Meet the 9 artists supported by the 2024 Explore fund


Explore fund cohort

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of our 2024 Explore Fund, a new programme aimed at supporting Bradford artists to delve into new areas of their creative practice.

Our Explore Fund provided 8 grants of £3,000 and the opportunity for artists to explore new ideas, processes, and collaborations. The artists include Aekam Kaur, Catherine Fortey, Chris CambellIvan Mack, James Mounsey and Tessa Lightowler, Marina Poppa, Vince Virr and Zoe Katsilerou

This opportunity has been made possible thanks to our partnership with Bradford 2025 and backed by wraparound support from Bradford Producing Hub. It will culminate with a sharing event in July 2024 for the artists to showcase their explorations, present work in progress and offer a glimpse into their creative development. 

Meet the 9 artists supported by the 2024 Explore fund

Aekam Kaur

With a background in theatre-making, Aekam seeks to expand her artistic practice by exploring the realm of dance. Through her project, 'Seasons of Change', Aekam will test various dance forms and incorporate elements of creative writing and filmmaking to delve into themes of self-expression and personal growth.

“I’m excited to test my mind and body by seeing how much I can develop skills and confidence in dance. I’m curious to work together with dancers to explore creativity and storytelling through movement.”

Catherine Fortey

Illustrator Catherine Fortey plans to integrate RISO printing into her practice, experimenting with unique prints and zines that amplify the voices of underrepresented communities. Through her exploration of this medium, Catherine hopes to forge connections within the Bradford creative community and enhance her artistic development.

“I’m thrilled about diving into the physicality of RISO printing, surrounded by fellow creatives in a studio setting. The prospect of learning, refining techniques, and having the freedom, time, space, and financial support to experiment has me itching to get started.”

Chris Cambell

Chris plans to fuse photography and poetry to create a new form of visual storytelling that captures the experiences of Bradford's LGBTQIA+ community. Through his project, Chris aims to challenge societal perceptions and offer a nuanced portrayal of queer identities.

“I want to explore how poetry and photography can work together to tell the stories of queer people in and around Bradford. How do the two forms construct a three-dimensional portrait of a person? What do the differences in the portrayals these mediums offer tell us about how we as queer people view ourselves and how we are viewed by society? There are lots of people who see us but never really see *us* – I’d love to explore how we can change that and, hopefully, learn more about ourselves through the process!”

Ivan Mack

Using hundreds of vapes, dozens of ‘shift registers’, a few hundred meters of cable, a pool of water and 50-year-old logic, Ivan Mack, will explore the building of an installation that tells interwoven stories about things like the sixth mass extinction, the sublimation of organic life into digital forms, our sketchy hold on reality, and ghosts of the industrial landscape of the North.

‘I’m interested in art that can speak to those of us who don’t process art experiences through academic discourse, and as a neurodiverse artist, I want to make work that can be accessed in a purely sensory way.”

James Mounsey and Tessa Lightowler

Collaborating on a project titled 'Saucy Syndrome,' James and Tessa aim to challenge societal taboos surrounding disability and romance through dance and physical theatre. Their new approach seeks to promote inclusivity and spark meaningful conversations about love and acceptance. As a queer person, James relates to some of the taboos around his relationship that Tessa as a person with disabilities faces.

“Through Physical Theatre, Contemporary Dance, and speech we will start exploring how to work together to explore these topics and how we may begin to physicalise them to show the good the bad and the pressing reality of disabled and queer people in love.”

Marina Poppa

Through the exploration of the art of drag, Marina will develop a new persona inspired by ABBA’s Benny and Frida, infusing their performances with glittering gender-queer aesthetics and comedic flair. Think red hair, platform boots, satin hot pants and a glittery beard! This is Marina as you have (probably) never seen them before.

"There are so few Drag Kings and/or Drag Things in mainstream culture - I'd like to use this opportunity to explore gender as a Drag Thing - I aim to make accessible work which leaves people feeling entertained and affirmed."

Vince Virr

Vince is working with a local live musician to understand the impact of wearing a harness in the air while playing/singing live, and exploring how music and movement creation respond to one another in the vertical realm. Vince plans to incorporate live musicians into his future vertical dance work to add a new realm of performance, further enhancing the already inherent spectacle of vertical dance.

"This collaborative exploration will kick start my knowledge of the vertical possibilities of a live musician in a harness in the air with a dancer, and how we can inspire each other in the air on a local landmark!"

Zoe Katsilerou

Collaborating with theatre-maker Hannah Butterfield, Zoe will explore the invisible aspects of motherhood through choreography, choral singing, and autobiographical text. Their project, ‘Invisible Acts of Care,’ aims to shed light on the often overlooked moments of care experienced by mothers.

“We rock, we lift, we hold, we lie under, we carry. We stumble, we drop, we ache, we are numb. We love, we care, we caress, we kiss, we hug. Invisible Acts of Care is a physical and vocal exploration of personal, almost invisible moments of our motherhood.”

“With this new work, we aim to focus on the embodied actions of care which are seemingly more universal and ancestral. We make this work to fill the gaps of what we don’t have the words to speak, and are exploring the moments of shared understanding between people who have significant roles of ‘care’. This time will enable us to identify choreographic and vocal material that truly reflects how we felt when becoming mothers, and will address universal questions of invisibility, labour and care within motherhood.”

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