The University of Brighton has been shortlisted for a national award for bringing together people with learning disabilities and non-disabled collaborators to work together on creative arts projects.
The ‘Art of Inclusion’ project, led by Alice Fox, lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Art, is a candidate for the Excellence and Innovation in the Arts title in the Times Higher Education (THE) awards 2017, known as the ‘Oscars’ of higher education.
The project has been credited with changing the way inclusive arts is practised, both nationally and internationally by government-funded bodies, non-governmental organisations, museums, education, arts and community organisations.
Alice Fox, course leader and founder of the University of Brighton’s pioneering MA Inclusive Arts Practice, has initiated radical new arts collaborations between university students and marginalised community groups around the world.
As part of the Inclusive Arts programme at the University, academics have worked alongside artists with learning disabilities to deliver aspects of the curriculum, expanding the boundaries of inclusion and rupturing notions of who holds knowledge.
Alice Fox’s 14-year collaboration with the learning disabled Rocket Artists group has pushed the boundaries of inclusion in the arts through performance, symposiums and exhibitions – making the case for diversity through the work whilst posing questions that challenge prejudice and work against isolation.
She also delivers inclusive arts and staff training for institutions such as the British Council, Tate Modern and The National Gallery and is a Tate Exchange Associate recently performing Frozen Unfrozen at the opening Give and Take event at Tate Modern. Through Tate Exchange, Alice has been developing new inclusive pedagogies of co-production through her research into the practices of Expanded Listening.
She said: “I’m thrilled the project has been shortlisted. This is an accolade shared by many people whose hard work and dedication have helped develop inclusive education and cultural opportunities for children and adults with disabilities around the world.”
THE editor John Gill said: “Once again these awards have attracted hundreds of entries from the length and breadth of the nation, and from institutions of every hue. All those shortlisted can be immensely proud to have made it through this first phase, and we at Times Higher Education look forward to honouring the winners for their talent, creativity and commitment at a time for the academy when these qualities are increasingly essential.”
Professor Debra Humphris, the University of Brighton’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “I’m sure the entire university community joins me in congratulating Alice and her colleagues for their success and for their wonderful and groundbreaking work.
“Awards highlight the fantastic projects this university is engaged in and I would encourage all of our staff to consider showcasing their work in this way – we have a lot to be proud of.”
Winners will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane on 30 November. More than 1000 guests are expected to attend, including politicians, senior sector figures, and academic and professional university staff from all corners of the UK.