Northern Festivals Network and Unlimited Impact commission disability-centric festival acts

UK: The Northern Festivals Network and Unlimited Impact are inviting disabled artists and companies from any discipline to request support for the creation and touring of a new outdoor work for families at greenfield festivals in 2017.

This is a unique commission opportunity for disabled artists and companies developing disability-led work to create or adapt a work in any artistic discipline for families in an outdoor setting with guaranteed bookings at four festivals in Summer 2017.

The Northern Festivals Network is led by Wild Rumpus, award-winning producers of the Just So Festival and is a consortium of festivals in the North of England committed to increasing the amount of high quality arts touring for families at greenfield festivals. With the help of Arts Council England’s strategic funding, they aim to create an environment where a wide range of high quality outdoor family arts can thrive, utilising the work of great companies to develop audiences for family work outdoors. The consortium includes Just So Festival, Kendal Calling, Ramsbottom Festival, Festival No. 6, Underneath the Stars, and Cloudspotting.

Unlimited Impact runs alongside the Unlimited commissions programme for disabled artists, supporting organisations to work in ways that stretch their practice in relation to inclusion and access. Currently there are few disabled artists creating work for family audiences, and few creating work for greenfield sites.

Together the Northern Festivals Network and Unlimited Impact will commission an artist, collective or company to create groundbreaking and exciting work in any genre, style or form for presentation to family audiences at greenfield festivals across the country.

The greenfield festival sector is a growth industry, with 975 festivals taking place annually across the UK and a growing number of families that attend [1]. The Outdoor Arts Sector attracts a wide-ranging and diverse audience that is more representative of the total population than any other art form [2].

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer at Unlimited Impact, said: “If you are an artist, you make work – any kind of work – and it should be the same for disabled artists. But too often disabled artists are not represented equally. Work for outdoor spaces and work for family audiences are both sectors where work by disabled artists is under represented. For us, this commission opportunity is a chance to readdress that. And it’s a well-designed process too – artists get a chance to see the sites and festivals before submitting a full application, so that they can stretch their practice. I genuinely can’t wait to see what will be commissioned.”

Read the full brief and how to apply here, with the deadline of 23 June.

Northern Festivals Network

[1] Research from the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) 2015
[2] Ongoing research from the Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN)