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Jo Nolan and Damian Collins standing facing forwards giving a speech with the Accentuate banner behind them, in the highly decorative room with wooden panels in the Houses of Parliament

Jo Nolan CEO Screen South and Damian Collins MP at the House of Commons event

Directors Blog

As we move into the summer holiday period it is a good moment to reflect on some of the wonderful things that have occurred over the last few months as well as looking forward to yet more exciting events to come.  Accentuate reached the momentous 500 day mid point and used this as an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved so far and what is still left to do.  We had a very well attended event at the Houses of Parliament hosted by Damian Collins MP on 8th June.   This was a wonderful occasion for our key stakeholders and programme deliverers to come together to share the success as well as a good chance to spread the word about Accentuate to some guests and MPs who did not have a previous knowledge of the programme.  We also launched three key publications at this event.  The Art Sport investigation was led by Our View and looked at the key similarities between these apparently different sectors.  This is the first time that there has been some in depth discussion about what motivates and inspires both athletes and artists.  The second document was telling the story of Accentuate at 500 days.  This comprised of a selection of case studies, interviews and the responses we had to our on line survey.  The third document was a toolkit that had been jointly commissioned by Accentuate and Tourism South East exploring how best to involve disabled people in the access audit process.  This toolkit was written by Kristina Veasey who had been the Our View project person for Destination Zones.  We all enjoyed having the opportunity to talk through these documents with our guests to really enable the message of Accentuate to come to life.  These publications can now be downloaded from the Accentuate website.  They currently sit with the projects section, with a sub heading saying “resources” however, we are currently up-dating the website to make them easier to find as we expect the resources section will grow over the rest of the programme and become a useful hub for information.

Another key highlight has been the very successful Up-Stream Showcase which happened in May as part of the internationally renowned Brighton Festival. Both Esther and Emma were delighted to be able to attend different elements of the showcase that spanned three days.  The thing that struck us the most was the quality of the work and particularly the way it was presented.  There was no doubt as to the professionalism of all those concerned and it was exciting to discover beautifully presented visual arts practice in surprising venues such as hotels and garages alongside top quality performing artists.  Up-Stream appeared to sit very comfortably within this highly acclaimed established festival and we very much hope there will be a legacy from this first year.

Esther was pleased to be able to attend “pitch” the event in Milton Keynes which marked the end of the leadership programme Sync South East.  It was quite clear when talking to the artists who had been involved in this programme just how much they had gained from the process.  They talked about how their confidence had grown and how this had encouraged them to follow their ambitions and to apply for new work and opportunities.  It will be wonderful to see how those who have been involved in this project may flourish over the coming months, building up a pool of highly talented leaders. 

Accentuate has commissioned a film maker George Ravenscroft to capture some of these groundbreaking events, including Up-Stream, Sync South East and our event at the Houses of Parliament and we hope to have these on the Accentuate website over the next couple of weeks, so please do check the site and see what’s been going on for yourselves.
We still have much going on over the summer and early autumn, including the internationally acclaimed event the Disabled British Open Golf on 19th – 21st August.  Find out more about this in the FYI: Opportunities section of this newsletter.

In September we have two exciting things to look forward to. We will see our project Creative Landscapes, based in Hastings and Gosport developing a programme of activities as part of Heritage Open Days.  We talk a bit more about this under our Featured Project section of the newsletter.  We will also see the launch of uScreen, the groundbreaking website initiative led by Screen South which enables young disabled film makers to make, show and share films.  There will be a press launch at the BFI Southbank with speakers who work in the sector and presentations and screenings from young people who have taken part on uScreen projects, so we are very much looking forward to that.

We will keep you up-dated as to the successes of these events in the next newsletter but until then we hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.
Esther and Emma

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