Belfast Telegraph

New award honours memory of Constance Markievicz

The bursaries are intended to improve the representation of the roles, experiences and ambition of women.

Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald beside a statue of Constance Markievicz (Niall Carson/PA)
Sinn Fein Leader Mary Lou McDonald beside a statue of Constance Markievicz (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

A new award to honour the memory of Constance Markievicz has been announced to support the arts.

The new bursary scheme for artists was announced to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Markievicz’s appointment of the first female cabinet minister.

The Arts Council oversaw administration of the award scheme and received a total of 107 applications earlier this year.

The winners are a mix of writers, dancers and theatre makers: Sibeal Davitt, Isadora Epstein, Claire Kilroy, Louise Lowe and working in collaboration are Annemarie Ní Churreain, Kimberley Campanello and Dimitra Xidoous.

The bursary scheme both honours Countess Constance de Markievicz – herself an artist – and provides support for artists from all backgrounds and genres in producing new work that reflects on the role of women in the period covered by the centenary commemorations.

The bursaries are intended to improve the representation of the roles, experiences and ambition of women through original work in a variety of art forms.

Speaking at the announcement in St Stephen’s Green Park at the limestone bust of Constance de Markievicz, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said it was important to her that the award would go on as long as possible.

“There’s a great reflection in the winners of artistic pursuits, it’ll be interesting to see what other avenues and areas we see in the future,” she said.

“It’s great to give people a start, it’s decided on merit by the arts council and certain criteria – they had to be living in the Republic is Ireland for example, or have a demonstrable effect on Ireland and they also have to be a professional artist.

“Madame de Markievicz was an iconic pioneer, but just one of many formidable women of her era whose stories are still being revealed to us.

“Even following our most recent trip to the polls in May and the slight improvement in female representation on our local authorities, the theme of these bursaries serve as a further reminder that we still have a way to travel on the road to full equality in Irish political life.”

Future awards will be made each year to up to five artists or writers (either individual artists working alone or in collaboration with others) to a value of 20,000 euro per individual or group.

The scheme will open for submissions again early in 2020 with the next round of bursaries to be awarded in May 2020.

PA

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