Nerve Centre Student Reaches for Dream with Recording Grant

Nerve Centre Student Reaches for Dream with Recording Grant

One of Nerve Centre’s full-time course students has been given the opportunity to advance her dream of becoming a recording artist after being awarded financial backing through the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Acorn Fund.

Donna Marie Duddy, who has already achieved a number of the Level 3 OCN qualifications offered in-house, is one of only six recipients of the Inspire Bursaries Programme.

Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation UK, the programme enables young people with disabilities to pursue training and mentorship in their chosen arts with grants of up to £3,000.

As an electric wheelchair user with Cerebral Palsy, Donna Marie has found it difficult in the past to access the tuition needed to pursue her goals, but sees the bursary as an opportunity to build on her studies and kick start a career in music.

Donna Marie said: ‘I have developed many networks in my time at the Nerve Centre and these relationships have inspired me to continue to reach for my dream.’

Having gained A Level equivalents in Music Production, Music Performance & Technology and Creative Media over the last three years, Donna Marie will use her grant to produce a four-track debut EP with the guidance of Nerve Centre’s professional music staff.

‘The Acorn Fund Inspire Bursary has given me the opportunity to work in a professional environment with a production team I’m comfortable with in order to gain the highest quality result. Beforehand this was not possible.’

‘The sense of freedom I have in the studio or behind the mic is one of the few areas where I feel that my disability does not effect peoples’ perception of me and the music I make. I’m determined to show that it is no impediment to achieving my creative ambitions.’

Off My Cuff, currently being recorded at the Nerve Centre’s Creative Evolution studio with producers Glenn Rosborough and David Kirby, is to be released as a limited edition 12 inch vinyl this autumn, when the second round of Acorn Fund funding will also open.

The Acorn Fund programme is designed as a contribution to the legacy of 2013 UK City of Culture and is funded with the support of the Big Lottery, Inner City Trust and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. 

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