Sky Arts joins forces with leading artists to nurture next generation

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Sky Arts is to invest £300,000 in the culture sector with the appointment of five new Sky Arts Ambassadors: Booker prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo, dance artist and choreographer Akram Khan, sculptor Anish Kapoor, conductor Charles Hazlewood and Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall.

Their challenge? Find, inspire and support the next generation of talent at a time when opportunities are scarce. Each ambassador will be given £30,000 per year for two years to create their own bursary scheme to nurture up and coming writers, dancers, artists, musicians and theatre-makers across the country.

The new Sky Arts Ambassador programme is part of our commitment to support artists and make the arts more accessible for everyone. Quotes from all our ambassadors are below.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment, commented: “In 2021 as we search for a way out of the pandemic we are turning our attention to the cultural recovery and, in particular, the difficulties facing the next generation of young arts practitioners in a world where opportunities have drastically diminished. Our new ambassador scheme is the cornerstone of this activity and we are lucky to have five of the leading lights in their fields running bursaries which provide funding and mentoring to up-coming talent. We are looking forward to working with them all and watching some incredible new work take shape. In her role as ambassador, writer Bernardine Evaristo will collaborate with the Royal Society of Literature to create the Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards. Open to emerging writers of colour across different literary forms, the five award winners will receive ten mentoring sessions over 12 months with a leading writer, a tutorial with Bernardine and the opportunity to showcase their work at a prestigious literary venue. The awards open for submissions today.

Dance artist Akram Khan will support three UK-based dance artists with a six-month artist development programme. The programme will provide an opportunity for dancers to investigate stories and themes from their own work before delving into their creative process. They will participate in one-to-one mentoring sessions with Akram and AKC Creative Associate Mavin Khoo and will be invited to attend two collective sessions in London to observe Akram and his company and to network with other international artists.

Sculptor Anish Kapoor will award three artists with a grant that will support their practice. Anish will seek to find a new generation of artists who are making new content and challenging what art can be. Through Sky Arts, audiences will be invited to engage with the ideas and themes their work explores. Applications will open later this year.

Conductor Charles Hazlewood will create opportunities for four disabled musicians from Paraorchestra to become a Paraorchestra Musician in Residence. The 12-month residencies will allow musicians to develop their artistic practice with support from Paraorchestra, responding to the idea of what live music can be for a 21st century musician. Applications have opened today.

Nadia Fall, Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, will create the Sky Arts Artistic Associates Bursary. Based at the East London theatre, the bursary will offer two early to mid-career creatives – from any creative discipline – the chance to work with Nadia and her team in a new post to generate ideas, artistic collaborations and contribute to productions. At least one of these positions has been ringfenced for an Artist who self-identifies as D/deaf or disabled. Applications for the two positions have opened today.


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