LEX :: IMPORTANT
Artist, Facilitator and Project Manager in Community Arts and Cultural Development, and Arts and Health sectors
I am writing to express my delight at the possibility of participating in the three day residency with Jenny Sealey through PIAF Connect. I am incredibly passionate about celebrating diversity, and creating accessible spaces for participation in the arts. Both my personal ethos and career aspirations are guided by my belief in the role of the arts contributing to positive health and wellbeing, and creating social change. The opportunity to participate in a masterclass with Jenny Sealey and Graeae would be beneficial to my work as an Artswoker, working with complex communities, as well as my own professional arts practice. I am particularly interested in experiencing the ways that Jenny and Graeae lead the creative process in an accessible way, as well as responding to such an exiting and challenging performance piece as 4.48 Psychosis.
I have worked in the Arts and Health/Arts and Disability sector for over 10 years, and have facilitated and coordinated a number of accessible and community participative projects with DADAA Ltd, AWESOME Arts, Propel Youth Arts, and various local governments. For example, in 2016 I have developed and facilitated a creative program for children with and without disabilities for DADAA, which focused on exploring the self, using a range of media, culminating in a celebration where the children wrote artists statement, curated and presented their own work in an informal exhibition.
My experience also extends to the development of my professional arts practice. Early in 2016 I undertook an Artist Residency at Paper Mountain Studios to develop my work, exploring the impacts of gender and body on identity. While my work is somewhat autobiographical – focusing on my personal journey of gender transition and search for identities that fit – I am also fascinated by the way that others think about their own identity, particularly in terms of body and gender. As part of this residency, I facilitated a series of workshops with groups of gender diverse people, as well as the wider community. These workshops allowed for discussion around how gender and body inform parts of our identity, leading to creating soft sculptures of real or imagined anatomy presented in specimen jars. Building on these explorations I am working towards both an Exhibition and Community-Collaborative Artist Residency this year.
I am also currently collaborating with artist Elizabeth Bills (and other artists) to create a exhibition focusing on loneliness and vulnerability. We are working with DADAA for the exhibition to be audio described. We are currently developing how the audio description will fit, and become an integral part of the audience experience, participating and interacting with the show. It is incredibly important to us that including accessibility for people who are blind or with vision impairment is considered as part of the design and creative process.
As a person with lived experience of mental illness, and previous chronic physical illness, I am a strong advocate for voices of people with disability and mental illness being present, and celebrated in the arts. I am particularly interested in experiencing and exploring Sarah Kane’s work, as it relates to me personally, as well as how the themes of human fragility and freedom are expressed to an audience.
I feel that participating in this masterclass would provide me with incredible insight into international accessible arts, and the future trajectory of the sector. This professional learning would be invaluable to me in my new role taking on 3 days/week as an Artsworker at DADAA this year. I am open and willing to collaborate with/support an artist with a disability in this masterclass if that is appropriate