AIT Open Call Invites Proposals from Artists in the Traveller Community

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) has launched an Open Call inviting artists from the Traveller Community to submit proposals for a visual arts project inspired by the theme of “Identities, boundaries, barriers”.

Artists are asked to reflect on the challenges faced by the Traveller Community and come up with a proposal to provoke reflection and challenge stereotypes.  

The artist of the winning proposal will receive a €500 bursary to create a piece of work which will be displayed in AIT for Traveller Pride Week in the autumn; the runner-up will receive a prize of €250.

The goal is to highlight the Traveller Community's creative contribution, showcase their unique cultural heritage in a modern context, and to provide important representation in public spaces.  

The Open Call is part of AIT’s latest inclusivity initiative, STATUS Toolkit, which is designed to ensure that the campus and college ethos is welcoming to students from the Traveller Community.

STATUS Toolkit, which stands for Supporting Travellers Advance Through Universal Services, is used to assess the inclusivity of an organisation and put a plan in place to remove barriers to participation.

AIT has partnered with Involve, a Monksland-based youth work organisation with a specific focus on the inclusion and engagement of Travellers in youth services, to adapt the toolkit for use at third level.

Work on the inclusivity initiative is ongoing and is being carried out by a committee headed up by John McKenna, the vice president for equality, diversity and inclusion at AIT.

“With this initiative, we will continue the building of an inclusive, intercultural environment where Travellers feel welcomed and valued and where we can build towards ensuring equality of outcomes for Travellers in education,” he explained.

The committee, which will also feature staff across every faculty, will have strong representation from AIT’s student Traveller population.

“The launch of this Open Call and the STATUS Toolkit initiative represents an important threshold moment of acknowledgment that improvements in participation in higher education can only happen in equal partnership with historically marginalised groups,” Alison Hough, a barrister and law lecturer at AIT, said. 

AIT, which will shortly open its doors as the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students and staff, as evidenced by its recent achievement of an Athena SWAN Bronze award and annual celebration of Traveller Ethnicity Day

Submissions can be in writing by post, email or by video until Sept 3, 2021, at 5pm. The application forms and full details can be found here. Further information about the competition can be obtained by emailing ahough@ait.ie.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focused offering, world-class research and development capabilities, and state-of-the-art facilities. Winner of The Sunday Times Institute of the Year 2020 and 2018, AIT is Ireland’s top-ranked institute of technology and is on track to open its doors as the country’s third technological university on October 1, 2021. AIT tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research in 2018 and 2019. For information relating to the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, visit www.ait.ie

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