Newry poet scoops Arts Council ACES awards

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Newry poet James Conor Patterson has been awarded an ACES funding award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 

James is one of twenty emerging artists from Northern Ireland to receive the award, which is worth up to £5000 each, to develop a project that will enhance their professional careers.  



Awards under the Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) are made annually to professional artists working in music, visual arts, drama, dance, literature and participatory arts and are among the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Arts Council. 

The twenty artists include three drama awardees, six visual artists, five musicians, five literature awardees and one community artist.

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, many of the twenty artists have been partnered with a professional organisation or leading artists, at home or abroad, to help each of them to deliver new creative work. 



Some of these include;  Crescent Arts Centre, Prime Cut Productions, Queen’s University, Ulster Orchestra, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Moving On Music, An tSnáthaid Mhór, Tinderbox Theatre Company, Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, composer Garth McConaghie and leading soprano, Nathalie Paulin, University of Toronto. 

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented, “These 20 artists are already established and highly regarded in each of their fields. The ACES awards are given in recognition of their work to date and to provide them with support to take their careers to that vital next level.”



James Conor Patterson, whose writing has already appeared or is forthcoming in prestigious publications including The Irish Times, New Statesman, and Poetry Ireland Review, will use his ACES funding award to write and publish a new poetry collection entitled ‘Yew’. 

He will partner with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University and research the history of his home city of Newry to develop the new collection.

The Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES) forms part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annually. 



As part of its continuing commitment to supporting the development of individual artists, the Council made 244 SIAP awards to artists in 2017/18 totaling £544k.  Since its establishment in 2010, 137 artists have been supported through ACES.  Visit for information on all funding opportunities.


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