Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working to refocus plans to take account of the new reality we all face. The lateness of communicating the decision to cancel some schemes has caused understandable distress and confusion. We’re truly sorry for this and acknowledge that people had put a great deal of work into preparing these applications. The decision to cancel was made so that money can be reallocated into schemes like bursaries and commissions, which we believe are of greater practical help for artists, given the ongoing uncertainty and continuing restrictions. We want to be sure that the funding we offer will enable artists to readily utilize financial support this year without having to consider other factors over which they have no control. We continue to encourage funded organisations to prioritise artists in their revised planning and we hope that artists will be able to work with funded organisations in new and rewarding ways. It’s crucial that all disbursed and available funds reach artists this year.
We can assure you that Next Generation, Bursaries and Commission Schemes will go ahead as planned, and with expanded budgets. The bursary scheme is open to applicants to the Theatre and Dance Residency schemes and our team will be in touch with those applicants directly about this. We are extending the deadline for the Next Generation programme by one week to May 21st. Soon we’ll be announcing details of an expanded professional development programme.
These are troubling times when we collectively face the greatest level of uncertainty in living memory, and confront previously unimaginable challenges and fears. In all our individual designated bubbles, it can be hard to maintain an equilibrium. In public discourse, we often hear about the need to move away from ‘thinking in silos’. Now we’ll have to make sure that we can move safely outside of our bubbles and be sure to ban ourselves from thinking in silos. Now, more than ever, is the time for joined up thinking. To be human is to connect and we know that the arts are often the most effective way that we make that connection with each other. Recently, several Aosdána members broke into people’s bubbles by reading them beautiful poems for Poetry Day, showing yet again what good art can do in dark times.
We’re grateful to you all for your dedication to completing surveys and keeping in touch with us. For keeping everything in check and for keeping going, and for planning as far as you can for the future.
We promise to keep in touch with you about future developments in the best and most timely fashion and we hope you stay safe and well.