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Jon Adams work as part of upstream

Accentuate Medal 5: Accentuate has influenced the Cultural Olympiad in the South East to showcase more deaf and disabled artists work than in other regions

Since its creation in 2009, Accentuate has worked tirelessly to champion the work of Deaf and disabled artists. We have worked with Arts Council England (funding partner) and the South East London 2012 Creative Programmer Caterina Loriggio, who has been closely involved in commissioning and supporting many of these projects. The Cultural Olympiad in the South East is showcasing more work from Deaf and disabled artists than any other region.

In all Accentuate has enabled 519 International or national commissions and collaborations for South East disabled artists, promoting quality and partnerships and providing a bridge and specialist expertise between mainstream and disabled led organisations and artists.  As Accentuate operates across the whole of the cultural sector, these commissions cross all disciplines and are not limited to the Cultural Olympiad.

Among the many highlights scheduled to take place during the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be Spun Productions’ by StopGAP*, in Theatre Square at the National Theatre on 2nd September at 1pm and 3pm. StopGAP is the UK’s leading integrated dance company. Their new outdoor dance theatre piece, employing four disabled performers and six non-disabled performers, has already been acclaimed during a preview tour of Ireland, Woking, Bracknell, and the National Theatre in London, with approximately 4500 people attending. SPUN Productions received a lot of interest from programmers in 2012 and secured 11 performance dates nationally and internationally, as well as securing a new partnership with The University of Surrey, who are providing them with rehearsal space. SPUN has given the trainee disabled dancers valuable professional experience, and has set a model for developing new talent.

Another highlight will be Jon Adams’ talk on 6th September at the Sevenoaks Gallery, to accompany his exhibition Look About*, which runs until 22nd September, This is the final exhibition to celebrate a two-year creative research initiative that involved mapping and collecting by the artist and geologist Jon Adams, in response to Accentuate and the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the South East of England.

Look About gathers ‘found objects and experiences’ and presents them as curated films, fossils, geological diagrams and maps. Jon Adams BSc FRSA is a geologist, illustrator and artist who uses scientific observational techniques, data collection and mapping within his work. Jon is a collector by nature. Highly observant and an authentic detailer, he seeks to uncover the hidden and unexpected. The geological metaphor weaves together science and art, digital and analogue, observation and autobiographical experiences of Dyslexia and Aspergers.

Accentuate was also delighted to support Up-Stream*, delivered by Ardent Hare in partnership with Arts Council England. This showcase of work as part of Brighton Festival 2011, afforded participants experiences of getting work into a mainstream arena that would never have happened without Accentuate. ‘I was very excited to have been selected for Up-Stream. It is proof that my work is of quality and that I've been going in the right direction. I think in my future practice I will have bigger ambitions to do the best quality work that I can so that I am able to take advantage of more opportunities like this, as well as to keep taking my career as an artist and filmmaker to the highest level possible, embracing all the training and exhibition opportunities I can along the way” Gary Thomas, Artist, Up-Stream.

Another exciting project which has been supported through Accentuate is the Blue Touch Paper Carnival. Run by West Sussex County Council’s Ahead of the Game programme, and supported by the New Carnival Company on the Isle of Wight, this ground breaking project is designed to be the most accessible, inclusive, integrated and friendly Carnival experience the world has ever seen..

Blue Touch Paper Carnival understands that many disabled people and their families and carers feel left out of Carnival and the project succeeded in changing this, leaving a fantastic legacy for carnivals across the world. Blue Touch Paper Carnival has seen disabled and non-disabled people coming together, taking their time to plan, share skills and make top quality carnival in an accessible way so that everyone can take part. Most recently they have been working in collaboration with Embaixadores da Alegria from Rio including a number of workshops and exchanges this summer between disabled and non disabled artists and makers to develop a Bateria, Rio Style Samba Float with Costumes based on the theme  of St George - the patron Saint of England and Samba!  The work was showcased as part of the Isle of Wight’s Arts Parade on the 30th June - an event organised by The New Carnival Company and as part of the Torch Relay Celebrations in Hackney.  Both these events were part of the London 2012 Festival. On the 25th August Blue Touch Paper took part of the Paralympic Flame Celebration in Horsham and next week they will be appearing in the Olympic Park.

Accentuate is the London 2012 Legacy Programme for the South East.  Accentuate has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK, SEEDA and the Regional Cultural Agencies including Arts Council England. Screen South is the home of Accentuate.

*these projects have also been supported using public funding by Arts Council England

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