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Diversity and Inclusion Fund: Grant Award Recipients 2020/21

03 Jul 2020

A new Flexible Fund created by the Culture Service at the City of Edinburgh Council supports local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Artists and Creatives in furthering their performing and visual arts projects contributes to a greater visibility of Edinburgh’s diverse cultures. 2 projects were awarded grants of up to £20,000, 6 of up to £10,000 and 2 of up to £5,000. 

The panel consisting of Asif Khan (The Scottish Poetry Library), Ethelinda Lashley-Scott (Performing Arts Programme Leader, Edinburgh College) and Naomi Shoba (Diversity Officer, Glasgow LIVE!) recommended 9 projects ranging from music and theatre production, to film making, to professional development programmes and to BAME community engagement arts and culture activities fur funding.11 artists and creatives are the recipients of the Diversity and Inclusion Fund grant awards that support their partnership projects with Magnetic North Theatre Company, Neo Productions, Many Studios CIC, Craigmillar NOW, The Scottish Documentary Institute, Intercultural Youth Scotland, BE United, Amina – The Muslim Women’s Association and Creative Edinburgh.

More information about these successful projects including Project partners’ profiles, related websites and promotional videos can be viewed from the document below.

Project title: Pushing Boundaries
Lead Artist(s): Apphia Campbell & Tony Mills
Lead Organisation: Magnetic North Theatre Productions 
Grant Award: £18,000

Pushing Boundaries: A new work by artists of colour. Magnetic North and Summerhall supporting Tony Mills and Apphia Campbell to develop ambitious new work. Funding sought to enable two Edinburgh-based BAME artists, Tony Mills and Apphia Campbell, to each develop a new project to the point of production. Tony Mills will develop The Cave, an immersive physical theatre piece with an environmental message inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Apphia Campbell will develop a play exploring her upbringing in a tight-knit religious community in Florida, which her parents joined after attending a college bible study meeting run by its founding pastor. 

Project partners’ response to the award: 
Tony Mills: ‘Being a recipient of the Flexible Fund award from The City of Edinburgh Council will now finally make it possible for me to realise something that has only been an idea and words on paper for many years. I'm really excited to have the chance to share a story that I’m desperate to tell and undertake an opportunity that will allow me to work in a new context, with new partners and reach a different audience. Magnetic North is an organisation that is not only committed to developing high quality work, but is  also invested in implementing and advocating change for the better with regards to artist development and theatre practice in Scotland. I am thrilled to be working with such a supportive and forward thinking organisation who I view as the perfect partners as I embark into new creative territory with this project.’ 

Nicholas Bone, Artistic Director of Magnetic North: ‘We are delighted to be working with Apphia and Tony on their projects: they're both artists whose work we admire and we've already worked with them both through our Rough Mix residency.  I'm looking forward to supporting them as they develop their ideas and am excited to see what happens.’

Project title: Shona Band and Choir
Lead Artist(s): Ramcise Modie 
Lead Organisation: Neo Productions  
Grant Award: £15,000

Shona Choir & Band: A new Edinburgh-based multicultural group that will perform original songs informed by the wealth and diversity of the Black Scottish experience. Creating a ‘Shona choir & band’ the promotes the original music written for ‘Shona-the Musical’ by an Edinburgh-based multicultural group with black and white musicians and vocalists. The project is to continue the successful collaboration between Ramcise Modie, Neo Vilakazi and Morgan Njobo deemed by BEAM 2020, the National Theatre of Scotland and Scottish Opera to represent exciting new music being developed in Scotland. The project funding will enable the lead applicant to promote ‘Shona the Musical’ content to international promoters, theatre directors, local Edinburgh audiences; international media as well as help secure support for the full production of the show.

Project partners’ response to the award: 
Ramcise Modie: ‘I am excited to be working with Neo Productions on the Shona Choir project - forming the group, discovering new talent and doing it for the first time – a great challenge to do something different. I look forward to working to our best ability and from there to tour the choir and band – maybe even performing for the Queen!’

Neo Vilakazi, Neo Productions Director: ‘Neo Productions are excited to be working with Ramcise. The Shona Choir will have similarities to the famous Soweto Gospel Choir, but while they do covers of others songs, we will present original material that will appeal to a wide audience - created right here in Edinburgh. We would thank the City of Edinburgh Council for this initiative which directly supports black artists and BME companies – unfortunately too rare an occurrence given the current climate.’

Project title: Craigmillar Now: Nihad Al Turk & Laurance Darwish
Lead Artist: Nihad Al Turk, Supporting Artist: Laurance Darwish
Lead Organisation: Craigmillar Now    
Grant Award: £10,000

Craigmillar Now: Nihad Al Turk & Lawrence Darwish is a 6-month artist-in-residency programme at Craigmillar Now, supporting Craigmillar-based, Syrian artist Nihad Al-Turk to develop an ambitious new body of work, through access to a large, private studio space, a programme of studio visits with arts professionals and local people, and a generous budget for materials, so Nihad can create large-scale sculptural work. The project also engages an Edinburgh-based, Syrian photographer and filmmaker Laurence Darwish to collaborate with Nihad who will creatively document the development of Nihad’s work over this exciting period. 

Work created during the residency will be exhibited in Craigmillar Now’s state-of-the-art exhibition space for 6 weeks in 2021.  This will be the first gallery-presentation of Nihad’s work in Edinburgh and the first public exhibition hosted by Craigmillar Now.

Project partners’ response to the award: 
Nihad Al Turk: ‘I am very pleased to join Craigmillar Now as their first artist-in-residence. I have been thinking about creating a new series of sculptures for some time but haven’t had the space or facilities to create them, this project is an opportunity to bring many of my ideas to life. I am also excited to collaborate on new film and photography with the artist Laurance Darwish, thanks to the support of this fund.’

Laurance Darwish: ‘I am really looking forward to starting this project and it is a great opportunity to work with a well-known artist like Nihad Al Turk and to be part of his art.’
Rachael Cloughton, Craigmillar Now: ‘We are thrilled to be working with internationally renowned Syrian artist Nihad Al Turk through this artist residency and exhibition. Nihad lives in Craigmillar with his family and this project presents an exciting opportunity to support a local artist and showcase the extraordinary talent in the area. We are extremely proud to launch Craigmillar Now and reopen the local Art Centre with this collaboration.’

Project title: Intercultural Youth Scotland's Performing Arts Youth Provision
Lead Artist(s): AD Adedji aka AD3
Lead Organisation: Intercultural Youth Scotland
Grant Award: £10,000

Intercultural Youth Scotland's in partnership with the lead artist and guest artists is to deliver The Block, an open weekly 2-hour session providing a safe space to develop rap skills, open mic, creative writing, heritage dance and spoken word delivered online. These culturally sensitive session gives young people the chance to nurture talent and test material in a safe space. 

Project partners’ response to the award: 
AD3: ‘As the lead artist for the next Scotland in colour I have to say it’s a privilege, Scotland in Colour is great as it gives local artists a platform to showcase their passion and gifts, as well as show the charities connection to the community. It also develops partnerships with producers, artists and more opportunities. I am thankful for the fund because it helps organisations put on events like this that helps young people like me get on a larger stage.’

Khaleda Noon, Intercultural youth Scotland: ‘Intercultural youth Scotland is a grass roots, youth led charity in Scotland, working to deliver evidence of meaningful and genuine engagement and impact for young Black, Indigenous and People of Colour  (BIPOC)  Scots. The Diversity and Inclusion fund has helped us put together our Scotland in Colour festival to give young BIPOC artists like AD3 a platform to both express their vibrant and creative personalities but also to learn about themselves and their heritage.’

Project title: Delineate
Lead Artist(s): Kayus Bankole
Lead Organisation: Many Studios CIC 
Grant Award: £10,000

Artist book project ‘Delineate’: A four-way partnership, responding to the colonial links of Edinburgh’s papermilling past through commissioning texts from BAME writers.    ‘Delineate’ is an artist book project, produced via a four-way partnership between Many Studios, Kayus Bankole (from band Young Father), Tiffany Boyle (from curatorial duo Mother Tongue) and Edinburgh Printmakers.  Edited by Many Studios, Bankole and Boyle, ‘Delineate’ will commission texts from a cohort of BAME Edinburgh-based writers, across various forms of writing (essays, poetry, fiction, lyrics, etc).

Project partners’ response to the award: 
'Delineate' is an artist book project, unearthing through a reflection on the papermaking process, linen and cotton trades lesser-known aspects of post-colonial legacies in Scotland. The opportunity to work together as an editorial trio for the first time - Kayus Bankole, Natalia Palombo (Many Studios) and Tiffany Boyle (Mother Tongue) - and to collectively build upon aspects of our individual past research, into new directions and forms: doing so through commissioning responses from a cohort of artists and writers.

Project title: New Voices in Documentary
Lead Artist(s): Uzma Mir-Young 
Lead Organisation: Scottish Documentary Institute
Grant Award: £10,000

New Voices in Documentary is a mentoring and professional development scheme to grow the knowledge, confidence and professional networks of Scotland's female documentary filmmakers. The project aims to enable 5 BAME female emerging filmmakers, based in Edinburgh, to participate in a mentoring and development scheme.  Each filmmaker will access a mentoring support and a series of professional development workshops, including career planning, creating a social media marketing plan, creating websites; mapping personal and external barriers, explaining career gaps, accessing and planning childcare; SWOT analysis; film funding - sources, best practice, how to manage phased film funding; pitching/presentation skills to access funding, festival submissions and commissions; negotiation practice; film exhibition and distribution; and celebrating your successes.

Project partners’ response to the award: 
Uzma Mir-Young: ‘Filmmakers from the BAME community have a unique lens to look at our world through. To understand this world, we need to know about the diversity of stories that make us who we are. A scheme like New Voices is essential to encourage and develop those stories and to build the confidence of our filmmakers to tell them.’

Noé Mendelle, Scottish Documentary Institute: ‘Latest events are bringing home that more than ever we need to allow space for filmmakers from the BAME community to tell their stories and enrich our lives. It is what is uncomfortable that needs to be told, and by working with Uzma, pRESPECT and our other mentors, we can make that happen.’  

Project title: Changing the Story!
Lead Artist(s): Mara Menzies
Lead Organisation: BE United
Grant Award: £9,890

Changing the Story! project is showcasing artistic excellence with digital technology and live storytelling in a Lyceum production. Building bridges between communities by engaging audiences and facilitating dialogue. This is a three-pronged project that includes (a) the development and performance of Mara Menzie’s storytelling production about the boxing legend Anthony Joshua presented through the eyes of his mother, (b) mentoring of 2 young BAME individuals with the aim of enabling them to engage with theatre and telling their own stories based on their lived experiences, as well as (c) 2 x post-production sessions for the arts industry to converse with cultural organisations, funders, producers, theatre companies, some of COEC’s strategic partners and the BAME artistic community exploring ideas that inspire their work and 2 workshops run by the project mentees sharing their experiences and art industry understanding with peers.

Project partners’ response to the award: 
Mara Menzies: ‘It is a very rare thing for a black artist in Scotland to have the opportunity to showcase their creativity at one of Edinburgh's leading theatre venues. The Lyceum has demonstrated a genuine desire to better engage with diverse communities and this provides an exciting opportunity to present an incredible story from a unique perspective.’

Project title: Our Edinburgh
Lead Artist(s): Sarmed Mirza
Lead Organisation: Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre   
Grant Award: £4,917

‘Our Edinburgh’ will train Muslim and BAME women with no film-making experience to learn how to write, shoot and edit films on their smartphones eg with iMovie, to raise awareness of Muslim and BAME women’s experiences of accessing public space in Edinburgh. Film-making will be accompanied by discussions on: rights in public spaces, history of women’s protest related to access to public spaces, developing ideas with the group on what they might like to share as well as structuring narratives and sharing stories. The films would then be screened at one evening event, and one daytime one, creating a discursive space for the audience to explore issues raised in the films. They will share this via Amina MWRC’s YouTube as a legacy and write and edit a step-by-step guide for arts organisations on how to work with Muslim and BAME women.
Project partners’ response to the award: 
Sarmed Mirza: ‘The diversity and inclusion fund is a timely opportunity for diverse communities of Scotland to participate in the current narrative where we can evaluate the role of public spaces when it comes to Muslim and BME women. It is an exciting time to be raising voices on topics of privilege, race and feeling safe in a multicultural yet predominantly white culture, to explore its impact on Muslim and BME women in silent yet deeply disempowering ways.’

Project title: Creatives Take Up Space
Lead Artist(s): Rumana Sayed and Tomiwa Folorunso      
Lead Organisation: Creative Edinburgh
Grant Award: £2,193

Creative Edinburgh will act as the host organisation to provide both Rumana and Tomiwa with individual mentoring with the Executive Director and Content Producer of Creative Edinburgh along with sector specific mentors to help them achieve their professional goals. Creative Edinburgh will also facilitate bookings of specialised workshops for both Rumana and Tomiwa on digital animation, digital marketing/branding, data gathering for analysis, and digital animation. These workshops will be facilitated by industry experts in their field and set up by Creative Edinburgh. Through Creative Edinburgh’s partnership in the Creative Informatics Programme, both Rumana and Tomiwa will have access to digital skills workshop sessions and expertise for free to support them on their professional development journey. The Creative Edinburgh Executive Director will mentor them both for six hours over their fourth month professional development journey and check in with them to make sure they are achieving their goals based on their professional development plan.

Project partners’ response to the award: 
Tomiwa Folorunso: ‘I am delighted that over the next year, I will be mentored and supported by Briana Pegado and Creative Edinburgh, an organisation that believe in sharing skills, knowledge and connecting creatives across the city. Over the next few months I'll be capturing data centred around the experiences of Black and POC young people in relation to the creative industries.’ 
Rumana Sayed: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity, and I am very pleased with the outcome, the funds given to me is an excellent opportunity to professionally develop myself and work on what I would like to achieve as a creative.’ 

Briana Pegado, CEO, Creative Edinburgh: ‘Creative Edinburgh is a community that prides itself on bringing people together for collaboration, connection, and to further their creative practice. When we were approached by Tomiwa and Rumana to work with them we were taken by their creativity, innovation, and desire to bring together the BAME community in Edinburgh. We are an organisation that fundamentally believes in sharing skills and knowledge in order to support the continued resilience of the creative industries. Given the current economic situation compounded with the black that BIPOC face even more barriers to entry in the creative industries, we looked forward to the work both Tomiwa and Rumana are doing to unearth these barriers to address them. We look forward to the next several months of sharing learning, collaboration, and unearthing important data to understand how we can best support the BAME community in Edinburgh. As an organisation led by a Black Director, centring BAME experiences and finding ways to level the playing field of structural racism in Edinburgh is always central to how we work.’ 

CEC Diversity and Inclusion Fund Award Recipients 2020-21