DASH announce a three-year project – ‘Where Are The Disabled Curators?’


DASH announce a three-year project working with three major partner organisations to provide commissions for three Curators who identify as Disabled. From 2018-2021 DASH will work with Arnolfini, Bristol, Midland Arts Centre (MAC), Birmingham and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), to provide individual residencies for three curators who identify as Disabled, who are looking to further their careers in the arts.

Photo of a close up of bubble wrap

Anna Berndtson ‘Self Stress Relief’ (Performance 2015). Image © Hannah Levy

£100,000 of Arts Council Funding has been allocated to the three-year project, as part of DASH’s work as a National Portfolio Organisation.

MAC is committed to working with diverse artists while also offering a varied programme that is accessible for all. Most recently they worked with Noemi Lakmaier and DASH on a year-long residency, which culminated in a venue-wide exhibition and national seminar.

MAC are keen to work with a curator who will experience working across departments within the centre, from film screenings to event and exhibition planning, with a specific focus on working with collections. This aspect of the residency will be led by MAC’s experienced Visual Arts Producer, Jessica Litherland, who will share her wealth of knowledge in this field.

Under the leadership of new Director, Claire Doherty, Arnolfini is currently undergoing significant change in 2018 to reimagine the arts organisation as Bristol’s international arts house – reconnecting the organisation with its 1970s roots as a cross-artform centre for contemporary arts and establishing a more open and generous civic role in Bristol.

Arnolfini are keen to work with a curator who will work with our programme team to open up new partnerships and networks building on the organisation’s considerable commitment in the past to collaborating with Disabled children and young people.

At MIMA, the curator will work on a significant research project exploring depictions and understandings of disability and difference. There will be opportunities to work with the Middlesbrough Collection held at MIMA, and with the town’s archival collections. This project is part of the institution’s broader programme of decolonizing the museum by working with under-represented populations and practitioners on programmes that change perceptions and behaviours that further marginalize people in society.

DASH Artistic Director Mike Layward said:

“The Curatorial Commissions programme aims to change the culture of the visual arts sector so it becomes more inclusive and accessible. There is a lack of Disabled people in positions of influence within the visual arts, and the longer-term aims of the project are to support the development of Disabled curators, who will become the directors of the future.

As part of the commissions we will also be working with each organisation’s learning and engagement team to increase levels of participation and engagement among Disabled children and young people, led by our new in post Learning and Engagement manager. It is a really exciting period of development in the work of DASH”

DASH has been working with galleries and arts centres in England and Wales since 2009 creating opportunities for Disabled artists to exhibit and curate. These opportunities have significantly advanced the careers of more than 15 Disabled artists, and have influenced and changed the thinking of a number of key people in these galleries. But DASH assert that further cultural changes must be made within the visual arts sector in order for it to become more inclusive and accessible.

The individual opportunities will be advertised by each venue over the course of the next year and also on the DASH website. The duration of each commission will be from 1-2 years.

For more information go to www.dasharts.org