Emily Wood Scoops National Award for Innovation

Emily Wood our Artistic Director has scooped a national award from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. The prestigious award will support her to grow her innovative business idea which will enable Cabasa to become more climate kind in our work in carnival arts and textiles.

Building on the success of Innovate UK’s targeted programmes, like Women in Innovation and Young Innovators, this latest funding is designed to find and support the fresh innovation talent the UK needs.

Emily is among the 233 high-potential innovators who has been awarded a £50,000 grant. Critically, she will also receive 12 months of tailored business support to help her grow, stimulating the UK’s economy.

“ I am a Carnival artist working in visual arts, textiles, costume, sculpture and processional art. My company, Cabasa CIC, delivers large scale carnival and outdoor art works across the UK. We work with expert professional artists, although many of our projects also engage and celebrate the voices of marginalised groups. We work for a range of clients including local authorities, town teams, Business Improvement Districts, commercial retail centres and other arts organisations. 

Like many organisational leaders, I have been increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of our work. This includes topics such as synthetic dyes (used extensively in producing costume and banners) and outdoor sculptures/installations. I have begun to explore a range of natural dye alternatives, and to consider natural and locally grown textile alternatives for costumes.With support from Innovate UK I can now undertake a period of intensive R&D, leading to the development of two new public art works which can be deployed in a wide range of settings, bringing joy, energy and celebration to our shared spaces. These works will have a high level of sustainability built into their entire production cycle and will also involve audiences in questions around our relationships with public art, design, and textiles”

In line with the UK’s growing appetite for innovation, this new award programme was amongst the most highly engaged funding competitions Innovate UK has ever delivered – with over 2,100 entrepreneurs applying for funding and business mentorship. There is an urgent need to transform the UK’s skills and talent pipeline, through inspiring and connecting people to new opportunities and pathways into innovation. Innovate UK estimates that, to achieve the UK’s full economic potential, 400,000 more innovators need to be supported, from entrepreneurs to engineers.

Coinciding with the Awards announcement, Innovate UK has joined forces with over 150 partner organisations to launch its free and accessible No Limits digital platform, which makes it easy for aspiring innovators to discover new career paths, sharpen their skills and access opportunities to develop life-changing innovations and future-proof the UK economy.

Read more about our ongoing work using natural dyes and processes at https://cabasacarnivalarts.com/the-living-dress/


If you’re an aspiring innovator, or a business looking to connect with new talent, check out nolimits.ukri.org to find support and inspiration.

You may also like