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Developing Ideas to bring Public Art and Disability History together

Posted by Esther Fox, Wednesday 19th February, 2014

Over the last four months, I have been delighted to lead a curatorial panel of people at the forefront of the Arts, Digital Media, Heritage and Disability Arts Practice to develop ideas which we hope will lead to a Public Art Commissioning Programme for Deaf and Disabled Artists interested in making new work in response to sites of historic importance to disabled people. We aim to deliver a range of commissions, from small research and development grants for emerging artists, through to larger scale commissions with high levels of public engagement. Deaf and disabled artists are currently significantly under-represented in the cultural sector in the UK and even more absent as practitioners working within the Public Realm. Therefore Accentuate Place and Time will redress this imbalance along with providing a highly ambitious opportunity for artists to develop their contemporary practice, increase their public profile and engage with wide ranging audiences from both the arts and heritage arenas. In order to mount a successful project we are keen to get feedback from artists and arts professionals and would be grateful if you would complete this short questionnaire Funded by a research and development grant from ACE, we brought together Rosie Sherrington English Heritage, Carole McFadden The British Council, Liz Gilmore and Victoria Howarth The Jerwood Gallery, Ruth Gould Dada-Fest, Jonathan Banks IXIA, Jo Nolan Screen South, Carol Swords Pitzhanger Manor and Rachel Gadsden Artist, to devise an ambitious site specific commissioning programme, the scale of which has not been seen before, which will raise the bar for disabled artists working in the Public Realm, referencing and uncovering the unique and hidden heritage of disabled people. Accentuate working closely with English Heritage and the Curatorial Panel has selected seven potential sites of interest across England, which have remarkable stories to tell, from the Medieval Period to the Present day. Accentuate also hopes to deliver a mentoring programme alongside the commissions for both early career and established practitioners, ensuring a more vibrant, sustainable and resilient community of disabled creative practitioners is established. Through exploration of site specific historic material disabled artists and audiences will develop a more connected sense of community. Non-disabled audiences will have preconceptions challenged and develop an understanding of the role disabled people have played from Medieval times to present day. Furthermore the quality of work will ensure the cultural life of the UK is enriched. We are keen to hear from potential partners or others who would like to get involved so for more information please email Esther Fox Accentuate Executive

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