure they are coming under as we all rally to overcome COVID-19.

“In response to this tremendously challenging time for individual artists, the Arts Council is delighted to make this new D/Deaf and Disabled Artists Support Fund, worth £25,000 of National Lottery funding available.  Working alongside the University of Atypical, we hope this new fund will have a significant, positive impact during this difficult time.”

Artists offered funding include:

Visual Artist, Joel Simon, will be using the funding to create a series of figurative paintings inspired by his observations of loneliness and alienation, pertinent to our times.  In addition, he will develop free online art tutorials, tailored for beginners in the medium of figurative oil paintings. Participants will be invited to send Joel images of their work on which they will receive feedback and guidance.

Playwright, Shannon Sickels (Yee), will use her funding to research an audio-based storytelling project entitled, ‘Pandemic Parenting’. Shannon will interview parents who, for one reason or another, are negotiating different Covid-19 challenges. The fund will also provide mentoring support from experienced broadcasters/podcasters as well as interview transcription services.


Other artists offered funding include:

Alexandra McCalmont, visual art – ceramics

Catherine Hatt, music/sound

Elizabeth McGeown, poetry/performance/literature

Emma Whitehead, visual art – textiles

Gary Shaw, visual art – painting

Hannah Miller, visual art – illustration

Helen Hall, dance/visual art

Hugh O’Donnell, visual art – performance

Jacqueline Wylie, visual art

Kenneth Stacey, visual art – painting

Kristofer Marsden, music

Linda Fearon, dance/physical theatre

Malachy McCrudden, visual art – photography

Marie-Thérèse Davis, visual art/sound

Maureen McDevitt, visual art – ceramics

Michael Ryan, visual art – photography

Nathan Elout-Armstrong, poetry/performance

Niamh McConaghy, visual art – painting

Norma Beggs, visual art

Rosie Burrows, visual art

Ruth McGinley, music

Shiro Masuyama, visual art – video

Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell, visual art – performance

Siobhan Ferguson, visual art – photography

Steph Harrison, visual art – print

Una Walker, visual art – video

Vikkie Patterson, visual art – painting

Wendynicole McGuinness-Keys, visual art/sound

William McKnight, poetry


Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of Covid-19 on local communities across the UK.

To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors across the UK to date, visit the National Lottery Good Causes website

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