The first in-person activity for the British Academy Innovation Fellowship was a Knowledge Cafe, held on 13th July at Pervasive Media Studios in Bristol. 21 artists attended, with representation from Equity, One Dance UK, University of Warwick and Coventry University.

Professor Dave O’Brien and Dr Roaa Ali set the day up brilliantly with provocations from their latest research around the constitution of the creative industries. They shared statistics with us that foregrounded issues around equality, diversity and access to culture. We also watched an excellent film by colleagues from the Dance After Lockdown project: Click Here

The 21 artists were generous, ambitious and fired up in their thinking. The Knowledge Cafe was set up as four tables that people could carousel round discussing at each; working practices and working conditions, training and education, impact of policies and communication and infrastructure.

Knowledge Cafes, as described by the Global Exchange Facility ( in their 2017 document, are ‘facilitator-led conversations’ that surface collective knowledge, share ideas and encourage collaborative dialogue in a relaxed environment. This Knowledge Café collected insight from the group and built networks through discussion and exchange of ideas.

These ideas were beautifully captured by illustrator Camille Aubry and here is an example of one:

The outcome of the day­ is that I will now be working with self-identified artists in a Working Group to brainstorm and think deeply about current issues of freelancing in the dance sector. Our first meeting is on the 6th September in Birmingham so watch this space!