I'm Eve and I am a Sherman Five Rep, I'm also a young leader with Pride Cymru and part of the Young Persons Advisory Panel with the Children's Commissioner for Wales'. Last Friday I was lucky enough to spend the day in Bristol at an event which formed part of a festival called ‘Doing Things Differently’ the festival was focused on celebrating, learning and talking about equality in the arts.
The first workshop I attended during my day was a workshop led by Ayla Surveren, an independent career coach and consultant for the project ‘Agents for Change’. During this project;
“A team of Agents are working across the country in arts venues to create, administer and advise on how the building and team can work more accessibly with Deaf/disabled artists, performers, audiences, participants and other members of staff. They are developing audiences, creating new relationships and breaking down boundaries that individuals or groups may feel will stop them getting involved in our industry. The panel consisted of eight other women involved in the ‘Agents for Change’ project. The project was an opportunity for independent theatres across the south west to try and increase diversity within the cast and audience at the theatre.”
The event was targeted at artistic directions, organisations and theatre companies who aspire to see diversity in the arts increase and flourish. The project was funded by the Arts Council of England and was a pilot project across the South-West. The project pulled out an artistic director from a chosen organisation to work with staff and the team to encourage development and diversity within artistic organisations.
There were seven National portfolio organisations in the south-west participating in the project. Some of the organisations participating in the ‘Agents for Change’ talk where:
- Plymouth Museum and Gallery
- Arts Council England
- Bristol Old Vic
- Bournmouth symphony orchestra
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and it was extremely interesting to hear the stories of these different organisations about the developments of diversity since beginning the ‘Agents for Change’ project.
State of the Nation
The second event that I attended was an afternoon of entertainment and conversation called ‘State of the Nation’. The session was lively, funny and accompanied by interesting discussions and group work surrounding diversity in the arts. There were personal presentations from a whole range of people from disabled actors to major organisations within the arts. The event was put together as a day to share ideas on tackling social exclusion and inequality whilst also inspiring young future leaders to do the same. Through sharing ideas with future leaders and inspiring artists, state of the nation hoped to bring some light to the arts post- Brexit.
Throughout the event there were many speakers, the first talk by Claire Hodgson and Jamie Beddard of Diverse City discussed their friendship through the arts and the affects that disability have on actors due to injustice. As well as interesting discussion, there was also brilliant performance from artists from all of the UK. The performances included:
- The Shouting Mute- Aka performance poet, David Young.
- Islands of Discontent- A new commission from Art & Unity and a personal response from Dr Edson Burton, a poet and historian. He performs a spoken word piece highlighting anti-politics, rage and raising the question of whether art can create a new vision.
- Jess Thom- Jess was also one of the speakers at the event as well as a performer. She is known for bring the co-founder of Tourette’s Hero, and also leading a double life as a superhero!
This event was brilliant and hugely inspiring to me as a future leader. Thanks to Sherman 5 for enabling me to attend!