BBC Arts to commission disabled artists

BBC Arts is marking the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act with a series of commissions celebrating the work of disabled artists.

Partnering with the arts councils of all four nations, the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine strand is inviting D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists to apply to produce new video or audio works. It aims to commission ten new works, with support from digital production specialists.

Cathy Mager (pictured), whose film Sign Night was commissioned for Culture in Quarantine, said the experience had been incredible. “I was supported to create a film that explored British Sign Language culture in an authentic and powerful way and I'm delighted that this funding scheme is being expanded. It is vital to continue to invest in deaf and disabled artists, so that the stories of their diverse lived experience can come to the fore".

The Act became law on November 8, 1995, and was seen as a civil rights landmark, said the BBC’s director of arts Jonty Claypole. “This is more important than ever in the age of Covid-19 when the need for extreme shielding threatens to silence many disabled artists who would otherwise be producing work for galleries, stages and other platforms around the UK”.

Information on the application can be found at Works are expected to be produced between March and June 2021, airing on BBC platforms later in 2021.

The programme will be managed by digital support agency The Space in partnership with Unlimited, an arts commissioning programme that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences.


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