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A new team is coming to LEVEL…

Introducing our Artistic Assoiciates 

We’re thrilled to be able to introduce you to our first cohort of Artistic Associates for our pilot scheme #LEVELAssociateLab. These roles will form part of our leadership team at LEVEL, and will support our goal in creating an inclusive, relevant and representative team, who have lived experience of the communities we work with. This is also a fantastic opportunity to support more freelancers who will provide an independent voice and a different perspective to inform what LEVEL does and how it does it.

 

This innovative move for the LEVEL Centre will help forge new, exciting relationships and ensure that we can become the place for developing cutting edge projects for and by learning disabled and disabled adults and artists.

 

So without further ado, let’s introduce you to our new team of Artistic Associates…

Bella Milroy is an artist and writer who lives in her hometown of Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She works responsively through mediums of sculpture, drawings, photography, writing and text. Her work explores how we touch and make contact with the world around us, with the hand-held being of particular significance. She makes work about making work (and being disabled) and not being able to make work (and being disabled).

“I am so excited to become a part of the team at LEVEL, especially in this new structuring of associate artists who I cannot wait to work alongside. I love that so much of my job means working in various spaces/projects across the country, and it’s created a really rich resource of network building that has facilitated some wonderful projects and connected me with some amazing artists. Alongside of this way of working, it’s been a long term ambition of mine to be able to build upon my creative practice regionally and locally too as an artist based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. It is a brilliant opportunity to be able to connect with LEVEL in this way, in combining our extensive reach and learning from one another to make great art happen both here in Derbyshire and across the UK.

A really important aspect of my practice is actively contributing to the cataloguing and canonising of disabled artists. This is something I’m really excited to build upon at LEVEL, reaching out to new and existing audiences and creating both better representation, as well as promoting better working practices for disabled artists. I absolutely love working with disabled artists, and I’m interested to learn more about the disabled audiences that LEVEL work with and how we can work with them in a variety of ways in the programme. 

I can’t wait to cook up all sorts of ideas with the rest of the team! I’m really excited to share all of our creative networks and expand on this within the LEVEL programming. There are so many plans and concepts that I’ve wanted to carry out in one form or another, and it’s an incredible opportunity to be able to use LEVEL as a space to try things out, meet people and make things happen in ways that I otherwise would not have the capacity/resources to do so. I cannot wait to get started!”

Darius Powell is a digital artist, workshop leader and producer with over 15 years professional experience creating works for exhibitions, theatre, museums, participatory arts and the commercial sector. His expertise includes Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Projection Mapping and Interactive Installations. As an advocate for digital inclusion, Darius strives to find new ways technology can engage individuals in the co-creation of work.

About working with LEVEL, Darius says “I feel working for LEVEL will be a refreshing and rewarding experience for me. I respect the decision LEVEL has made to try something different for the next year and the prospect of helping to shape its future is an honor. I feel I will bring a wealth of experience from working in digital arts and will be able create exciting new projects that engage audiences and participants.

I’m looking forward to collaborating with other artists, sharing my knowledge and learning from their experiences. Working collaboratively will bring new insights to how we can use digital tools for the creation and exhibiting of art.

Working with LEVEL is going to be an exciting period of development for all involved. I’m excited to be able to share my knowledge and put my skills to good use for LEVEL. I can’t wait to work with my fellow associates, the LEVEL team, visiting artists and our participants at an important stage of its development. Together I believe we will find brilliant new ways to work digitally and help expand LEVEL’s programme for years to come.

Working at LEVEL will offer an opportunity for experimentation, which isn’t alway possible in my day to day work. I hope to spend the next year exploring a bank of ideas I have around interactive art, accessibility and audience participation. It will also offer the opportunity to work more collaboratively with artists and participants. I hope to learn a lot and hopefully open up new opportunities in the future.”

Katie Walters is an autistic and physically disabled writer who creates poetry and interdisciplinary poetic storytelling for theatre. They write complicated metaphors about serious things, like sickness, the environment, and metamorphosis. Katie is passionate about disability rights, and committed to destabilising the nondisabled norm. To work towards this goal, they co-founded Radical Body, an arts organisation focussed on using livestreaming and telepresence technologies to increase access to careers in the arts for disabled people.

Katie says “I’m really excited to start working with LEVEL. It’s an incredible venue doing really important things for and with disabled artists. I’m really committed to improving career opportunities and removing barriers to entry for other disabled creatives, and I spend a lot of time on advocacy. I’ve found a lot of people who are really receptive, but it’s still an uphill battle to try and carve out a place for people like me in an industry that wasn’t built for us. But I feel like LEVEL was built for us; so much of what they do is centred around access. I’m hoping I’ll get to spend some time building on what they’ve already got, instead of starting from the ground up.

These roles are so experimental, and we’re trying out something that hasn’t really been done before. There’s no blueprint for this programme, so it’s difficult to anticipate what will come next. But I’m really looking forward to finding out – I suppose that process of experimentation and discovery is what I’m most excited about right now.

What’s also super exciting to me about this role is the opportunity to build something. The fact that this role exists at all shows me that LEVEL is open to the sorts of systemic changes that are necessary to open up the arts industry and make it accessible to everybody. I want to be a part of that process and I want to make sure that nobody is left behind.

In my career so far I’ve worked entirely as a freelancer. I go project to project, and that’s a really stimulating and rewarding experience. But there are limits to what you can achieve working that way, and I want to learn more about what’s possible when you stay on one project for a bit longer, and when you have the support of an established venue. It’s super important to me to build a better future for disabled creatives, and I really feel that this role will help facilitate that. It’s an opportunity for me to learn a lot about how a venue operates, and what kind of support they can provide to emerging creatives, and picking up that knowledge will help me become a more effective freelancer and advocate for others.”

Will Hurt is a Visual Artist and Creative Technologist based in Norwich, UK. He uses computers and code to investigate novel modes of drawing and virtual representations of physical spaces. His inclusive work often invites people to co-create with the software he has produced. Outputs include interactive installations, apps, large-scale prints and gallery exhibitions, leaving participants with a new appreciation of their locality and a playful excitement for the incredible things they can create.Hurt’s work has been exhibited around the world due to its stand-out aesthetic, technical resilience and engaging immediacy. 

He is currently working on releasing ‘NeonForms’- digital drawing software he created during his NearNow Fellowship, and ‘ARPS’ an Augmented Reality Installation which has received an Arts Council England Project Grant Award. ‘ARPS’ will also be the subject of one of our Residencies as Will was announced as one of the successful artists for our #LEVELResidencyLab last month. 

Will says “I feel excited and raring to go and start work on projects at LEVEL. I have had a great relationship with LEVEL over the last 6 years, making Abstract Playground on a residency there in 2015, presenting a solo show in 2018/19 and getting to know the area and people associated with the Centre over the years. Rowsley is a beautiful place in dramatic surroundings and getting to spend time up in the Peak District is a real draw, as is the stunningly designed building that LEVEL operates from which has such a lovely feel to it and is a pleasure to spend time in. 

I’m looking forward to working with the super friendly team and spending time with LEVEL’s participants, really embedding their thoughts, feelings and wishes in our processes and procedures, in order to build out a programme that is relevant to the general public and the learning disabled community. I’m looking forward to meeting and spending time with the other Artistic Associates and seeing how we can help and support each other to make the best work happen. 

The role is not one that I’ve ever done before but really feel I can be of use and great benefit to LEVEL, I look forward to developing projects and frameworks for work that involve new modes of collaboration, expanding on the great work LEVEL already does but utilising my knowledge and contacts from across the UK and worldwide to expand LEVEL’s reach. 

I think having been a practicing artist first and foremost for the last 6 years, I have built up a wealth of contacts and relationships across the globe, it will be great to now see how these relationships can be utilised to expand LEVEL’s reach and expose LEVEL’s audiences to contemporary new work while getting LEVEL’s work to be seen by a wider audience. Personally, having the time and support to set down roots at an organisation as forward thinking as LEVEL will allow me to incorporate learning back into my own practice as a visual artist.”