Donegal artist Julie Griffiths has been given the support to pursue her work and new thinking through a new pilot scheme.

Julie, a visual artist and textile designer from Donegal Town, has been announced as one of the 31 recipients of the inaugural PLATFORM 31 bursary.

The national development scheme for artists will allow them to develop their practice and test new ideas of collaboration, research, audience development, place-based arts and share their work.

Julie Griffiths said: “I am really pleased to have been selected for Platform 31 and for the opportunity to reflect on my practice. I am looking forward to sharing and learning with the other artists and seeing how my work develops as a result of this networking and support.”

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.

Speaking about the scheme, Traolach Ó Fionnáin, Donegal County Council Arts Officer, welcomed the appointment.

He said “Donegal County Council is delighted to congratulate Julie Griffiths as the recipient of the inaugural Platform 31 Artists Bursary for Donegal. Julie is a pioneering, socially engaged visual artist whose practice is rurally based and focused, exploring themes of ecology, migration and belonging.

“Most recently, she was part of an Age and Opportunity/Irish Museum of Modern Art hosted project around hospitality and refugees and asylum seekers in Roscommon, Clare and Galway, and she hopes to use her Platform 31 bursary award to further develop this work in Donegal.

“Donegal County Council looks forward very much to facilitating and supporting Julie in this particularly timely work, over the coming year. As part of her bursary award, Julie will also join a new multi-artform network of Platform 31 artists from all over Ireland, which doubtless will provide invaluable opportunities for exchange of ideas, future collaborations and professional development.”

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.

For over 35 years Local Authority Arts Offices have worked directly with artists to ensure the arts thrive in all communities. Working in a grassroots and foundational way has allowed Arts Officers to identify and to respond to the needs of artists, keeping the arts and cultural agenda focussed and relevant in changing environments.

The carefully considered support network built into Platform 31 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
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