Disability Arts Online (DAO) announces award of Elevate Funding

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The new look Disability Arts Online site displayed on a computer screen and smartphone.Disability Arts Online (DAO) is pleased to announce that we have been awarded £150,000 over three years through the Arts Council’s Elevate programme, designed to strengthen the resilience of art organisations which are not receiving National Portfolio funding in the period 2015–18, but which demonstrate that they make a significant contribution to the Creative Case for Diversity.

The award will be used to invest in organisational development by increasing staff capacity and facilitating partnership, business and board development to allow a period of stability that will make the organisation sustainable in the long-term.

Activity will focus on establishing an arts consultancy and training service specialising in disability and diversity. This will generate new revenue streams whilst allowing us to develop NPO partnerships, leading to new opportunities for diverse artists including co-commissions for Viewfinder, which build on our current Grants for the Arts project.

The core focus of DAO’s work is critique, debate, promotion and education/participation projects to further the professional and creative output of disabled artists and writers. At the heart of DAO’s bid to Elevate are proposals for partnerships with a number of Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations including: a-n The Artists Information Company, Farnham Maltings, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Nuffield Theatre. Funding will also enable us to build on existing relationships with the iF Platform produced by Stopgap, Unlimited produced by Shape and ArtsAdmin, Outside In founded by Pallant House Gallery and New Writing South.

Elevate represents a fantastic opportunity for DAO to play a significant part in ensuring that access and inclusion remain high on the agenda and that barriers to participation for disabled artists working within mainstream arts settings are addressed.

Abid Hussain, Director for Diversity, Arts Council England, said: “It’s essential that the arts and cultural landscape of England reflects the diversity of society and we want to ensure our investment supports and nurtures creative talent from all communities and backgrounds. Through our Elevate fund, we’re making a significant investment to support an exciting pipeline of diverse organisations who are all producing innovative and inclusive work that’s vital to our country’s rich and vibrant arts ecology.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We already have a varied and rich arts and cultural sector in England, but we know that there is more to do before it truly reflects the wide diversity that runs through our cities, towns and villages. Elevate funding is a really important part of making that happen, providing essential support that will enable more diverse-led organisations to grow, both as businesses and programmers of high quality arts. We’re really pleased to be able to support Disability Arts Online’s exciting plans for the future, ensuring that more artists and organisations across the country can benefit from its expertise.”

Trish Wheatley, DAO Director, said: “This is an important moment for Disability Arts Online, we’re so pleased that the Arts Council is supporting our development. We are looking forward to working with all our partners, new and old, to support a vibrant and inclusive artistic community that recognises the talents and voices of disabled artists.”

Other arts organisations working with disabled people that have been awarded Elevate funding include: Access all Areas, Diverse City, Corali Dance Company, Together! 2012 CIC, Bamboozle Theatre Company Limited, FRONTLINEdance Ltd, Creative Futures, Gloucestershire Dance and OpenUp Music CIC.

To read the full list of applications go to www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/elevate

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