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Olivia Furber's Aviatrix. Featured: Ramzi Maqdisi, Komal Amin Image: Aurélien Lambert

Twenty Two Artists and Producers Awarded Grants of up to £1000 for Self-Defined Development Projects

21 March 2018

22 independent artists and producers have received Performing Arts Micro Bursaries of up to £1000 to carry out self-defined professional and creative development activities, bringing the total of individuals who have benefited from the fund to 46.

Artists selected in this second round are: Bex Anson; Tom Bailey; Camille Barton; Rose Biggin; Josie Canham-Williams; Kamala Devam; Eleanor Fogg; Olivia Furber; Lisa Hammond; Kate Lane; Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson; David Lyttle; Nicholas Malcolm; Alice Malseed; Zinzi Minott; Olivia Norris; Emma Jayne Park; Ailie Robertson; Melanie Sanders; Michael Simon; Joshua Spear; and Hayley Wareham.

The selection was made by Nikki Tomlinson, Lead Artist Advisor, Artsadmin, and Independent Producer; Soweto Kinch, Alto-Saxophonist and MC; and Jon Opie, Deputy Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation. The shortlist was drawn up by Jerwood Charitable Foundation with the help of two readers: James Hannam, Lecturer in Music, Southampton Solent University; and Lexi Zelda Stevens, Freelance Producer.

Jerwood Charitable Foundation has awarded the Performing Arts Micro Bursaries using legacy funds from the BBC Performing Arts Fund and a donation from Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners. The fund was open to individuals within 10 years of establishing their practice.

The first round of Performing Arts Micro Bursaries were announced in March 2017. The volume of applications, over 800 between both rounds, clearly demonstrates that bespoke, artist-defined professional and creative development support is beyond the means of many early-career artists. Yet we know that these are both vital to a well-grounded and sustainable practice.

As a small independent foundation we are able to work with individuals without charity status or formal education and to support artistic activity that other funders are not. Applicants in this round applied in high proportions for early-stage research and experimentation, followed by mentoring and travel, and the attendance at conferences and specialist events. We take an artist centred view on eligible costs, for example taking into consideration how those with caring responsibilities might need to resource their time spent making.

About the selected artist projects

Theatre director and scenographer Bex Anson will develop her directorial/scenographic voice through a residency with internationally renowned Circus Cirkor’s LAB: Laboratory of Artistic Excellence, Stockholm. A number of jumping off points for future work will be developed with a new collaborator, award-winning hand balancer Sunniva Byvard.

Activist theatre-maker Tom Bailey will undertake research and development for a new piece about the neo-liberal gig economy, stepping into new thematic territory and moving from director to maker-performer for the first time.

Movement artist Camille Barton will spend two weeks at Ecole des Sables, Senegal, an intensive aimed at dancers and choreographers working with traditional and modern dance forms of the African Diaspora. She will develop her skill base, network and research African embodiment techniques to develop a workshop series using somatic practice to address racism and related social behaviours.

Theatre-maker Rose Biggin will train in Chinese Pole at AirCraft Circus. She plans to incorporate this new discipline into her practice in dialogue with her current use of Pole Dance as she begins her second full length work. The two similar techniques have contrasting associations with gender coding, aesthetic and cultural connotations that she will explore.

Tabla player Josie Canham-Williams will visit University of Baroda, Gujarat and subsequently train with tabla master Pandit Yogesh Samsi in Mumbai to develop instrumental skills and experiment with vocal accompaniment. Josie will also attend Saptak Annual Festival of Music in Ahmedabad and the Sawai Gandharva festival in Pune. She will gain a stronger position for accompaniment, solo performance and collaborative projects.

Choreographer Kamala Devam will create a 15 minute classical Bharata Natyam solo, with live accompaniment from two musicians. It will be the first time she has choreographed a classical Indian dance work, having previously made work based in contemporary or contemporary South Asian dance. It presents a game-changing moment in her development as an independent choreographer.

Drag performance maker Eleanor Fogg will collaborate with sound artist Alicia Jane Turner to research using body sounds as method for composition. The project provides a moment of focus following a period of fast development for Eleanor, having creating two studio length shows in the last two years, and will develop on recent performances that speak to music audiences more directly through her use of sound.

Theatre-maker Olivia Furber will attend Starke Stücke festival’s research residency Next Generation Workspace, Frankfurt – one of Europe’s leading festivals of theatre for young audiences. She will hone her theatrical language and be afforded the space, time, mentorship and access to an audience of young people to test work that responds to the imaginations of children at different landmark stages in their development.

Actor, writer and theatre maker Lisa Hammond will undertake coaching sessions over a seven-month period with Sheila Chandra to enable a career transition from acting to producing. It comes at a time when she is due to make the step from regular TV acting work to focusing solely on her own theatre making projects.

Scenographer Kate Lane will undertake a new collaboration, making a short experimental VR film in collaboration with director Alice Knight. It will explore how the audience could fully immerse themselves in a live performance context to further explore the theory that post-dramatic aspects of time, space, body, text and medium are a good basis for developing VR performance practice.

Multi-disciplinary artist Lateisha Lovelace-Hanson will undertake research and development for a collaborative, Afro-futurist Live Art work that illuminates the intersection of colonialism and climate change. The work will imagine what the future world could look like if we continue to build upon existing political and economic structures, examining supremacism, patriarchy and capitalism.

Jazz drummer and composer David Lyttle will take up an extended writing and learning residency in New York, proving a critical opportunity to expand his profile in the US. He will also continue his work with unusual audiences, including bikers, UFO tourists and cowboys, to learn more about the broader public’s connection with creative music.

Trumpeter Nicholas Malcolm will travel to Chicago to collaborate with vocalist and academic Fumi Okiji, who is currently completing a PhD at Northwestern University exploring the ways in which jazz and black expression can challenge the inadequacies of contemporary life, and suggest meaningful alternatives. Nicholas is currently exploring the elements of the female voice and collage. The pair will collaborate over five days to complete a recording using improvisation and discussion of compositional sketches and found audio.

Writer and boxer Alice Malseed will carry out early-stage R&D around the first draft of the script for her third play. She will work with two actors and a director to explore complex and hard-hitting themes surrounding the experience of white working-class men in inner-city Belfast.

Dance-maker and artist Zinzi Minott will attend Jamaican Dance Umbrella to build her connections with artists based there and to inform her perspective of Diaspora which up until now has been formed solely within the contexts of Europe and North America.

Dance and visual artist Olivia Norris works across choreography, painting and film. She is interested in gender performativity, gaze and the everyday. She will lead seven-days of collaborative early-stage research for a dance-film project inspired by Bully Fae’s music, exploring how to capture its aggressive, visceral nature and the politicised moments and subjects it describes.

Dance artist Emma Jayne Park will explore the potential of rescaling full-scale theatre works into living room based performances that consider the specific needs of those undergoing or recovering from cancer treatments, based on her personal experience. She will undertake research across Maggie’s Centres in Scotland.

Composer, performer and curator Ailie Robertson will attend the Bang on a Can Summer Festival in Massachusetts, USA. Her work crosses the boundaries of traditional and contemporary music and the three-week intensive festival is dedicated to the composition and performance of adventurous new music. It will provide an extended period of training with mentors including Steve Reich and knowhow  about reaching audiences with new music and developing vibrant new music communities.

Classical mezzo-soprano Melanie Sanders has experienced changes the range and weight of her voice following the birth of her child. She will work with a vocal coach to identify opera roles, oratorio pieces, and songs that fit her new vocal sound.

Dancer and choreographer Michael Simon will develop new hip-hop theatre work with spoken word and dance artist Ricardo Da Silva. The piece is his second choreography and will explore the use of emotion in the typically hyper male art-form, using the narrative of Cain and Abel as a stimulus.

Composer-performer Joshua Spear will experiment with the live video software Isadora in collaboration with dancer and choreography Daniel Hay-Gordon. This development period will contribute to a new work about contemporary relations with North Korea and the USA, using pop-cultural references and military footage.

Playwright Hayley Wareham will undertake in-depth research with the charity Women In Prisons, for a the third draft of her new play about motherhood and the failings of the criminal justice system. Her work as an actor with Cardboard Citizens has provided the motivation to tell stories of under-represented women that she feels are not reaching the mainstream.

The Performing Arts Micro Bursaries support early-career independent artists and producers with awards of between £250 and £1,000 to carry out development activities in the performing arts where a clear and specific learning opportunity has been identified. They were created using legacy funds from the BBC Performing Arts Fund and a donation to Jerwood Charitable Foundation from Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.

The BBC Performing Arts Fund existed to support emerging talent across the performing arts sector. The Fund awarded over £5m during the 12 years of its operation. On its closure in 2016, and in line with its Charitable Deed of Trust, part of the remaining funds were transferred to Jerwood Charitable Foundation in order to continue its work in nurturing talent.

Artists selected in the first round were:
Lucy Bradley, Ira Brand, Roxanne Carney, Rachael Clerke, Liz Counsell, Marivi da Silva, Daisy Douglas, Philip Douglas, Ellie Dubois, Helen Edwards, Sarah Emmott, Matthew Evans, Emma Frankland, Ruth Holdsworth, Vanessa Kisuule, Davide Levi, Zara McFarlane, Ronan McMahon, Nathan Penlington, Joshua Pharo, Lee Reynolds, Arron Sparks, Melanie Spencer, Xi Nan and Cécile Trémolières.