A topless woman with black hair flexes her arms
Alice Holland, Unlimited’s nominated producer for Watershed’s Creative Producers International. Photo by Rosie Powell

Creative Producers International: Alice Holland

Unlimited is delighted to announce that Alice Holland is Unlimited’s nominated producer for Watershed’s Creative Producers International – a three year leadership development programme that will enhance the skills and vision of fifteen Creative Producers from around the world to become the city change-makers of the future.

Unlimited have partnered with Watershed on a number of projects – Unfixed, Agent for Change and more – but this time, it’s global. Creative Producers International is a unique scheme aiming to produce a network of cultural leaders who can engage with citizens and city leaders through creative projects that transform our future cities.

Funded through Arts Council England’s Ambitions for Excellence programme, it will amplify and extend the reach of Watershed’s Playable City projects which put people and play at the heart of future cities. To date, Playable City has been embraced by cities across five continents, in locations as diverse as Austin, Bristol, Lagos, Recife and Tokyo.

Working with Watershed is an international network of partners including RSC, Manchester International Festival, Somerset House, Lagos Urban Network (Nigeria), Rhizomatiks (Japan), Laboratorio para la Ciudad (Mexico), and Unlimited. Each partner has been able to nominate a producer onto the scheme – and we’ve selected Alice.

Alice Holland is a producer and theatre maker with a particular interest in subversive political art, diversity and equality, mental health, pageantry and underground culture. She runs The Sisterhood at Shangri La, Glastonbury Festival, the festival’s first and only women’s venue, welcoming women, girls, trans women, trans girls and non-binary people with a strong femme identity to a showcase of awesome all-girl DJs, live bands, cabaret, dance and visual and interactive installations, as well as head-shaving, live wrestling and topless stage diving, all for the good of the matriarchal revolution, of course.

Alice sits on the board of Graeae Theatre, studies ninpo and pyrotechnics and was an award-winning showgirl, performance artist and ringmistress for over a decade. This included appearances on Woman’s Hour, The Culture Show, Rolling Stone and speaking invitations from Belarus Free Theatre, Channel 4 and Unlimited. She trained with Disability Arts Online as a producer of disability-led work, including assisting on large-scale 360 projection installation, durational sculpture and performance work and strategic administration for individuals and organisations.

“I’m fizzing with excitement to do this course, it’s a completely brilliant opportunity I’d never have dreamed of. The more I think about it the more I feel the need to make political work on a large scale, and to attempt it with mass participation through digital as well as the physical and experiential is extremely cool. There’s a lot to learn but I can’t wait to meet the rest of the crew and start plotting! I was delighted to have a conversation with Watershed about how public art could be ‘de-twee’d’ and how notions of play could be subverted, so it’s likely I’ll be making mischief of some kind.

To represent Unlimited on something like this is pretty rad; they’re investing in the kind of risky, upfront artwork that I really care about, and as such a visible statement of the validity of disability arts in the mainstream they’re representing a lot of voices that are often unheard or unwelcome. I am continuing to learn how I operate as a disabled professional and I’m glad to have them in my corner should I need advice or understanding.”

The remaining places were selected through an open call, which received just over 540 applications from all over the world. The selected 8 are Sarah Brin, Copenhagen, Denmark, Michelle Browne, Dublin, Ireland, Luke Emery, Bristol, UK, Russel Hlongwane, Durban, South Africa, Paula le Dieu, Sydney, Australia, Anel Moldakhmetova, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Kate Stewart, Liverpool, UK, Ryan Swanson, Florida, USA.


So what will this amazingly diverse group get to do? Creative Producers International has three connected, internationally engaged elements:

Creative Producers Development Programme – starting with a three-week residential lab at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio to blend personal and project development, and cover different aspects of creative technology and public art production.

Feasibility Fund – each Producer will receive a £5,000 ideas development grant to explore and test a new piece of work for a city context followed by the opportunity to apply for a share of an investment fund

Events – including two public Playable City Conferences in Bristol and Tokyo. The Bristol conference will take place on 19 October 2017 at the heart of its Festival of the Future City, the world’s largest public debate about the future of cities. The Tokyo conference will take place in October 2018.

And backing all this up is an online series of Digital Labs promoting networking and knowledge sharing opportunities for the cohort, led by Fred Deakin.

It’s an incredible opportunity to be bringing together art, urbanism and innovation, and we’re delighted Alice will be part of the process. We’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening through a series of blogs straight from Alice’s own keyboard! Stay tuned.