1. During lockdown I developed a digital arts platform; Vital Culture UK. The platform is dedicated to championing BAME and other under-represented/emerging artists in the West Yorkshire region, by showcasing and promoting their work through livestream shows and concerts. We also offer Q&A's with industry experts.
At its inception Vital Culture was ahead of the game in terms of live-streaming arts and culture to audiences. Back in April 2020, people were still getting to grips with Zoom and we had (almost) TV quality weekly shows going out to both known local audiences but, also new international audiences.
Our main goal now is to develop the genre of Film/Theatre/Gaming with audience interactivity. We have seen similar project like Swamp Motel’s Plymouth Point and now Netflix’s ‘Money Heist’ and Amazon’s ‘Panic’ but, the genre is still untapped, still new and still up for being defined by, not only the big corporations, but also by us, the smaller arts companies.
2. Vital Culture UK was developed at a time when all of us lost our entire industry. As a northern, working class Black woman in the arts, I know the hardships of under-representation. Black northerners simply ‘do not exist’. We are here but, we are not seen. I knew, as companies were scrambling to make very tough decisions, we would become further disenfranchised and so Vital Culture UK was a solution to remedy the inevitable. It was developed to be a platform for showcase, for support, for education and for collaboration. Now audiences in Seattle and New England America have seen emerging artists from Bradford West Yorkshire.
3. There still is nothing like Vital Culture UK in the north. In just over 12 months we have had over 40 live shows and featured over 80 local, under-represented artists and have been watched by thousands. Our digital Christmas concert alone streamed to around 1k live viewers and has now been seen on catch-up by around 1k more. Not only were we able to employ creatives in a desperate time of need, we also were able to prove that we have the talent comparable to any major city and that there are ways to make the arts accessible to all, even under the worst circumstances. As we develop our content to be more immersive and develop our digital tools to enable better audience interactivity, we really do have the potential to define a new genre in the arts, a sort of gaming/theatre/film hybrid.
4. All our shows are live-streamed on Twitch and we are working with XR Stories to develop our project ideas further. We are closely linked with many film and TV bodies, some local Music Networks and are developing more gaming links. There are a number of companies we would like to collaborate with including Swamp Motel, Jed Sheppard and Vivid Games, Artificial Next in L.A and many more. We eventually want to develop the platform to be a multi-genre arts channel and a 1 stop shop for entertainment in the north.
5. Vital Culture UK grew very quickly in such a short space of time so it is still currently in the process of developing our Business Plan but we have received funding from a number of bodies who believe in our vision so far including Bradford Metropolitan Council, Bradford Producing Hub, XR Stories, Arts Council England and the Film & TV Charity.
Being a CIC CreaTech One to Watch will help us reach a wider audience and could help us with investors and tech developers. It will enhance our credibility which will reinforce our pitches, future projects and campaigns. It will help develop and improve our brand and create longevity. Finally, as an emerging business, we would benefit greatly from the support package.