Lisi Perry, Equilibrium, 2019. Commissioned by MDI as part Of LEAP 2019 Talent Development Programme. Image by Jazamin Sinclair.

Putting Artists Back at the Heart of MDI

MDI is delighted to announce a successful bid to Arts Council England to fund a brand new Talent Incubator for dance, here in Liverpool.

This year we’re focusing on Talent Development: putting artists back at the centre of what MDI is, and nurturing a creative community in the city. Our aim is to bring artists together from different disciplines to create new work, whilst helping bridge the gap artists face between creating, and making a career out of what they produce.

In November 2019, we launched a second studio space on Hope Street; a place for artists to create, meet and work collaboratively. Studio 2 has been designed to combat the social isolation that can come with freelance and lone working, as well as making MDI a hub for creativity and shared ideas. This new space is the start of a larger vision for MDI, to create a dance hub for Liverpool with artists at its heart. 

The Talent Incubator aims to nurture artistic development, inspire entrepreneurialism and facilitate cross artform collaboration. At its core will be a programme offering artists: 

  • Studio space
  • Professional development
  • Commissioning and performance opportunities 

Artists on the programme will be part of a community where social events, scratch nights and other opportunities to curate, collaborate and perform are fostered, with ongoing support from MDI. Those artists will then have the support and guidance required to apply for three North West Artist Commissions to be presented at LEAP 2020.

Martina Murphy, Director at MDI says “our aim is to support dance artists in a new way, through a more entrepreneurial and DIY approach, ultimately empowering artists to take control and be ambitious in their careers”.

Last year, the introduction of LEAP Fringe meant new opportunities for emerging talent to programme and produce work, and this model will lay the foundations for future festivals, with up and coming performers, choreographers, stage managers, and producers taking more ownership of their creative spaces.

Whilst committed to bridging the gap from dance education to professional careers for new and emerging artists, we also understand the need to support mid-career artists to thrive. Artists at all stages of their careers are invited to join the Talent Incubator, and perform at a scratch event on 21 March at Bluecoat. This event will be a continuation of MDI’s successful partnership with the Bluecoat, following two performances created by visual artist Frances Disley as part of LEAP 2019.

The Talent Incubator programme will be delivered in collaboration with leading arts organisations in the city, including FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Bluecoat and Liverpool Everyman, with each partnership exploring different ways for artists to work together. This pilot will see a co-commission with FACT as part of exhibition And Say the Animal Responded? (Friday 20 March – Sunday 24 June 2020).

Liverpool and North West based Dance Artists are invited to join the Talent Incubator. Expressions of interest welcome by Friday 14 February.