Project management

Dumb Art Ahead (revised), Miles Thomas 2008. Based on the original piece by Hamish Roberts

Having grown up deaf nearly all my life, my speciality area in the field of arts project management is Deaf Arts, i.e. arts made by deaf people for deaf people and audiences with an interest in Deaf Culture.

The biggest and most ambitious arts project I ever managed was Salon, a deaf-led grant-funded organisation working towards CIC status based in the South-East. We aimed to empower deaf and hard-of-hearing adults, children, young people and practising artists to explore deaf conceptual art ideology through a variety of developmental activities in the South-East and London, including:

  • Five-day art retreats at King’s Wood, in partnership with Stour Valley Arts
  • One-day artist-led workshops at Modern Art Oxford
  • Outreach work, including one-to-ones and open meetings across the South-East and London
  • A residential drawing workshop with GCSE students at Mary Hare School as part of The Big Draw 2007
  • A window installation at OVADA
  • An exhibition of our Limited Editions prints at Nicomsoup, London

As a representative of Salon, I also took part in Architecture-Inside Out, a roll-out initiative in association with Arts Council England, South-East, Dada-South, the Solent Centre for Art, Architecture and Design and the University of Sussex that explored space, access and the built environment from a deaf and disability arts perspective.

This included an InQbate artists’ workshop – where I created an one-day installation, Listen, with the artist Jon Adams – collaborations with architects at Lightbox Gallery in Woking, and presentations on Architecture Week South-East at the Royal British Institute of Architects. Not only did it enhance my understanding of space, access and the built environment, it also fed back into my work in the field of new audiences and inclusive marketing, enabling me to identify better how this could relate to access to the arts.

Salon had an extensive marketing strategy in lieu of the variety of communication methods used by the wider deaf and hard-of-hearing population, including DVD documentaries, BSL web clips, YouTube trailers, and The Lounge, our in-house quarterly hybrid bulletin which I wrote, edited and produced. The below film promo sums up our work from that time perfectly.

In founding Salon I was able to draw from previous experience as Deaf Arts Development Manager at Shape, where I instrumented and delivered a variety of Deaf Arts projects including Tate’s Arts Signs BSL gallery guiding course in partnership with the City Lit, Shape’s Deaf Theatre Summer Academy at Jacksons Lane, and The Colour of Music, a series of TIE workshops with students at Oak Lodge School inspired by the works of Wassily Kandinsky.

I also sat on the board of the then-called Dada-South for nearly three years, where I maximised my experience with deaf and hard-of-hearing artists to support the charity’s commitment to diversity on the South-East arts scene.

Given my parenting and other commitments, I am presently unable to take on arts project management work, but do keep checking back for future availability.

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