Bright, young things wanted as BBC seeks to commission more Northern talent

The BBC and Arts Council England backed programme, New Creatives North, are looking for 16-30-year olds to make films and audio work for broadcast

The two-year project which hopes to diversify the content and programming on the BBC continues its search for unique ideas for broadcast.

Northern artists, creators and makers are invited to apply for the New Creatives North talent development scheme this March. The programme has already commissioned over 70 artists from across the North of England and are now looking for more undiscovered voices. Those selected will be in with a chance of seeing their work broadcast on BBC platforms, including BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, BBC Taster and beyond.

The programme is for 16-30 year olds and focusses on giving opportunities to young creatives from all backgrounds – to broaden the range of voices and experiences we hear and see on our screens and radio.

Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi from Manchester was selected to make Chop Chop which has now been seen by tens of thousands on the BBC Sounds platform. D’Souza-Lodhi said “To be selected for New Creatives and to have my audio drama showcased on BBC Sounds has been incredible for my career. I have already been approached by producers who have heard the piece on BBC Sounds and want to work with me.”

The team behind the Northern drive are encouraging applications from anyone, even if you’ve never done anything like it before, Creative Director and the award-winning filmmaker leading the project, Ian Fenton says, “Don’t doubt yourself, just apply! If selected you’ll be supported by industry professionals, you’ll be given guidance, training, skills development and money! You don’t have to be established or have made any work before – you just need to have a good idea.”

The organisers are looking for submissions that cover a wide range of artistic practices. Applications are encouraged from creatives who could be writers, sound artists, podcasters, dancers, performers, musicians, filmmakers, comedians, visual artists, illustrators, animators, poets, storytellers or games designers; or they could be something else entirely.

From the serious to the comedic, the soothing to the provocative, the specific to the abstract New Creatives North are looking for ideas that push the boundaries, make people think, and encourage new ways of understanding the world we currently live in.

Applications for film and audio are now open, to find out more and apply visit  www.newcreatives.co.uk

Meanwhile, the latest cohort of northern New Creatives have been selected and includes 10 people who will be supported to make films for BBC iPlayer and 22 who will be supported to make audio work for BBC Sounds.

The youngest creative is Jessica Johnson from Cheshire, who is just 17 and will make a short film exploring a dystopian society inspired by class structures in Britain today.

This newest group of creatives also includes artists who will make the first interactive art pieces with a budget of up to £20,000.

Over the course of the next few months, the artists selected will take part in training and development workshops with experienced professionals to develop their original idea and prepare it for production. They will then be supported by approved production partners to create their work, with input from northern organisations such as Tyneside Cinema, Naked Productions and of course the BBC. The completed work will then have the chance of being selected for a new strand

of programming: BBC Introducing Arts, which will showcase new artistic talent from the UK across BBC platforms, including BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, BBC Taster and beyond.

NRTF RURAL TOURING SCHEMES’ JOINT STATEMENT

It is with great regret that, due to the continuing global public health crisis, and following the Government’s updated advice, rural and community touring arts organisations and schemes have taken the decision to cancel or postpone all forthcoming rural touring and community cinema events. It has been a difficult but inevitable decision in order to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. The Rural Touring sector’s foremost concern is the safety and well-being of audiences, voluntary promoters, artists and staff.

Rural Touring pledge to artists: To maintain good-will amongst rural and community touring arts organisations and to offer support to artists to get through these difficult and challenging circumstances. Rural Touring organisations have come together to agree, that regardless of contracted obligations and where possible, they will pay a percentage of booking fees to artists as a result of cancellations due to COVID-19. The percentages and payments will differ depending on the agreements and the position of the fee-paying organisation. There is a willingness from schemes to give as much as they can and to not be better off because of a cancellation.

Rural Touring pledge to our communities: The majority of rural arts organisations are fleet of foot and understand they are in the perfect position to keep connections going and support rural and local communities. They are mindful of those in their communities who are older and less-digitally literate and will consider how to keep them in the loop. Where possible, they will support those living in social isolation and loneliness, especially where rural touring events are a support for them. This will be done via regular communications with promoters and audiences alongside the sharing of resources and opportunities.

Message to Rural Touring audiences: In these difficult times, schemes are inviting their audiences to consider leaving their ticket refund unclaimed, turning their purchased ticket into a donation to support the artists and companies whose shows have been cancelled, and who are suddenly losing all their income for the foreseeable future. Audiences that have a ticket to a cancelled performance should contact the point of sale for more information on refunds and donations.

 Holly Lombardo, Director, National Rural Touring Forum

March 20th 2020

Interested in dance choreology? Join the Benesh International Congress in May

Join the Royal Academy of Dance for the Benesh International Congress, Between the lines: The Art of Choreology, from 22-24 May. It is an opportunity for professionals, students and those interested in Benesh to connect and discuss latest developments.

The schedule combines lectures, workshops, carousel sessions and round tables, with fascinating speakers on offer. A panel will discuss reviving early works of Kenneth MacMillan, Benesh vs. video in preserving works, as a tool for improvisation and composition, and a circus artist and choreologist will explore the use of Benesh in recording circus arts.

See more and book your place: http://bit.ly/314VBBb

Spot On Lancashire Digital Commission 2020

Following the success of our first ever digital commission in 2019, with the acclaimed ‘Hit the North’ by Matt Wilkinson, our digital commissioning panel is calling for artists to pitch to create something completely new for 2020. This will be the second commission in what we hope will be a long series of commissions over the next few years. It also coincides with Spot On’s 25th anniversary.

Spot On Lancashire is a rural and library touring scheme. We take the best available art out of theatres and galleries to people who would otherwise not get to see it. The plan is for the finished piece to ‘tour’ to libraries and village halls across Lancashire in October/November 2020. At the beginning of December, the work will be shared nationally as part of our new digital gallery on the Spot On website.

We have an archive of 50 season brochures, posters, flyers, photographs etc. sitting in box files on a shelf. Can you use this as a starting point for a new piece of digital creativity? We have no fixed ideas of what this will be, look or sound like. An artist may choose to extract elements or look at things more holistically. In some ways the archive reflects the evolution of rural Lancashire, of small scale performing arts, of design and technology over the last quarter century. It is up to you. 

There is a fee of £4500 available. Full details can be downloaded here. The closing date for applications is March 10. 

The Gathering 2020 – The Touring Network

The Gathering is an annual event, bringing together promoters from across the Highlands and Islands with performers, producers, funders and other creative professionals, to network, build key skills and showcase new work.

The Gathering – Fri 24 – Sun 26 Apr 2020
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Sleat, Isie of Skye

This is the first time we’ve hosted our flagship event on an island, so expect to be as inspired by the dramatic Skye scenery outside as the performances on stage inside!

The theme for this year is Greener Touring.  We’ll be sharing lots of ideas for sustainable programming, audience transport, greener venues alongside a very exciting showcase and evening programme!
The whole event will take place at Sabhal Mór Ostaig, and we’re grateful for the support from SEALL in programming our evenings.

View the Programme sofar and Register for Tickets now!

Pride of Place 2020 Conference

Thurs, 26 March 2020
09:30-17:00
Tickets £29

The Green Dragon Hotel
Broad Street
Hereford
HR4 9BG

Are rural areas getting a fair bite of the apple? The Pride of Place 2020 conference is an arts, heritage and culture conversation in the heart of Herefordshire. Discuss culture-led rural regeneration with policy-makers, funders and cultural leaders, share innovative ideas, network with key organisations, and get your crucial questions answered. This is your chance to dig a little deeper into the role arts and heritage play in rural places across the UK.

Book your place now.

The day will include:

Talks from:

  • Laura Dyer MBE, Deputy Chief Executive, Places & Engagement, Arts Council England.
  • Professor Simon Pemberton, Keele University. Author of Rural Regeneration in the UK.
  • Clive Fletcher, Principal Advisor and Lead Specialist, Historic Places, Historic England. Author of Historic England Places Strategy.

Conversations and breakout sessions with:

  • Rosie Millard, Chair of BBC Children in Need.
  • Justine Wheatley, CEO of PEAK: Art in the Black Mountains
  • Great Place: Lakes and Dales (Great Place Scheme)
  • Northern Heartlands (Great Place Scheme)
  • Create Gloucestershire
  • Herefordshire’s A Great Place (Great Place Scheme)
  • Ferrous Festival

With thanks to Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Elmley Foundation for supporting this event. Tickets will include all refreshments, lunch, and workshops.

For more information please email JacquiG@ruralmedia.co.uk

For programme details as they are announced head to www.the-shire.co.uk/prideofplace2020.

For tickets, tap here.

‘Libraries and Rural Touring Arts’ – maximising the potential of our nation’s libraries

Press Release

January 2020

‘Libraries and Rural Touring Arts’ – maximising the potential of our nation’s libraries

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) to support touring into Libraries in a new national project funded by Arts Council England.

New figures reveal almost 800 libraries have closed since 2010. National spending has dropped, as has visitor footfall and the number of paid librarians. Libraries also face numerous external challenges, such as the growth of e-books and people increasingly purchasing low-priced books online. Despite this the 3,618 public libraries in the UK are still visited 233.1 million times annually and 77% of people believe that libraries are either essential or very important to their community (The Reading Agency 2018). Research by Arts Council England found that library attendance is positively associated with well-being and has even related to NHS savings of up to £27.5 annually. One way to address user numbers is to increase the opportunity to participate in touring and overcoming embedded sector obstacles of lack of budget, capacity, skills, knowledge and networks.

The National Rural Touring Forum is embarking on an exciting new project funded by Arts Council England. They plan to explore what happens with Libraries and Rural Touring Arts and understanding the challenges library services face in generating new audiences. Can programming quality live art a good way to diversify users and engage the wider community? NRTF will investigate the unique complexities and amazing opportunities in touring live arts into libraries.  The project is also proudly linking across the border working with Welsh Arts Council’s Night Out scheme to develop performances in rural and community libraries in Wales.

James Urquhart, Senior Manager, Arts Council England said: “We are really pleased to be supporting the NRTF to deliver this important initiative which is open to libraries across the country. The programme will enable libraries to explore the programming potential of their spaces by offering a range of resources, networking and go and see opportunities. NRTF plays a key part in supporting the rural touring sector and, by sharing their expertise more widely, communities will be able to connect with arts and culture in their local library.”

Public libraries have an appetite to increase toured-in product but often need extra support, skills, capacity, networks and confidence to achieve this. NRTF will audit the library programming sector by working with Rural Touring Schemes, library services, library networks and venues, learning and expanding on initiatives and activity that is already in place.

“This is an important strategic project for NRTF. We look forward to identifying and responding to the needs of librarians who have the potential to programme work. It is also a great opportunity for artists and performing companies who will potentially have a new set of venues and touring spaces to show their work” Holly Lombardo, NRTF Director

NRTF will create resources and developmental activities, including bursaries and an artistic investment pot to encourage librarians into programming performance in library spaces. NRTF and ACE want to instil confidence, though training, and identify what is needed to utilise and build on librarians’ strengths and priorities to make the most out of cultural events. This is a fantastic opportunity for libraries and artists.

There is a now a live call out for libraries to share their knowledge of putting on live shows.

For more information contact holly@nrtf.org.uk

Holly Lombardo, Director, National Rural Touring Forum www.ruraltouring.org

Notes to Editor:

There are 3,618 public libraries in the UK, and they receive 233.1 million visits annually. 77% of people believe that libraries are either essential or very important to their community (The Reading Agency 2018). Research by Arts Council England found that library attendance is positively associated with well-being and has even been connected with NHS savings of up to £27.5 annually. Despite this, library visits decreased by over 10 million in the last year (CIPFA 2018), and many libraries struggle to afford to employ staff, instead relying on over 50,000 volunteers nationally to run them.

Guardian Article on funding for libraries – December 2019

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/06/britain-has-closed-almost-800-libraries-since-2010-figures-show

Rural Services Network article on Libraries – December 2019

https://rsnonline.org.uk/britain-loses-almost-a-fifth-of-libraries

“We are working with local and central government to promote this sort of approach, to encourage them to think ‘libraries first’ in delivering services to communities, and ensure that there is recognition of the valuable contributions that library services make to their strategies and priorities.” Michael Ellis MP – Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, October 2018

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspire us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

National Rural Touring Forum is an organisation that networks, develops and supports the delivery of high-quality creative experiences across rural areas in the UK. The aim of the Forum is to strengthen and support rural communities to bring professional work to their venues.

NRTF members are made up of a national network of Rural Touring Schemes who programme menus of professional artistic events that tour in their region. We also have artist, venue, promoter, producer and festival members all promoting and developing professional work for rural settings.

NRTF provides its members with opportunities for training, making connections, showcases, research, discussion and advocacy. It also develops strategic projects that enable national & international partnerships and commissions. We sit on Arts Council Rural Stakeholders panels to lobby for support in the rural sectors and highlight the importance of meeting the needs of rural audiences and communities. We also lobby at government level and throughout the creative and cultural sectors. Through research and advocacy, the NRTF aims to promote a better understanding of the value of rural arts and touring.

Many Rural Touring Schemes are funded organisations, and some by Arts Council England. This means they can subsidise programmes to bring bigger or more innovative work to their venues. The schemes will spend a lot of their time seeking creative work they believe are suitable and enjoyable for their audiences. They will also challenge audiences to try something new.

One way they do this is through projects such as the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. In 2015 the NRTF joined forces with The Place, Take Art and China Plate to launch a development initiative for making and touring dance performances to and for rural areas.

Across the UK there are currently 30-member schemes, 1,650 promoting groups, 110,000 voluntary hours, 332,000 audience, over £1,000,000 box office sales.

www.ruraltouring.org

Accessing Access by Paul O’Donnell

A theatre maker’s attempt to make his work more accessible, and how venues/organisations might be able to help

Paul O’Donnell is a solo theatre maker and over the past year, has been using Talking Birds‘ accessibility tool The Difference Engine to deliver captioning and audio description on every performance of the UK tour of his show We’ve Got Each Other. With funding from Arts Council England, he has created a resource pack for artists, companies and organisations to share the learning and experience he gained during the project. It also includes case studies and a list of other resources.

The Fear of Access

Hello, I’m Paul O’Donnell, a solo theatre maker, performer and producer who has set out on the task of trying to make my solo show We’ve Got Each Other more accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. The show was captioned and audio described using Talking Birds’ Difference Engine, which is covered in more detail on page 4.

My journey started at the East Meets West Symposium run by Little Earthquake in 2017, where I timidly raised my hand in a discussion about access. I explained that I, like a lot of artists, wanted to make my work more accessible, but felt there were two things that were preventing me from doing so: 1. the fear, and 2. the cost. I believe that these two barriers are prohibiting artists like me from giving it a try for fear of getting it wrong, saying/doing the wrong thing or being branded ‘tokenistic’, or being unable to sustainably resource access as an integral part of their practice; the cost of making the show more accessible for the 2019 tour consumed a big chunk of my under £15k ACE application – more on this later.

But, in that room the response I received was “Well, isn’t it better to do something than nothing at all?” and so I thought, “I guess I’d better do ‘something’ then”. My terrifying journey into ‘access’ had begun and I realised that to combat that fear of getting it wrong, I had to dive in head first, make all the mistakes and learn from them. I am still learning.

“Isn’t it better to do something than nothing at all?”

Since then I have:

  • Engaged in a process of making the audio descriptions and captions for We’ve Got Each Other a creative rather than just functional output.
  • Captioned and Audio Described all 23 shows in my 2019 UK tour of We’ve Got Each Other using the Difference Engine.
  • Welcomed in 38 audience members who usually wouldn’t be able to access my work.
  • Engaged 3 deaf or blind focus groups to refine this service and my understanding.

I should note that I am not deaf or blind myself and that I understand and believe that deaf and blind individuals need to be leading on discussions around their access requirements. I do however feel that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that access for all is considered in their creative work. In this pack, I am particularly following the social model of disability with the belief that deaf and disabled individuals are only disabled by the systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusions that society presents. This pack is me doing what I can to challenge and change those barriers.

This pack is in part me sharing the lessons learnt through this process with you, in the hope that if you were to consider embarking on your own journey, it might be just that little bit easier. I also hope to share some of the issues independent artists like me are facing in making access a natural part of their processes. Ironically enough, for independent artists like me access currently feels a little… inaccessible.

For venues/organisations, I hope this might also encourage you to consider what support you can offer independent artists to help combat these barriers in order to make this a sustainable part of all of our practices. I truly believe it can only be achieved as a sector-wide effort, and have to remind us that technically, by law, we all should have started ten years ago now (Equalities Act 2010).

Accessing Access Download the guide by Paul O’Donnell PDF 1,207kb Download

Project Manager Role with NRTF

Job Vacancy Advertisement

Project Manager (P/T)

Application out 13 January 2020

Application deadline 24 January 2020

Start date ASAP

Job Description

Position: Project Manager – National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF)

Responsible to: Director, NRTF

Contract: 22.5 hours per week / 3 days a week

20-month minimum contract with the possibility of extending

Start date – date during February 2020 to be agreed

Travel will be required with some evenings and weekends

PAYE preferred but will consider freelance

Salary:                                   PAYE – Between £26,000 and £29,000 pro-rata, depending on experience

Holiday:                                PAYE – 28 days including Bank holidays

Location:                              The NRTF has no fixed office. The post-holder may work from home or own office.

Probationary Period:       Three months (extending to 6 months if necessary), two weeks’ notice required by both parties

Notice Period:                   12 weeks from both parties

Identity checks:                 Ability to provide official documents to confirm they have the right to work in the UK and undergo a check with the Disclosures and Barring Service

Role Context

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) is looking for an experienced and skilled Project Manager to lead, coordinate and deliver on a new and exciting project while supporting the Director to deliver NRTF ambitions and outcomes. The principal responsibility of the postholder will be to manage the new ‘Libraries and Rural Touring Arts’, commencing in March 2020 and funded by Arts Council England. The role will need to be undertaken by someone with experience in working with artists and arts organisations, and the successful candidate will have excellent organisational, managerial, administrative and communications skills. They will need to be comfortable working with a broad range of people, organisations and relationships.

The Project Manager will be part of a small but ambitious team and be responsible to the NRTF Director, helping to deliver the wider visions of NRTF. The postholder will be required to bring a willingness to muck in and undertake a variety of tasks within the organisation, including supporting the work of the Communications Manager with the general membership and event coordination for the NRTF Conference and a range of festival panel talks.

About the ‘Libraries and Rural Touring Arts’ Project

Public libraries have an appetite to increase toured-in product but often lack support, skills, capacity, networks and confidence to achieve this. NRTF will audit the sector and work with Rural Touring Schemes and venues to learn from and expand on projects and activity that is already in place.

The primary outcomes include understanding the language of libraries and identifying what is needed in the sector to create appropriate resources and to provide developmental activities, including bursaries and an investment pot to encourage librarians into programming live arts and performance in their spaces.

‘Libraries and Rural Touring Arts’ – maximising the potential of our nation’s libraries

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) to support touring into Libraries in a new national project funded by Arts Council England.

New figures reveal almost 800 libraries have closed since 2010. National spending has dropped, as has visitor footfall and the number of paid librarians. Libraries also face numerous external challenges, such as the growth of e-books and people increasingly purchasing low-priced books online. Despite this, the 3,618 public libraries in the UK are still visited 233.1 million times annually and 77% of people believe that libraries are either essential or very important to their community (The Reading Agency 2018). Research by the Arts Council of England found that library attendance is positively associated with well-being and has even related to NHS savings of up to £27.5 annually. One way to address user numbers is to increase the opportunity to participate in touring and overcoming embedded sector obstacles of lack of budget, capacity, skills, knowledge and networks.

The Libraries and Rural Touring Arts project, managed by National Rural Touring Forum, is about understanding the challenges library services face in engaging the public and generating new audiences. Programming live art is one way to diversify users and engage the wider community.

“This is an important strategic project for NRTF. We look forward to identifying and responding to the needs of librarians who have the potential to programme work. It is also a great opportunity for artists and performing companies who will potentially have a new set of venues and touring spaces to show their work” Holly Lombardo, NRTF Director

Public libraries have an appetite to increase toured-in product but often lack support, skills, capacity, networks and confidence to achieve this. NRTF will explore and audit the library programming sector, working with library’s, Rural Touring Schemes and venues to learn from and expand on projects and activity that is already in place.

The project aims to create resources and developmental activities, including bursaries and an investment pot to encourage librarians into programming live arts and performance in library spaces. NRTF and ACE want to instil confidence, though training, and identify what is needed to utilise and build on librarians’ strengths and priorities to make the most out of cultural events. This is a fantastic opportunity for libraries and artists.

www.ruraltouring.org

Download the full job description below.

Programmer Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and Arts Live

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival is the largest rural Performing Arts Festival in Scotland. It has been running a highly successful Festival each May since 1979.

In 2016 D&GAF embarked on a new venture and in addition to the Festival, it now works with a network of local promoters, venues and community groups to provide high quality performances all year round, under the banner Dumfries & Galloway Arts Live. 

We are seeking to appoint a Programmer with vision and imagination to lead the future development of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival and Arts Live.

We are looking for someone with:

  • A good knowledge of the contemporary performing arts scene;
  • Excellent organisational and interpersonal skills;
  • Significant experience in programming;

The contract covers two key areas.

  • Programming the annual 10-day Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival.
  • Programming of year-round Arts Live

Description

Title: Freelance Programmer

Commission:  For delivery of core;

  • Finalise Arts Live Spring/Summer – March-August 2020
  • Arts Live Autumn/Winter – August-January
  • Arts Live Spring/Summer – February-July 2021
  • 10-day Arts Festival – May/June 2021

Location: Flexible

Responsible to: General Manager

Liaising with:  General Manager and Project & Communications Manager

Fee: £15,000, payable on completion of agreed targets

Contacts: Relevant local and national agencies, local and national performing artists and arts organisations, international networks and the public.

If you wish to be considered for the contract and would like an information and application pack, please email info@dgartsfestival.org.uk

The closing date for applications is 12noon Tuesday 11th February 2020

If you are selected to attend an interview for this freelance contract you will be informed by Thursday 13th February 2020

Interviews will take place on Monday 24th February in Dumfries.

As part of the interview process you will be required to make a 10 minute presentation on your vision for Programming Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival and Arts Live. This will be followed by a formal interview.

www.dgartsfestival.org.uk