News: Creative Europe success for Imaginate and the PUSH partners

22 July 2018

Maryam, Jaouad and Pernelle, photo by Geraldine Heaney
Maryam, Jaouad and Pernelle, photo by Geraldine Heaney

We are delighted to announce that our new project PUSH+ has been awarded Creative Europe funding, one of 84 projects funded out of 401 applications.  PUSH+ will be led by Imaginate alongside partners Krokusfestival (Belgium), Scenekunstbruket (Norway), Aabendans (Denmark), The Ark (Ireland), and new associated partner Bangkok International Children's Theatre Festival (Thailand).

PUSH+, a 3-year small co-operation project, will build on the topics and learning of PUSH, creating more opportunities for artists to develop new performance ideas and for project partners to programme new works at their festivals.

PUSH+ will focus on three new, but related, topics – Home, Failure and Different Bodies.  Each topic will have a year-long focus to maximise its impact and profile. We will explore each one alongside three artistic formats in order to inspire experimentation with form as well as content.  These formats – Participatory, Site-specific and Intergenerational – offer us more direct, and sometime interactive, contact with our audiences, and they are styles of performance that have been identified as gaps in the sector.

PUSH+ will grow and develop the communities of interest that have formed around each of the PUSH topics, offering more opportunities for a wider range of people. Project activity will push these topics beyond thinking and discussion towards new performances while still offering open-ended, paid and facilitated research time that is so important for the development of artists, their practice and future productions.

PUSH+ activities:

PUSH+ Labs - an 8-day, paid, facilitated research laboratory; 3 Labs with a total of 45 places

PUSH+ Residencies - two weeks of paid studio time with support for up to 4 selected artists to focus on the development of a Lab idea through to a work in progress stage; 3 residencies with a total of 12 places

PUSH+ Festival Presentations - the presentation of topic-related works in progress or public interventions created by participating artists at a partner festival; 3 presentations with a total of 12 places

PUSH+ Festival Visits - a group of 10 artists and partners will visit a partner festival to see work, take part in events and network with festival delegates and audiences; 3 visits with a total of 30 places

PUSH+ International Workshop - a 5-day workshop in Thailand exploring the Different Bodies topic for artists in Europe and Thailand with a focus on developing disabled artists and makers; 5 places in total (1 from each partner)

PUSH+ Symposium - a day-long event at The Ark, Dublin to compile, interrogate and share the ideas and research at the end of the project; 10 places in total

PUSH+ topics:

HOME - With children in mind, what is home? How do we build it? Who has a right to define it? Can we do it alone or does home, by definition, require a community? Who are the communities or agencies who enable or prevent this? Is this a local issue to be dealt with in small communities or rather, a matter of importance to national and federal states? Are children's voices being heard in the discussion and decision making around these issues? Does home have a different meaning for children and for adults?  Through this topic we will explore the concept of home and ask if home is somewhere that implies a degree of permanence as opposed to a point on the map where you originated from. If you spend twenty years being raised and educated in Tehran then live in Belgium for another twenty, where is home?  What is it to live in a middle space where neither country is fully home?

FAILURE - Congratulations, you have failed. Why does it sound strange to accept this? Why do we consider failure as inherently negative? When and why did society develop the ideal of complete and everlasting success as the norm of human achievement? And, when and why did society impose that ideal on all human beings as the standard of life? The best student, the best son, the best daughter, the best father, the best mother, the best family, the best friends, the best teacher, the best director, the best artist, simply the best.  PUSH+ will explore the notion of failure, why we fear it, what are its artistic possibilities and whether it stunts our appetite for taking risks and discovering ourselves and the world around us.

DIFFERENT BODIES - The most basic 'thing' humans have in common is the body. No matter which culture you come from, which colour you are, you have a body and so do I. And yet the body, as well as the mind, is subject to many layers of references, meanings, expressions and biases. The ‘right’ body, the disabled body, the oversized, the old, the healthy body. The body is home of the mind and closely connected to it. If anything happens to the body, it affects the mind and vice versa. Through life both body and mind change in ability and expression. We are so used to regarding the young, normal, well-developed body and mind as the ideal, that we may find it difficult to open up to other expressions, that an old body can move in an artistically interesting way; that a person with Down’s syndrome has a broad variety of expressions; or that a child has the ability to reflect on a deep level through sensations and a physical approach.  

If you would like to find out more about this project, or Imaginate's creative development work contact Fiona Ferguson, Creative Development Director.