PUSH image of dancers

ON THE BLOG: Fiona Ferguson on the PUSH project

PUSH is an artist development project exploring three topics relevant to theatre and dance for young audiences: gender and sexual identity; (over)protection; and migration. It received €168,655 for a two-year, small Cooperation Project led by Imaginate (Scotland) in partnership with CCHA (Belgium), The Ark (Ireland), Scenekunstbruket (Norway) and Åbendans (Denmark). We caught up with Fiona Ferguson from lead parter Imaginate.

How was it getting and working with partners?

"I realise now how lucky we are at Imaginate as we work on a European and international basis, so we had no difficulties in finding the right partners." 

"It is complicated to build a project with almost no face-to-face meetings, but we are five partners who are really passionate about the same things – to develop ideas and artists in performance for children and young people – so that made things a lot easier."

What do you think made your application successful?  

"I think there are two things that made the difference with our applications." 

"I think our mutual respect for each other and our organisations was very clear to the assessors."

"Firstly, the strength of our partnership with three out of five of us having worked together previously on a small Cooperation Project. I think our mutual respect for each other and our organisations was very clear to the assessors." 

"Secondly, I think we selected three topics to explore that are very relevant across Europe right now."  

What impact has Creative Europe support made on your project?

"Creative Europe has had a massive impact as the project couldn’t take place without this funding and I don’t feel PUSH would be anywhere near so interesting if we weren’t working with European partners."  

"The funding is allowing us to create a European-wide network for artists and organisations who share our interest in these topics.  For the artists who take part, it’s invaluable to have international opportunities that contact them to each other and to organisations who programme work for young people."

Has anything surprised you so far?

"We’ve been delighted, and pleasantly surprised, at the interest in the three topics. The partners have been invited to talk about PUSH at festivals in Canada, USA and China in addition to places in Europe." 

"It’s reassuring to see that people are looking at who isn’t represented, and whose stories aren’t being told, in work for young people."

How did you find the process of working with Creative Europe Desk UK?

"It was fantastic. Kate Deans was such a vital source of information and moral support throughout the application process. It can feel quite lonely working long hours on the application with a lot of terminology and types of documents to learn about, so it’s extremely useful to have the Desk to help with that."

"I don’t feel PUSH would be anywhere near so interesting if we weren’t working with European partners."  

"Now we have the funding, we continue to receive support from Kate and the Creative Europe Desk UK team. It helps connect us in to the wider programme of funded projects and to promote what we are doing to a European audience."

What advice would you give to potential applicants of Creative Europe?

"The most useful piece of advice is to really think about the partners you work with especially around values and where your passions lie." 

"If you don’t know them well, it’s absolutely crucial that you find resources for face to face meetings so you get to know the individuals you would be running the project with." 

"People, and how well or not they work together as individuals and as organisations, are so important for a successful project especially when you are all based in different countries. Go for it!"