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Sky Arts Launches Art 50

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Sky Arts has announced the launch of Art 50, to explore what it means to be British in a post-Brexit Britain, following the triggering of Article 50 on Wednesday, 29 March.

The project, which will commission 50 artworks that will explore what it means to be British in a post-Brexit Britain, is looking for artists, individuals or groups from different walks of life to respond to the question of what it will mean to be British outside of the European Union.

Applications are now open and the scheme is looking for ideas across all disciplines including the visual arts, theatre, music, dance, spoken word and more.

The project will reflect the diversity of opinion surrounding Brexit, including those who voted to remain and those who voted to leave the EU, and will feature voices from across the UK from both rural and urban communities.

Art 50 is a partnership between Sky Arts, the Barbican, Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Storyvault Films. It will be funded by £1 million from the Sky Arts Amplify fund, which was set up to encourage arts organisations and production companies to collaborate on new ideas.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: "Brexit inspires passions on both sides of the debate, not least around the idea of cultural identity. We wanted to take that question of what it means to be British as a starting point for a diverse range of voices to respond to over the next two years as we prepare to leave the EU. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Barbican, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC for what promises to be quite the ride."

Louise Jeffreys, Director of Arts, the Barbican, added: "At this moment of huge national change, the arts are uniquely placed to help explore and articulate the hopes, fears and aspirations of the people of our nation. We look forward to working with Sky Arts, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC to commission work that represents the widest possible range of voices on our country's past, present and future."

Sarah Munro, Director, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, commented: "At a time of great debate and renewed thinking about what it means to be British, the arts provide us with a unique platform to both reflect on who we are and more importantly who we want to be; to imagine what kind of world we want to create for future generations to flourish. Art 50 provides a distinctive, ambitious space to creatively explore the soul of our nation and articulate our hopes and dreams through a dynamic creative lens. BALTIC are delighted to be working with all our partners on this project."

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead, said: "We live at a time in which our identity is a matter for public and private debate and this is so deeply woven into our cultural lives and how we perceive and project ourselves. Art 50 promises to bring together 50 brand new works around this theme. We are looking forward to being part of this Sky Arts project with the Barbican and our neighbour BALTIC as this collection emerges at such a pivotal point in our history."

Danielle Graham, Executive Producer at Storyvault Films, also said: "Storyvault Films is delighted to be working with Sky Arts and partners the Barbican, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC on such an inspiring arts initiative."

The project will take place over two years, from the triggering of Article 50 through to the time when Britain leaves the EU, and will culminate in a number of TV programmes, exploring the artworks commissioned and the ideas behind them.

Sky Arts has already invited 45 representatives of different arts groups to submit proposals, and applications are now open for the first round of commissions to everyone through the Art 50 website.

Ideas will be judged by a panel including representatives from Sky Arts, the Barbican, Sage Gateshead, BALTIC and leading figures from the art world.

Sky Arts intends that some of the commissioned projects will emerge within the two-year "exit" period between the triggering of Article 50 and final departure of the EU. As a culmination of the project, a festival that reflects and contains some of the work that has been commissioned is planned to take place simultaneously at the Barbican, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC in February 2019.
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