Crawford Supported Studios Launch Film Portrait Series // co-created with photographer/filmmaker Clare Keogh

23rd March 2023
Crawford Supported Studios Launch Film Portrait Series // co-created with photographer/filmmaker Clare Keogh

MTU Arts Office CONNECT Le Chéile Arts Fund Project

Crawford Supported Studios launch a series of compelling portraits on film co-created with photographer/filmmaker Clare Keogh and now available on a dedicated Crawford Supported Studios website


The studio is anchored through a unique long-term partnership between MTU Crawford College of Art & Design and Crawford Art Gallery, with ongoing support from Cork City Council and Cope Foundation. The development of the CSS website and film portraits were supported by the MTU Arts Office through it’s innovative CONNECT Le Chéile Arts Project Fund.

MTU Arts Officer Sarah C. Morey  ‘A strong and unique collaborative relationship has grown between MTU Crawford Art College and Crawford Art Gallery. In addition to enabling artistic engagement, CSS artists challenge us as institutions to consider fresh approaches to ability, education, gallery programming and cultural diversity.’

A supported studio is a sustained creative space that is centred around disabled artists. This environment includes technical artistic support, professional networks and engagement with audiences beyond health and social care settings.

Support in this context ‘looks like’ accessible studio space, access to materials and equipment, two dedicated studio facilitators, assistance with transport, communications for non-verbal members, access to exhibitions, audiences, peers, and support in terms of professional training and project development.

CSS currently creatively supports sixteen artists members in the heart of Cork City where it focuses on ability rather than deficit, insisting that diversity means not just tolerating difference but valuing it. The artists also showcase their work in regular exhibitions and projects, and for sale on the supported studios website.

Michelle Carew, Arts Officer at Cork City Council “Cork City Council is proud to support Crawford Supported Studios whose work actively recognises and meets difference, confidently asserting that diversity in the arts benefits everyone.”

Moving from the day centre to the city centre, CSS studio members have worked alongside third level students and led workshops for young people; they have acted as cultural ambassadors in Cork, Carlow and New York; creating stop-motion animation, paintings, prints, street art and site-specific artwork.

‘The artist’s share their distinctive personalities on film and are a joyful watch’ according to Director of Crawford Art Gallery Mary McCarthy who goes on to say ‘ CSS Artist’s work features in the national collection at Crawford Art Gallery and we championing these artists because the artwork being produced is inspiring, bold, humorous and engaging to a broad audience. Often fearless.’

2023 will be an exciting year for CSS artists with highlights to include: artist’s portraits on film released monthly across media channels by Crawford Art Gallery and MTU Crawford College of Art & Design, a profile piece on artist Íde Ní Shúilleabháin on RTE’s This is Art in April, a national meet-up of supported studios in September and a mural project with Cork Penny Dinners and artist Ailbhe Barrett and more. All of the artists videos can be seen on

Some Highlights from the Artist’s videos

CSS Artist John Noel Kenneally describes his work as painting stories. He says Yeah, mostly it’s practice. Pure determination, like, and stuff like that, to tell a story.’

CSS Artist Eoin O’Brion is fascinated by construction and demolition, the inner workings of buildings, mechanical parts, how things work. He says of his recent drawings ‘My time machine drawings help erase bad memories, the mystery is solved.’

CSS Artist Bríd Heffernan is always brave in her approach to art making and works in a variety of media: textiles, printmaking, spray paint and furniture up-styling. She says I don’t make things simple for myself, that is how you learn by making things harder.’

CSS Artist Ailbhe Barrett says ‘I was born to do art!’. Her drawings are accomplished using a continuous line, her hand often not leaving the page.

CSS Artist Mary Rose Marshall’s artwork celebrates the everyday, she shares the comfort she finds in her teddy bear collection, her enjoyment of fish fingers, these are ‘the good things in life’


More about Crawford Supported Studios ( CSS)

What is a Supported Studio?
A supported studio is a sustained creative environment that centres disabled artists. Supported Studios provide technical artistic support, networks and audiences outside health and social care settings.

About Crawford Supported Studio

Crawford Supported Studio provides safe studio space, dedicated facilitators, art materials, equipment, assistance with transport and communications, access to exhibitions, audiences, peers, and support in terms of professional training and development.

Dedicated studio days take place in the Crawford Art Gallery on Tuesdays and MTU Crawford College of Art & Design on Thursdays each week.

Current Crawford Supported Studio Artists: 
Katie Whelan, Rosaleen Moore, Tom O’Sullivan, Íde Ni Shúilleabháin, Yvonne Condon, Ailbhe Barrett, Brid Heffernan, David Connolly, Marie Sexton, Stephen Murray, Angela Burchill, Anna Stack, Nicola Moran, John Noel Kenneally, Mary Rose Marshall.

Crawford Supported Studio works actively to recognise and meet difference, asserting that diversity in the arts benefits everyone, creating a richer contemporary practice that is reflective of our communities.

We are delighted to share the news that a dedicated webspace for Crawford Supported Studio is live; it showcases the artists and their artwork, a selection of artist portrait films, and includes a developing information section holding catalogues and articles for delving deeper. The website is an advocacy and awareness tool and a point of professional contact for CSS artists