Today sees the launch of a new collaboration between Shape Arts, Disability Arts Online (DAO) and a-n The Artists Information Company aimed at supporting emerging disabled artists.

Emergence will tackle the isolation, low confidence and marginalisation of emerging disabled artists, as well the lack of accessible opportunities in mainstream arts settings.

Its initial pilot phase, which will begin in January 2019, is an enhanced bursary programme across a 12-month period. The bursary is specifically aimed at emerging artists, with a practice rooted in the visual arts, who face disabling barriers.

Four £1,500 bursaries are on offer, which can be used in any way the artist feels will best support the development of their artistic practice.

To help address barriers and isolation, each artist will receive support and advice through a series of one-to-one development sessions with staff from DAO and Shape, who are specialised in supporting disabled artists and finding innovative access solutions.

Elements included in the bursary are:

  • The cohort of four bursary recipients will have the opportunity to support each other through peer support/critique sessions; these may be facilitated digitally.
  • Each artist has the opportunity to be supported (by DAO) to blog about their work for the duration of the bursary
  • Each artist will be interviewed for a profile piece

Shape Arts is a disability-led organisation breaking down the barriers to creative excellence. It delivers a range of projects supporting marginalised artists, as well as training cultural venues to be more inclusive and accessible for disabled people as employees, artists and audiences.

Disability Arts Online (DAO) is a disability-led arts organisation that occupies a unique global position with its UK-based website, social media network, commissioning and artist development programmes, showcasing opportunities, partnership work, and vibrant community of disabled creatives. It aims to achieve widespread appreciation for the richness and diversity of disability arts and culture.

a-n The Artists Information Company is the largest artists’ membership organisation in the UK with 23,000 members. It supports artists and those who work with them in many practical ways, acting on behalf of its membership and the visual arts sector to improve artists’ livelihoods.

The partners are committed to equality and diversity in employment and all aspects of its programme and operation, with the Emergence opportunity ring-fenced for disabled applicants.

Deadline for applications to be returned: Noon, Monday 19 November 2018

Interviews: 6 / 7 December

Artists can find out more and apply by visiting

For enquiries (including information on submitting your application in an alternative format), please contact Isabella Tulloch, programme coordinator at Shape Arts – [email protected] or +44 (0) 20 7424 7330

Image: Josh Peter (@drawjosh), image for Emergence bursary.

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