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CONTINUOUS: A Year in Review, 2020

The CONTINUOUS Network is pleased to say that we will soon be back to bring dance to galleries. We had ten performances planned for the year which have been postponed due to COVID-19 and lockdown. We have been working hard with all of the artists working within the network to rearrange these. We will tell you more about them and their plans next week.

Alongside replanning, we’ve been reflecting on our work, as network partners and in dialogue with the artists we support, to reconsider how we want to work together based on our learning and our rapidly changing context. We believe dance is as urgent as ever given our new relationship to our bodies, and with theatres slow to open, galleries are a crucial site for this work to be created and meet audiences. 

Dance and dance artists have the potential to transform the arts institutions they work within, as their work models care, collaboration and inclusion. As partners we are committed to creating the conditions this work requires to thrive. We are working to recognise and address systemic barriers to participation for artists, audiences and participants in our work through a transparent process of learning and action. This is happening in the context of considerable work among all partners to address sites of oppression and exclusion in their organisations and the wider fields of dance and visual art.

All feedback is welcomed via info@continuousdance.com

OVERVIEW

The CONTINUOUS Network launched in Autumn 2019 to support artists and organisations to learn from one another in order to create the best conditions for making, presenting and engaging audiences with, dance in a gallery context. 

The programme began with two CONTINUOUS commissions in 2018/19, Lucy Suggate’s Spirit Compass, which premiered at BALTIC in Autumn 2019 before touring to Tramway, Turner Contemporary and Nottingham Contemporary, and Zinzi Minott’s Black on Black: 24R due to premiere at BALTIC in March 2021 (following postponement due to COVID-19) and tour to Bluecoat, Nottingham Contemporary and Tramway. 

We have also identified three artists whose existing works will tour across the network in late 2020 and through 2021 (to be announced next week). We have launched the CONTINUOUS Network website to share our activities at the intersection of dance and visual art around the UK. In July we launched a call out for a CONTINUOUS x Unlimited Commission, due to premiere in Autumn 2021. The selected artist will be announced next week. 

Our work so far has helped us to develop a greater shared understanding of the structures within the institutions involved in the project and how they impact artists and audiences.

We acknowledge that we are a network of shifting and complex institutional structures. We want this network to be an opportunity to evidence and advocate for change, and to establish a best practice for dance in visual arts spaces. In light of this we have refocused our shared aims.

REFOCUSED AIMS

  • Exchange across visual arts and dance 

We are committed to knowledge exchange among institutional professionals and artists to ensure maximum care for dance artists and audiences, around topics including production, presentation, access, curation, communications, audience engagement and critical / intellectual frameworks. We aim to support structural change within the Dance and Visual Arts sectors and seek equity in our work 

  • An artist-centred network 

Artists are at the centre of our work. We are committed to continually adapting our working practices to ensure their creative practices realise their potential to engage audiences and engender change in the organisations that present them

  • Addressing barriers to ensure everyone can engage with our work

Our work  has transformative potential and is relevant for everyone. We are working to ensure this project takes action against all barriers to access and participation and all forms of oppression present within the arts and within the organisations in the Network

ACTIONS

In light of these refined aims, and in anticipation of our latest commission in collaboration with Unlimited, and the programme of artists’ work that will now tour in 2020/21, we have outlined below several areas we are committed to develop.

  • Undertake a process of training for the network partners which explores different lived experiences - moving from awareness to action. This process will be led by an artist for the partners in the network between September and November 2020 and will help us to determine actions to embed within our work
  • Identify and commit to a series of intersectional principles relating to anti-racism, access, artist-centred working and sustainability across the Network. 
  • Create best practice documents for this project that can be upheld by each organisation and by artists as examples of strong and supportive ethics. Continually refine these and make them available to peers beyond the network. Areas addressed so far include increasing access budgets across the project, and reviewing and making selection processes more equitable 
  • Develop our evaluation mechanisms to allow for greater ongoing feedback, dialogue, learning and adaptation 
  • Create new mechanisms for sharing the complexities of artists’ working processes with peers and with audiences.
  • Proactively advocate for best practice nationally and internationally in supporting the creation and presentation of work at the intersection of dance and visual art, and in generating audience engagement and critical dialogue. 

We are eager to move forward with this work and these actions through returning to galleries with exceptional new projects. We welcome all feedback and dialogue around the CONTINUOUS Network project, and will follow this with a further update later this year.

SUPPORTED BY

John Ellerman Foundation