As recruitment opens for the new Liberty Advisory Group, curator Linda Rocco writes about her experiences and how the arts’ recovery from the pandemic must be inclusive.
The UK disability arts sector is a one-of-a-kind workforce recognised worldwide, composed of outstanding talents and organisations committed to redefining the meanings of access and inclusivity while advocating for a diverse and non-elitist arts sector. Unfortunately, the effects of coronavirus pandemic are threatening five decades of relentless work done in the UK by key figures in the D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled arts community.
Covid-19 has forced the ‘vulnerable’ to isolate and shield, further compromising our ability to work, to express our voices and participate in society during the chaotic global vortex that is this pandemic. But if there is something we certainly know, it’s that Art is adaptability.
I started working with the GLA before the pandemic as a curator for Liberty 2020. The event was going to be a large-scale festival celebrating D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists, as it has done since 2003 However in light of the new scenario we find ourselves in, we’ve focused on developing Liberty beyond a one-day celebratory format.
The aim is to continue to engage D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists, creatives and audiences, through a multilayered programme of commissions and opportunities.
The Liberty Advisory Group (LAG) will be a long-term consulting body of leading D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse professionals. It will help identify ventures for the GLA to best support the UK disability arts sector in London. The group will go beyond consulting for a festival format, to focus on slow-growth engagement, making the case for diversity in artistic leadership.
The recovery of the wider cultural landscape must be guided by a fully inclusive approach informed by the extensive experience of disabled practitioners, strengthening the accessibility of the sector under the Social Model of Disability. This crisis could be a chance for us to magnify the value of resilience particularly in the face of adversities, pushing for an inclusive cultural recovery and a shared sense of togetherness.
Can you help steer Liberty? Do you have experience programming and commissioning D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled-led work as well as engaging with D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled audiences and groups? Find out more about joining the Liberty Advisory Group, deadline is 4 January 2021.