£15,000 Rosy James Memorial Trust Award for Craft Makers re-opens for applications

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An aArts councilnnual craft bursary, the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, worth £15,000, has now reopened for applications.  This unique bursary aims to assist craft makers to develop their careers by creating a new body of work which would otherwise have been unattainable without the funding award.

Administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Rosy James Memorial Trust Award, established in 2014, came about thanks to the generosity of Rosemary James (Rosy), a local pioneer and patron of the arts.  Originally from Belfast, Rosy had a lifelong commitment to the arts and following her death in 2010, bequeathed over £500,000 to help artists and craft makers pursue their careers.  The fund will award one bursary of £15,000 per year.

Silversmith Stuart Cairns received the bursary in 2014 using the funds to enable him to extend and develop his practice through an extended period of regular research and investment into new equipment.  The bursary enabled Stuart to produce a new body of work, for exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally, which explored landscape, process and object through the reinterpretation of domestic forms.

Glass artist, Scott Benefield was the second recipient of the bursary in 2015.  Scott used the funding to develop a series of works using hand-blown glass and cabinetry, travelling to the Creative Glass Centre of America for a six-week residency to research and develop his ideas and elements of his technique.  This was followed by a week’s study in Venice before bringing the learning back to his studio in Randalstown.  The project will culminate in an exhibition of hand-blown glass and cabinetry in the UK and Northern Ireland.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented:

“The Rosy James Memorial Trust Award demonstrates the power of philanthropic giving to create lasting impact.  Rosy James leaves an incredible legacy.  Her passion for craft led her to leave the bequest that will allow new work of really high quality, and of international interest, to be produced by local artists.  It will give our artists the chance to devote time to their practice over the course of a year and to develop their ideas.  We look forward to receiving the next round of applications.”

Alan Kane, Chief Executive of Craft NI, which supports and promotes the craft industry in Northern Ireland, added:

“The Rosy James bursary scheme, now in its third year, provides a unique opportunity for the development of exciting new work which probably would not otherwise be created. This vital resource provides an environment and an inspiration which enables makers to push the boundaries of their practice. This will in turn influence the future direction of the whole industry in a very positive and inspirational way.”

Applications are now open and will close at 4pm on 26th August.

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