After discovering on Friday that we are one of the organisations in Bristol and the South West not to have been selected to be part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio, the weekend has been a time for reflection.
As for so many across the industry, it has been a time of mixed emotions. On one hand we have looked back over the last twenty years of development, growth and success, extremely proud of how far we have come and the many, many lives we have touched. Alongside that are the inevitable feelings of disappointment, sadness and fear of loss. Including the potential loss of future opportunities to create and hold truly inspiring spaces, interactions and discussions that reach deep into the hearts and souls of so many people – providing invaluable connection and light during these difficult times.
We recognise and congratulate all those who form part of the NPO portfolio for 2023-26. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy ten years of NPO funding, and we hope you do too. We never took this for granted and feel blessed and proud to have received it. This investment has helped us innovate, lead, support, inspire and develop important and beautiful creations and moments.
At the same time we want to reach out to all those who share our disappointment in this funding round and to offer support and solidarity during the unsettling weeks and months ahead.
Some of our peers have already spoken about how aware they are of the potential for negative sentiment in public funding for the arts at a time when so many people are struggling. But life without art is drudgery. And lockdown illustrated so clearly how important human connection, dance, song and spontaneity are to every single person. Especially those most isolated every day.
As we start to look to the future with our new specs on, the first thing we want to say is how grateful we are to all those incredible artists, audiences, performers, creators, collaborators, thinkers and makers we’ve worked with so far.
Thank you to everyone who has joined us online, in the city, the woods, in caves and on bridges; we celebrate every person we touched, annoyed, delighted, disrupted, discombobulated, charmed or compelled. Thank you for coming to our festivals and joining in our weird, wild and wonderful programmes so far.
IBT’s next chapter is already in development; founded on our unwavering belief in the power of live art to transform lives, and the inexplicable magic that happens when an inspirational artist meets a crowd of people, no matter where and how that happens. We have several projects already in progress and next year’s programme is starting to take shape; which we look forward to sharing soon.
In these times of climate crisis, we are fully aware that every step we make in renewing ourselves needs to be reflected in a simultaneous reparation and renewal of our external environment. In this knowledge we move steadily forward, with hope, determination and focus. We are all in this together, and we look forward to connecting more widely and deeply than ever before.
They say necessity is the mother of invention; and innovation is without doubt a necessity of this mother!