"I'm thrilled that, as a contributor to DASH's forthcoming symposium at MAC on 12 March 2015, I'm now officially an Awkward Bastard!
Awkwardness is good for art – it can unsettle us, ask us difficult questions, and make us think again.
Much Live Art could be characterized as awkward in that it resists definition and doesn't conform to any form, function or mode of presentation. But more significantly in the context of DASH's symposium and the wider politics of cultural diversity, Live Art is, as the writer Mary Paterson recently put it, "a culture that puts old, young, male, female or 'other' bodies on stage to explore the empathic chemistry of simply being present in space together... a culture that invites dissent, listens to it and turns the experience into something beautiful... a culture that celebrates difference at the same time as community, humour at the same time as outrage."
Live Art's radical thinking, practices and approaches have done much to contribute to the creative case for diversity, and I look forward to discussing how they can continue to contribute to, and help shape, our future culture in Awkward Bastards.
It seems ridiculous that the creative case still needs to be made and that diversity still has to be considered 'a case', but it does. It seems ridiculous that so many black, disabled, queer, women and other 'culturally diverse' artists are still either underrepresented or misrepresented across the artistic landscape of the UK (or, indeed, are still referred to as 'black, disabled, queer, women' artists) but they are. It seems ridiculous that after so many Arts Council policies and initiatives, the (publicly funded) arts in the UK still does not reflect the diversity of our society in its makers, producers, decision makers and audiences, but it doesn't.
The arts in the UK are still dominated by the white, able-bodied, middle classes. There are so many awkward questions still to be asked, and Birmingham on the 12th of March will be a great place to ask them."
Live Art Development Agency (LADA)