In early 2021, the British Council and Unlimited partnered up to support disabled artists to locate their disabled peers in one of 62 countries and apply for funds to explore those connections virtually. Round One was awarded in spring, and now it’s time for Round Two! April Lin tells us more about the successful projects.
Unlimited are delighted to award artists from across the UK funding of £2,500 each to support mini-projects that cover the globe, including Palestine, China, Nigeria, Malawi, Cambodia, and Ghana.
Round Two’s successful artists are:
AfrosexualiTea is a multidisciplinary, archival project founded in 2017 by Tobi Adebajo (England, South East) that aims to delve into and explore how the multiplicities of identities — sexuality, gender, ability, presentation & upbringing — shape the many ways African / Black people, engage with and think about ‘desire’. For this iteration of the project, AfrosexualiTea Portal, Tobi will be collaborating with Beatrice Arogundade (Nigeria) and Bendicta Oyedayo (Nigeria).
No night is long enough for us to dream twice unites visual artist Rachel Gadsden & Art Eats Events (England: London and South East) and visual artist Amr Salama & Art to Heart (Occupied Palestinian Territories) to collaborate, through online workshops, to create the artistic vision for a 100metre mural, to be painted by disabled groups in UK and OPT for Nightflix’s Drive-In Cinema in Colchester. The mural will explore themes relating to hope, renewal and the opportunity to dream.
Soñando in Silence is an exploration of practice between artist Jamie Rea (Scotland) and Sofia Olmos (Mexico), with Birds of Paradise Theatre Company. Together, they will enter a period of research and reflection to develop a new mode of theatrical experience that immerses the audience in a performance to interrogate and elucidate held notions of what it is to be deaf.
In Mail Bonding, Submit to Love Studios (England: London) and Riera Studio (Cuba), both community settings supporting neurodivergent artists, will initiate a new collaboration using mail art. Led by STL artist Billy Mann, five artists from each studio will work together; layering their own stories and perspectives to result in unique pieces celebrating each artist’s identity. Taking inspiration from Cuban old stamps, the group will also reflect on and incorporate broader issues of cultural identity, politics and representation.
In Unmuting the Mental Health Conversation, dance artist Stuart Waters (England: South East) will work with Unmute (South Africa), the only full-time inclusive dance company in South Africa, to open a safe, creative space for the exploration of mental health. Stuart will use his unique framework for best practise in safeguarding to facilitate a creative process that allows company members to safely explore the topic, using individual lived experiences as a rich source of creativity.
Seeing and the Imagination: a collaboration between photographers Karren Visser (England: South East) and Jorge Lanzagorta, Laboratorio de lo invisible in Puebla (Mexico) intends to explore how visualisation informs and unites blind and visually impaired people with the full-sighted. Their creative exchange includes using photography, video, audio, text and animation, as well as drawing on the experience of the blind photographers’ travelling exhibition ‘Sight Unseen’.
UK/China Deaf Project is a collaboration between two deaf artists, Troi Lee (England: London), a Deaf Festival curator and Junxiang Zhu, a Deaf dancer and mime artist, based in Guangzhou (China). They will work with a focus on discussion and joint research around how to link artistic performance with sign language, as well as the potential of developing a platform via social media in China, for interchanging and exchanging artistic content amongst Chinese creatives.
Imagining a Better World is Sally Payne (England: South East) and Fatima Kalima’s (Malawi) exploration of the theme of Utopia. Through art conversations and using a variety of art mediums including art, textiles and dance we will bring a fresh perspective and new creative methods to communicate our ideas, interpretations and visualisations of our new imagined world.
Billy Read (England: Midlands) will collaborate with Nabil Lassoued (Tunisia) in Street Dance Collaborative: A dance battle connecting Deaf Communities between UK and Tunisia using their audiences on Instagram to create a dance battle to connect young deaf communities in Tunisia and Britain.
El Movimiento…a transnational film project is a digital film-making collaboration between Anjali Dance Company (England: South East) and Dadance (Mexico). This will be the first time for both companies that they have collaborated with another group of learning-disabled dancers, and will consist of experiments conducted on Zoom with the aim of creating a dance film with the two sets of dancers.
Creating New Narratives with New Networks is a collaboration between 3D artist Linda Devo (England: South West) and photographer and painter Asare Adjei (Ghana) to explore identity, diaspora and how we might create together to birth new narratives on diaspora, connection and growth.
United Differences brings together Lisa Simpson‘s (England: North) unique practice as a disabled choreographer with non-verbal communication in collaboration with Epic Encounters (Cambodia) and Nalitari (Indonesia). Working remotely over lock-down, Lisa Simpson’s choreographic method will be developed further to be fully accessible for a range of abilities, cultures and languages.