Grants for arts and culture projects in Derry/Londonderry

The Acorn Fund’s Legacy Grants recently opened for applications. Grants of up to £3,000 available for community and voluntary groups in the County Derry/Londonderry area for innovative arts and culture projects.

Orlagh Dooley took part in the Celtronic workshops
Orlagh Dooley took part in the Celtronic workshops

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the grants are part of the Acorn Fund’s City of Culture Legacy programme and are available to projects that use arts and culture within their communities to create social networks, encourage talent, develop skills and bring people together.

One group that benefitted from the last round of funding is Collaboration Derry 2016. They received funding for the Music City and Celtronic Festival 2016 in Derry/Londonderry to pay for volunteer expenses and to book a music facilitator to work with young people in a series of workshops in the new Celtronic Studios.

Music City and Celtronic 2016 was a 12 day celebration of music of all its forms across the city of Derry from June 29th – July 10th. Celtronic Studios is a state of the art electronic music studio which held workshops during the festival.

Gareth Stewart, organiser of the project funded by the Acorn Fund, said: “The electronic music scene is quite male dominated, and there are very few established female DJs and producers involved and getting the chance to perform at events. We decided to address this issue by getting young female musicians, producers and DJs to take part in workshops in Celtronic Studios with leading Irish DJ and producer Phil Kieran.

“Over the course of the project, they produced two new electronic music compositions, one of which was premiered on Electric Mainline on BBC Radio Foyle during the festival. We hope those who took part in the project will be inspired to become further involved in the electronic music scene and forge career paths in the industry.”

Orlagh Dooley, 24, took part in the Celtronic music workshops. Orlagh is from Derry/Londonderry, but moved to Liverpool after attending university there.

Orlagh goes by the artist name Or:la is an up and coming star in the electronic scene – she recorded a mix for Ministry of Sound last year and has an EP coming out in November. Orlagh comes back to Derry/Londonderry to play gigs and was home for the Celtronic Festival when she took part in the workshops and was mentored by Phil Kieran.

Orlagh said: “The studios are amazing, I was able to use equipment that I don’t normally have access too. I’m usually making music in my bedroom with a laptop and two monitors.

“It was great to work with Phil Kieran, and he was able to guide me and give me tips for my own music. I’ve always been musical, I played a few instruments when I was younger but I got into electronic music when I started going to clubs and electronic music events in Derry. I then got into DJing and started producing my own music when I moved to Liverpool.

“Music is my passion and I was inspired by taking part in the workshops with other young girls and women who hope to make it in the industry.  I’m doing well at the minute and I hope to have a successful   career in it.

“At the moment there are more musical opportunities for me in Liverpool than Derry so it’s great that funding is being put into the music scene here to help young people.”

To find out more about Or:la please visit her Facebook page or Soundcloud

Watch a video about one of the workshops at Celtronic Studios 

The Acorn Fund Legacy Grants programme is open until 15th November 2016. For more information on the funding available please visit

These grants are part of the Acorn Fund’s City of Culture Legacy programme, which received funding from Big Lottery Fund.

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