Arts Council England
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Creative commissions for disabled artists launched with BBC Arts

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, we're partnering with the UK’s other arts councils to invest in ten new works by disabled artists as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative. The works will appear on a range of BBC platforms, including TV and radio as well as the BBC Sounds app and BBC Arts website.

D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists will be invited to apply to produce new video or audio works with support from digital production specialists. The programme aims to keep the arts in the homes of the public during lockdown and support artists at a difficult time with the launch of this new commissioning opportunity which celebrates the work of disabled artists.

This new opportunity builds on the success of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine artists’ commissioning strand, launched in April 2020 by BBC Arts and Arts Council England, which invited artists to give a creative response to the challenges of lockdown. A total of 25 commissions were produced, which achieved audiences in the millions across BBC and social platforms.

This new commissioning strand will also work with the UK Disability Arts Alliance which amplifies the voices of D/dead, neurodivergent and disabled creative practitioners and disability arts organisations. The programme will be managed by digital support agency The Space in partnership with Unlimited, an arts commissioning programme that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer at Arts Council England yesterday said:

“Culture in Quarantine has supported a diverse range of artists across the United Kingdom to create new work, which we’ve all been able to enjoy from the comfort of our homes. I’m proud that we are continuing our partnership with BBC Arts, Arts Council Wales, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to invest in ten commissions from D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent practitioners – who have been disproportionately affected by the current pandemic – showcasing and celebrating their unique perspectives.” 

Jonty Claypole, Director BBC Arts yesterday said:

“The Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 is one of the most important civil rights landmarks in British history. To mark this important anniversary, the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine initiative is joining with Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland to commission a range of film and audio projects that celebrate the talent of D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists today. This is more important than ever in the age of Covid-19 when the need for extreme shielding threatens to silence many disabled artists who would otherwise be producing work for galleries and stages around the UK.”

The application process opened today (Monday 09 November) and ends 12pm (midday) Tuesday 12 January 2021. Find out more and apply > 

Commissions will be selected by a panel including representatives from BBC Arts, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland and the UK Disability Arts Alliance. It is expected that the works will be produced between March 2021 and June 2021, airing on BBC platforms later in 2021.


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