Vanessa is co-founder of the Midlands Dance Producing Collective working alongside producers Mark Mallabone and Amy Dalton Hardy. The Collective commissioned Earthen Lamp in Summer 2021 to conduct a study, funded by Arts Council England, in response to the ongoing risk to freelance practice, careers & livelihoods, and the wider risk this poses to both the diversity and sustainability (entry points) of the entire dance ecosystem. At a particularly challenging time for freelancers, with the pandemic proving challenging for most people across the arts sector, particularly freelancers, we’ve seen the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic threaten to expose vulnerabilities within the ecosystem & reduce diversity across the workforce.
The Midlands Dance Producing Collective was born out of that climate. We came together as a group of experienced senior leaders to repurpose the time we suddenly had and proactively help support the region’s workforce. United by this passion, we quickly established a collective ambition to further strengthen the region’s dance ecology. Aiming to reactivate the independent sector after the disruption and support to ‘build back better’, this project is the first step on that ambitious journey. With consultative support from Michael Hoar & the University of Lincoln, we have consulted with freelancers across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire & Nottinghamshire; robustly capturing the challenges & barriers currently faced by the freelance dance workforce in the East Midlands.