Connect and Collaborate London is a year-long programme of events which aims to increase opportunity and visibility for Disabled artists, musicians and sound artists. We were delighted to launch the first DM Collaborate meet up at the Roundhouse on Tuesday 1 March. Ivan Riches, National Team: Artistic Associate, reflects on the day in his article below.
Deaf and disabled artists / musicians living and working in London can often find themselves being isolated from other artists / musicians, creative facilities and recording studios and performance venues.
In our capital city, locating, contacting and sharing ideas, workshops and events with deaf and disabled artists / musicians is logistically tricky at best. As is always the case for creative deaf and disabled people, it’s all about access, opportunities and funding.
On the 1st of March 2016, thanks to City Bridge Trust funding and a partnership with the Roundhouse, DM Collaborate was able to deliver a memorable event catering for 22 deaf and disabled artists / musicians, of which 13 were able to attend.
This was a taster event, with an introduction to Drake Music and the previous Connect & Collaborate London (C&CL) programme, including:
- commissions with 2 music videos
- a short introduction to my Arts Council England funded ‘Sonic Vistas’ project
- a preview of the DM R&D commissioned film (work in progress) about Kris Halpin, his Mi.Mu gloves and a performance alongside Imogen Heap at the Half Moon in Putney
- a live performance of songs and an up close and personal demonstration of Mi.Mu gloves
- a group discussion about where to take DM Collaborate next
It was a packed-to-the-brim programme!
The event’s participants were eager to ask questions, particularly about the C&CL programme and commissions, the ‘Sonic Vistas’ project, Kris’s amazing Mi.Mu gloves and about what DM Collaborate could possibly offer them.
The group discussion was the most insightful and illuminating part of the whole event.
One participant, Denis Wilson, revealed that he had felt so isolated until coming to the event, that he cried during Kris’s performance, stating that he had no idea that such technology to help people like him to make music was out there.
A wonderful surprise for him was that Vahakan Matossian from Human Instruments (accessible expressive musical instrument devices) and a member of Gawain Hewitt’s DM Labs (formerly HackMeets), was able to show him a head controlled midi device.
They will be looking into prototyping this together – an accessible music instrument company working directly with one of our DM Collaborate participants. That’s what DM Collaborate is all about.
The whole day was covered by our guest – The Guardian journalist Zoe Cormier.
So, a circle of 13 deaf and disabled artists / performers / dancers / musicians talked about what they wanted from DM Collaborate monthly meetings in the future.
Some want more demonstrations of AMT (Assistive Music Technology). John Kelly talked about forming a closer link with developments from the DM Lab.
Everyone wants to collaborate, jam together and share their artistic practice.
Jacob Casselden, a deaf performer/ musician will be meeting up with Kris Halpin to learn more about Mi.Mu technology.
Mik Scarlet stated that DM Collaborate was an excellent resource where disabled musicians can support each other and I feel that this is key to the success of the whole venture.
Simon Purins filmed the whole event for me to edit and share it online as soon as possible.
Watch this space, connect with us and collaborate.
If you are a Disabled musician, performer or artist using music or sound within your professional work then register to attend the next meeting in April (date and venue TBC).
To register your interest please complete the online form. This link will take you to the online registration form. If you would like a paper copy, please email loninfo (@drakemusic.org) with your name and address or phone our office on 020 7739 5444.