Go Public was a two year Accentuate initiative, delivered in partnership with Arts Council England (ACE). It was led by Dada-South (now Ardent Hare) working in partnership with Artpoint. The programme commissioned three public realm projects, to be led by disabled and deaf artists, and the open call for submission attracted 80 expressions of interest and over 30 applications. The programme provided a purposeful skills development plan, along with support and guidance for the successful applicants.
Applications were considered from artists either working or living in the South East, who considered themselves to be either emerging or established. Go Public took its lead from artists, and their definitions, recognising that the experience of disability can change and that individuals engage with their experience in different ways.
Following a rigorous selection process, the artists invited to Go Public were:
Lorna said: “Doors represent a spectrum of emotions depending upon how they are presented. There are notions of prevention and ‘the unknown’ when closed, secrets and the forbidden when locked, but also of opportunity, adventure, possibilities and the future.”
She added: “The ability to look through the sculpture to see what is on the other side breaks down that fear of ‘the unknown’ that is associated with many metaphors, including disability and disabled people.”
“I want to create something that everyone can connect with and relate to.”
Following the selection process, Stevie Rice, Director of Ardent Hare, said: “We are delighted that these exceptional artists have been selected. I have no doubt that the work will engage and challenge audiences’ perceptions and will give a much needed opportunity for disabled and Deaf artists to present their work in the public realm.”
Kevin Wilson, Director of Artpoint, the public art agency for the South East, added: “Go Public has enabled Artpoint to further understand the needs of disabled artists in the South East. It continues to be a very rewarding process to support disabled artists in all stages of their development.”
Alongside these commissions an open programme of workshops was delivered between April and September 2010 which focused specifically on issues pertinent to the development and delivery of public realm initiatives. The workshops were open to disabled and Deaf artists wishing to increase their skills in this area and was wholly accessible, as well as being underpinned by strong knowledge and experience of disability-related issues.
In addition to this, Go Public also be staged networking seminars open to disabled and Deaf artists, stakeholders, commissioners, clients and funders. These events provided opportunities to share knowledge, expertise and build a network of practice in and around creative public realm delivery in the South East. They brought potential clients and commissioners together with disabled and Deaf artists increasing the potential for future engagement.
Through Go Public, Accentuate successfully exposed previously ‘hidden’ artistic practice to local, national and international audiences. Disabled artists worked in their local community and gained exposure from the process. The project has provided deaf and disabled artists with opportunities to develop new skills and promote their work and also enabled them to connect with the mainstream.
Accentuate projects have been collecting examples of how their work is having an impact. Whether this is the personal experience of an individual, or the influence Accentuate projects have had on organisations. Click the link to view the case studies.