Supported by the Independent Dance Sector
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt our lives, Leeds Dance Partnership recognised the devastating impact this was having on the independent dance sector. The Partnership wanted to ensure it was continuing to support the independent sector during this time and decided to run a series of free online events specifically for those artists.
In tandem with this, the Partnership wanted to bring together an artistic advisory group of independent dance artists. The aim of this is to widen independent representation in decision making settings, as well as having an adequate steering group to develop training and networking events aimed at independent artists and creatives.
The group was brought together and includes six local independent artists (pictured below): Alexah Tomey-Alleyne; Catrina Nisbett; Charlotte Arnold; Janetta Maxwell; Rachel Fullegar; and Sandrine Monin. That team, alongside João Maio (Independent Board Member) and Gail Ferrin (Programme Manager) then co-designed and programmed the Online Series.
The artistic group identified different relevant themes to be tackled in the series and democratically agreed on three sessions:
- Going Digital – What to consider? with Wayne Sables (5 June)
- De-Mystifying Networking with Nicole Newman and Ella Mesma (19 June)
- Fundraising for Individuals (beyond ACE) with Sue Robinson (24 July).
Following a good reception and take up to the free online events, the series was further expanded to include:
- Social Media Marketing for Independents with Rubbi Bhogal-wood (28 August)
- Radical Strategies for Change with Artistic Mutiny UK in collaboration with the National Dance Network and One Dance UK series The Time Is Now (30 September).
All five sessions were sold out and received positive feedback.
Conversations with the artistic advisory group have so far provided significant learning for Leeds Dance Partnership about the barriers independents face in the region as well as the opportunities needed to network, link, upskill and share. There was also sharing of ideas and suggestions around the way that independent engagement work could be developed in the future.
The hope for Leeds Dance Partnership is now that the events can continue and develop, beyond online to live events (pandemic permitting) and that this will be enhanced by the continued support of the advisory group going forward.