Case Study: Collective IDentity, Danielle Teale Dance

Collective IDentity, a national programme from Danielle Teale Dance, was awarded Arts Council England Funding in 2021 to bring expressive, moving and creative dance activity to people with Parkinson’s both online and in person. The project aims to develop meaningful relationships with, and between the dancers who take part around the country, and to reach a wide and diverse range of people in communities that may be isolated. Even without the COVID-19 pandemic, people with Parkinson’s are at risk of becoming isolated due to the nature of their condition. A feature of the project was the development of a relationship with CILIP, to support the national expansion of the work and connect with libraries to provide a new platform through which to connect with people up and down the country who might be harder to reach.

Libraries Week branded graphic with inset circular Collective IDentity logo and Danielle Teal Dance logo over a photo of a person's arms reaching down and guiding another individuals arms as they reach forward away from their head which is facing downwards.

The relationship with libraries across England will come into its own for the Libraries Week 2021 launch of the project’s exhibition Who we are now, and then… This is a specially curated exhibition of visual art, photography and film work sharing the lives and experiences of dancers with Parkinson’s. Our exhibition host for Libraries Week 2021 is Ideas Store, the East London Libraries, Learning and Information Hubs in Bow, Whitechapel and Chrisp Street. On 4th October we will open the exhibition live at Ideas Store Bow – helping us to further embed our work within the East London community. Libraries are an invaluable community space for us to showcase our work to even greater numbers. The ambition for this project was to create a meaningful experience for the dancers online, and for our partnership with libraries across the country to provide an accessible space for us to reach more dancers in person in the later part of the year. Alongside the exhibition, we are delighted to be sharing a workshop and events programme – helping to bring our work to the communities that surround our local partner venues.

We are also thrilled to be designing a fully accessible, digital exhibition for people to enjoy online. The space will be audio description enabled and in this pandemic climate, ensures that anyone with Parkinson’s still shielding or at high risk, can access the work from home. Our libraries partnership will provide a connection to isolated people in their homes. Many London libraries have a support service bridging digital equipment and services to those most isolated, and we have worked with the local libraries to share this information with our dancers to ensure they can access this special immersive offer at home.

We look forward to our Libraries Week opening, and to the continued collaboration with CILIP and libraries across the country for the development of our community engagement and potential for performances and workshops in the future. Huge thanks to CILIP, and in particular to Natalie Jones for supporting the project and brokering the relationships we have established with libraries from Lancashire to Hampshire, Essex to Eastleigh.