Interview: Kate Scanlan, The FI.ELD Facilitator

Thursday 20 December 2012 by Hannah Dye

East London Dance is on the search for the Future Innovators of Dance. They want to hear from16-25 year olds who have a passion and interest in dance outside the studio and off stage. 15 Innovators will be selected early next year and they will get to drive the programme and structure it the way they want to. Participants will produce events, hear from industry leaders, see shows, get advice and support and learn together for several months.

We caught up with Kate Scanlan, The FI.ELD Facilitator to find out more about this exciting project….

Kate, why is The FI.ELD unique?
The fact that no one knows what the outcome will be! I know the outcome will be amazing because we will get this group of young people that are all hungry to do something. But how they respond to what I have planned will then shape the rest of the programme which is really exciting for me. This ambition – for it to be young person lead and devised… for me it doesn’t happen enough and I think that’s a really fresh approach.

What do the group get?
So there is one core session a month that everyone attends together and the focus on that session will be very different each time. There might be a session specifically about managing an event, pitching an idea, fundraising or project management. The speakers who come to speak to them will be brilliant!

On top of that there will be intensive opportunities some participants might want to grab hold of – there will be one on teaching for example. We will go to see shows at different venues and we will visit other organisations to see how they are run. It’s important to see all sorts of venues which work in different ways.

Every Tuesday there will be a studio at ELD for them to programme….

What do you hope to see them programme in the studio?!
Something interesting and not boring! Something that shows they are being imaginative and creative. It could be an opportunity for some of their own companies, or it might be a chance to share what they are learning so they might invite someone to give a talk and open it up to the general public. I want to be surprised by what they do in there… It is an amazing resource – to have a free studio for 3 hours in the evening every week. I hope it brings their business sense out and their community sense into play. It’s exciting.

What do you hope they will have gained by the end of the programme?
I would really hope they walk away with massively improved confidence – confidence in their ideas and knowledge that there is a place for their ideas. Now sometimes our ideas are amazing but they are too big for the time we are in our career. That has happened to me many times! I hope they will have a sense of what ideas they are ready to do now and maybe the ideas they want to do in partnership. I hope they will understand the language and the way to approach making these ideas a reality. And they know they can ask for help – I still ask for help now.

Why should they apply?
You are going to get so much investment as an individual. There is a core group programme but there is an individual programme too. You will gain fantastic contacts – everyone needs a network of great contacts. You are going to be challenged, you will learn new skills… You will be given so many skills. I think my question is why wouldn’t you apply?! I would expect anyone with any ambition in the dance sector to be applying. If you want to be a writer, work at Sadler’s Wells, develop a new dance app for iphone, produce shows/ festivals…whatever it is, this will give such a massive head start.

So who can apply?
You need to be 16-25 years old but essentially, you need to be interested in dance. Your track record might not be full of dance but that’s ok… you just have to have ambition. You have to be interested in more than turning up at a rehearsal or a class. This project will demand more than that. You need to be creative, have an opinion, entrepreneurial, open to new things, up for a challenge and want to meet like minded people.

And how can they apply?
It’s really easy….go onto the East London Dance website and download a simple form.. I think there are 5 questions on it. If you don’t like writing you can do most questions by video and answer verbally. Really tell us about your achievements, if you have an idea – tell us about it. Give us a sense of who you are, what your ambitions are and what it is about dance that makes you tick. If you have any questions you can call the office, email or just go in. If you don’t have the resources to apply, we will help you.

To apply visit or contact Emma Kerr for more information on 020 8279 1052 or email Deadline for applications is Monday 7 Jan, 5pm.

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