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A large group shot of Arts & Disability Ireland staff, Arts Council staff, and previous Arts and Disability Connect awardees on stage at the Project Arts Centre. There are about 70 people on stage, with a purple and multicolour projection in the background.

Arts and Disability Connect Turns 10


Posted: 18 June, 2024


Arts & Disability Ireland and The Arts Council celebrates 10 years of the Arts and Disability Connect Funding Scheme.


On 11 June, Arts & Disability Ireland invited previous awardees, organisations, and partners to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Arts and Disability Connect in partnership with Arts Council Ireland at the Project Arts Centre.

The event consisted of two facilitated panel discussions and a presentation, alongside questions from the audience. The day began with an address by Arts & Disability Ireland Executive Director Pádraig Naughton, followed by Maureen Kennelly, Arts Council Director. The morning panel was facilitated by Cathy Coughlan, Head of Project Potential at Project Arts Centre, and focused on Training Award and Mentoring Award recipients Philip Kenny, Tadgh Kinsella, and Mimi Seery.

“As I worked through my own barriers, I learned I find joy in dismantling barriers for others” – AlanJames Burns, Visual Artist

The afternoon saw a keynote by AlanJames Burns, followed by the second panel discussion on the New Work Award and Research and Reflection Award. This was facilitated by Paul Johnson, Arts & Disability Ireland Board member, and featured panellists Ali Clarke, Ciara Chapman, and Diane Crotty. See below for some snippests of the discussion throughout the day.

Access was provided throughout the event, including captioning, ISL interpretation by Bridge Interpreting, spaces to rest and socially distance, sighted guides, and image descriptions.

Arts and Disability Connect is funded by The Arts Council and managed by Arts & Disability Ireland. To learn more about the scheme, visit adiarts.ie/connect.

We want to create more spaces for disabled artists to produce work where their needs are understood, and provided for. We want to help people find space to create, to perform, to exhibit and to interact in venues that have the infrastructural capacity and expertise in understanding and addressing their individual needs” – Maureen Kennelly, Arts Council Director.

Arts and Disability Connect really helped me figure out what was needed for myself, so now when I am going for an Arts Council award I can approach their team and be like “This is what I need, can that be done?” – Panellist Tadgh Kinsella, Music and Visual Artist.

Arts and Disability Connect has changed so many lives in this room, and shifted so many careers with the people in this room… there are loads of people, like me, years ago who didn’t know this existed and didn’t know this was a provision. Didn’t know access riders and access costs and all of this were a thing. And I am sure everyone in this room knows that feeling of discovering “Oh my gosh, I can ask for help”.  – Panellist Ali Clarke, Dance Artist


Photos by Simon Lazewski.

The first panel of the day celebrating Arts and Disability Connect chaired by Cathy Coughlan, Head of Project Potential at the Project Arts Centre. Featuring Mentoring and Training awardees Mimi Seery, Philip Kenny, and Tadgh Kinsella. Photo by Simon Lazewski.

The second panel of the day celebrating Arts and Disability Connect chaired by Arts & Disability Ireland board member, Paul Johnson. Featuring New Work and Research and Reflection awardees Ali Clarke, Ciara Chapman, and Diane Crotty. Photo by Simon Lazewski.

Visual Artist AlanJames Burns delivers a keynote mid-way through the afternoon, introduced by Pádraig Naughton, Arts & Disability Ireland Executive Director. Photo by Simon Lazewski.


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