DIY 10: 2013
Professional development projects BY artists FOR artists across the UK
DIY 10: 2013 built on the success of previous DIY initiatives and offered artists working in Live Art the chance to conceive and run professional development projects for other artists.
To mark the tenth anniversary of DIY, 2013 was a bumper year with 23 projects taking place across the UK between July and November produced in collaboration with 21 national partner organizations.
In 2013, DIY projects took many forms, from body combat intensives in London to sound explorations in Cornwall, an Elvis Presley pilgrimage in Porthcawl and a lapdancing weekend in Birmingham. And between them covered diverse subjects of investigation including America, selfies, masculinity, regrets, personal hauntings, Soho, Calamity Jane, cabaret turns, tribute artists, gypsy culture and much more.
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DIY was set up in response to the specific needs of artists working in Live Art, and particularly from an understanding that the development of a Live Art practice is as much about the exploration of ideas and experiences as training in skills and techniques. Since 2002, DIY has proved to be a unique and influential national initiative supporting artists to conceive and run unusual professional development projects for other artists.
For the seventh time, DIY took place across the UK, with the support of 21 national DIY partners - the largest ever number of partners. Twenty-three projects were held between July and November 2013 - the largest number of DIY projects yet. After pinpointing Wales as a region with a need for more Live Art opportunities, we were able to get new Wales based partners on board: Chapter Arts Centre and National Theatre Wales, with a specific calls for proposals targeting Welsh artists. Additional partners helped further enhance the DIY experience, with Create Ireland coming on board to offer two bursaries for Irish artists to travel to take part in DIY projects and The Yard theatre hosting the closing DIY Picnic event.
This pooling of expertise and resources between partners was yet again crucial to DIY’s success: sharing knowledge, facilities and resources, and turning lots of small budgets into one big one. The low-cost and high-impact nature of DIY is one of its most distinctive characteristics, and is a highly effective model for future collaboration and cooperation.
DIY 10 clearly benefited the artistic and professional development of the participating artists and contributed to the skills and experiences of the artists who led the projects. Over 250 artists took part in the 23 projects. The responses from the project leaders and the participants was that DIY 10's emphasis on peer training empowers artists by allowing them to lead their own professional development; enables artists to develop creative approaches directly relevant to the needs of their practice; encourages artists to perceive their artistic output and professional development as inter-related and mutually beneficial components of a 'complete' practice; and inspires artists to take risks and think differently.
As ever, the spectrum of participants in DIY was hugely varied with emerging, mid career and ‘legacy’ artists coming together to share ideas and experiences, proof that there’s a real thirst for life long artist development and much value in cross generational working. Backgrounds of participants and lead artists, like the nature of Live Art practice, were hugely varied. In a particularly eclectic year we saw projects led by acclaimed body artists, performance artists turned opera directors, alternative cabaret stars, theatre royalty and social sculptors and in turn the participants were even more diverse, creating a really exciting melting pot of influences and interests.
In 2012 a survey of 60 artists was carried out to look at ways we might improve or develop the DIY model with the findings were fed into DIY 2013. The survey revealed huge respect for DIY and requested more cross disciplinary opportunities with different kinds of partner organisations and bigger budgets to realise more complicated projects. It also identified a number of artists who might lead DIYs, who were encouraged to apply in 2013, many of whom did.
DIY 10 again demonstrated that artists are extremely good at conceiving and managing complex and often demanding professional development initiatives. The role of the host organisations in DIY 10 was to facilitate, advise and support rather than organise and control. Each DIY 10 lead artist conceived their project, submitted an application detailing their idea, prepared publicity copy, managed recruitment of participants, handled all relevant participation fees, booked all necessary venues, facilitated their training day(s), and wrote an appraisal report. Each lead artist received £1,000, which covered their fee and all direct project costs, including venue hire, travel, materials and hospitality. Two artists chose to seek a small fee from participants which further contributed to their project costs. For the first time we offered an increased award of £1400 to Kira O’Reilly for a particularly ambitious DIY in body combat.
The Live Art Development Agency and its partners financed and secured additional funding for the initiative, distributed a Call for Proposals via email, selected the lead artists through an open submission process, advised lead artists about the logistical and conceptual focus of their project, publicised the 23 projects under the DIY 10 umbrella through a Call for Participants, organised a final networking event — the ‘DIY picnic’— for all participants, in collaboration with The Yard, and collated this summary report.
Like previous DIY programmes, DIY 10 proved to be a very successful, instrumental, and cost effective initiative. Plans are already in place for DIY 11: 2014, which will develop the success of 2013 offering even more DIY awards in collaboration with over 20 DIY partners. It will also see our first international DIY taking place in partnership with Create, Ireland
Future development and refinement could include:
Access to more tailored advice and guidance for the lead artists (if and when assistance is required).
The inclusion of travel budgets to enable greater networking between project leaders and participating artists.
A higher-profile evaluation of the projects, possibly through an event and/or publication that facilitates the sharing of outcomes and discussion of best practice.
A more generous financial base that provides artists' fees commensurate with the amount of time required to initiate, manage and evaluate a project, and remuneration for the host organisations.
Increased networking opportunities for the partner organizations to build relationships.
DIY 10 focused on professional development within the Live Art sector. It is clear that the principles and form of the DIY programme would successfully translate to other artform practices.
DIY 10’s partner organisations were Abandon Normal Devices (North West), Artsadmin (national), Buzzcut with Imaginate (Scotland), Cambridge Junction (East), Chapter Arts Centre (Wales), Chelsea Theatre (London), Colchester Arts Centre (East), Compass Live Art (Yorkshire), Duckie (London), Fierce Festival (West Midlands), Forest Fringe (Scotland), In Between Time (South West), Live at LICA (North West), National Theatre Wales (Wales), Norwich Arts Centre (East), Platform (national), The Showroom, University of Chichester (South East), Sound and Music (national), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (Yorkshire), The Works: Dance and Theatre Cornwall and University College Falmouth (South West). With additional support from Create (Ireland).