Akademi Newsletter | February 2021

From the Directors’ Desks

Suba writes….

….Not going to lie. It has been tough. At times dauntingly so. But at other times, there have been so many wonderful things that have kept us feeling connected. Conversations with artists, participants, peers, friends, and others. Realisations of the huge gratitude we owe to all those out there who risk so much to make sure we are well physically, mentally and spiritually. Anticipations of what we can do to make things better once we get past just keeping on.

At Akademi, the key to so much that we’ve been doing is connectedness. One of my highlights has been our seed commissions artists sharing their work-in-progress on Zoom. The ideas included audio describing Kathak for visually impaired people, to films on motherhood, ghosts and pain, work for children and outdoor participatory work on environment. It was inspiring, moving and most of all, totally thrilling to see what wonderful work is happening out there.

Our artists have also been curating Dance Well Takeaways – bags with activity cards and small objects to help people engage with Indian dance forms from the comfort of their own spaces. Handing these over to The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust was wonderful, knowing that they were going to be given to patients in the wards and for staff wellbeing.

I am also really looking forward to our first-ever South Asian Dance Film Festival in March and can’t wait to see the short films that our commissioned artists are creating. And it goes without saying, that without all the wonderful people who work at and with Akademi, none of this connectedness would be possible.

And Kirsten says…

….As for so many people, 2020 has been a tumultuous year for us at Akademi. I’d like to pay huge respects to our staff team and the artists we regularly work with, who have found such creativity and shown huge resilience in the constant planning, re-planning, back tracking and reimagining of projects as lockdown has unfolded.

I’m extremely proud of how we’ve pulled together and managed to find ways to reach our community members (through digital and blended delivery) and that there have been small but significant pockets of success. I’d also like to thank our partner schools, care homes, community centres and hospitals for working with us and for their recognition of the benefits of Akademi’s South Asian dance and Heritage work for their participants.

Finally, our funders have been flexible and understanding for which I’m extremely grateful. As I write, there’s snow on the ground, I’m trying to home school my daughter (!) and the headlines are still terrifying, so I’m not complacent, however I am proud of our communities’ achievements and optimistic about 2021.

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