Artlinks Bursary Award Testimonials

Artlinks is committed to providing assistance to professional and emerging artists, across artform, to develop their creative practice and has awarded support to artists in 2015 for professional development.

Below the recipients of the Artlinks Bursary awards in 2015 share what the Bursary Award meant to them and how it has helped in their professional development.

Testimonials like these help give an insight into the value of the award to artists across the four Artlinks partner counties.




"The 2015 bursary enabled us to present a performance at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. It was invaluable and we couldn’t have done it without such financial support.
Hopefully we will now further develop the performance and present it at festivals and theatres all over the country.

We are especially grateful because Columbanus was probably a Carlow man— historians put his birth-place as somewhere on the Carlow/Wexford border."

Name: Kerry Hardie     Art Form: Literature / Music



“The generous funding provided by ArtLinks allowed me to undertake the composition of a new work for Carlow Youth Orchestra. This work, entitled Saothar Molta, was performed on the 30th of May in the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, as part of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Carlow College of Music.
This work was a significant milestone for me in many ways – as well as being my first public performance of an orchestral work, and my first time conducting an orchestral performance, it was also a great opportunity for me to present my compositional work to a wider, mainstream audience, and to gain invaluable experience working with the highly talented young musicians of Carlow Youth Orchestra.
As well as covering the costs of printing, editing, and typesetting the work, my ArtLinks bursary allowed me to cover the labour involved in writing the work itself – composing is a long and often difficult process and the financial support was invaluable in this regard.”

Visit Bill’s Music Blog here                                                                                                                                    Name: Bill McGrath     Art Form: Music



“In July 2015 an Artlinks Bursary Award allowed me to attend a two-week course on Chinese Culture and Language at the East China Normal University, Shanghai. I could not have gone to China without the funding as the cost of travel was prohibitive.
During the course I learned about Chinese history and culture. For example: we learned how to read and write Chinese script, we practised the ancient art of Tai Chi, we attended a masterclass on Chinese Qinqu Opera, we visited the historic watertown of Zhujiajiao, (a town dating back to 300A.D.), we learned the folk tale of the Peony Pavilion, we learned Mandarin Chinese, we visited Shanghai Museum and saw artefacts dating back to 8000B.C.E.
This course and time spent in Shanghai has had a significant impact on my writing practice. I gathered new experiences, new settings, new characters, new themes, and new voices for my fiction and poetry. I also gained a fresh perspective on Ireland by looking back at it from five thousand miles away.
This has already started to pay dividends. I have written some new poems and I am working on a story about an ancient shoeshine lady set in Zhujiajiao.

Here is a haiku I wrote when I returned:

Shanghai July-
Black cicadas scream from treetops
Then suddenly stop.

The time I spent in China was an enthralling experience. Every moment there was a new learning experience. From hearing a hundred thousand cicadas screaming all day in the plane trees that line the streets of Shanghai to the thousands of people streaming through the Shanghai metro at rush hour, it was an unforgettable two weeks.
Sincere thanks to Artlinks and Carlow Arts Office for their continued support of my writing”

Name: Jonathan O’Brien    Art Form: Literature




I received an ArtLinks bursary in 2015 to assist with a short film project called “Lost And Found”. The bursary has been instrumental in helping me complete the post-production of the film. With the bursary I was able to purchase a much improved computer that allowed me to run the memory heavy programs used in picture and audio post-production. Without the ArtLinks bursary I would have been stymied in progressing the film.

“Lost and Found” is nearing completion and we should be able – in large part thanks to ArtLinks – to deliver the finished film in mid September.

Name: Liam O’Neill      Art Form: Film




 The bursary allowed me to attend the Robert McKee Seminars in London this year, May 2015. McKee is seen as the best script doctor, consultant in the world and people from all writing backgrounds attend his seminars, including John Cleese and many other big names. He takes you on a three day journey where he breaks down the world of writing in small manageable chunks of information that make your journey as writer easier. As part of the seminar he breaks down Casablanca over six hours showing you how the writers create the script and the story. He shows the impact that the five story lines have on each other and how turning points move them along. The seminars showed me more manageable ways of dealing with large story lines and ways of interweaving each story line with the main action of your story. It also showed me that a well structured story will have a better reaction from the readers working for studios, production companies etc. As a result of attending the seminars and some of the techniques I learned there, I have had interest in one of my film scripts from a well established agent.

Name: Pauric Brennan    Art Form: Film




“I was awarded an art links bursary to assist in the production costs for a highly specialized debut solo recording of Irish traditional and Breton (France) flute music. The recording features a number of different wooden flutes in a range of keys and is accompanied by Breton guitarist Nicolas Quemener. At present, the album sleeve design is being finalised and the expected release date will happen in the early Autumn of 2015.”


Name: Ciaran Somers   Art Form: Music


"This Bursary Award will support my postgraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where I was also offered an entrance scholarship from EMI Sound Music Foundation.Studies are due to commence on the Master of Performance programme in Collaborative Piano in September 2015.

In the past I have been a recipient of the Kilkenny Festival Bursary Award and the Royal Irish Academy of Music Fanny Robinson Bursary and a multiple award winner at many festivals throughout Ireland. I am passionate about performance, and particularly enjoy collaboration with instrumentalists and singers. I have been accompanied by some of Ireland's finest young singing and instrumental talent and am currently in demand as an accompanist.
A passionate music educator, I have worked as a piano/musicianship teacher in Carlow College of Music for five years and more recently with Music Generation Carlow as an early years practitioner and as official accompanist. I am so grateful for the support of Art Links and Carlow Arts Council."

Name: Gillian Daly   Art Form: Music





Visions Visions

"As a visual artist I have always used my camera as a tool in my practice of painting; going outdoors to record images that may become the basis for a painting.

In 2014 I upgraded my old camera to a new digital SLR and needed tuition on its use. I was awarded an ArtLinks Professional Development Bursary 2014 and completed a nature photography course at the Burren College of Art. I learned more photography skills taking workshops at the Galley of Photography Dublin- which I attended with support from an ArtLinks Professional Development Bursary 2015. I am now utilising my camera more confidently and am using photography as a new medium in my practice. I have had my first photography exhibition, To Sleep, in BANK Studios Dungarvan in August 2015."

Name: Blawnin Clancy   Art Form: Visual Artist





“Receiving an Artlinks Bursary has been of invaluable benefit to me in the weighty process involved in compiling a complete first collection of poems. First, the receipt of a bursary from a body as well respected as Artlinks, has brought with it a great sense of endorsement of my craft. Secondly, the bursary itself has made an immense practical difference to the time I can afford to my writing. It has allowed me to retreat to vital writing hours, away from the demands of everyday life in a very busy household.

Financial assistance in terms of undertaking a project such as mine has a two-tier benefit – practical support in enabling me to carve out time to write and the temporary removal of that constant preoccupation of the modern-day parent; the need to spend all of one’s spare time invested in income-earning work. Such preoccupation is, of course, entirely at odds with the creative process and as such the Artlinks bursary has corrected this and has allowed me to create a nurturing, practical and supportive environment in which I can write. I am very grateful.”

Name: Clodagh Beresford Dunne    Art Form: Poetry / Literature




“I like most, between theatrical commitments and working day to day to make ends meet, find little time to further myself along my chosen path of becoming a writer. I cannot express more sincerely the beneficial effect of receiving a bursary from Artlinks.

This priceless opportunity not only gives me the space and support needed for such but also the validity and confidence to continue in pursuing my dream, without which it would stay just that…a dream”

Name: Shauna Farrell    Art Form: Theatre Practitioner & Writer



In early 2013, I became a member of Artlinks.
Artlinks gave me the confidence to move forward with my writing career. As a writer based in the South-East, I found it difficult to find credible, quality editors and Artlinks allowed me not only to find one but also to apply for a bursary to help towards the cost of editing. I have learnt so much about the art of writing through my Artlinks literature mentoring. I am very grateful for Artlinks support both financially but also for helping me believe that it is possible to take a chance.

Name: Karen Power    Art Form: Literature



"The Artlinks bursary has helped to strengthen my practice as a visual artist. This support has primarily resulted in my development as an artist who works with moving image. Inspired by the complexity of my surroundings in rural Co. Waterford, I have used the Artlinks bursary to make a number of moving image works which respond to this landscape and which I have displayed as screening events in the Community Hall, Ardmore, in a Boat Cove, Ardmore and subsequently as part of a group exhibition at Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin."

Name: Sarah Lincoln     Art Form: Visual Artist



“The Artlinks bursary enabling me to attend literature mentoring workshops has been of great significance to my approach to getting a collection of my poems together.
My vague thoughts about it, now have direction and structure. I’ve found the workshops highly motivating. The experience could have been tailor made for my needs.”

Name: Virginia Brownlow    Art Form: Literature






Kevin Lawlor

''The Arts Department of Wexford County Council supported the recording of my album 'Eight' allowing me to hire award winning jazz musicians from the UK to come and record my music in Wexford. Having the support through the Artlinks bursary helped me to complete an ambitious recording with the people I wanted and the result is a jazz album that I'm very proud of.''

Name: Kevin Lawlor Art Form: Music



“I am soon to release a single and EP this year, one which could not have been made without the help and support of Artlinks. I have released two albums in the past and am proud of both, but for this project, I felt it was necessary to record in a larger studio as I wanted the basis for the tracks to have a larger drum sound. The Artlinks bursary made this possible and I was able to set up to record in Sun Studios, Dublin and work alongside Phil Hayes, a recording engineer that I hugely admire. I’m sure I will look back on this project as a major landmark in my artistic career.”

Name: Paul Creane    Art Form: Music



Paula Cox

"Thanks to your bursary I have begun the learning and recording process which is slow but very exciting!
A surprising aspect to the award was that it helped to publicise what I was doing and all sorts of wonderful gifted people came out of the woodwork offering to help me!
I did my shopping slowly in order to get some of the equipment for great prices which allowed me to have some money left over to pay for studio time to get some drum tracks down.
My goal was to be autonomous in my musical endeavors and Artlinks have enabled me to do that"


Name: Paula Cox    Art Form: Music



“Receiving the Wexford Art Links Bursary was, for me, on a personal level, a form of recognition or acknowledgement of my Art Practise. On a practical level I am embarking on a project to create a completely new suite of large work. To that end I am taking up a residency in China with a large well equipped studio and a good sized gallery to exhibit the work. On returning to Ireland I intend touring this body of work throughout Ireland during 2016 & 2017.

Using some of the Art Links funds I have produced a new catalogue, as seen above, with a forward, good picture quality and a professional format. I am using this catalogue as an inclusion in my exhibition proposals that I have made to various Art Centres throughout Ireland (including Wexford County Hall). The Wexford Art Links Bursary has enabled me to make this vision a reality.”


Name: Paddy Lennon    Art Form: Visual Artist


I was delighted to be selected for the Artlinks Bursary in Literature for County Wexford. An MA graduate in Creative Writing from UCD, I had a considerable amount of preparatory work done towards a first poetry collection, but knew that I now needed mentoring with an experienced, published poet. The Artlinks funding was used for the following:

Four residential weekend workshop retreat spaced through 2015, designed to support writers as they develop and enhance a prose manuscript or poetry collection.

Each weekend including
• One-to-One individual mentoring with Grace Wells.
• Group workshops focused toward manuscript development and editorial craft.
• Set Daily Times for Writing in quiet.
• Space for Reflection & Dreaming into your manuscript.

Grace Wells, herself a very fine poet, currently awaiting the release of he second collection of poems, Fur, published by Dedalus Press, was ideally suited to my needs; as was this particular structure of 4 weekends spread across the year.
Grace Wells received the 2011 Rupert and Eithne Strong Best First collection Award for her first collection, When God Has been Called Away to Greater Things; and was shortlisted for the London Fringe Festival New Poetry Award.


Both the structure and content of this particular 4-weekend mentoring writers’ retreat has suited my needs perfectly.

The decision to do it has been absolutely one of the best professional decisions I have made – with the week-end largely designed to allow each participant (only 4 per week-end) work on their particular needs, in an extremely pleasant environment. Mentoring by Grace Wells has been excellent. For me, each week-end has seen a follow-up period of intense activity, and working with Grace, who is most generous in her advice, has both extended the range of my repertoire, and has given me greater confidence in writing.

This testimonial is being written on the basis of two of the four week-ends. I look forward to the next one, and am certain that my writing will have moved forward considerably by the end of the year.


Name: Helen Gaynor    Art Form: Literature