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Artist Development Sessions

Illustration of woman sitting looking at a piece of art

Disability Arts Online is offering one-to-one artist development sessions with our team of experts. Sessions are bookable through the form below, and can cover one of our nine topics:

  • Writing about your work
  • Arts writing/journalism
  • Developing an artistic project or idea and pitching it to funders
  • Developing your understanding of disability arts and its history
  • How to make connections with other artists and organisations (including DAO facilitating introductions and writing letters of support where appropriate)
  • How to blog on DAO
  • Setting up and planning your WordPress site/maintaining an artist’s website
  • Social Media as a promotional or artistic tool
  • Budgeting your project

Each session lasts about an hour and is carried out via Skype, telephone or FaceTime (with limited availability for face-to-face prioritised for those with specific access needs). DAO staff will take notes during the session and provide you with a copy of these, including a plan of actions after your session via email. DAO staff may not always be experts in your given area, but can usually provide good general advice and support you to identify barriers and solutions. The more information you can provide ahead of the session, the more prepared staff can be to support you.

Relative skills and experience of each staff member  

Trish Wheatley, Chief Executive

Trish has worked in Disability Arts since 2005, following education in photography and fine art to Masters level. She has run visual arts programmes and curated exhibitions for disabled artists, also providing access support and worked as a producer for several disabled artists. As a freelancer, Trish regularly provides access support writing funding applications to the Arts Council. In arts administration, she has significant experience in project development and delivery that crosses artforms.

With ‘developing an artistic idea or project and pitching it to funders’, Trish’s approach with the sessions takes two different angles. Firstly, it’s about an opportunity for you to speak with someone who has experience of building and producing projects in order to make some decisions about what you’re going to do and come up with a plan of action. This requires a bit of work from you, with prompts from Trish, to describe where you are in your planning and what you still need to find out. The other side of the session is then about giving you some useful tips that Trish has discovered over the years, whether it’s the type of language or approach to take in an Arts Council application, or how to approach a potential partner, or looking at how to create a really good supporting document for your application.

With the ‘budgeting your project’ session it’s a slightly different structure. Ideally, the conversation will be conducted on Skype so screens can be shared, with either Excel or Google Sheets (your choice) used to create a simple budget. For those with less experience of spreadsheet software it will be a more technical introduction to setting out your budget and operating the basic formulas. For those who are more confident with the software the session will focus on how to arrive at realistic figures, what to include and how to monitor your expenditure against the budget.

Colin Hambrook, Editor

Colin Hambrook established DAO Ltd in 2004. He has 25 years experience of working within the disability arts sector as a manager/editor/consultant for web and print-based Disability Arts publications and programs. As a Survivor Activist/Artist he helped develop the work of Survivors’ Poetry in the early 1990s and was editor of Disability Arts In London Magazine from 1994-2000. Having worked at the centre of the Disability Arts Movement, he has a passionate knowledge of the work of disabled artists across visual arts, performing arts and the literary arts. A session with Colin on ‘developing your understanding of disability arts and its history’, would draw on his extensive knowledge of the sector.

Colin can signpost you to artists and areas of interest to support you to make connections with other disability artists and organisations. Partners are essential for developing an artistic project or idea and he would be able to suggest contacts useful for research purposes.

Colin is a practising disabled visual artist and poet with experience of receiving Arts Council GftA Awards and has had two illustrated poetry collections published by Poetry Press. A session on pitching an idea to funders would typically include feedback on how to go about weaving together the various strands that make for a successful bid; with some knowledge of how to approach ACE.

Colin has extensive knowledge of arts writing/journalism maintaining both DAO and his own artists’ WordPress site. He can assist in planning an artist’s website and a session would involve a conversation about ways of building project themes and ideas that would help support the development of your program of work.

Colin responds to pitches and encourages artists on a day-to-day basis, sharing their work.  A session with Colin would help you get networked and signpost ways of using Social Media as a promotional and an artistic tool.

Joe Turnbull, Assistant Editor

Joe Turnbull comes from a background in arts journalism having written for the Guardian, Apollo Magazine, Frieze, a-n, Exeunt, The Stage and more. A session with Joe on arts writing/journalism or writing about your own work might take in methods of criticism (including self-critique), how to write for different audiences and how to pitch your writing to other platforms. As Assistant Editor, Joe also edits many of the artist’s blogs, providing advice, feedback and help with planning a blog – so if you would like to learn more about blogging on DAO a session with Joe can cover what to expect as well as give practical advice.

Joe also oversees the day-to-day running of Disability Arts Online’s website, which is based on WordPress and he has designed, set up and implemented multiple other WordPress sites for other projects. A session on planning or maintaining your website will make you consider layout, navigation, types of content, how to present your content most appropriately, what kind of copy (i.e. text) you might need for different sections. Whilst Joe is not a developer, he can offer some assistance on basic technical aspects.

Joe oversees and feeds into most of Disability Arts Online’s social media accounts, which are all highly engaged. He has also performed this task in many previous roles. Joe is by no means an expert on all aspects of social media or all channels, but he can provide feedback on which channels will be best suited to your needs, how to plan a social media strategy and give some tips on how to increase engagement.

Joe has practical experience with visual arts, music and poetry but his experience of theatre, dance and film is limited to that of a critic. With previous roles in Youth and Community Work, Joe is also a good listener and sounding board for ideas on a range of topics.

Omikemi, Freelance Artistic Mentor

Omikemi is a writer and body worker based in London. They currently work as a freelance writer and artistic mentor for Disability Arts Online and are a member of Onyx, a collective for Black & global majority disabled artists. Omikemi also runs Heartwood, an online and in-person Black LGBTQIA+ centered body work service.

As artistic mentor Omikemi offers support with the following:

  1. writing poetry and developing work for publication
  2. dis-covering and developing your creative vision
  3. writing applications, creating nourishing rituals and/or routines to support your creative process
  4. developing practices to support taking care while working (if this isn’t your work), which includes clarity about capacity and boundaries with self, colleagues, projects etc.

*If you find that your session has no dates available to book please email to request an email notification once new dates are added.

Each artist will be allowed to sign up to a maximum of 3 sessions in a 12-month period.

Please note: sessions can only be offered free of charge to UK-based artists. If you are outside of the UK and would like to inquire about a session, please get in touch before booking.

To book your Artist Development Session please use the booking form below, or email, or phone 07751175389.