Create Ireland: Ready for round two to the AIC Scheme?

Hear from an Irish artist what it means to be an Artist In the Community scheme recipient.

In light of additional funding from the government, the Arts Council’s Artist in Community Scheme (AIC) 2020, managed by Create Ireland is up for round two.

The scheme offers awards to enable artists and communities of place and/or interest to work together collaboratively. The main objective is to encourage “a meaningful collaboration between communities of place and/or interest and artists.”

AIC Scheme

One bursary award is offered through the AIC scheme annually. Offered in a different context or artform each year, the award of €10,000 is to support and nurture professional arts practise and is particularly aimed at an artist who has worked collaboratively with communities of place or interest.

The bursary, open to artists from various art forms namely architecture, circus, street art, music opera, theatre, visual arts and traditional arts, provides the artist with time and resources to carry out research and to reflect on their collaborative practice.  

The are two deadlines each year for the AIC scheme and a number of awards are offered at each deadline.


This year marking the tenth anniversary of the AIC Scheme Bursary and ‘in response to changes brought about by COVID-19’, two bursaries under two separate categories i.e, Collaborative Arts and Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Arts and Human Rights were offered.

With additional funding from the government, the AIC Scheme managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, on behalf of the Arts Council. Round two is now reinstated. Applications and guideline information can be found here.

The Journey

TheatreMaker spoke to one such applicant of the AIC scheme who is one of the winners of the Emerging Artist Bursaries 2020, supported by The Arts Council.

picture credits: Ala Buisir. Ala Buisir in traditional Libyan attire

A former winner of the emerging artist bursary and applicant to the second round of the AIC scheme, Ala Buisir is a documentary photographer currently residing in Ireland. She is an Irish-Libyan woman whose work documents and revolves around the political tension in Ireland, Libya and several other countries. She aims to bring about a positive change in her surroundings through her work.

Responding to Creative Ireland’s announcement of a second round she said, 

“I love the fact that they did that. They had it before but it’s now open for ethnic groups.It’s a fund that changes the art sector for sure.” 

In spite of being actively involved as a visual artist in Ireland, she was rejected several times before she was finally accepted in the Irish Arts industry. 

Create Ireland believes that by working together, artists and communities can “purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our times.”

Ala, already living up to the vision of Create Ireland is using an amount of €2000 received in another bursary i.e Emerging Artists Bursaries 2020, to the cause of Muslim women in Ireland. 

“I’m doing a project on empowering Muslim women in Ireland, I’m showing their characters and I’m taking portraits of them and getting them to write on their own portraits on who they are in Ireland. That’s how I’m spending the bursary,” explained Ala

Speaking of her journey from being born to immigrant parents from Libya to being a recognised Irish artist she says, 

“Whenever I applied for a bursary, I was never selected, I was selected in the UK and Canada and that’s how I was finally recognised in the Irish Industry. That helped me build my work in Ireland and be recognised by the Arts Council. Receiving the bursary, made me feel like I was recognised as an Irish Artist and It was about time because I was not only invested creatively, but I also studied it. So, It really meant a lot to me. They gave me a grant that I can build on now in Ireland.”

Ala Buisir

One battle won, another to conquer; though Ala like many other artists in Ireland, faces new problems with increasing uncertainty every day, she doesn’t fail to see a positive in a pandemic too.

“Covid-19 has limited me in more ways than as I’m a visual artist. I use photography as a platform medium for my art but I can’t go out and shoot. Can’t set up a studio for participants or go to their house and set up a studio. But it gave me a platform to connect and network because all the events have become online so you can attend them from home if you can arrange yourselves accordingly. So, there’s a negative and there’s a positive.” stated Ala 

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