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IFTA-winning screenwriter James Phelan among recipients of Platform 31 artist bursary
21 Apr 2021 : Nathan Griffin
James Phelan
Waterford artist James Phelan has been announced as one of the 31 recipients of the inaugural Platform 31 bursary, the national development scheme for artists to develop their practice and test new ideas of collaboration, research, audience development, place based arts and sharing their work.

Developed by the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers (ALAAO), in collaboration with the Arts Council, Platform 31 offers financial and developmental support for the 31 mid-career artists awarded. 

“'I am delighted to receive a bursary for my film project 'Forsaken' and with it, the feeling of both local and national support that Platform 31 entails,” said writer James Phelan. “The genesis of this screen story emanates with my Mum and from within my home county and I really look forward to exploring and expanding this idea into an exciting and engrossing film project.”

Participating artists will receive an €8,000 bursary to invest in themselves and their practice, combined with participation in an advisory and developmental framework and a peer network. 

The pilot scheme is envisioned as a platform for the participants to value their time, to showcase their work and their collaborations, sharing their learnings locally and nationally as a legacy of the project.

Speaking about Platform 31, Arts Officers, Margaret Organ and Conor Nolan, Waterford City and County Council said that they were fully supportive of this innovative scheme in terms of the professional development opportunity it provided, and the unique networking supports it offered to the artists. They congratulated James Phelan on being selected to represent Waterford with his strong film project.

The carefully considered support network built into Platform 31 is said to be what sets this bursary scheme apart. The scheme will establish a peer networking framework for participating artists, introducing them to a pool of critical thinkers to share their work and learnings, and encouraging a national conversation about creating work in local contexts. The exact nature of this artist support framework will be informed by the proposals and interests of the 31 artists selected.

The nationwide invitation went out to artists of any discipline and practice, based in Ireland, as well as multi-disciplinary practice. 

“It is wonderful to see the quality and breadth of artists practice in the artists selected to participate in the scheme,” said Jenny Sherwin, Wicklow County Council Arts Officer. “There was a wealth of good ideas and a clear need for artists to connect at this difficult time. The bursary will help them pursue work and thinking which otherwise would have potentially had no outlet, and the peer network and practical development opportunities they will receive will bring them through what we hope are the final months of such severe restrictions in our country.”

“The Arts Council is delighted to support this thoughtful local authority led programme to support artists around Ireland,” said Sinead O’Reilly,  Head of Local, Place and Public Art, The Arts Council. “Support for artists continues to be much needed at this time and our congratulations to each recipient; I have no doubt the bursary, the network and peer support will be an invaluable experience over the coming months.”

The recipient artists, whose disciplines include visual arts, theatre, dance, music, circus/street art, literature and film are: 

CARLOW – Cian Kinsella; CAVAN – Kim McCafferty; CLARE – Maeve Stone; CORK CITY – Colette Lewis; CORK COUNTY – Tomasz Madajczak; DONEGAL – Julie Griffiths; DUBLIN CITY – Philip Connaughton; DUBLIN SOUTH – Barbara Knežević; DUN LAOGHAIRE-RATHDOWN – Linda Quinlan; FINGAL – Christodoulos Makris; GALWAY CITY – Philip Fogarty; GALWAY COUNTY – Alannah Robins; KERRY – Con Horgan; KILDARE – Marie Farrington; KILKENNY – Alec O’Leary; LAOIS – Ella de Burca; LEITRIM – Anna Macleod; LIMERICK – Liam McCarthy; LONGFORD – Emily Brennan; LOUTH – Vivienne Byrne; MAYO – Breda Mayock; MEATH – Oisín McGann; MONAGHAN – Michael Gallen; OFFALY – Shanna May Breen; ROSCOMMON, Cathal Cleary; SLIGO – Ruth Le Gear; TIPPERARY – Laurence O’Dwyer; WATERFORD – James Phelan; WESTMEATH – Celine Sheridan; WEXFORD – Richard Carr; WICKLOW – Jody O’Neill

Platform 31 is managed by Wicklow County Council on behalf of The Association of Local Authority Arts Officers, in collaboration with the Arts Council. 

Click here for more information about Platform 31’s Local Arts initiative.





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