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Voice and Presence

What is Voice and Presence?

Voice and Presence (V&P)  is new space within People Dancing for dancers with a participatory or community practice, teaching artists and community practitioners of global majority heritage and/or who experience racism.

Led by People Dancing’s Associate Producer for Change Louise Katerega, it exists to acknowledge, amplify and celebrate the contributions of global majority heritage people to community and participatory dance.

Like our other creative programmes, it has its own network, the REACH! Network, with online and occasional live events to listen to, showcase practice of and connect the artists it seeks to serve and an enewsletter to sign up to receive.

Activities to date

V&P so far has manifested in the many blogs, vlogs, interviews and writings which have been peppering our pages, digital and real. It has been engaged in ‘quiet work’ behind the scenes of our organisational, local and national strategic approach to walking the talk of our 2020 Black Lives Matter statement. It is showing itself in newly brokered relationships with individuals and companies as wondrously varied as:

  • Akosua Boakye of Akomasa Arts who we are supporting to develop her African dance based CAT Scheme at The Place
  • Jane Chan and Takeshi Matsumoto who are guiding us through FGP2, supporting us to refresh our approach to working with ESEA (East & South East Asian) artists alongside Chisenhale Dance Space, Clod Ensemble, Independent Dance, Kala Sangam and Akademi
  • Alexander Whitley Dance Company for whom we have undertaken a short, dynamic Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) consultancy
  • Critical Mass 2022, the ethnically diverse and disabled ceremonies groups of the 2022 Commonwealth Games of which we are a steering group member.

REACH! Network and how to get involved 

Part of the Voice and Presence programme and launched in May 2022, this new network and space within People Dancing is for dancers with a participatory or community practice, teaching artists and community practitioners of global majority heritage/who experience racism. Led by People Dancing’s Associate Producer for Change, Louise Katerega, it aims to support, connect, network knowledge, and celebrate successes together.

REACH! is a name that emerged from dance artists themselves in some research Louise undertook in 2017. It was the word the participant group, Women of the African Diaspora, most frequently used about their own community and participatory dance practice. 

More interestingly, the research revealed that ‘reach’ is not just something these artists do but, something valuable and often powerful that they have – reach into communities and families, reach into education, training and academia, reach internationally. Also they yearned to be reached out to in ways much more specific to their needs as members of the global majority and so our REACH! Network was born! 

Broadly, it will be a virtual and sometimes physical space to meet, write or share practice; to feel supported to discuss what happens to us, inform others about it, celebrate successes together, lift each other up and share opportunities, events and information.

How will it work?

The REACH! Network provides gatherings and dedicated newsletters which provide a national overview of current issues, support and opportunities. As with our other networks, it will gather online for a mix of:

  • showcasing the work of dance artists in the field
  • practical work
  • seeking collaborators and partners
  • advertising your work and events
  • following through on declared allyship for global majority heritage artists. 

 

Sign up to the REACH! Network mailing list here

First event
Tuesday 24 May, 16:00 - 17:30

REACH! Network launch event

 

Louise Katerega (stripy jumper), People Dancing's International Conference 2017, Glasgow. Photo: Rachel Cherry

More from Louise Katerega about the event:

“I am looking forward to hosting our first event which, after 18 months and many adventures already in Voice and Presence, is a time to celebrate by sharing them with stakeholders it its future. I will:

  • share the story of Voice and Presence so far – how it grew from a moment of inspiration at Serendipity’s LIDF 2016 conference, into a funding bid, into a permanent role – and how much we’d love to share this as an effective model to other artist organisation partnerships, particularly those committed to inclusivity and anti-racism
  • share my upcoming report, Un-Told Value? – which is a piece of ‘snapshot’ research into the contributions, working conditions and future aspirations of Women of the African Diaspora in community and participatory dance and will be published as a free download in the coming months
  • invite further connection with you – to begin to hear some of your needs and priorities, listen to suggestions about the direction of travel for the future.

For me, as a still practising community and participatory dance artist of mixed Ugandan and English heritage, it is also my chance to feel the presence of others. I am only one voice and one presence at People Dancing, it is important to me that if I am to carry yours which are different from mine culturally, generationally and in terms of intersectionality that I try to do that with accuracy and integrity.

Though MY voice and presence will be at the centre on 24 May, I actually hope it will be the last time! The ultimate vision of REACH! is a space that becomes increasingly responsive to those who show up in it; an opportunity to hear the global majority voices and to acknowledge, amplify and celebrate them through the V&P programme."

Places on this Zoom event are FREE and are open to anyone signed up to the REACH! Network newsletter.

 Bookings for this event are now closed.

Booking deadline: Midday Monday 23 May 2022.