Arts Council Funding

Inclusive Disability Arts

We are thrilled to announce £86k Arts Council Funding for disabled arts projects in Oxford.

The Arts Council award of £86,168 will be spent on delivering an extensive programme of opportunities for arts training, participation and performance for disabled young people in Oxford using the Cowley Road Carnival as the key catalyst and platform.

Running until next winter, the work aims to address the lack of training and career opportunities for disabled artists in Oxfordshire and sees Cowley Road Works working in a major new partnership with the Ark T centre in Cowley.  Ark T has already successfully run the disability arts ROAR festival for two years.

Ark T and CRW will be collaborating with an impressive group of local, national and international arts partners including: New Carnival Company (supported by Unlimited), Embaixadores de Alegria (the world’s biggest carnival project with disabled people), mental health charity MIND, the University of Oxford’s Pembroke College, Cyc Du Soleil (Steve Larkin), Sol Samba, Pegasus Theatre, Mizeke Afropean Singers, DADAfest, Gloucester Carnival.

Micaela Tuckwell, the new Executive Director for Cowley Road Works said: “The funding is tremendous news. We are extremely proud to be leading this project and delighted to be working with Ark T in empowering disabled artists from Oxfordshire.

“During the next 7 months we will be raising awareness and providing training and skills exchange, enabling personal development and growth for individuals and groups to learn, inspire and create a legacy for a new a new generation of disabled artists in Oxford.

“Our aim is to bring together and strengthen partnerships between us and disability and arts organisations as well as to break down barriers which exclude disabled people from artistic opportunities and inspire the wider community.”

“You will get to see the results of our work over the coming months, starting with the ROARSome Collective performing maracatu at Common People, at Carnival itself, the ROAR Festival at ARK T in the autumn and exhibitions of work at Pembroke College Art Gallery.

Emmy O’Shaughnessy, ARK T Director said: “The visibility and celebration of disabled young people and adults in society is something Ark T are passionate about championing. Launching ROAR festival in 2016 was a pivotal moment for the organisation who could see that there were hundreds of young people whose creative potential was not being recognised, nurtured and celebrated.

“Our centre believes that if we can contribute to the fight for equal access and representation in the arts for disabled people, this will act as a catalyst for bigger social change. As many know, art can, but not always mirror society. At this moment in time, there are still an unacceptable amount of young people with disabilities who do not experience the arts or leadership positions within the arts sector and this must change if we believe that everyone has the right to fulfil their potential.

“Our new partnership with Cowley Road Works demonstrates our shared vision for a culture shift within Oxford- to pave the way for a more unified and connected Oxford that includes everybody.”

The Arts Council project will also work with people living with mental health problems. CRW is partnering with the mental health charity Oxfordshire MIND and Pembroke College JCR Art Gallery (University of Oxford) to deliver a series of creative workshops led by local artist Emily Cooling and an exhibition of the project’s outcomes in the Gallery.

Clara Chivers, the Curator of Art at Pembroke College JCR Art Gallery said:

“This is the first occasion that the Gallery has participated in Cowley Road Carnival and we are thrilled to be part of an exciting project that is having an impact on the lives of vulnerable people in our community. The first artist-led workshop took place at Pembroke in May, where participants drew inspiration from a painting in our collection by the iconic American abstract artist Alexander Calder. I can’t wait to see what they will go on to develop for the Carnival procession!”

There will be several opportunities to see the work of this project in action:

1 July Carnival Day at the ROAR stage near Temple Street

August-September TBC Pembroke College Art Gallery

ROAR Festival

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