In a recent poem, Vona Groarke sounds an optimistic note:
I am out in the world
And the world is happening
Following last week’s announcement, our world is poised to open up again and that is very welcome news indeed.
Gaining renewed access to the collective space of imagination is exhilarating. Our upcoming season of events Brightening Air is set to provide abundant colour and texture and meaning for audiences right across the country. Crucially too, it will provide much needed employment and the opportunity for some of our finest artists across several art forms to reach their public.
A recent survey recorded 61 percent of people saying that the arts are essential for their wellbeing and we know that there is an enormous pent up thirst for the live, in person experience. The expertise and adherence to standards in health and safety that arts practitioners have in abundance means that the profession is uniquely well placed to begin again and to rebuild trust with the public.
Last week, Culture Works presented webinars for us as part of our new digital toolbox. We were thrilled to have a very strong attendance and high quality presentations were heard from a wide number of artists and organisations. These demonstrated profoundly imaginative approaches to making and presenting work. The signature notes that stayed with me were the profound isolation that artists have felt through the pandemic period and the urgent need to ensure that artists and organisations are not disadvantaged by lack of access to digital tools in our changed environment. We must make sure that this will be a level playing field and that new ways of working do not become the province of those who are better resourced. The sessions were recorded and will be available on our website shortly, along with a range of other useful resources.
In this newsletter, you’ll find information about the second round of the Agility Award. We introduced this award in response to Covid 19 and we particularly encourage new applicants to consider applying. We are acutely aware that many people have been deterred from applying to us in the past as they may have found the process overly complex and forbidding. We are determined to simplify our processes and this agility award is the first of a number of stepping stones towards opening our doors more widely. An arts landscape that is vastly more reflective of life as we live it in 2021 is an energizing prospect and we look forward to working with you to achieve this.