#Human Rights
UK Border Agency and Arts Council England
United Kingdom

For the full story on the background to the campaign, see http://exceptionaltalent.wordpress.com/

Flavia D’Avila is originally from Brazil and has been in Scotland for 6 years, where she trained as a theatre director, obtaining a first class BA Hons in Drama and Theatre Arts.

After working with several theatre companies around the UK, Flavia started her own company, Fronteiras Theatre Lab, aiming to focus on international collaborations and on creating multicultural theatre performances. Fronteiras’ debut show, Theatre Tasters, has brought together artists from Scotland, England, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Norway and the USA, and is running at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Flavia is currently on a Tier 2 Post-Study Work Visa, about to expire at the end of September, when her only option is to move back to her native country and apply for the Exceptional Talent Visa in order to continue to work in Scotland, and it is uncertain whether her application will be accepted or not, after a process that can take up to 6 months and incur large financial and emotional costs.

We believe that we are fortunate to have international artists working amongst us in Scotland and the U.K., contributing to the diversity of our cultural landscape. We also believe that theatre and art have a vital role to play in promoting integration, understanding, and mutual celebration and respect across cultures through the work of companies such as Fronteiras Theatre Lab. The UK Border Agency and Arts Council England must recognise that their criteria for remaining in the country after graduation does not reflect the realities of graduate work in the arts, and are effectively working to send young international artists away from the country after they have finished studying here.

We believe this to be counter-intuitive, damaging to the cultural fabric of our communities, and unfair on the individuals involved. We therefore call for the relevant powers to rethink this policy urgently, in order that Flavia and other young artists like her may remain in the country.

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The Stop Artist Deportation petition to UK Border Agency and Arts Council England was written by Exceptional Talent Campaign and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.