Awkward Bastards - ABsence

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Awkward Bastards: ABsence took place on 22-23rd March at mac birmingham.

If you missed the event, recordings of the talks and performances will be available to view on YouTube shortly.

Follow us on Twitter or facebook for announcements. You can also find a round-up of reactions to the event on social media here.

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22 and 23 March 2017 at mac birmingham.

Workshops, keynote speeches, panel debates, open mic - with internationally renowned artists and academics, focussing on underrepresentation, exclusion and invisibility.

Co produced by DASH, mac birmingham and LADA.

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DASH's Awkward Bastards symposium in March 2015 was one of the first to engage with the spectrum of diversity from disability, ethnicity, sexuality, to gender and class. The Awkward Bastards return with ABsence in 2017 to consider the ways in which diverse artists and practices have been, are, or could be framed, and our collective responsibilities to our pasts and our futures.

Contributors to the 2017 symposium include:

Frances Morris (Tate Modern), Tony Heaton (Shape), Mohammed Ali (artist), Rachel Anderson (Idle Women), Julie McNamara (Vital Xposure), Daniel Oliver (artist), Jamila Johnson Small (artist/organiser), Simon Casson (Duckie), Katharine Araniello & Aaron Williamson (Disabled Avant Garde), Sue Austin (artist), Melanie Keen (Iniva), Nick Llewellyn & Cian Binchy (Access All Areas), David A Bailey (International Curators Forum), Aaron Wright (Fierce Festival), sean burn (artist), Tanya Raabe-Webber (artist), Helga Henry (Birmingham Hippodrome), Sarah Watson & Rory Baird (Creative Minds), Rachel Gadsden (artist), Charlotte Gregory (Vamos), Lara Ratnaraja (consultant) and Caroline Parker (actor).

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22 March 2017 - 10:00am until 4:00pm

The Awkward Bastards at Work:

Day-long creative workshops led by four diverse artists.

Rachel Gadsden:

Rachel is a British artist who is exhibited internationally and who works across the mainstream and Disability Art sectors. Come prepared let go and create extraordinary expressionistic emotional physical artworks.

Sue Austin:

Sue is an internationally acclaimed multimedia, performance and installation artist. Sue will give a hands on introduction to 360 degree immersive technology - smart device/phone essential.

Mohammed Ali:

Mohammed is an artist, educator and curator. He will guide participants in how to deliver public art projects that connect with the public in a meaningful way. 

Rachael Savage:

Rachael is the Artistic Director of Vamos Theatre, the UK's leading full mask theatre company. The Full Mask genre is accessible and equalising due to its lack of spoken language, connecting with audiences and participants on an emotional, human level. This fun, relaxed, highly participatory workshop will be carefully structured to nurture confidence in everyone taking part and is based around current touring production 'The Best Thing'.

Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances we regret that Gemma Marmalade will no longer be delivering a workshop as advertised.

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23 March 2017 - 10:15am until 6:00pm

The Return of the Awkward Bastards , A Symposium.

Panel One - Framing Diversity:

A panel considering different contexts for the representation of underrepresented artists and practices. Do institutional frameworks for diverse practice perpetuate marginalisation and 'difference', in terms of artists, practices and audiences, or the opposite? What should institutional frameworks look like? What kind of freedoms, permissions and agency do artist-led or grassroots contexts offer that the institution cannot? 

Keynote by Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern.

Panel Two - Pasts and Futures:

A panel considering responsibilities to our pasts and our futures. How do we ensure that underrepresented artists and practices are represented in cultural histories? How do we rewrite and reclaim histories? How do we equally invest in the future? How do we support future generations of makers and cultural leaders in meaningful and instrumental ways?

Keynote by David A Bailey of the International Curators Forum.

Live portrait painting by Tanya Raabe-Webber -

Radical Practices

Radical short provocations by thirteen artists, activists and academics addressing a range of burning issues across the spectrum of diversity.

Vera Boysova - Objectify Me

Alex Leggett – Posthuman Autistic does some shit things and fails horribly

Catherine Hoffmann - Stenchwench Presents Ten Tips On Being Feckless And Poor Whilst Pretending Not To Be

Jane Thakoordin & Riffat Bashir – Tretchikoff's Women by the Black and Blue collective

Rosamaria Kostic Cisneros - Gypsies/Roma: Onstage Revered...Offstage A Big Issue

Lewis Devey - Kaepernick My Kaepernick: Provocation of privilege and the perils of protest in the white man's world

Sexcentenary - I Just Said That

Nicholas Tee - This Chink Is Going Gold

Faye Claridge – Moor-ish

Rinkoo Barpaga – Limited Language, Limited World

Priya Mistry - Inviting Discomfort - Broken & Tropical

Ben Spatz – Behold how good

Olivia Sparrow - Your Booking Is Cancelled

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Ticket prices:

Workshops £30 salaried and £20 non salaried and concessions
Symposium £60 salaried and £30 non salaried and concessions
Dual £80 salaried and £40 non salaried and concessions

For bursary places contact DASH – 

For tickets please visit or call 0121 446 3232 

All events take place at mac birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, B12 9QH.

ABsence is a collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency, London and mac birmingham.

Download the ABsence Symposium leaflet, below!