This September, Shape History launched the second iteration of the History Shaper Fund. We received applications from across the UK, and the standard throughout has truly blown us away. But, after some intense deliberation… we’ve shortlisted three outstanding candidates.
Our three finalists are Katie Jones, Beck Dunn, and Clare Baines. The winner will receive £10,000, 6 months of mentoring from our team, and full use of our office space. Read about their projects in more detail below…
FINALIST | KATIE JONES, 22 | UNIVERSAL SYMBOL FOR DISABILITY
Katie Jones is on a mission to bring a symbol of wider representation and inclusion to disabled people. Katie has designed a “Universal Symbol of Disability” to which she hopes will turn the wheelchair symbol we all know into an inclusive and empowering symbol, representing people with additional needs.
Around 24% of the UK population is disabled and access needs across the spectrum are not being met adequately. As the wheelchair symbol only advocates for the access and support needs of 5% of the UK disability population, it doesn’t effectively support those with additional needs.
In a bid to combat preexisting judgements and assumptions around disability needs, Katie’s campaign aims to appeal to the universal language of any person, speaking any language, anywhere in the world – symbols. Her goal is simple, encouraging use of a new symbol that will open up the conversations on disability in a more inclusive space, advocating for all people with additional needs.
FINALIST | BECK DUNN, 25 | THE DIRTY WATERCOLOUR EXHIBITION
Beck Dunn is on a mission to clean up the UK’s water. Canals and Rivers in the UK have been the muse of many great artists, but now they’re being destroyed by Water Companies through illegal dumping. Beck’s project, the ‘Dirty Watercolour Exhibition’ aims to use this polluted water to create a series of watercolour paintings that over time reveal what’s inside our waterways.
The dirty watercolours will react with an agar jelly canvas to grow the bacteria found inside, revealing the grotesque reality of our pollution levels. The aim is to add fuel to the public debate and amplify pressure on water companies and MPs who enable sewage to be dumped.
The project centres around an exhibition and a series of social, print and out of home campaigns where messaging and art will hammer home the message and spur audiences to reach out the MPs and water companies.
FINALIST | CLARE BAINES, 24 | CRIP CLUB
Clare Baines (she/her) is a blind creative. Unable to recognise her own experience reflected in culture, she uses storytelling to create community and belonging for disabled people. Through comedy and joy, she challenges society’s perception of disability, queerness, and all the joyful intersections in between.
Clare wants to create “Crip club”, an in person community & an accessible podcast which uses film discussion as a way to tackle ableism behind the camera, on screen and in cinemas. The project will give the disabled community its own brave space to discuss, to share and fundamentally to connect. For too long, the disabled experience has been decided by non disabled people within film. This cannot continue. Clare hopes to change perceptions of disability. No more pity parties, but to give a voice to the community that she knows and loves, which is joyous.
She also aims to dissect the history of cripping up, accessible exhibition and celebrate disabled filmmakers. For those unfamiliar, “cripping up” is a term referring to an able-bodied actor “dressing up” and playing the role of a disabled character.
Clare’s project intends to create this as a fully accessible podcast, pioneering on the podcast format, including BSL Interpretation and audio description. She views at it the first step to kickstarting a movement.
MEET THE JUDGING PANEL
This year’s judging panel (from left to right) – Lewis Parker and Zoe Dawson (Shape History), Lamesha Ruddock (first winner of History Shaper Fund), Imali Hettiarachchi (Global Brand Strategist at Lego), Claire Cheung (Head of Creative at Penguin UK), and Antoinette Orr (Shape History).