Inclusive aerial, vulnerability and revelations
Inspired by the change in the seasons, we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on all that’s happened this year. We were grateful to receive a Cultural Recovery Fund grant from Arts Council England earlier this year which enabled us to finally create our own EADF website, go through some deep and inspiring business development and deepen how we as a company approach and talk about inclusive aerial practice.
We loved working with website designer Paul Thompson to develop the EADF site so that we could finally offer online booking for your individual and bespoke festival course schedules, as well as adding online booking to all our other events on our existing website. Both long overdue.
We also got into some juicy business development with the amazing Scott Sullivan alongside mentoring/coaching around access and inclusion with consultants Sarah Pickthall and Vicky Ballaam. Both have been transformative in ways we didn’t expect. Lindsey tells us more…
“It’s really changed my perceptions around what a more accessible and inclusive aerial company might look like – from the foundations up and out.
At EADF this year, I wanted to encourage a space that was also accessible and inclusive to everyone outside of the young white non-disabled bodies we see proliferated throughout the sector.
Whilst it still feels like baby steps, we began by ensuring the communities we wanted to reach were reflected in the marketing campaigns and materials as well as offering subsidised places for people who identify as underrepresented in the sector.
EADF participants were invited to join us in paving the way for a more inclusive sector, one where diversity and difference is actively welcomed and celebrated. In the opening address I spoke of my own disability (hearing impairment) and how that impacts on my life and practice.
This disclosure is still quite raw and emotional for me but the effect of stepping up authentically and inviting others to be honest about how they were feeling was surprising and quite beautiful:- the revelation that vulnerability is a huge strength.
Participants were invited to share any access needs in advance of the festival and also during class so that the tutors could make accommodations, meeting and supporting everyone where they were at.
These check-ins served to open up a space for *everyone* to be honest and to feel safe in that.
As I said before, it still feels that this approach within the art-form we love is in its infancy but it’s definitely moving in the right direction. Onwards and upwards together.”