a pilot programme for supported workplaces for artists in unit 59 CastleCourt
Lead artists: Ngaire Jackson, Bronagh Lawson
Ends 30 June 2023
Pilot project for supported work/studio spaces for visual artists with disabilities + space for co-operations with other creative practices.
MAKER MALL is a 12 week pilot project, testing and hopefully demonstrating the need and function for assisted workspaces for artists who require support to carry out their artistic practice.
Driven by previous projects with artists with disabilities, we are convinced of the necessity and artistic benefit to create work/ studio/ rehearsal spaces for artists in need of support to work creatively. Though such provisions exist in the South of Ireland like KCAT, Kilkenny; DoubleTAKE Studios, Dublin or Crawford Supported Studios, Cork or in the UK ActionSpace, London; KMAdotcom in Midlothian; Project Ability, Glasgow or Project Onward in Chicago, we ask: why not here?
There are no permanent workspaces for artists and creatives providing additional support in Northern Ireland, apart from short term programmes.
Though it has to be highlighted that 'Arts for All' runs Inspire, a city wide project enabling adults with learning difficulties to link into the professional arts community and develop skill. The Black Box opened a temporary place on Royal Avenue to run its unique Moon Base programme , 2018-19, and still host the Black Moon, a club night for adults with learning difficulties.
As for PS², due to short term leases and lack of necessary building adjustments, our building in Rosemary Street can't provide any fully accessible and supported workplaces for visual artist.
Maybe we will find out that there are more initiatives and provisions for artists and creatives identifying as Deaf, Neurodiverse or Disabled here in Belfast and Northern Ireland.
We have highlighted this deficit in Lets have a show, 2017 and more recently in 'right to create', 2020, showing work by artists requiring additional support and care. This is not (just) a matter of ‘social equality’ and ‘access to the arts for all’. We are convinced of the unique artistic contributions people with disability can make, especially if they have access to workshops and artist development programmes as a lead into professional practice.
If you want to take part in this programme or contribute in any way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Right to create, 2020/21. Installation view PS²:
Right to create, 2020/21. Installation view PS²:
-Unit 59 is on 2nd floor in CastleCourt, fully accessible, with disabled toilet inside, close by lift and easy access from car park
-set-up early March 2023
-project duration mid-March to June
-12 week long project, starting beginning of March getting the space ready, install: tables, boards to work on, drawing/ painting/ craft materials; shop window display of existing work/ info/ prep-meetings with participants, organisations/individuals interested to co-operate.
-targeted invite and open call
-mid/end of March start with assisted workspaces for visual artists who need support/ assistance to carry out their creative practice
-open 3 days for 3-4 hours each day (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday- to be agreed with participants) with two lead artists present.
-these are closed sessions to guarantee privacy and concentration
-no clearing up after sessions; work remains in the space, boards or tables
-depending on needs/ambition/interest offer of specific materials/ crafts/ techniques- could be workshop type or self-led/ assisted
-regular updated display of work in shop windows plus info material.
Because of the short lead up time we expect this to be a gradual process, starting with few artists taking part plus other interested practitioners or organisations who will use he space outside of the core studio hours,
For and with whom
Maker Mall is for any creative person interested in visual arts, craft or making who needs some sort of support to do their work.
If you or someone you know is interested, please contact email@example.com or 07733457772
As unit 59 is very large there is space for other organisations or individuals to use the unit along the project outline of supported creative work/ rehearsal/ activity spaces. It is our aim and wish to include different art forms and creative practices in this project and ideally long term into the future. This includes:
-dance/movement, music/sound or theatre/performance initiatives working with artists with disabilities, using the space for workshops, performances, talks....
-other creative activities and initiatives we don't know of (yet) which could be part in this project, i.e. craft, writing, reading, gaming, socialising, clubbing....
What we hope to achieve
-participants and all involved hopefully will have enjoyed the programme
-demonstrated the necessity and relevance for assisted workplaces for creatives requiring support
-have highlighted some exceptional artistic work produced during the project run
-have learnt from our own experience and others being more equipped to progress
-have created a network of participants with disabilities, organisations and individuals from different disciplines who are interested in assisted workspaces similar to KCAT...
-have created (some) public interest and awareness
-initiated a campaign
-identified funding possibilities
-write up of a brief for a long term project/ initiative
-evaluated a proof of concept on the benefits to participants and the visual art community of such a project.
Image top: Christopher Simpson
This project is supported by Belfast City Council through an Artist Studios and Maker Spaces Organisational Grant.
PS² is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Many Thanks to CastleCourt for their support.