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Double success for South West artist Jo Bannon

  • Date: 3 April 2014
  • Area: South West

Credit: Manuel Vason

Bristol artist Jo Bannon is celebrating this week after receiving funding of £24,950 through the Unlimited programme and being awarded £4,085 from Arts Council England's Artists' International Development Fund.

Jo is a performance artist, whose work explores how our physical bodies experience the world around us. In 2011 she created Exposure, an intimate one-to-one performance that investigates how we look, how we are looked at and if we can ever really be seen.  It is a tender and tentative look into autobiography as Jo's study of how fully we can truly reveal ourselves is informed by her own albinism, a condition which affects Jo's pigmentation and sight. 

The major Unlimited award will support further touring of the work and the creation of three new short films to accompany it, made in collaboration with visually impaired artists, researchers and activists.

Jo said: '"I am thrilled to present Exposure as part of such an inspiring line up of artists and congratulate Unlimited on selecting such a wide range of work across art forms and genres.  Exposure is a quiet work with a lot to say, performed for one audience member at a time I am delighted to be able to share the work with a wider audience at The Southbank Centre and beyond."

Jo's award is one of 26 announced by Unlimited to support deaf and disabled artists throughout the UK create ambitious work across all artforms.  Funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Creative Scotland and led by Artsadmin and Shape, the £400,000 2014 programme aims to build on the successful legacy that was at the heart of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  Artists then were offered an opportunity to develop work that challenged the public perception of disability, and that inspired collaborations with new partners.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'The Arts Council is proud to support a programme that facilitates such varied, collaborative and pioneering work and also encourages new partnerships to support the distribution of that great work.  In the South West we are delighted that Exposure has been selected as one of the nine major new works to be supported and that audiences here and abroad will get the chance to experience Jo's extraordinary work.'

Jo is also one of nine artists from the South West included in the latest round of awards announced by Arts Council England from the Artists' International Development Fund.

Jointly funded by the British Council and Arts Council England. the programme is a £750,000 fund that offers early stage development opportunities for individual freelance and self employed artists based in England to spend time building links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in another country. 

Successful applicants from the latest round cover a wider range of art forms and countries than before with countries such as Finland, Kosovo and China represented.

Nationally there were 215 eligible entries, of which almost a quarter (24%) were successful. 

The successful projects in the South West include exchanging techniques to create and explore theatre which is accessible for both Deaf and Hearing audiences in USA; a research and development trip to Finland during the winter months to create a new moving image piece exploring the theme of Darkness; and a six-day joint literary project with the Club of Kosova's Writers, translating work from English to Albanian (and vice versa) and initiating a collaborative bilingual publishing project.

Jo will be using her award to spend three weeks in Belgium creating new work with mentoring support from arts centre CAMPO and artist Ivana Muller as well as building new collaborative relationships with programmers, organisations and artists in the region.

Full details of all the successful applicants can be found here.


The next deadline for applications to the Artists' international development  programme is 5pm Friday 9 May 2014. The deadline for Round 8 will be 5pm on 16 January 2015.  Please download the guidance (word / pdf) for more detail on how to apply.