ROAR Festival 2021 – 25th-31st October 2021 – Oxford’s Inclusive Arts Festival, For Disabled young people – and everyone else is welcome too!
In 2021, the ROAR Arts Partnership have programmed events online and around Oxford over one week. Expect workshops, performances, film screenings, panels, arts career advice, and more!
Roar Festival 2021 – More Infomation
Shadowlight Artists films with new Festival introduction (Sub-titled and BSL) can be found here: roarfestival.org/video-workshops-performances
Direct link to Shadowlight Showcase video on YouTube
ROAR Festival 2021 – The Shadowlight Artists and Film Oxford are proud to be part of the partnership running this Festival. Special thanks to Hannah & Beth and all the other partners.
Download the Shadowlight Artists: LUMINOUS project evaluation report.
Find out how the group overcame the covid-19 pandemic to produce some of their best work and exhibit it online and in two Oxford galleries.
Download and share the free LUMINOUS e-Publication (pdf) from the Shadowlight Artists (professional artists with learning disabilities).
The e-Publication looks at the new LUMINOUS exhibition which is being held online at the group’s Virtual Gallery until at least the end of 2021, and was physically exhibited at Modern Art Oxford and Arts at the Old Fire Station Galleries in December 2020. It also covers how the group overcame the severe obstacles caused by the pandemic to create and exhibit their most ambitious body of new work to date.
It has an introduction and overview by project Creative Advisor Chris Oakley, reviews of the virtual exhibition from disabled writers Leah Jones and Deborah Caulfield, an in-depth article by artist Sonia Boué on working with Richard Hunt and a piece by Dr Ju Gosling on her experiences of running a disability-led festival during the pandemic.
On Sunday 6th December 2020 the Shadowlight Artists did a screening and Q&A at the online Together! 2020 Disability Film Festival hosted by Ju Gosling – recorded below with sign language interpreter.
Danny Smith won the Kat Award for the best dance film at the festival against stiff competition for his film Flashback. They said:
Flashback – We were impressed by the depth of the biographical choreography from this maturing artist as well as by the way in which imagery and film language was able to enhance the choreography. Danny used the practical constraints of Covid-19 to extend rather than restrict his creativity by moving from the studio to the natural outdoors at a time when many people are taking solace in nature, if only virtually.
LUMINOUS Virtual Gallery on the Shadowlight Artists website – you can explore this 3D virtual space to navigate a larger body of new work and 7 new films from the Shadowlight Artists. This Luminous Virtual Gallery is launched in partnership with Together! 2020 Disability History Month Festival Programme
See LUMINOUS in the real world (in two Oxford galleries) opening:
- Arts at the Old Fire Station from 2nd December to 23rd December, Wednesdays – Saturdays 11am – 4.30pm Plus Mon. 21st & Tue. 22nd December. (no booking required)
- Modern Art Oxford 5th December – 23rd December, Tuesdays – Sundays 11am – 4pm (online booking essential).
LUMINOUS interactive 3D walk-throughs of Modern Art Oxford and Arts at the Old Fire Station available on their websites. You can explore both galleries as they look in the real world to see the installed artworks. Additional content and the new films can also be viewed.
The seven new Shadowlight Artists LUMINOUS films on the Shadowlight Artists YouTube channel where you can also view previous work from the last 10 years.
Support the Shadowlight Artists – We are continuing our crowd funding appeal to raise funds for the group for the current exhibition and to support them into next year. No donation too small.
Managed by Film Oxford, LUMINOUS is the latest project by the Shadowlight Artists, a group of seven artists with learning disabilities based in Oxfordshire, supported by Film Oxford and established in 2009.
Commencing in late summer 2019, the LUMINOUS project has come to be defined by the lockdown, which presented significant additional challenges to people with learning disabilities. As it started during the production phase of the project Film Oxford, the Shadowlight Artists and freelance professionals found new innovative ways to work collaboratively at a distance. They liaised with each artist’s family members and their support & care organisations to draw up individual plans, so the group’s production work could continue during the pandemic.
Animations have been created using drawings exchanged by mail; sculptural work has been created collaboratively via Skype; dance for camera has been transposed from the studio to the outdoors and art materials and paintings exchanged by courier.
A large part of the project has become about keeping in touch with the group. The artists are particularly at risk from social isolation as their normal lifestyle and social support is drastically reduced due to covid-19. For many, unable to leave their homes their art becomes a focus to draw comfort and pride from.
Most of work presented in this exhibition does not engage the COVID-19 crisis as a subject in itself, but instead underlies it as a sub-text due to the radically different working methods. The enforced experiment in distanced artistic collaboration has in reality opened up new possibilities for the future activities of the group, offering a pathway towards artists collaborations which are unlimited by geographical separation and also towards greater potential inclusion for disabled artists if given sufficient resources.
The work in this exhibition is diverse in media and subjects. Painting, photography, animation, dance for camera and sculptural installation all feature in the show, covering subjects from a personal relationship with the landscape to bullying. Some of the work looks back on the changing industrial landscape and to historical portraiture. Other work draws on a huge range of emotions from joy to sorrow, and from humour to exasperation. All of the work has in common that it represents an honest response to the day-to-day world from this unique group of artists.
Photo from left: Tom Breach (illustrator and animator), Mark Hemsworth (photographer and filmmaker), Wendy Belcher (filmmaker and performer), Chris Oakley (Creative Advisor), Russell Highsmith (playwright), Danny Smith (performer and painter), Richard Hunt (painter and mixed media artist) and Lucy Skuce (installation artist and filmmaker)
Shadowlight Artists celebrate 10 years
It has been an amazing few years for us. Last year we got our own website, exhibited Rising at Modern Art Oxford and Old Fire Station galleries to fantastic reviews, and Russell Highsmith from the group had sell-out performances of his comedy play Singles Night at the Old Fire Station theatre. You can download the Rising publication and the Rising report from our website.
This year we are celebrating our 10-year anniversary. The Shadowlight Artists were founded in 2009 by local arts and education charity Film Oxford who have supported us ever since. Our group now includes painters, performance and installation artists, animators, photographers and a playwright. We control our own creative development with support from Film Oxford who provide mentoring, technical input and a supportive environment.
Over the last decade we have had critical success in the UK and internationally. Recently our member Danny Smith, who paints and performs, had his dance film Time to Leave screened as part of Agite Y Sirva (Shake & Serve) a professional ‘videodance’ festival in Mexico. The film will also tour in North, Central and South America later in 2019-20 as part of the festival. Richard Hunt, a painter and mixed media artist, has a film screening in three major Brazilian cities (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Brasilia) this autumn as part of Assim Vivemos (Living This Way), an international disability film festival.
The group also have work screening in October in Brighton at Oska Bright, the largest learning disability film festival in the world; Danny Smith’s dance film is being screened, Wallingford-based photographer Mark Hemsworth has a documentary about his work showing, and the festival is also screening a collective film made by us featuring live action and animation, called Undersea Adventure.
We have also recently been awarded funding by the Arts Council of England for a project provisionally called Luminous to create new work over the next 12 months and exhibit it at Modern Art Oxford, the Old Fire Station and other venues in autumn 2020. The Arts Council funding covers 90% of the project’s costs, we are currently seeking additional funding or sponsorship for the remainder of the budget. We have been meeting at Film Oxford over the last few weeks to plan our new individual projects and group work with the project’s Artistic Advisor Chris Oakley, with the production period running from October for 12 months.
We will keep updated with developments in the near future.
The Shadowlight Artists – shadowlightartists.org.uk
Shadowlight Artists: Rising 19 October – 11 November 2018
Film Oxford presented the latest work by The Shadowlight Artists, a group of Oxfordshire-based artists with learning disabilities. This exhibition that ran across two venues, Modern Art Oxford and the Old Fire Station, celebrated the group’s creative growth since their formation in 2009 with an artistically ambitious body of work which re-frames disability arts.
The exhibition featured major new works by the core group alongside two new films produced by the wider Shadowlight Associates group. The work in the show spanned installation, painting, digital media and theatrical production. Works involving digital media were exhibited at Modern Art Oxford, and works in 2D forms at the Old Fire Station.
A publication accompanying the exhibition is available to download here.
The RISING final report is also available to download here
Shadowlight Artists: RISING films have been selected to be shown at Film Festivals around UK and the world.
All 8 Shadowlight Artist films from RISING were shown at the Together! 2018 Disability Film Festival in London on 8th December 2018
Danny Smith’s film “Time to Leave” was selected for “Agite y Sirva – Travelling Festival of Videodance”. The festival is based in Mexico and showed the film in Mexicho City on 4th May 2019 but will tour the film in a number of countries in North, South and Central America in 2019-20.
See Danny’s film – https://youtu.be/sk6AK1AhsQM
Richard Hunt’s film – Richard Hunt and Sonia Boue in Conversation – has been selected for Assim Vivemos – Brazil’s International Disability Film Festival. The festival is a biennial event that takes place in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Brasília, with two full weeks of screenings in each city, always providing all accessibilities: audio-description, sign language in the panels, and subtitles in the films between 16th Sept. and 15th Dec. 2019.
All the Shadowlight Artists films are being shown at Co-production Festival in Oxford on 2nd July 2019.
A retrospective of Shadowlight Artists films, were shown at Supernormal Festival on 2nd August 2019 at Braziers Park, Oxfordshire.
Oska Bright, the worlds biggest learning disability festival which is held in Brighton, has selected 3 of the groups films; Time to Leave by Danny Smith, collecting of memories by Mark Hemsworth and group production “Undersea Adventure”. The festival takes place between 23rd – 26th October 2019
1. Oxford Times 13th Sept 2019
Pre-play writer’s profile of Russell. “For Arts Sake”
2. Oxford Times 11th Oct 2018
Review of Singles Night Play by reviewer Naomi Lanighan
“Specifically aimed at, and welcoming to those with learning disabilities, word had clearly got out as the room was bursting”
“The Storylines highlight the added difficulties people with mental & physical health issues face while dating. It is an inclusive show where all are truly welcome – for that alone it should be applauded”
3. Review of Singles Night posted online by Karima Brookes 21/9/18
“Went to see Singles Night last night. Expected something good and quirky but was absolutely bowled over! It was positively Shakespearean with its mixture of misunderstandings, puns, jokes, slapstick and comings and goings. It also tackled serious issues like epilepsy and young adults (showed you what to do if someone had a seizure); over-possessive, controlling mother; and when house mates really want to become something more.
There was great audience involvement too! High five to the playwright, Russell Highsmith, and all the actors and members of Shadowlight Artists.
I DO hope this tours- it deserves to be much more widely seen!”
4. BBC South News report on Rising Exhibition (shot during installation on 16/10/19) broadcast 24/10/19
b) Web version (same as broadcast)
5. Review of Rising on Disability Arts Online by Deborah Caulfield 21/11/18
“When was the last time you left an art exhibition with your emotional dial reset to happy?”
“Not a single work failed to please this reviewer”
“So of course Hemsworth’s pictures are engaging and enthralling; of course we want to look at each individual image separately; and of course we then draw back to grasp the totality of the composite image, its complexity, and its simplicity. We are awestruck by the vastness of the space – the pictorial space, the wider sky, and outer space as well. It takes an artist to do all this for us.”
“As in his paintings, there is a timeless quality about Rocking the Boat on the Beach, and an ancient spirituality. It emanates tranquillity and calm, speaking to the connectedness of things, a reassurance that all will be well.”
6. Podcast review of Rising on Podbean by Lia Doolan on 10-11-18
7. Live Radio Oxford Radio interview with Danny Smith (1st week of exhibition)