Recently, I was asked to introduce myself to the children’s art sector through a network called Assitej UK. Here’s what I had to say…
‘My fondest memories of ‘art’ are of dancing in the kitchen to a mix of reggae, funk and R&B with my family on a Sunday afternoon. This early love of dancing carried through as a passion and vocation until four years ago when I made the transition from artist to arts manager. When I can, I still find space to exercise my dancing brain and body.
‘I have always been fascinated by the honest way that children and young people view the world. In an ever-changing environment where technology and movement of people has shifted the way we connect with our cultures and with one another, I am always able to learn a huge amount from speaking with young people as this is all a normal part of their experience. They are not tied down by past experience in the same way that adults are and therefore they find it easier take each situation as it is, not as they think it will be – to my mind this is the most exciting type of audience; one that is open and less biased.
‘For as long as I can remember being aware of my own race, I have wanted better representation. Not only in the number of people looking like me and my family on stage, but in the range of stories being told about them. As a teenager I became aware of how culture and media shaped others expectations of me and my family in different ways – what we should be good at, how we should act, what our hair or shade of skin said about us. Whilst this feels less blatant today the undercurrents are still present and the power structures that exist in the sector and beyond are still biased and unbalanced. This is reflected in some of the work we see and the way that work is presented. This subtle yet weighty issue is one that I would like to see shift more drastically than it has so far.’