As always, there is a lot of activity going on with the Accentuate programme. Some key events that I am looking forward to in March are, the Reaching for Gold competition at Windsor Castle and a preview of work by Zoe Partington as part of Go Public.
Reaching for Gold is a “dragons den” style competition to encourage young people to develop entrepreneurial ideas. We are delighted that this year, some young disabled entrepreneurs have been selected to take part. These young people are also part of the Accentuate project Realise! which we talk about in the Featured Project section of this newsletter. This selection was purely based on the quality of idea and I can’t wait to see them pitch their projects.
Go Public is project to commission work in the public realm, delivered by Ardent Hare (the new name for Dada-South). Three artists were commissioned through this project and one of these will be showcased from the middle of March. First Impressions is a groundbreaking installation by Zoe Partington which charts the journey taken by a blind person through urban space, with biomedical data impacting on the speed and sound of film projected within a purpose-built cube sited outdoors. The installation will be sited at Buckinghamshire New University from 16th March. For more details see the FYI: Opportunities section.
The end of the winter has been a time for consolidation, examining the strengths of Accentuate and assessing what we still have left to achieve. As part of this process Accentuate has led “visioning days” with a number of key stakeholders and partners, including the Our View Core Group and the Project Officer Group. These conversations have been in partnership Screen South which of course is the home of Accentuate and most specifically there has been invaluable expertise and input from Sarah Dance, the Executive Director for Special Projects. This ensures that the overall strategy for future planning has a joined up approach and utilises the strengths of both Screen South and Accentuate.
Over the last three years Accentuate has delivered and championed new ways of working with and promoting disabled people and has created innovative partnerships across a range of sectors. At the heart of this has been a gathering of expertise right across the cultural sector, the like of which has never been seen before.
It has become clear that, although Accentuate has achieved a great deal, there is still considerable work to be done. We always knew attempting to create a cultural shift in the way society views disabled people in 1000 days was quite a tall order!
Therefore we are very optimistic about the future and believe there will continue to be a strong role for Accentuate, with room for growth along with re-invention. The “Accentuate Approach” which is to broker, inspire and cross fertilise, is a very good value way of achieving genuine outcomes which would otherwise be overlooked in this time of economic austerity. Accentuate, as a core part of Screen South, will develop its role as an incubator of ideas and deliverer of projects which challenge perceptions of disability within society. Our vision is to become a national leader for thinking around disability within the cultural sector with the potential to influence, grow, build and broker international partnerships.
Our ongoing plan is to focus on the following three areas:
• Incubator of Ideas: Building on Accentuate’s expertise and on our reputation for forward thinking and for delivering new approaches to disability, a think tank style hub will devise new projects and areas of working whilst igniting debate. This will involve ensuring disabled people’s voices are heard and disseminated across the globe.
• Investing in and commissioning projects with national potential and that can change perceptions. This will ensure that Accentuate can build a reputation moving away from a purely regional focus to that of a national one.
• Future scoping: There will be ongoing exploration to investigate where there are gaps in the landscape, and how Accentuate would be well placed to fill these gaps. This will happen alongside partnership development, identifying funds and assessing the strategic influence that Accentuate can wield.
This future planning has been done within the context of Accentuate as it currently exists and is informed by our learning and experiences from the last three years. There is still much to look forward to within the current Accentuate programme, however, we also wanted to share the first shoots of what an Accentuate phase two may possibly look like at this moment of re-birth after the winter months.
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