06 Jul 2022

Laois artist Ella de Búrca boosted by PLATFORM 31 bursary

Laois artist Ella de Búrca boosted by PLATFORM 31 bursary

Laois artist Ella de Búrca

Laois artist Ella de Búrca has been announced as one of the 31 recipients of the inaugural PLATFORM 31 bursary.

The national development scheme helps artists to develop their practice and test new ideas of collaboration, research, audience development, place-based arts and sharing their work. 

Participating artists will receive an €8,000 bursary to invest in themselves and their practice, combined with participation in an advisory and developmental framework and a peer network. 

The pilot scheme is envisioned as a platform for the participants to value their time, to showcase their work and their collaborations, sharing their learnings locally and nationally as a legacy of the project.

Ella de Búrca welcomed the help the award will give.

“I feel very grateful for receiving the Platform 31 Award for Laois. It means a lot to be supported in this way and at this time. The Arts are crucial to society, as culture is the fabric that binds us together. Ní neart go cur le chéile.” MORE BELOW PICTURE.

The artist describes the approach she takes to her work.

"I haunt old ghosts with new questions, particularly from a female perspective. I am especially interested in how we act as 'viewer,' and how we learnt to look that way, both as an individual and a community.

"Working with gestures, sculpture and poetry I create performative work highlighting the agency of contemporary art in provoking the status quo, questioning methods of viewer engagement and examining the role of socio-political forces on reception, engagement and discourse concerning contemporary art.

Ella's work has been supported by the Irish Arts Council, Fingal County Council and Culture Ireland. In 2016 she was the recipient of the Next Generation Bursary Award. She is currently pursuing a PhD at KU Leuven entitled ‘Modes of Viewing: How to Act.’ 

Developed by the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers (ALAAO), in collaboration with the Arts Council, PLATFORM 31 offers financial and developmental support for the 31 mid-career artists awarded. 

 Speaking about the scheme, Muireann Ní Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer said: “Laois County Council are delighted to announce Ella de Búrca as the selected  Platform 31 Laois artist. We hope Ella will benefit for the programme and the opportunity to reflect on her practice, the mentorship offered and the peer network of artists she will encounter. We wish her every success,”

Laois Arts Officer, Muireann Ni Chonaill, pictured at Cuffsborough House, Aghaboe with Artist Ella de Búrca. Picture: Michael Scully

For over 35 years Local Authority Arts Offices have worked directly with artists to ensure the arts thrive in all communities.  Working in a grass roots and foundational way has allowed Arts Officers to identify and to respond to the needs of artists, keeping the arts and cultural agenda focussed and relevant in changing environments.

The carefully considered support network built into Platform 31 sets this bursary scheme apart. The scheme will establish a peer networking framework for participating artists, introducing them to a pool of critical thinkers to share their work and learnings, and encouraging a national conversation about creating work in local contexts. The exact nature of this artist support framework will be informed by the proposals and interests of the 31 artists selected.

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The nationwide invitation went out to artists of any discipline and practice, based in Ireland, as well as multi-disciplinary practice. 

“The Arts Council is delighted to support this thoughtful local authority led programme to support artists around Ireland,” said Sinead O’Reilly,  Head of Local, Place and Public Art, The Arts Council. “Support for artists continues to be much needed at this time and our congratulations to each recipient; I have no doubt the bursary, the network and peer support will be an invaluable experience over the coming months.

PLATFORM 31 is managed by Wicklow County Council on behalf of The Association of Local Authority Arts Officers, in collaboration with the Arts Council. 

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