In early 2021, the British Council and Unlimited joined forces to encourage disabled artists to locate their disabled peers in one of 62 countries and apply for funds to explore those connections virtually. So which artists took the plunge and have been awarded funds? Jo Verrent tells us more…
We are delighted to award eight sets of artists from across the UK funding of £2,500 each to support mini-projects that cover the globe, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa.
The successful artists are…
Traditional scripts for nature-connection work do not work for disabled artists and so, through the project New Vistas – Cripping (Nature) Connection, Gina Biggs/SheWolf (Wales), Javier Hernando Peralta Gonzalez (Colombia), and Anthar Kharana (Colombia) begin to reimagine nature immersion work for diverse minds and bodies
Naeem Davis (England: London) to work with Wesley Leal (South Africa) to focus on the ways transness, art making, and neurodivergence intersect via a series of one-to-one online sessions (Combined Arts)
Poet Ekiwah Adler-Belendez (Mexico) and multimedia artist Juan delGado (England: London) will create a digital collaboration, The Swallows Returned Early this Summer, a series of visual Haikus reflecting on migration, identity, memory, and the land
Rylan Gleave (Scotland) to work with Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Musicians: Mojjafar Mia, Kamal Mustafa, and Mohammed Yousuf (Bangladesh) to explore new, collective ways of making art, drawing on the therapeutic benefits of music, and reflecting on how community influences music-making (Music)
‘Artsy Chris’ (England: North) to work with Sophorn Lim (Cambodia) to explore how each culture responds to the invitation to re-enter public spaces (Combined Arts)
Chris Tally Evans (Wales) to work with Fernanda Amaral (Brazil) to explore remote ways to create new work, sending micro works back and forth that utilise landscape, lived experience, Brazilian Portuguese, LIBRAS, Welsh, and English (Combined Arts)
Matthew Taylor aka MC Geezer from Deaf Rave (England: South East) will work with Pop Joy Sign (Indonesia) to interrogate how making a visual performance with movement and sign language can work alongside music/vibration
Neil Webb, Director, Theatre and Dance, British Council said:
‘I’m excited to see the diversity of these artists’ ideas as they work together from a distance. They’re reflecting on their practices, their cultures and the world around us. At the British Council we are passionate about enabling D/deaf and disabled artists in the UK and around the world to connect with each other. It’s now more important than ever for these connections to take place and for us to listen to and learn from them.’
The second deadline for these awards is 18 May 2021 – and you can find out more information and details on how to apply in the previous blog when we launched the awards – the example above should give plenty of ideas about what can be funded.
Since the launch of this project, we’ve had lots of artists reach out to ask whether we – or British Council – can facilitate an international collaboration by connecting artists up. Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is no – but we do have a plan!
Neither Unlimited nor British Council have contacts of disabled artists in all the relevant countries, so we can’t offer a means of pairing people up. In fact, one of the motivations for this project is to widen our knowledge of the international landscape and develop more relationships across countries. That said, we do have some contacts and can call upon our Allies and partners to involve their contacts, so we are planning on holding a sessions on Twitter where we try and generate links between artists, with staff from Unlimited helping to research and share information.
This session will be held on 21 April 2021 from 1pm, leaving plenty of time for people to add to any threads we generate and for applications to be created in time for the final deadline.
We have funded all the eligible projects we received by the first deadline, hence did not need to put in place a selection process. We anticipate a higher degree of competition for the next round. Access support to help people apply, and for the projects themselves, is available – please contact Isabella on Isabella@shapearts.org.uk to arrange support if required.