Shape Arts

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Shape Arts's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Shape Arts is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.shapearts.org.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | THE POPPY FACTORY
organisations that are unable to assist.
Results speak for themselves. We have
now supported over 1,300veterans
into employment over a nine-year
period and every year the number
rises. Our sustainability rates are
exceptional, and on average since the
service began, over 70 per cent are
still in employment after 12 months.
The work we do is life-changing, but
to sustain the service, we need to
raisefunds.
Contributing to society
This year, research has shown that
the social value of our employability
service is worth £5.7 million. By
helping a wounded, injured or sick
veteran into employment, the impact
on public services, including the NHS
and the benefits system, is much
reduced. Societal contribution is
restored, and employers find that
the Armed Forces values that our
clients bring – including resilience,
resourcefulness, integrity and
adaptability – are of real value to
theirbusiness.
Our biggest challenge comes, as it
does with many charities, in securing
sustainable funding. In many ways,
we are lucky. When our founder,
Major George Howson MC, built
accommodation on the Richmond
Estate, it was for factory workers.
Now, two-thirds of our flats, together
with two factory floors, generate funds
through commercial let.
Even so, we remain dependent upon
the generosity of funders for our
employability service, and we engage
with a truly diverse range of partners
in the public, private and voluntary
sectors to find the further £1.3 million
needed to support our veterans. In
addition to all of the above, we are
having to refurbish much of our estate
to update current working conditions
and make our environment truly
inclusive and accessible.
We understand the importance of
working collaboratively, and to this
end we play an active part in The
Confederation of Service Charities
and chair the Wounded, Injured and
Sick Veterans Employment Group. On
the ground, we engage with other
organisations so that our veterans
can access the right specialist services.
We map charitable activity and come
together whenever it makes sense. The
needs of veterans are challenging and
complex and a multiagency approach
is often required.
The Armed Forces Covenant says that
no veteran should be disadvantaged,
but that additional support should
be available for those who have
given more, such as the injured
and bereaved. The Poppy Factory
works with those who have given
so much to their country, to support
them into meaningful and sustained
employment. It is the right thing to
do, and we are confident and resolute
in our mission, in our unique service
provision and in our collaborative
approach. With employment,
everyonewins.
With
employment,
everyone
wins
Army veteran Vicki
(left) with Kirsty, her
employability consultant
at The Poppy Factory
27SHAPE ARTS |
COMMUNITY
CEO and Artistic Director
DavidHevey
David leading the National
Disability Arts Collection and
Archive project
A
disability-led arts organisation, Shape Arts and its team –
led by CEO and Artistic Director David Hevey – strive to
break barriers to creative excellence. Having worked to
improve access to culture for disabled people over five decades,
Shape’s work includes providing opportunities for disabled
artists, training cultural institutions and operating large-scale
development and participation programmes. David talks about
the barriers to arts and culture disabled people often face and
discusses how they can be broken.
Shape Arts has been in existence for 40 years, and throughout this time, our
central ethos has remained constant: opening up culture, heritage and the arts
to diverse, different and disabled people who face barriers. Our goal is to widen
inclusion in culture, and while our work is about breaking barriers that face creative
talent, it is also about championing these creatives and assisting those we work
with to break into high-impact culture; by identifying the barriers they face, and
creating art that responds to these issues, they can make an impact on the cultural
landscape. Removing barriers to creative excellence is our model, and we feel it can
be universally applicable. Because of their position within society, these outsider
people are often closest to the crises and aesthetics of our age and are thus
perfectly placed to create the art that holds a mirror up to modern society.
My own background has informed my belief in the importance of these steps.
Coming from an underclass immigrant family of nine and becoming seriously
disabled at 14 meant the odds were somewhat stacked against my success.
FACTS ABOUT
SHAPE ARTS
»CEO and Artistic Director:
David Hevey
»Established in 1976
»Based in London
»Services: Disability-led artistic
and cultural organisation
»No. of employees: 11 with a
body of freelancers
Shape Arts
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | SHAPE ARTS
Iwasable to succeed by naming and
politicising the barriers I faced, creating
content that captured my anger in an
aesthetic form. I made films and poster
campaigns that played to millions
because I asked tough questions about
the nature of the barriers I faced and
why they existed.
Britain may well be a progressive
country, but awareness of barriers
must be raised in order for the people
whom we champion to be successful.
Although somewhat counterintuitive,
culture and the arts are often inclusive,
but you have to start pushing against
resistance to change to feel the benefit
of this. My own experience of this
journey has led me to head up an
organisation that tries to help others
follow the same path.
Identifying barriers and
creating art
In order to support our artists and
creatives, we first try to identify
the paradigm that our creatives
are trapped in. These barriers can
take a wide variety of forms, from
financial problems, which can lead to
internalised disappointment, to the lack
of a digital footprint for their work.
Throughout all we do, we support our
creatives to achieve excellence, with our
focus always remaining on supporting
a diverse and strong culture in the UK
and internationally. There are countless
individuals creating great work with our
support, and we help them to achieve
the high profile this work deserves. We
have achieved remarkable success in
this endeavour, and our artists regularly
reach combined audiences in the
hundreds of millions.
This support takes a variety of forms,
including bursaries and projects, which
can be commissioned and supported.
At any point in time, we are working
with around 200 creatives, and out of
this mix, we often have breakout hits.
The NDACA project
An example of this in action, and our
wider work, is the NDACA project.
Founded by Tony Heaton OBE, the
aim of the project is to chronicle and
bring to life the heritage story of the
UK Disability Arts Movement. This
movement began in the late 1970s,
and continues to this day, and involved
a group of disabled people and their
allies breaking down barriers and
managing to help change the law
Artist Jo Bannon,
from the David Hevey
Unlimited
films
Our artists
regularly reach
combined
audiences in
the hundreds
of millions
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | SHAPE ARTS
Iwasable to succeed by naming and
politicising the barriers I faced, creating
content that captured my anger in an
aesthetic form. I made films and poster
campaigns that played to millions
because I asked tough questions about
the nature of the barriers I faced and
why they existed.
Britain may well be a progressive
country, but awareness of barriers
must be raised in order for the people
whom we champion to be successful.
Although somewhat counterintuitive,
culture and the arts are often inclusive,
but you have to start pushing against
resistance to change to feel the benefit
of this. My own experience of this
journey has led me to head up an
organisation that tries to help others
follow the same path.
Identifying barriers and
creating art
In order to support our artists and
creatives, we first try to identify
the paradigm that our creatives
are trapped in. These barriers can
take a wide variety of forms, from
financial problems, which can lead to
internalised disappointment, to the lack
of a digital footprint for their work.
Throughout all we do, we support our
creatives to achieve excellence, with our
focus always remaining on supporting
a diverse and strong culture in the UK
and internationally. There are countless
individuals creating great work with our
support, and we help them to achieve
the high profile this work deserves. We
have achieved remarkable success in
this endeavour, and our artists regularly
reach combined audiences in the
hundreds of millions.
This support takes a variety of forms,
including bursaries and projects, which
can be commissioned and supported.
At any point in time, we are working
with around 200 creatives, and out of
this mix, we often have breakout hits.
The NDACA project
An example of this in action, and our
wider work, is the NDACA project.
Founded by Tony Heaton OBE, the
aim of the project is to chronicle and
bring to life the heritage story of the
UK Disability Arts Movement. This
movement began in the late 1970s,
and continues to this day, and involved
a group of disabled people and their
allies breaking down barriers and
managing to help change the law
Artist Jo Bannon,
from the David Hevey
Unlimited
films
Our artists
regularly reach
combined
audiences in
the hundreds
of millions
29SHAPE ARTS |
COMMUNITY
with the introduction of the Disability
Discrimination Act of 1995 and
muchmore.
Our aim was not only to collect the
heritage story but to find the best-
possible forms of art and creativity
to express it. We combined issues
and aesthetics to create an engaging
narrative; if your only focus is on
the issues, and you neglect creating
engaging aesthetics, you become
worthy but not great.
The project now comprises a catalogue
of 3,500 images alongside learning
resources, oral history films and
various other biographies and art
works that capture the lives of those
who contributed to the Disability Arts
Movement. Alongside this catalogue,
we opened NDACA research facilities,
which are hosted at Buckinghamshire
New University. These include
an NDACA Learning Wing and a
repository of all the physical deposits
that were created for the project.
Adapting to a changing society
Brexit has affected us in terms of its
wider cultural implications. Diversity,
and a diverse culture, are crucial to
our work. If Brexit leads to a sense of
smallness, or a smaller mindset and a
narrowing of diversity and difference,
this would be directly against ourgoals.
Funding, and the future direction of
cultural funding, is also an issue that
is central to our organisation. We are
working to find out this future direction,
and a lot could be decided in the
upcoming Spending Review, which will
determine how much the government
is willing to invest inculture.
Beyond this, the level of funding we
are able to access is also dependent
on the areas the main funders, such as
Arts Council England, are focusing on
in the future. In order to demonstrate
our relevancy and value and offer our
insight into where funding should be
allocated, we often lobby right up to
ministerial level. As well as issues and
great creative content, we also stress
the importance of being entertaining
in creative work: the creative work we
promote is often radical, entertaining
and serious.
Apart from the government funding
reviews, we may also be affected by
future societal trends and whether
people are willing to support arts
and culture charities. In our view,
supporting culture charities promotes
wider harmony and inclusivity and so
is essential. Basically, my view is that
culture stops war. We need progressive
culture and thinking to develop and
thrive as a nation, and funding cultural
organisations such as us is key to this.
As we look forward, we are planning
on continuing to push our disability-
led and barrier-facing business
models and outputs, and we want
to continue to foster the values of
internationalism, progressivism and
also environmentalism. Internationalism
will be especially key, as this is the
direction that digital culture is moving
in, but this needs to be married to local
issues too. Beyond this, we will strive
to keep finding new forms to represent
the way in which we live now and
to tackle the crucial issues that face
modern society. That’s our remit.
Diversity, and
a diverse
culture, are
crucial to
ourwork
David Hevey’s landmark
BBC series,
The Disabled
Century

www.shapearts.org.uk

This article was sponsored by Shape Arts. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development