Artist in the Community Scheme

2002 - today

Artist in the Community Scheme
2018 AIC Scheme Summer School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice. Credit: Aoife Herrity

Video resources

What is the AIC Scheme?
AIC Scheme: Artists' Perspectives
Cultural Diversity and the AIC Scheme

"The Arts Council defines a professional artist as an individual who identifies themselves, and is recognised by their peers, as a practising professional artist. The applicant does not have to make their living exclusively through their arts practice."

Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme

Scéim An Ealaíontóra Sa Phobal

Are you an artist working collaboratively with a community? Are you an artist or community group with an interest in working on a collaborative, socially engaged project?

The Arts Council’s Artist in the Community (AIC) Scheme, managed by Create, offers awards to enable artists and communities of place and/or interest to work together on projects. The AIC Scheme also offers an annual bursary, as well as residencies and a summer school. The AIC scheme is open to artists from any of the following artform disciplines: architecture, circus, street art and spectacle, dance, film, literature (Irish and English language), music, opera, theatre, visual arts and traditional arts.

The aim of the AIC scheme is to encourage meaningful collaboration between communities of place and/or interest and artists. Create defines community in the broadest sense of the word, however for the AIC Scheme the artist or artists must be collaborating with a community of non-arts professionals. Create defines collaborative arts as artists and communities working closely together, often over extended periods of time, to make art.

This page provides an outline of the awards, bursaries, and residencies offered by the AIC Scheme. Guidelines and application procedures can be found at the “AIC Awards” page. A number of case studies of previous projects are also available.  

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  Research and Development Award (without mentoring) The AIC Scheme Research & Development award is open to artists who wish to research and develop a project in a community context. The maximum award is €3,500. The time frame should be no longer than 6 months.

Research and Development Award (with Mentoring) The Research & Development Award with Mentoring is open to artists who wish to develop a community based project and who have identified an artist mentor to work with. The maximum award is €4,500, of which €1,000 is specifically to engage a mentor for the artist. The time frame should be no longer than 6 months.


  Recent Graduate Research and Development Award (with Mentoring) Recent Graduate artists are defined as those of any age, who have graduated from an undergraduate degree programme in the arts in the past three years and are interested in developing or exploring, or are establishing a professional career in collaborative arts practice. This award specifically targets emerging artists / practitioners who have completed their undergraduate degree and who are not in postgraduate studies at the time of the award. The maximum award is €4,500 of which €1,000 is specifically to engage a mentor for the artist. The time frame should be no longer than 6 months. Recent graduates can request up to €1,000 additional funding to support the development of their practice. 


Project Realisation Award  The Project Realisation award is open to communities of interest or place (or their representative organisations), planning a project with an artist of between 8 and 12 months duration with a maximum award of €15,000.  



Each year, one bursary award is offered through the AIC Scheme. The purpose of the Bursary Award is to support and nurture professional arts practice and it is specifically aimed at an artist who has a track record of working collaboratively with communities of place or interest. In 2023, the Bursary award will undergo a period of evolution, moving from an award which focused on elevating themes, artforms and specific context areas, to one offering a more developmental approach. The Bursary will focus on practice, offering equitable access points which includes two bursary awards, each offering €15,000 (an increase on the €10,000 offered in previous years). We acknowledge that multiple barriers apply to accessing funding, some more visible than others, and this evolution in the bursary award is designed to minimise barriers in multiple forms.

Mentoring Award/ Panel

The Artist Mentor Panel aims to offer capacity building and arts practice development for collaborative socially engaged artists. Artist mentors (experienced collaborative socially engaged practitioners who specialise in a range of artforms, and who have worked with diverse communities from across Ireland) will be available to emerging practitioners, ethnic minority artists, artists with first-hand experience of displacement and/or who are shaped by histories of intergenerational migration, as well as to other artists, including those seeking to engage with the AIC scheme.


In 2018, the AIC Scheme established a series of residencies for artists from culturally diverse backgrounds. These residencies aim to support an artist from an ethnic minority to develop their collaborative and socially engaged arts practice, and are offered through partnerships between Create and a number of arts organisations and festivals, supporting collaborative and socially engaged arts practice.  

Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change

The Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change was established in 2018 as the Summer School on Culutural Diversity and Collaboratrive Practice. Collaborative and socially engaged arts practice lies at the heart of the Summer School, in the context of exploring different forms of social interaction produced through cooperative methods of working with and alongside communities, and the building of intersectional partnerships. It is a peer to peer learning space, interdisciplinary both in curriculum and composition of participants, presenters and facilitators. The School takes the form of a multi-day learning space, enabling a ‘think and do’ collaborative approach, utilizing creative workshops, critical and comparative case studies, one-to-one mentoring, international guest speakers including curators, policymakers and activists. This summer school is targeted at artists, activists and thinkers from ethnic and other minority groups, and those working with these groups.  

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