MDI Talent Hub: Connecting Through Dance Online

The MDI Talent Hub launched in March to nurture artistic development, inspire entrepreneurialism and facilitate cross-artform collaboration amongst Liverpool’s exciting and eager artistic community. 

The response was electric, and we offered places on the programme to 21 artists at various stages of their careers. Initially intended for just 16 creatives, successful applicants have access to free studio space, professional development and mentoring, commissioning and performance opportunities, as well as socials, scratch nights and other opportunities to curate, collaborate and perform.

Creating new work almost immediately, 14 artists from the Hub were busily preparing for the first Scratch Night, due to take place in the same week that performance venues across the country were advised to close their spaces. But rather than demotivating the artists, the potential roadblock has become a great opportunity for innovation.

In the fortnight since, we have been researching, reacting and adapting, transforming the Talent Hub into a fully digital programme. Given the current climate, our primary concern is keeping staff, participants, artists and audiences safe. So, although unable to offer studio space, live performances, social and in-person collaborations, the aim of the project remains the same; to support our artists in their personal and professional development and provide opportunities to share, collaborate and create.

dance connects; physically, emotionally, creatively, organically. 

Talent Hub members are now working together over Facebook, Instagram and Zoom (amongst other platforms), inspiring and motivating each other with ideas and artistic challenges, guided by the experienced MDI team. To date the group have been collaborating on ways to take their artistic output and teaching online, keen to respond to the situation by challenging each other to create new work for a single camera in a confined space, and using their diverse skills to support each other with editing, technology and sound. They will also be creating content for our new Youtube channel: MDI Virtual Studio

Launching later this month, the group will be part of a series of digital symposiums, where industry professionals will appear live in conversation to offer guidance and inspire creativity. April will also be the beginning of Scratch Space, a digital platform for artists to host their own online events, inviting feedback and collaboration from their peers.

As well as creative support, we’re taking steps to support the artists’ emotional and mental wellbeing, encouraging everyone to share how they are feeling and responding to these unprecedented circumstances. The enduring feeling? That dance connects; physically, emotionally, creatively, organically. 

Hub Artists:

Hannah Ballard

James Bowling

Tony Carroll 

Kali Chandrasegaram

Helen Cherry

Diana Disley 

Elizabeth Dobson

Rowena Gander

Jessica Kawalek

Paul Bayes Kitcher 

William Lang

Joss A. LaPorta

Sophie Leigh Barrow

Emma Lippitt

Emily Jay O’Shea

Jen Rees

Adam John Roberts 

Ruth Spitzlei 

Pei Tong

Lauren Tucker

Nicolette Whitley 

Head over to our YouTube Channel, and get dancing at home with the help of our Virtual Studio!