Opening times workspaces

Tues- Thurs 10am-2pm
window viewing
Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Thurs until 9pm, Sun 1-6pm

01 June - 04 August

Maker Mall Exhibition at The Art Gallery, University of Ulster

Opening, Thursday, 01 June, 6-8pm


a pilot programme for supported workplaces for artists in unit 59 CastleCourt

Lead artists: Ngaire Jackson and Bronagh Lawson, supported by Elaine McGinn. Participants: Maura Corr, Kieran Bannon, Sarah McConnell, Christopher Simpson, Anna Canava, Matthew Calderwood, Tommy Dunlop, Geoffery Roberts, Emmanuel Cunningham

Ends 30 June 2023

Pilot project for supported work/studio spaces for visual artists with disabilities + space for co-operations with other creative practices.

MAKER MALL is a 12 week pilot project, testing and hopefully demonstrating the need and function for assisted workspaces for artists who require support to carry out their artistic practice.

Driven by previous projects with artists with disabilities, we are convinced of the necessity and artistic benefit to create work/ studio/ rehearsal spaces for artists in need of support to work creatively. Though such provisions exist in the South of Ireland like KCAT, Kilkenny; DoubleTAKE Studios, Dublin or Crawford Supported Studios, Cork or in the UK with  ActionSpace, London; KMAdotcom in Midlothian; Project Ability, Glasgow or Project Onward in Chicago. The subject of assisted workspaces for artists was again highlighted with the nomination of Project Art Works, Hastings, for the Turner Prize in 2021.
Yet we ask: why not here?

There are no permanent workspaces for artists and creatives providing additional support in Northern Ireland, apart from short term programmes.
Though it has to be highlighted that 'Arts for All' runs Inspire, a city wide project enabling adults with learning difficulties to link into the professional arts community and develop skill. The Black Box opened a temporary place on Royal Avenue to run its unique Moon Base programme, 2018-19. It now runs the Black Box Projects for adults with learning difficulties, with Black Moon and Express Yourself? Weekly Workshops.
As for PS², due to short term leases and lack of necessary building adjustments, our building in Rosemary Street can't provide any fully accessible and supported workplaces for visual artist.

Open Studios- part of NIMHAF (NI Mental Health Festival). Image: Bronagh Lawson

Christopher make animations, supported by Richard fromDAS

Christopher works on animation, supported by Richard from DAS. Image: Bronagh Lawson

Maybe we will find out that there are more initiatives and provisions for artists and creatives identifying as Deaf, Neurodiverse or Disabled here in Belfast and Northern Ireland.

We have highlighted this deficit in Lets have a show, 2017 and more recently in 'right to create', 2020, showing work by artists requiring additional support and care. This is not (just) a matter of ‘social equality’ and ‘access to the arts for all’. We are convinced of the unique artistic contributions people with disability can make, especially if they have access to workshops and artist development programmes as a lead into professional practice.

If you want to take part in this programme or contribute in any way, please contact

Right to create, 2020/21. Installation view PS²:

Right to create, 2020/21. Installation view PS²:

Project details

-Unit 59 is on 2nd floor in CastleCourt, fully accessible, with disabled toilet inside, close by lift and easy access from car park

-set-up early March 2023
-project duration mid-March to June

-12 week long project, starting beginning of March getting the space ready, install: tables, boards to work on, drawing/ painting/ craft materials; shop window display of existing work/ info/ prep-meetings with participants, organisations/individuals interested to co-operate.

-targeted invite and open call

-mid/end of March start with assisted workspaces for visual artists who need support/ assistance to carry out their creative practice

-open 3 days for 3-4 hours each day (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday- to be agreed with participants) with two lead artists present.

-these are closed sessions to guarantee privacy and concentration

-no clearing up after sessions; work remains in the space, boards or tables

-depending on needs/ambition/interest offer of specific materials/ crafts/ techniques- could be workshop type or self-led/ assisted

-regular updated display of work in shop windows plus info material.

Because of the short lead up time we expect this to be a gradual process, starting with a few artists taking part plus other interested practitioners or organisations who will use the space outside of the core studio hours,

For and with whom

Maker Mall is for any creative person interested in visual arts, craft or making who needs some sort of support to do their work.
If you or someone you know is interested, please contact or 07733457772

Drawing Performance/ workshop with Alastair MacLennan and Marie Phelan

Drawing Performance/ workshop with Alastair MacLennan and Marie Phelan



Press Review

Belfast Live: Artists with disabilities flourishing in NI shopping centre

'An artist-led charity is working together with CastleCourt shopping centre in Belfast to give artists with disabilities a space to create and display their works.
Paragon Studios has secured a shop unit in the city centre shopping hub through until June.
Artists with disabilities have already been in the space and busy creating, where they can be guided and assisted by two resident artists.'
Read more here

Sarah's workspace

To see the Belfast Live film on Facebook click here

As unit 59 is very large there is space for other organisations or individuals to use the unit along the project outline of supported creative work/ rehearsal/ activity spaces. It is our aim and wish to include different art forms and creative practices in this project and ideally long term into the future. This includes:

-dance/movement, music/sound or theatre/performance initiatives working with artists with disabilities, using the space for workshops, performances, talks....

-other creative activities and initiatives we don't know of (yet) which could be part in this project, i.e. craft, writing, reading, gaming, socialising, clubbing....

What we hope to achieve
-participants and all involved hopefully will have enjoyed the programme

-demonstrated the necessity and relevance for assisted workplaces for creatives requiring support

-have highlighted some exceptional artistic work produced during the project run

-have learnt from our own experience and others being more equipped to progress

-have created a network of participants with disabilities, organisations and individuals from different disciplines who are interested in assisted workspaces similar to KCAT...

-have created (some) public interest and awareness

-initiated a campaign

-identified funding possibilities

-write up of a brief for a long term project/ initiative

-evaluated a proof of concept on the benefits to participants and the visual art community of such a project.



9 Creating Progress
an exhibition by artists of the Maker Mall project

01 June- 03August 2023, daily 9am-6pm, The Art Gallery, University of Ulster​​

9 Creating Progress is an exhibition at the University of Ulster by nine artists participating in MAKER MALL, a pilot project of supported workspaces in unit 59 at Castlecourt Shopping Centre. MAKER MALL is for artists who may (or may not) identify as d/Deaf, disabled or neurodiverse.
Participating artists: Geoffrey Roberts, Maura Corr, Anna Canavan, Tommy Dunlop, Kieran Bannon, Sarah McConnell, Christopher Simpson, Matthew Calderwood,
Emmanuel Cunningham. This project is led by Bronagh Lawson and Ngaire Jackson, assisted by Elaine McGinn.

Many Thanks to University of Ulster, especially Cherie Driver.

Saturday 22 April
Bbeyond: Performance Monthly

Tuesday 16 May
10am- 4pm
Drawing Performance/ Workshop with Alastair MacLennan and Marie Phelan, open event.

Thursday 18 May

Open Studios. Part of NIMHAF (NI Mental Health Festival)

Saturday 20 May
Bbeyond: Performance Monthly

Tues/Wed- 30/31 May

Shop window residency: Joanna Mules, Anne Marie Mullan, Denise McAuley

Image top: Christopher Simpson

Maker Mall is supported by Belfast City Council through an Artist Studios and Maker Spaces Organisational Grant.

PS² is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Many Thanks to CastleCourt for their support.