Interview with Un-Label: 2017 Winner

We interviewed last year’s winner Un-Label. They reveal why it makes sense to apply to The Power of the Arts and talk about the kinds of wishes that can be fulfilled with the award.

What’s next for you? What projects are coming up next?

The Power of the Arts gave us the opportunity to further build and expand the Un-label Performing Arts Company. The following activities are currently in the pipeline:

On 1 February 2018, the new 28-month Un-Label project “ImPArt – Performing Arts in Artistic- Aesthetic Advancement for a Barrier-Free, Participation-Oriented Society.” has started. ImPArt explores the direct integration of barrier-free performance methods in the arts. The focus is on the potential of participation of and for all humans regarding artistic aspects. Freedom from barriers requires looking for new methods in performing arts. Especially because people with disabilities are often deprived of the atmospheric and artistic experience through the parallel portrayal of the visible and the audible. ImPArt is redefining what it means to be free from barriers. It is a source of inspiration for experimenting with new possibilities, thereby creating innovation in the arts.

From April 2018, we started to offer regular training opportunities for artists across all fields, both with and without disabilities. Every other month, there is a chance to join master classes with renowned figures on the scene and travel down new paths in the performing arts. Professional training sessions explore, bind, and redevelop the boundaries of the arts, the body, and creativity. Thus, artists can enhance their performance talents and cultural horizons while receiving support in their professionalization.

Beginning of May, our Creative Exchange and Artistic Development Summit took place. A selection of experienced national and international artists and experts from the field of inclusive visual arts had been invited to Germany. Successful barrier-free practices were presented and tried. The objective was to develop new possibilities together and promote mutual competence advancement.

Furthermore, the international symposium “ALL IN – Aesthetics and Methods of Inclusive Cultural Work” was held in cooperation with ibk at Cologne’s Sommerblut Festival.

There are also plans to expand our productions in the form of a diverse, inclusive performance at a high artistic level, which is planned to be developed and produced in co-production with the Pfefferberg Theater in Berlin.

Additionally, we are working to professionalize our PR materials and communication strategy. Currently, a new barrier-free, bi-lingual website is being programmed which represents the Un-Label Performing Arts Company. The website will hopefully go live in May. Additionally, we are working with professionals on a social media strategy. Our graphic designers are currently working on a corporate identity and marketing concept. That includes the creation of image brochures, postcards, flyers, posters, etc.

Which of your co-participants has left the biggest impression on you?

All of the winners of The Power of the Arts presented really exciting ideas and creative concepts on the evening of the award ceremony. The artists from Un-Label quickly came into contact with Banda Internationale, for the idea also popped up to potentially work together in Dresden. We also quickly came into conversation with the initiators of label m, not lastly due to the similar name. We had a pleasant exchange and were happy to get caught up in the gushing excitement among the group’s young winners. The contact and exchange of ideas with Banda Internationale and label m was motivating and left an impression, mostly because we had similar synergies and quickly got onto the same page.

What wish were you able to fulfill with the award? How has your project changed because of it?

We wanted to expand upon our successful pioneering work, which started with the EU Creative Europe project Un-Label, by founding the Un-Label Performing Arts Company. With the company, we are looking to anchor sustainable inclusive activities in cultural programming. Furthermore, we want to use our wide range of programs to counter the gaps in cultural offerings with the objective of facilitating new paths in equal opportunity participation for artists and audiences alike, to manifest improvement and added value in skills, and to optimize career and vocational perspectives.

It was the award from The Power of the Arts that made that possible in the first place, enabling us to start this professional advancement.

Why did you apply to The Power of the Arts? Why would you recommend to other initiatives that they do the same?

We believe that art is a constant search for identity. By redefining our truths, our needs, our convictions, and our perceptions, we are continuously redefining our position and our perspectives for the space we live in. By shaping new customs, we are recognizing new norms in order to question them anew. Art doesn’t want to be discriminated against or outcast by others, but rather be integrated, because being different is an integral component to the act of creation.

In an era where our society is unable to integrate all of its members, interculturalism and inclusion in the arts is not an option, it’s a necessity.

That makes The Power of the Arts an even more relevant opportunity for people in art and culture active in the intercultural / inclusive field to apply, for unfortunately there are hardly any other initiatives supporting this important topic in such a professional manner. Accordingly, the concept won us over at first sight.