Sky Arts have announced the first commissions for its new £1 million project Art 50, and DanceXchange is pleased to have been selected.

The Art 50 project invites artists of all kinds, from all walks of life and from all artistic genres to create 50 artworks that say something important about what it will mean to be British after Brexit.

DanceXchange will be working with lead artist Gary Clarke and 5 local professional performers/artists on a series of movement and performance pieces entitled Art 50/50.  This work will reflect research and interviews from around 500 citizens exploring the 50:50 voting split between Leave and Remain that emerged in Birmingham’s referendum result.

The pieces will be set in a site-specific location in Birmingham during Autumn 2018, with research projects and a small preview in June 2018 during one of Europe’s major dance festivals, International Dance Festival Birmingham, which is also produced by DanceXchange.

Gary Clarke is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent dance artists.  His most recent production COAL, which was co-commissioned by DanceXchange and premiered at The Patrick Centre, earned him a UK National Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance and a Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Independent Company.  He is currently an Honorary Fellow of Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

The Art 50 project is being funded with £1 million from Sky Arts’ Amplify Fund, set up to encourage arts organisations to collaborate on new ideas.  It will culminate in a series of television programmes about the making process, which will be shown on Sky Arts when Britain formally leaves the European Union. A festival exhibiting some of the finished works will also take place at the Barbican and the other two partner venues, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Sage, both in Gateshead.

Entries for the first commissioning round were judged by a panel including musician Roger Daltrey, dancer and choreographer Kenneth Tharp, journalist Vick Hope and London’s former deputy mayor for education and culture Munira Mirza.

second commissioning round is now open until 12 January 2018.


Picture above is of Performer Janusz Orlik in Gary Clarke’s Horsemeat  

Photography by Maria Falconer