iF not now, when? - Part 2

Callum continues his discussion of the day's events in this second part...

Creative Journey

The Creative Journey panel included Dan Daws (British Council), Alice Holland (independent) and Tim Casson (Casson & Friends).
A highlight of the day was the useful and heartfelt insights from Dan Dawes, who outlined some key rules he has discovered in his creative journey.
These included:

  • The importance of knowing what you want to say and who you want to work with
  • Who your champions are
  • The importance of not doing what people tell you, because this is often about their fears, not yours
  • The importance of taking your time.



The Change panel was made up of Laura Jones (Stopgap Dance Company), Jeff Rowlings (Shape) and Bella Todd (Freelance Journalist).
Jeff Rowlings from Shape highlighted the lack of high profile role models for young people with disabilities. The work Shape has done suggests that barriers can be broken through holding employers to account by setting in stone disability access and greater transparency when discussing levels of disability employment. Jeff suggests this would create clear standardisation, allowing disabled leaders to emerge.

He also mentioned the idea of creating a ‘Access Passport’, giving people with a disability control over what information they share, tied into access to work and staying with them for their working lifetime.

Bella Todd, Independent Journalist, gave some great and really useful incite into how to get your press release read and your performance reviewed. As she stated, they are ‘dry facts’ but important none the less. Her tips:

  • Have a great image – the more striking the better. They should be staged production shots (not sweaty rehearsal pics), saved as a jpeg at at least 200dpi. When you send them to the press send them as an attachment, not in a document.
  • Spend time on the press release – be targeted and use a tailored approach. Don’t call it a press release in the Subject title of your email (journalists get thousands of these a week). Include your company name so they can find it again easily.
  • Length – Your press release should be 300-400 words covering who, what, when, where, how? The aim is to make the journalist feel curious. Avoid hyperbole, leave judgement to the reviewers.
  • Lead times – 2 weeks notice bare minimum for local paper, freelance reviewers 1 month
  • Finally, Bella emphasised the importance of building relationships with writers. Don’t just try and get the big name reviewers along. Make friends with the little guy, he might write a more interesting review and you never know, he might be the big guy one day.

The day was punctuated with snippets of performances from Moxie Brawl, Corali, Yolanda Mercy and Lost Voice Guy. A highlight for me was Yolanda Mercy who’s excerpt of her one women show was funny, honest and engaging. iF bursary winners Silent Faces, delivered a full length performance of their production Follow Suit in the evening.

Silent Faces performance was well thought out, laugh out loud funny and uncomfortable in turns. It was a clever exploration of corporate identity, from the repetitive benignities of office work to the oneness of belonging to a tribe. The piece is a visual exploration, imagining what happens when the dark, rippling undercurrents of a shady corporate world begin to brim over. It is lovely to see a high quality, up and coming integrated company making work that isn’t about disability.

All in all, it was a great day full of interesting conversation, expertly chaired by Owen who did an admirable job of concisely summarising provocations and key points made by panellists. The next step is to find a way to get people outside of our network, who aren’t already engaged, to firstly hear, and then take action around this important conversation.

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