The following message comes from the CDS Artists’ Committee, a group of five artists who have met monthly since November 2022 to contribute to the ongoing development of the organisation and advise on the needs of artists today. The group works alongside staff, trustees, and members as representatives of their artist communities and as individuals committed to anti-racist and anti-ableist change-making. They were selected using a randomised process and are made up of Global Majority Heritage and Disabled/neurodivergent artists.
You can learn more about each artist on our CDS Members Committee page.
Hello from Alice, Claudia, Jose, Valerie and Zjana,
We are members who all love Chisenhale, want to see it thrive and are united by a desire to offer an active contribution and see tangible change in the inner structures of our community. We’re driven by an eagerness to consider new models of leadership that decentre power and redistribute it to artists who have previously been excluded from decision-making and resources. We believe now is the time to widen the spectrum and diversity of artists that make up the rich tapestry of CDS. We want to advocate for wider representation and participation from those who have historically been excluded, and continue to expand to a variety of experimental artistic practices that wouldn’t traditionally be considered as “dance”.
We believe that in order to embark on a new and exciting trajectory we need to come together as a community and help identify new ways in which CDS can thrive, grow and become a truly inclusive environment. Only by abandoning old patriarchal, hierarchical, white-centric and ableist models which have permeated our institutions for centuries, can we move forward and stop the toxic cycle. We believe this is exactly what CDS is trying to do with the committee, and through the increased inclusion of all community members in its decision making processes.
We hope the CDS Artists Committee will become an integral part of Chisenhale. As its current members, we are five people with very different practices, life experiences and histories with CDS, and we don’t share a single point of view. This group has been formed to provide leadership that is explicitly anti-racist and anti-ableist, from people who have those varied lived experiences. The committee provides a much-needed route to participation that takes economic barriers away. Our roles are not permanent and the members of the committee will change periodically, allowing space for a range of voices whilst still centring individuals who experience systemic marginalisation.
We began our work last year by establishing some foundations and guidelines that would enable the group to function ethically, such as a contract of care that lays out our needs, values and what we expect of each other. We went on to discuss the position of the Artists’ Committee within the larger CDS ecosystem, i.e. how we relate to the staff, what expectations we have of the board, and also how we can best communicate with the wider membership.
As we move closer to opening our doors to new members later this year, we have now begun planning how our artist community structure might evolve for 2023. This is with the acknowledgement that the current model isn’t serving artists as well as it could, particularly as CDS reckons with the deep impact of COVID-19. We are working hard to consider what this community can be to artists, in an increasingly precarious and competitive sector.
Some of the key considerations that have emerged in this process include:
- Welcoming new artists who are in need of an artistic home and who have time and energy to invest in our community, prioritising those with less institutional support
- Offering tangible resources that members can have autonomy over, including launching ‘WTF Thursdays’ in April, a free space dedicated to community building and artist-led events
- Expanding the participation of and support for Global Majority Heritage and Disabled/neurodivergent artists, including finding new partners with accessible spaces
To anyone reading this who is interested in joining our community of members, please email email@example.com to be added to the waitlist. She will be in touch when there is more information.
And to the CDS Artist Community – we look forward to sharing more of our work at our Annual General Meeting on 29th March. If you would like to pass on a message or any thoughts to us, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Tatge, Claudia Palazzo, Jose Funnell, Valerie Ebuwa and Zjana Muraro