The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Future Screens NI, today (Tuesday 10th August) opened a new funding programme which aims to provide individual artists from Northern Ireland with skills in the use of digital technology to support sustainability in the context of Covid-19.

Individual artists across all disciplines will receive a stimulus and technical guidance with the aim of producing high-quality Digital Art*.  The Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awardsworth £80,000, from The National Lottery and Future Screens NI, offers individuals the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £10,000 and is open to artists across all art forms.

To support prospective applicants to the programme, the Arts Council together with Future Screens NI, will host an online webinar on Wednesday 18th August at 10am to enable applicants to explore their ideas with industry experts. Registration in advance is essential and you can find details of how to attend on the Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards funding page on the Arts Council website.

The Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards aims to support those artists who are making digital art for the first time or are working with digital or immersive technology which they have not used previously. Collaborative applications from individual artists working together in cross-discipline projects and activities are also encouraged.  Examples of the types of project that this scheme will support includes:

·        Creation of a virtual environment or augmented reality environment; such as augmented reality visual arts or sound overlay on venues or geographical spaces

·        Using technology, such as 3D rendering and printing, to create artwork digitally which can either exist digitally or be manufactured into 3D physical objects

·        Using technology to translate data into artistic content; for example algorithms that create music or visual content from data input

·        App development for the delivery of artistic content; this could include gamification or making an artistic experience for consumption on digital devises. (note: this does not include streaming of filmed/recorded performances)

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,
“The opening of the Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards today is welcome news and we are delighted to partner with Future Screens NI on this exciting programme.  The programme will support artists in the creation of art using digital and immersive technologies, and will also help artists develop skills in the use of these new technologies.  This programme reflects the Arts Council’s commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross artform boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector.”

Professor Paul Moore, Director Future Screens NI, said,  “As we continue to experience transitions associated with Covid-19 it is essential that we support artists to develop the skills required to benefit fully from new, emerging and immersive technologies. Future Screens NI is privileged to partner with Arts Council NI to deliver the Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards which will enhance the ability of artists to develop ambitious creative projects employing new technologies and to develop specialist skills required to sustain the future of the creative industries”

The Individual Artists Digital Evolution Awards scheme is open for online applications from Tuesday 10th August and will close at 4pm on Tuesday 31st August for grants up to a maximum of £10,000.  For information on the webinar, eligibility, guidance notes and to apply visit Please note guidance notes are also available on request in large print format and disk.


*What is Digital Art within the context of this programme?

For this programme digital art is artwork that is created exclusively in the digital space; it can either exist in the digital space or be translated into a physical object or tangible experience through technology. Work that exists only in the digital space can be artwork that is consumed online or offline; the latter having some form of installation in a venue.

This grant programme does not cover the simple digitisation of art (in any artform) or performance and must relate to the development of your artistic practice and digital capability.  Filmed performances, audio recordings or video capture of material that would be intended for in-person performance is not suitable as the output of a project proposal, and applications applying for such output activity will be rejected as ineligible. Such filmed or recorded elements can be used as assets within a piece of digital art, for example within animation, virtual experiences, or app development.

About the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds.  Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.

Since The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £42 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

The National Lottery players contribute around £30 million to good causes every week.  The National Lottery has made more than 5,500 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes – over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.

About Future Screens NI

  • Future Screens NI is multi-million Creative Cluster Programme funded by UKRI via the Industrial Strategy programme recognised for Global Excellence.
  • Future Screens NI, Experimental Designs Won the Award for Best International Collaboration at the Irish Education Awards
  • Future Screens NI together have invested ££52.5mn in the local creative economy generating 3000 projects and creating and sustaining 1539 jobs.  (Video)