Akademi Newsletter: January 2020

South Asian dance in a forest setting captured in slow motion by colourful traces of light
Souvid Datta

January 2020

From the Directors’ desks

And we’re off…. My first weeks at Akademi have been all about joining the team and joining the dots: discovering the full scope of what we do, how we do it – usually with a lot of fun! – and who we do it with. Although it has been full on, it’s also been filled with laughter, support and a real collaborative process with Kirsten and the wonderful Akademi task force of Apollonia, Antareepa, Catherine, Christina, Syd and Peter.

I have been out and about watching lots of great work by artists working with South Asian dance forms mostly at the breath-taking Resolution 2020 at The Place. It has also been a real joy dropping in on artists’ works in progress – and a treat to be able to discuss their process and see work develop. I was in Glasgow and Edinburgh to meet with artists working with South Asian dance forms, dance teachers and directors, hoping to find out how Akademi could support the artists.

One of the most humbling experiences I have had this month was visiting two of our artists working in a care home for people living with dementia. The engagement the artists had with the residents was meaningful, tapping into their innate wish to engage with each other. I have been slowly finding out about all the incredible work our artists are doing in hospitals, schools and community centres. I was genuinely shocked to find out just how much work Akademi is currently doing in so many different settings as part of its Learning and Participation programme.

We are very excited to have secured funding from UCL Culture to collaborate with the Intelligent Mobility’s Lab at UCL. More about that in the News section below.

It has been a fascinating, stimulating, captivating month but knowing what we’re cooking up here at Akademi there is much more to come.

And Kirsten says…

Apart from having my head buried in company management accounts (which is actually much more satisfying than it sounds – or perhaps that’s just me?), it’s been wonderful this month to do a bit of dreaming and imagining with Suba and the team about Akademi’s future. I’m now translating those wonderful conversations into a business plan for the next few years – shaping up exciting ideas into a blueprint for Akademi and for the development of our amazing associate artists and audiences present and future.

2020 will also be Akademi’s Heritage Project year – generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We’ll be building on the 40th anniversary celebrations with a huge range of community heritage, oral history and performance projects culminating in archiving our comprehensive collection for the Victoria and Albert museum..

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