Help Musicians NI (HMNI), the first regional brand of leading independent music charity Help Musicians, is pleased to announce that six exceptional artists from Northern Ireland have received awards to facilitate creative collaborations, as part of the first-ever round of Fusion Fund.

The chosen artists are: Mark McCambridge, Julie McLarnon, Alana Henderson, Danielle Carragher, Katie Richardson and Koichi Samuels. The Fusion Fund is a newly developed scheme, offering grants of up to £5,000 designed to support musicians’ collaborations with non-musical disciplines and recognising each nation and region’s unique creative contribution.

Awardee recipient, Mark McCambridge highlighted how HMNI has supported his project:

"My project is a slight side-step from my usual musical output so is probably not something I would be able to pursue to any great level without the support of Help Musicians. I think it shows their commitment in supporting artistic pursuits no matter how left-field or obscure which can only be a good thing."

Claire Gevaux, Creative Programme Director said:

We were delighted that Northern Ireland acted as the springboard to launch the first of this new funding programme supporting creative collaborations. It’s imperative that artists are supported to develop new ideas and explore their creative practice. Working with other sectors can bring new insights and meaningful interactions, not just for creative ideas but also ensuring the sustainability of musical careers in the region. We look forward to seeing these projects develop over the coming year.”

Artists were selected by a panel made up of distinguished music industry professionals including Kirsten Kearney, Chief Executive of ESC. With her extensive knowledge of the arts sector in Northern Ireland, Kirsten was able to use her deep understanding of the industry and region when assessing applications. Kirsten noted:

"It was a real honour to be included on the panel for Help Musician NI’s first Northern Irish Fusion Fund. The quality of the proposed work that we considered was really impressive and reflects a healthy and growing innovative creative scene in NI. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of those projects come to fruition and wish all the artists great success in their efforts."

Kirsten was joined by Maria McAlister, Arts officer for Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Stuart Campbell, Programming Officer at the MAC in Belfast and Steven Rainey, presenter, producer and content creator for the BBC Radio Ulster.

The fund was so successful that HMNI have committed to running this again in 2018.

For more information on Help Musicians NI and the Fusion Fund please contact: Keith Millar, Northern Ireland Development Manager on [email protected]  

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