17 individual artists and cultural practitioners received support in 20/21 from DCSDC Individual Artists and Cultural Practitioners fund.
The fund is designed to support local artists and practitioners to develop skills and opportunities in the creation of new work.
DCSDC wish to acknowledge the resilience and creativity shown by recipients. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney:
“As for everyone, 2020-21 was an exceptional year and presented all sorts of challenges to the successful delivery of projects. We have been both delighted and totally impressed with how our individual artists and practitioners have managed to adapt to successfully deliver great and meaningful work, it bodes well for the creative sector and we would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend all the artists involved”.
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The awards supported a diverse range of projects and while looking forward to full return of “real world” collaboration, creation and sharing of work, most all recipients have reported positives from the experiences of adapting processes to deliver work in 2020-21.
Performance artist, Rachel Melaugh adapted 1:1 Hula Hoop Skills training to zoom:
“because of this, I was able to work with Gail O Brien (Hoop Skills), one of the leading hula hoop artists and trainers in the world. 1:! Training was invaluable and I cannot express enough how inspiring and supportive this process has been to allow me to come out of a year with an entirely new skill set”
Among the positives reported was the move to online or hybrid delivery and the ability of outdoor and digital platforms to reach wider and/or new and international audiences for individual artists.
Ayesha Mailey’s project Making Movement and Music was targeted at children from the rural areas of Donnemanagh. Covid restrictions made face to face working impossible. In response to this, Ayesha and her chosen collaborators moved to individually record movement and music workshop sessions for pupils of St. Michaels P.S, Donnamanagh creating a movement and music resource that the school can now access in their own time.
Speaking of this Ayesha said:
“Because sessions were recorded, all pupils had access rather than one class group. Increasing access by approx. 75%. The process strengthened my digital skills and awareness and I was able to build on relationships with fellow artists including local musician Ronan McKee and Echo Echo Ensemble artists Tonya Sheina, Kelly Quigley and Zoe Ramsey, strengthening foundations for future collaboration”.
One of the most ambitious and challenging projects to embrace the live digital platform was delivered by artist Melanie Bradley who rose to the challenges of Covid restrictions to deliver, The Seven Deadly Sins - a fusion of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, burlesque and theatre.
Written, produced and acted by Mel, The Seven Deadly Sins was intended to be a 60-minute one-woman interactive theatrical extravaganza, with added actors. Mel transformed the work into a 60 minute online, live streamed performance with pre-recorded elements, creating a platform for live theatre to happen and for people to engage with that live theatre in an online capacity.
Speaking of the process and collaboration involved, Mel said:
“The technology had to be completely investigated and heavily researched. I was extremely lucky to have Technician extraordinaire - John-Antony Gallagher, he really did everything from the camera switching to the streaming, sound, lighting, the whole lot..
The only other actor, Denzil Browne, pre-recorded all of his elements - filming, editing, props and set design for his pieces were done entirely by himself. The musician, Siobhán Sheils (Great White Lies) recorded the soundtrack and consultation was carried out over zoom and email correspondence. Set designer, Phil Ruddock was consulted and together plans were drawn up and completed keeping health and safety for all at the forefront of the production.
Fiona Allen looked after marketing and ticket sales evidence engagement at an international level. In response to requests we have recorded the performance and will be able to release it when the editing is complete.
A new-to-me added pressure to live delivery online is keeping a stable internet connection to allow live streaming and live performance to happen! I am very proud of the work and the creative team – to have connected with an audience and been able to deliver under such intense restrictions, live theatre – was just wonderful!”
Fellow recipients of the award in 20-21 include: Paola Bernadelli, Ronan Carr, Mairead Carten, Clarendon Street Studios, Creative Village Arts, Bronagh Corr Mc Nicholl ,Caroline Devenny, Ciaran Ni Dhochartaigh, Sue Divin ,Anne Gallagher, Left Ear, Gregory Mc Cartney, , Sue Morris, , Connor O Boyle
Derry City and Strabane District Council look forward to announcing the recipients of the 2021-22 Individual Artist and Cultural Practitioner Awards later this month (April).