In recent days, the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund (BBCF) has received criticism from colleagues in the dance field. This statement is offered as an initial public response and is intended as a statement of commitment to fundamental change.
"The Trustees of the Fund gratefully acknowledge the critical feedback they have received from artists, both in a personal letter and more recently on social media, regarding the recent awards and selection process. The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund (BBCF) wants to work in a transparent and accountable way and we welcome dialogue, questioning and dissent.
We accept that it was a very serious error to have failed to recruit a more representative selection panel and we recognise why we should be called to account on this matter. We unreservedly apologise to those artists who may have either directly or indirectly been adversely impacted by the actions of the Fund.
The Trustees also recognise that it is their actions that have resulted in the discourse focusing on the failings of this year’s awards and selection process and diluted any celebration of the artists that are the recipients of this year’s awards. They deserve to be acknowledged and applauded and the Trustees aim to do everything in their power not to allow this matter to detract from celebrating their artistic achievements.
The Trustees would also like to note our gratitude to the individual and collective efforts of the Advisors and the freelance Fund Manager for their investment in the BBCF; they have been incredibly generous with their time and thinking. They have also been absolutely clear through this initial period of reflection that the Fund needs to listen and act in response to the concerns of artists. The Advisors have also already made a number of recommendations about how Trustees might move forward and have agreed to play a part in the necessary process of reflection, discussion and change.
The Trustees are committed to ensuring inclusive and meaningful debate including a review of the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund's purpose and its funding mechanism. Last year we embarked on a campaign to expand the membership and diversity of the Trustees and Advisory panel, and we will now return to this work with new vigour. We hope that we will also be judged on our track record of supporting a diverse range of artists; the recipients of previous awards can be found here. However, we also need to take time to reflect, as we are now much more aware that we have blind spots; we need to ensure that we consult widely and apply the rigour and scrutiny that meaningful change requires.
We want to thank again all those who have engaged with us on this matter, it has been a valuable ’wake up’ call and we are determined to respond with a thorough commitment to change."
Brendan Keaney (Chair), Anthony Bowne, Fiona Campbell, Tessa Henderson, Maggie Morris, Luca Silvestrini