Today, we're announcing our Safe to Be Me™ Festival 2021 programme; a digital festival of dance to celebrate diversity, made possible with the support of Aberdeen Standard Investments.
Following the success of its schools programme, Safe to Be Me™ moves online, launching as a digital festival on Monday 10th May. Running throughout the month, it will see the company engage with young people aged 10 – 23 to deliver a series of digital dance sessions, inspirational talks and multi-artform workshops that explore identity, acceptance and respect.
Working directly with schools and community groups across Scotland, with opportunity for international engagement, the festival will present opportunities for young people to engage with the programme’s focused areas of ableism, bigotry, family diversity, homophobia, racism, and transphobia. In line with key Scottish Government targets to address bullying, discrimination, and prejudice in these areas, Safe to Be Me™ has been successfully delivered to over 1,000 young people since 2019.
The festival aims to inspire creative thinking and open up conversation, using movement as a tool to discuss and explore intersectional topic areas, in a programme that includes:
- The world premiere of a new dance film created by Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker Fx Goby, exploring themes of pride and shame through movement and dance.
- A global callout inviting young people aged between 12 – 23 years old to create 1-minute dance films, set to new music by young composers linked to Intercultural Youth Scotland, responding to the festival’s themes of acceptance, identity, and respect.
- A collaboration between the dancers of Scottish Ballet Youth Exchange and composers of Intercultural Youth Scotland Block Beats to create 3-minute dance films during the festival.
- A series of inspirational talks from Scottish Ballet dancers and industry role models, sharing their experiences of training, working in professional dance, and other areas of the sector; discussing creativity, motivation, and overcoming challenges.
- Creative workshops that introduce young people to new solo dance works, performed by Scottish Ballet’s dance artists, that invite discussion about family diversity.
- Dance and literary workshops that explore gender identity by inviting participants to express themselves through ‘dance at desk’ sessions, before guiding young people in creating poetry in response to Selkie / Secret Me by Rachel Plummer.
Scottish Ballet’s Safe to Be Me™ project launched in 2019 and, it has since, engaged with over 1000 young people to help empower and support them in feeling safe and confident in who they are.
This has been achieved through the delivery of 54 dance workshops, to 37 schools across Scotland, with one young person noting that they ‘learnt that you can be whoever you want to be, and it is okay to be who you are.’
Initially, the project engaged with Primary 6 pupils, aged 9 – 11 but as the project moves online, the digital festival aims to widen accessibility and engagement through its broad programme of events this year.
Safe to Be Me™ has been proudly supported by Aberdeen Standard Investments since 2019. The programme aligns with the company’s core value of encouraging diversity, and their corporate vision to work towards a culture of inclusion where everyone is able to be fully themselves at work.
This year’s Safe to Be Me™ Festival has been programmed in consultation with Conyach, Edinburgh International Festival, Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS), LGBT Youth Scotland and Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity.