MDI Leaps Into Spring with Funding Success and Welcomes New Chair to Board of Directors
The power to bring about change is what has inspired MDI to produce the Leap Dance Festival in 2018 as it not only celebrates 25 years since MDI was established but also 10 years since Liverpool was European City of Culture and commemorates 100 years since women won the right to vote! The theme for the festival will be Suffrage exploring how working together to make a difference can be empowering, influencing the content of the programme. As a team and talking to colleagues in the City we have been debating the concept of Suffrage and through that, considering what it means to be democratic and how the idea of ‘people power’ creates a stimulus for creating new work. In addition the festival will also present works that respond to the theme that are already part of the UK touring circuit.
Taking place in autumn 2018 in Liverpool, the festival programme will be fully confirmed in May but will include up to 14 dance artists/companies presenting work not seen in Liverpool before. We will support 2 new commissions by regionally based artists, and create a nationally significant conference with HE institutions, led by Liverpool Hope University. With diversity a constant throughout our programming we will host a number of panel discussions debating strong black women in dance; socially engaged practice; and hand over a number of days to our local communities, local artists and young people to take over and programme aspects of the festival themselves. Building up to the event we will be engaging with local people through workshops and paving events to profile the festival and build new audiences.
As Karen Gallagher, MBE, Artistic Director said:
“MDI needs to place its efforts on an area of its programme that will drive forward new opportunities and re-position the organisation to embrace an exciting new future.
Leap is unique both in Liverpool and NW as it’s the only festival in the region dedicated to programming contemporary dance. Focussing on LEAP and becoming a festival organisation will redefine the parameters of the organisation, create a more specific offer for artists and audiences, generate clarity for partners and a narrative that all will support knowing it brings a focus to the dance programme in the Liverpool city region”.
MDI Welcomes New Chair to Board of Directors
Paul has had an extensive career in the public sector in the senior management of Education Services and Cultural, Leisure and Community Services. This has included: Arts and Cultural services; Creative Industries; Events; Tourism; Libraries; Museums; Marketing; Community and Voluntary Sector Support; Sustainability and Environmental Development; Enterprise and Regeneration.
He has many years experience of working closely with the major cultural providers on Merseyside including the RLPO, Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, NML, Bluecoat as well as leading on the development of many Pan-Merseyside relationships across the six Local Authorities particularly linked to the support of the cultural sector, Capital of Culture, joint marketing and regeneration. He has been a member of many regional advisory boards including Arts Council England and European Redevelopment Fund.
On his new role at MDI Paul said:
“On taking on the role of Chair I am looking forward to guiding MDI into the next exciting phase of its development. This will see a refocusing of the work of MDI around the development of the LEAP Festival model, extending the organisation’s artistic direction, focus and reach, and re-establishing its role as a major producer and presenter of dance. This will involve building a fresh approach to dance development that will fundamentally transform the way that MDI does business in Liverpool and the wider city region.
I bring a belief in the power of the Arts, and Cultural activity more generally, to be a powerful catalyst for the sustainable regeneration of people and places, and I am very keen to explore how MDI can contribute directly to many key local, regional and national agendas.
I look forward to meeting head-on the challenges and opportunities facing the organisation, and the cultural sector more generally and establishing MDI as a major contributor to the future development of Liverpool and the wider city region.”