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 wideproject 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