On Value: FIELD 2021

FIELD is a conversational residency for creatives in the north of England, designed to create space to talk, reflect, listen and be listened to. It is artist-led and part of our ongoing conversational practice.

When the pandemic hit, last year, we took the opportunity to create a space we’d long felt the need for: a place to step away from the pressure of creative projects and business planning, and discover new paths for thinking. It took place online because,well, 2020. And now we’re doing it in real life.


FIELD 2021 will take place at East St Arts in Leeds from 6th to 17th September, and virtual participation is also possible if being there doesn’t suit you.


The theme is value.


Each weekday, there’s time for informal chat in the mornings, a checkin of sorts and an opportunity to reflect on the day before. Then, each afternoon there’s The Conversation: a space for a few creatives to talk through the issues on a topic of mutual interest, and for the rest of the group to listen to their discussion and then join in.

Deadline: 5pm, Monday 28th June

Any questions -- email alister@twodestinationlanguage.com before 5pm on Tuesday 22nd June

Is FIELD for me?

FIELD is space: to listen to each other and learn from the conversation. It requires curiosity and kindness, a desire to listen to perspectives unlike your own. It strives to create a safer space for braver thinking in sometimes uneasy discussion.

If, especially given the last year, you’ve had enough of talking: no, FIELD is not for you.

FIELD is space to think, to embrace uncertainty and discover something through the act of conversation. It’s time, a fortnight to step away from the everyday and let your thinking shift a little. It’s an opportunity to share some of that thinking through writing for a publication.

FIELD isn’t a chance to platform or broadcast definite answers, but to understand nuance in how we create a more equitable future among the environments we work and live in. Everyone should be there in a spirit of discovery, an enthusiasm to overcome challenges and forge new partnerships.

We’ll try to curate a group which includes people working in different parts of live performance, with different lived experiences and from different backgrounds. We will curate a group which spans artists based across the North of England, those living and working rurally as well as those based in metropolitan cities. Each of the afternoon Conversations will be joined by some guests from the salaried part of our sector (mainly NPOs) -- FIELD invites a willingness to talk with individuals, not their job titles.

Value

In 2021, we will be focusing on value. This theme is an overarching umbrella under which this project sits. The individual conversations are directed by the interests of the participants. You can interpret the theme as broadly as you like -- but it definitely includes questions around:

  • how culture and the arts are valued

  • the relative value of differing roles within our sector (and its relation to pay)

  • what makes you feel valued -- and what makes you feel you aren't

  • who is valued in our sector, who is valued in society and how the two relate

  • the impact of recent events (global, national, personal) on what you value, or what society appears to value

  • interrogating the meaning of value itself

  • what you value in your practice, and how to protect/nurture/sustain that

  • the economics of the performing arts from a variety of perspectives

  • self-esteem: valuing ourselves

  • whether/how far/when the culture sector embodies its values?

  • ...the theme is just a way of threading our conversations together, and more tangential approaches are also welcome!

The Offer

We are offering ten freelance creative practitioners, all based in the north of England and working in the performing arts, £1,000 each to take part. This money is to support your time participating in and responding to the conversations.

  • The residency will take place 6th to 17th September 2021, at East St Arts in Leeds and online.

  • We’re able to help with travel and/or accommodation for those participants for whom a commute isn’t fairly easy.

  • It's not all day, but a series of conversations across this period and the chance to dedicate some of your time to reflecting on what the future looks like for you.

  • Across the fortnight, we'll have informal drop-in coffee chats each morning.

  • Each afternoon, there will be a gently curated discussion on a topic arising from the group's shared interests -- you'll probably be a lead contributor in about 3-4 of these.

  • Kat and Alister from Two Destination Language will host and facilitate all the conversations.

  • We will create a publication bringing together thoughts on the topics discussed, and we'll ask you to contribute some writing on an agreed topic, in a form that suits you.

    • You might write during or after the residency: there will be chances to discuss drafts before final versions are with us for Monday 18th October.

    • See the book we made from a similar residency in 2020 here (and you can buy a copy here).

  • Prior to the residency, we may be in touch to discuss further the topics you've proposed.

  • Participants must be based in the north of England.

How to get involved

There are some details below about how we'll curate the residency group, but we're looking for people from a variety of artforms, career stages, parts of the north, and personal backgrounds. The most important thing is what people want to talk about.

You can complete our form, which we've kept as simple as possible, or you can send us what we need to know in a video or another form that works for you. Your answers should be considered and thoughtful, but please don’t try to craft a proposal -- just be honest. We want it to feel straightforward: we just need to know:

  • your name and address

  • where we can find out information about you and your practice (usually your website)

  • how you're doing at the moment

  • what you'd like to talk about

  • why you want to take part

  • any personal characteristics you'd like to share (such as ethnicity, family status, socioeconomic background, experiences of being disabled, gender, sexuality -- anything which might be relevant to the perspectives you'll contribute)

    • these may be perspectives which are under-represented within the culture sector, or they may signify privileges you'd like to acknowledge

  • any access needs we can help with or which you'd like us to know about: for example, if you use BSL, a wheelchair or need a quiet space (click here for information about the building). If there are, for example, additional travel costs related to access, we can also help with those.

If you're using audio or video to respond, it should total less than 5 minutes long. There are a few more prompts in the form if you're not sure how to answer anything.

We'll be in touch if we have any further questions after we have received your expression of interest, as part of our selection process.

Deadline: 5pm, Monday 28th June

Any questions -- email alister@twodestinationlanguage.com before 5pm on Tuesday 22nd June

Some more information

Who can take part?

This project is intended for those working in live performance disciplines: live art, dance, experimental theatre, visual arts etc. If liveness is core to what you do, we mean you -- work doesn't have to happen in theatres or festivals or any kind of physical space at all. There will be people early on in their careers, and people who’ve worked in the arts for some time.

Participation is restricted to those based in the north of England. This does not mean people from elsewhere who have been to the north of England and like it, but those who have a sustained connection.

If you wanted to do FIELD before and weren't included, that isn't a barrier to being involved this time round: please do fill in the form!

What is a creative practitioner?

If you've got this far, chances are you count as one.

Anyone with a professional practice in the arts is in some way a creative practitioner. We expect that most participants will be people who identify as artists, and there are others, like creative producers, who are also vital to our sector's work.

What would I have to write for the publication?

We'd like to share the thinking and learning from the project with people who didn't get to participate, and that's what the writing is for - the contributions will be gathered into a publication, with illustrations, for those who are interested.

Roughly, we imagine something equivalent to 800 words of prose, but the form and content are something we’ll discuss with you. It does need to be typeset text.

How will people be chosen?

We have money to support 10 people to take part (or more accurately, to support their time), and we need to keep the conversation groups to a reasonable size. They will be curated to give a range of experiences and views (both personal and professional), and while such a small group will never be representative of all parts of the performing arts landscape and the people who populate (and pollinate) it, we hope to create a group where everyone can learn from each other's ideas and questions.

To curate the group, Two Destination Language’s Katherina Radeva and Alister Lownie will be joined by two other people from our sector.

Arts Council England logo
East St Arts logo
Unlimited logo
Leeds 2023 logo
Lancaster Arts logo
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This project was made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, partnership support from East St Arts, and support from ARC Stockton, BALTIC, Lancaster Arts, Leeds 2023, Theatre in the Mill (Bradford) and Unlimited.