Disability charity Sense Arts announces disabled-led arts festival The Sensibility Festival will take place in Birmingham from 18 to 20 May 2018, and will feature a variety of sensory experiences, artist performances, workshops and art installations at Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), and at TouchBase Pears.

There will also be a ‘sensory labyrinth’ – a large-scale interactive arts installation designed to be touched, eaten, smelt, moved and felt. Throughout the event there will be interpreters from Deafblind and BSL, plus captioning and audio descriptions.

MAC and Sense Arts have also developed the Sensibility Collective with local artists, which will develop an accessible and multisensory arts practice informed by people with sensory impairments. The programme is co-directed by Graeae Theatre Company and Stephanie Singer (BitterSuite). Artists Justin Wiggan, Saranjit Birdi, Lyn Cox and Becca Thomas (InterAction), have created new work with 60 collaborators with sensory impairments.

Sonia Boyce speaks out about Hylas and the Nymphs controversy In an interview with The Guardian’s Charlotte Higgins, the artist responsible for the temporary removal of John William Waterhouse’s 1896 painting from Manchester Art Gallery during a performance event in January, says the response by many on social media and in the press displayed “a level of anger and vitriol that was really unhealthy”.

She says that her first instinct when the controversy over the painting’s removal – which was always intended to be temporary and as a way to provoke discussion about how museums make curatorial decisions – was to  “go and hide – and not because I felt remorseful”. She adds: “The desire to bash women in the public space was strongly felt.”

A Sonia Boyce retrospective, which will include a new film installation, Six Acts, featuring footage from the January performance, opens at Manchester Art Gallery on 23 March.

Arts organisations urged to create ‘culture of digital experimentation’ Charity Nesta has recommended arts organisations should create a culture of experimentation, characterised by ‘small-scale testing and structured digital experiments’. Commissioned by Arts Council England as part of its ten-year strategy, the recommendations focus on the impact of new technology, as well as guidance on systematically capturing and analysing data, growing partnerships, and reaching new audiences.

Shenzhen Biennale curator fired following sexual misconduct allegations Gary Xu has been removed from his role as one of three curators of the Shenzhen Biennale’s inaugural edition after allegations of harassment and assault appeared online.

Wang Ao, who is assistant professor of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, wrote on social media that Xu, who was previously associate professor in the department of East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), had harassed his female students over the course of the last 20 years.

Despite Wang’s posts later being deleted, an anonymous woman has said that Xu physically abused her while he was teaching at UIUC. Xu has denied all allegations.

London will lose creative crown if rents keep forcing artists out Anna Harding, CEO of Space studios, who recently commented on a-n News about navigating the challenging environment of studio provision in the capital, blames rising property prices and shrinking studios for dramatically squeezing the time and space available for creative activity.

Harding’s warning comes in a new book, Artists in the City: SPACE in ’68 and Beyond, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the organisation. In the introduction, she outlines: “Lack of affordable living and working space for low-waged people in London is forcing many to reconsider their future in the capital. Increasing rents underpin the story of artists living and working in London, and the challenges of affording a studio and making work have worsened considerably.”

London-based arts and textile tutor named ‘world’s best teacher’  Andria Zafirakou, who works at Alperton community school in Brent, north-west London, was presented with the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher prize. She is the first educator in the UK to receive the honour, worth £750,000.

Asked what she will do with the prize money, she said: “I’m going to be patient, I’m going to reflect, but as you know I think it would be really fantastic if I could think about how the arts could be celebrated even further within our school community.”

Virtual Reality project completes unfinished Picasso work Bust of a Woman, which was to be Picasso’s largest ever sculpture, was planned to be created for a Swedish museum in 1971. However, the 102ft high public monument was axed, with its maquette then donated to the University of South Florida (USF), where plans to have the work erected on campus were also scrapped in 1973.

However, now USF’s Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies, along with art historian Kamila Oles and landscape archaeologist Lukasz Banaszek, have brought the work back to life. Through archival research, three-dimensional scans of the maquette, and digital blueprints of the college’s campus, the VR project will allow people to experience the work in its intended environment.

Exhibition centre dedicated to Giacometti to open in Paris The Giacometti Institute will feature a number of Alberto Giacometti’s artworks that have never before shown in public, plus a reconstruction of his studio. It will be located in the district of Montparnasse, where the Swiss artist lived and worked throughout his career. The exhibition was made possible through loans from the Giacometti Foundation. Catherine Grenier, the institute’s director, told the Guardian that more than 100 drawings and 40 of its sculptures had never been shown before or published anywhere before.

1. Pat Monroe, one of the contributors to the Sensibility festival
2. Artists at SPACE Havil Street Studios, Southwark. Photo: Lou Macnamara, 2017

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