Applications open for Arts and Disability Connect scheme 2021

Image from Arts and Disability Ireland

Applications for round one of the Arts and Disability Connect (ADC) 2021 scheme opened last week and will close on May 24th.

Funding for the scheme, which is run by Arts and Disability Ireland (ADI), has increased to €116,000 this year, allowing ADI to create a new award strand and increase some award amounts.

According to Amie Lawless, project manager for ADI, the aim of this scheme is to connect artists with disabilities to the arts sector.

“The scheme works across all art forms and all impairment types are included,” said Lawless. 

It allows people “to connect in with other arts professionals, arts organisations, venues, programmers and also for people to develop their skills and to engage in training and mentoring as well as creating new work,” she said.

ADI has given out 87 awards since the scheme began in 2014, however, with the two rounds in 2020 they were able to almost double the number of awards given according to Lawless.

Award Types

There are now four award strands in the scheme.

The New Work strand is for established artists with a maximum award of €15,000. The projects developed under this will be presented with established venues, organisations or festivals across Ireland. 

This award has increased in 2021, meaning that artists can “dream a bit bigger” and “be more ambitious”, said Lawless.

The Research and Development strand, which has been added this year, is for mid-career and established artists and has a maximum award of €5,000. 

Under this strand artists can “research, reflect, and critically engage with their practice” according to ADI. They can also develop relationships with arts partners which may help them to apply for the New Work strand in the future.

This award was created based on feedback from artists who wanted to “buy time” to create work, Lawless explained.

“Just having that time to reflect and think about the strategic partnerships they might develop, while also trying to make some new work as well,” she said.

For emerging, mid-career, or established artists who want mentoring opportunities there is the Mentoring strand. This has a maximum award of €3,000 which was also increased this year.

The Training strand is for artists who want to engage in professional development or other learning opportunities and it has a maximum award of €1,000. 

Increasing Accessibility

This year, ADI has also added Easy Read information to the ADC application process. 

“One of the things that we’re really proud of in the scheme, all along, has been that artists with intellectual disabilities apply to the scheme and they have had a really good success rate in terms of awards,” explained Lawless.

According to Lawless the ADI found that during Covid-19 a lot of the services and supports for people with intellectual disabilities were pulled back and family members weren’t able to give as much support in applications.

The Easy Read information will make sure that information is presented in plain English accessible to all people, said Lawless.

Speaking about the changes made to the ADC scheme this year Lawless said: “The scheme is developmental so it changes and evolves and grows with the feedback that we get from artists with disabilities as well.”

More information about the applications can be found at

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