LIFT Seekers Programme

12 May 06 - 12 May 08

Under the new directorship of Angharad Wynne-Jones, Lift’s new concept of the Lift New Parliament will be a performance space where artists from around the world and the people of UK can gather together to share stories, exchange knowledge and imagine and rehearse new futures. It will be a portable and transportable structure with a programme of events and activities curated by an international team of artists and producers who will be engaging with local communities on the issues that matter to us all in the 21st century. Lift is recruiting a team of international curators, or Seekers, who will be central to the development of the Lift New Parliament contributing to its design, protocols and programme. In collaboration with Lift, they will also select, and where practical, produce work for Lift across all their activities. As artists, programmers, cultural researchers, producers, scientists and activists based in the UK and internationally, each Seeker will have an in-depth knowledge of the cultural activity of their region, with specific insight into performance-oriented work. After each biennial festival, the Seekers will be invited to host the Lift New Parliament on their home ground as the next festival cycle begins. Angharad Wynne-Jones travelled to Beijing in search of a Chinese participant in the Seekers programme, saw Wen Hui’s work at The Living Dance Studio and invited her to be part of the team. Inspired by the independence of the visual art movement in China, Wen Hui founded the studio in 1994, aiming to achieve the same kind of freedom from the state in performing arts. The studio’s core team of three dancers, one film maker and one writer produce work that tackles contemporary social themes relevant both to China and internationally. This has resulted in commissions from Europe and the US and the production and presentation of their work across the globe, including the In Transit project at the House of World Cultures Wen Hui has recently been in London for the first gathering of the Lift seekers. The experience has inspired her and she feels lucky to be part of what she describes as a “revolutionary idea”. The visit has given Wen Hui a chance to meet and have discussions with her international colleagues in both formal and informal environments. The stimulus from this, as well as seeing several performances by the UK based Seekers, is evident in the way Wen Hui enthusiastically talks about future plans for her involvement in the project. She is clear that she would like to create something completely new and innovative for Lift that involves independent artists from China. As well as being involved in the Lift programme itself, it is the beginning of a long term relationship between Visiting Arts and Wen Hui to create opportunities for independent Chinese artists working in the UK and in collaboration with UK artists. The partnership will connect with the 150 alumni from Visiting Arts professional development programmes for Chinese Arts Managers and be a cornerstone in Visiting Arts delivery of the legacy from Arts Council England and British Council’s Artist Links programme in China. Wen Hui and the Seekers team will meet again in London in March 2007.

participating artists: