Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy are supporting us to help neurodivergent and dyslexic artists

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Over the years Aakash Odedra Company has worked with emerging and midterm career practitioners the company has identified a need and have taken steps to try and support dancers who have identified as having dyslexia or other neuro differences. One of the issues identified is the anxiety caused by filling in funding forms and in particular the lengthy and often complicated narratives required by funders (Arts Council Project Grants and Developing Your Creative Practice have been identified as being particularly problematic for the dancers we have worked with). We recognise that whilst Arts Council England provide guidance and support on their website and may be able to offer dedicated access support, there are still issues for practitioners with neuro differences in receiving and processing the often-complex hidden online information – so knowing what is out there and then how to go about accessing it. Thanks to funding from Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy’s Network Funding we will start a dialogue about what specifically ‘puts artists off applying’ and how the process could be improved. We are keen to create a safe and relaxed space to start a dialogue and discover how Aakash Odedra Company as a support agency to artists can help, and how the fundraising sector can work in partnership to respond to this.

Initially we will begin a dialogue with three freelance artists who describe themselves as being dyslexic or having ADHD (Anaya Vasudha, Nancy Kettle and dyslexia champion Aakash Odedra), around the issues neurodivergent artists have with fundraising. Split across two sessions, the network will be a safe space in which both practitioners and fundraisers can share their experiences, discuss some real examples of where fundraising has been successful and where it has been problematic. The second session will focus on next steps: discussing ways that artists can be supported and undertake action research to examine practical solutions to fundraising barriers.

The two sessions will take place at Aakash Odedra Company studios on Mon 10 and Wed 12 January 2022. We intend for the three artists who are taking part to feel more confident to apply for funding that since the lack of work and professional development opportunities since the Covid-19 pandemic has exasperated a need for support. The outcomes of this work which we will continue to champion, will be embedded in the future planning of the Aakash Odedra Company.

We hope to share the findings from these events with the Leicester network of National Portfolio Organisations, many of whom work and support dyslexic and/or neurodivergent artists; and more widely as appropriate.

We are seeking to appoint an independent evaluator to observe the sessions and work with us to focus on next steps. Please download the brief below if you are interested in this and submit your expression of interest by Fri 29 October 2021.If you would like more general information about this project please contact