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George Higgs and Aideen Barry are to receive Action Research Project Awards as part of the Arts and Health/Arts and Disability Enquiry. The focus of the award is action research through quality arts practice. One award will be dedicated to Arts & Disability practice and one to Arts & Health practice.

Create, the Arts Council, Arts & Disability Ireland and Waterford Healing Arts Trust have convened the Arts & Health / Arts & Disability Enquiry. The aim is to explore the points of intersection, divergence, synergy and tension that exist between Arts & Health and Arts & Disability practice in order to inform, enhance and shape thinking and collaborative practice within and between these sectors.

As a consequence of discussions between the partners – informed by a series of key readings and documents related to arts and health and to arts and disability (see below) – it was agreed that there were a number of areas of overlap that warranted further exploration, and that artists with experience of one or both of these areas of practice should be invited to become part of the Arts & Health Arts & Disability Enquiry. The Enquiry partners developed two Artist Action Research Project Award opportunities for artists with a track record in the field of Arts & Health and/or Arts & Disability. The timeframe for the action research will be between January and June 2014. The amount available for each award is €5,000.

Biographies of Artists

Aideen Barry

Aideen Barry is a practising visual artist. She works in the mediums of performance, film, sculpture, lens based media, musical composition, drawing and animation. Her work is known nationally and internationally. She has shown nationally in galleries and institutions such as Mother's Tankstation Gallery, The Royal Hibernian Academy, The Crawford Municipal Gallery, The Butler Gallery, Galway Arts Centre, and internationally in representing Ireland at The Loop Biennale in Spain, The Moderne Mussett in Stokholm Sweden, The Wexner Centre in Ohio, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Centre in New York, the Museum des Beux Arts in Lyon, the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris, the Louise T. Bloudin Gallery in London. She has also undertaken a number of international research based residencies. Barry has received numerous awards for her practice.

The 12-minute animated short ‘Jessica Casey – The Film’ was created with the collaboration of members of Away with Words collective and visual artist Aideen Barry. Away with Words was an idea of Claude and Mary Madec, set up as a collaboration between local writers and That’s Life (an initiative of the Brothers of Charity Services in County Galway to support people with intellectual disabilities to engage in the arts life of their communities). Photo: Aideen Barry.

George Higgs

George Higgs is a composer whose work includes opera, symphony, compositions for small ensemble, music for experimental theatre, work for installation and a number of HIGGSTRUMENTS which he has designed for the performance of certain compositions. His music has been performed across Ireland, in Russia and the United States and he has received numerous awards and honours including a grant from the Wellcome Trust, the Director's Prize from the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, various Arts Council awards and a MacDowell Fellowship. He holds a Masters degree in music technology from Trinity College Dublin and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland. His work DOOR was performed in Glasgow from October 31 to November 1 2013 for Sonica, a festival featuring 'sonic art for the visually minded'. This musical door, created through an Arts Council Project Award, was first trundled through the streets of Cork during the 2012 Midsummer Festival by musicians Sean Carpio and Kate Ellis.

The Lost and Found Sound Assembly - construction no. 3. Composer: George Higgs. Performers: The Sense Ensemble. AIC10, 27 November 2012. 

Key Documents

Arts Council Arts and Disability Policy and Strategy 2012 - 2016.
Arts Council Arts and Health Policy and Strategy 2010 – 2014.
Why arts and health should not be confused with arts and disability (P. Naughton, 2011).

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