Our Board of Trustees met in February 2017 to interview 9 prospective artists with a view to funding. Of those 9, the Trustees decided to fund 6 projects. Two projects are of a development nature, and 4 are full projects from across the arts spectrum.
Sophie Mahon, Joanna Roy, Jess Loveday
We have seen an ever-growing crisis in education, with levels of anxiety amongst children and teachers at a record high under the immense pressure to adhere to the assessment-driven culture set out by the government. A study published last year stated that in 2014 nearly 30% of teen suicides were directly linked to exam pressures. This relentless pursuit to compete in global education rankings is meaning that many schools – rather than becoming environments for true learning – instead become results factories, obsessed with generating data. This superficial culture of teaching-to-the-test ignores the skills young people need in their lives beyond the classroom. We want to turn this model on it’s head and place skills above grades, questioning how we define & value intelligence and reimagining what the 21st Century classroom should look like.
We will occupy a space for 6 weeks and invite groups of young people and teachers to work with us. These interventions will promote the skills we value and throughout the sessions we will work together to reimagine a classroom for the 21st Century, with no boundaries or perimeters on how this might function. We will make the group’s ideas tangible and transform them into 3-dimensional spaces for the public to explore. The conversations that happen during these sessions, will meanwhile feed into the public domain. For example, using direct quotes from conversations and ideas that we find most poignant then giving these a public voice and space. These could be in the form of sound bites, video or typographic response.
Hafsah Aneela Bashir and Nikki Mailer
‘Outside The Frame Arts’ are a collective set up by two community activists Nikki Mailer (applied theatre practitioner) and Hafsah Aneela Bashir (writer and poet) dedicated to raise the profile of underrepresented and marginalized communities by giving voice to those absent from the mainstream, challenging the status quo. The collective was formed through developing a project called ‘Platform For Palestinian Arts’, which explored the rich canon of writing from Palestine and the diaspora. The work of Palestinian playwrights and poets inspired new writing in a series of creative writing workshops delivered throughout the community by local Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) artists and the response was extremely positive, dovetailing artists and activists. This has led to the next phase of this work, which will explore connections made between the partition of Palestine and the partition of India as a starting point, coinciding with the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th Anniversary of the partition of India. We want to shine a light at how British colonialism has impacted British identities today. A second project will develop a poem written by Hafsah called ‘Cuts Of The Cloth’ which explores the complexities regarding the relationship Muslim women have with the cloth and how these women are perceived by society as a result. This will be developed into a provocative script, drawing on women’s verbatim stories and poetry into a ‘work in progress’ piece of theatre, in a bid to step away from the scrupulous gaze of both the West and the East to give agency to Muslim women to speak for themselves in the way they want to.
With a broad artistic education in Fine Art, Design, and Animation, and after many years as a freelance designer in London, Robin decided to stop selling his soul to the highest bidder and start creating the art he wanted to see in the world.
Robin is currently Devon-based and works in a number of media. His pieces draw from many sources, including street art and the natural world. His work can be both challenging and provocative and strongly advocates non violence, individualism and anarchy (in it’s true sense of the word, self determination and personal responsibility) over corporate sponsored war, collectivism and the ever encroaching state.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences, decriminalising abortion and homosexuality in the UK. Still, fifty years on, the struggle against sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic oppression still continues, with some communities bearing more of the brunt than others. If 2017 thus far has been the year of trumpist islamophobia and homophobia, and if such figures as Milo Stevens have served to whitewash these racist agendas in the name of queer and trans liberation struggles, VoR ’17 is going to turn that all on its head. Bringing together LGBTQI+ artists from muslim-majority countries around the world, to showcase musicians and artists whose work expression is both unapologetically Queer and uncompromisingly anti-racist. Think radical and outrageous revolutionaries who struggles are multi-layered and universal: beautiful voices of global and intersectional resistance.
The middle-English poem Piers Plowman has been used and appropriated by radicals and revolutionaries since it was written in the 14th Century. In it, the main character dream-journeys across England in search of the right way to live when he sees all around him structures of power that are riddled with corruption and falsehood. Sound familiar? Hedgespoken is a travelling off-grid storytelling and puppetry theatre run from the back of a vintage Bedford lorry. Their mission is to reignite old enchantments hiding at the edges of things and bring wonder back into the greying world. In 2018, they will take their 21st century re-working of Piers Plowman on a series of two-week encampments on commons and disused land as a piece of captivating, transformative, radical community theatre, involving local communities in the creation of their own productions and hosting conversions between diverse and often-antagonistic groups about the contentious issues of our times such as: Why have things gone so wrong? and What really works to make change happen…
Naomi Gabriel and Humaira Ahmed
Tun Up works with young people from some of the most marginalised communities in London, facing lack of opportunities and prospects, despite their close proximity to the Capital. In 2017 Tun Up will teach young people aged 16-24yrs from the London Boroughs of Croydon & Greenwich how to plan, programme and deliver live music events. Participants will learn about and be responsible for every role involved in the event management process from Programming, Administration, Marketing & Promotion to Box Office/Front Of House, Stage Management, Artist Liaison, and Hosting. Young people will also be responsible for all creative roles on the night such as performing, DJing and filming/photographing the event. The aim, to give the young people the confidence to look at starting their own creative projects, and making their own paths to realise their potential. The course is led by Humi, a professional under 18’s Event Producer with a background in spoken word/rap, and Naomi – a professional videographer and DJ with a background in digital media design.