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Commissions, Neurodiversity Arts Festival 2024

The Brain Charity are currently looking to commission creative works by neurodivergent artists or works that directly address the theme of neurodiversity to form part of Liverpool’s Neurodiversity Arts Festival 2024.

These commissions are dependent on the notification of receipt of funding from Arts Council England.

What we are looking for

We are looking for artistic works from emerging or established artists, arts organizations or community groups with some lived experience of neurodiversity and/or that directly addresses themes of neurodiversity. Proposals in any creative medium are welcome, including theatre, music, spoken word, visual art, sculpture, technology, animation, installations, performance art, or a combination of these.

Proposals should be good quality, and able to engage a diverse audience. All proposals should consider issues of accessibility and attempt to make events as accessible as possible for all. The commissions will present opportunities for artists and arts institutions to support and create work that:

• Will be showcased during the Neurodiversity Arts Festival 20-29th September 2024.
• Able to reach a diverse audience with issues of accessibility of primary importance.
• Hosted by an established cultural organization or venue.
• Has been created by someone with lived experience of neurodiversity or addresses neurodiversity issues directly.

We hope that festival commissions will engage a variety of different audiences including adults, families, children and young people, D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people and people that don’t usually engage with the arts.

The work can take place at a single event, can be showcased across the festival, or take place in multiple locations at different times. Regardless of the format, the work should provoke discussion, challenge assumptions or start a conversation about neurodiversity.

The Brain Charity hopes to commission a wide range of different works and activities, so that the program is diverse and reaches as many different people as possible.

The Neurodiversity Arts Festival 2024

The term ‘neurodiversity’ was first used as part of the autism rights movement. It is derived from the concept of ‘biodiversity’, which views genetic difference and diversity as contributing to the strength and resilience of the population as a whole. Neurodiversity means that there are many different types of brain and ways of thinking and experiencing the world.

An individual should be described as Neurodivergent. Neurodivergence refers to brain function that varies from the majority and includes a wide range of profiles. We know that 15-20% of the population are neurodivergent, and the most common neurominorities include autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and Tourette’s.

The Neurodiversity Paradigm is situated within the Social Model of Disability, stating that disability is not an individual characteristic, but arises as a result of social and cultural barriers that prevent certain people from participating fully in society. It states:
Neurodiversity Paradigm

1) Neurodiversity is a natural and valuable form of human diversity.
2) The idea that there is one “normal” or “healthy” type of brain or mind, or one “right” style of neurocognitive functioning, is a social construct. Just as there is no “right” ethnicity, gender, or culture.
3) The social dynamics surrounding neurodiversity are similar to those for ethnicity, gender, or culture.
(Walker, 2020)

The Neurodiversity Arts Festival is wants to start a conversation that opens doors, buildings, and minds and showcases the full spectrum of neurodivergent talent. The main aims of the festival are as follows:

Mission Statement

1. Celebrating Neurodivergent Talent (showcasing neurodivergent talent, helping people to discover their unique qualities).

2. Education (informing the public, bringing awareness to social barriers, working with institutions to inform positive working practices around neurodiversity).

3. Opening Doors (accessibility – finding ways for neurodivergent individuals and families to feel welcome in arts institutions without fear of being judged).

Requirements

• Your proposal must focus on neurodiversity or celebrating neurodivergent talent.
• Commissioned work must take place during the festival (20th-29 September).
• Your proposal must show consideration of accessibility and efforts to reach a diverse audience through the proposed work.
• For individual artists and smaller commissions, please give details of any venues that you propose to work with.
• For larger organisations, please give details of any smaller organisations or individual artists that you prose to work with.
• For larger organisations, please give details of ways in which you will ‘Open Doors’ during the festival to make neurodivergent individuals and families feel welcome in your venue(s).
• Your activity must be delivered on time and within budget.
• Your activity must be covered by public liability insurance.

Artistic Commissions

All commissions are subject to funding. There will be 8 larger commissions of between £2-4,000 and 8 smaller commissions of between £500-£800. We anticipate that larger arts institutions will apply for the larger commissions to produce and program work across the festival, and that individual artists or smaller arts organizations will apply for the smaller commissions.
Once the deadline for the submission of applications has been reached, there will be shortlisting, and successful applications will be notified as soon as the grant has been confirmed.

Support

As well as the commissions, the Brain Charity will be available to support you on the lead up to the festival. We will be able to provide practical help and guidance, including marketing and PR for your event as part of the festival programme and may be able to help you secure a venue for your work if necessary.
In addition to the steering group meetings for the event, there will also be a regular artistic group meeting which will meet to discuss the content and artistic strategy for the festival. As a commissioned artist, you will have the opportunity to take part in these meetings.

Submit a Proposal

If you would like to discuss a proposal before making a submission, please feel free to contact christina.beaumont@thebraincharity.org.uk in the first instance.
Your proposal should be no more than 2 sides of A4 for a small commission, and 4 sides of A4 for a larger commission. Video/audio submissions will also be accepted. Please ensure recordings are no longer than 4 minutes long.

Please provide us with:

• An outline of your proposal and how it explores the theme of neurodiversity or celebrates the work of neurodivergent artists.
• What the expected audience would be.
• How you will address issues to accessibility to make sure that the performance or activity is as accessible as possible.
• Proposed times/dates for the activity i.e. daytime/evening, and the venue, if known.
• Budget breakdown, including all costs for artists fees, planning, delivery, travel, materials and equipment.
• Any in-kind support that will be provided by venues, institutions or arts organizations associated with the work.
• Confirmation of Public Liability Insurance.
• Details of one or two relevant past projects to demonstrate the ability of your organization to produce high-quality work. This can include links to digital media online.
• Full name, address and contact information for a primary contact.
• For individual artists, details of a referee.
• Links to supporting information as necessary/relevant.
• Suggestions for a proposed venue if required.
• Details of any proposed organizations that you would like to work with.

Commissions will be granted based on the quality of the idea and demonstrated ability to deliver the proposal on time and within budget to a good artistic standard, as well as the way in which the proposal addresses neurodiversity issues and/or celebrates neurodivergent talent.

Please email your completed proposal to christina.beaumont@thebraincharity.org.uk by the deadline at 5pm on 22nd March 2024. Shortlisting will take place following the deadline and successful commissions will be notified immediately once confirmation of funding has been received.

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