DASH win prestigious Ampersand Foundation Award


DASH have won the 2021 Ampersand Foundation Award, which will benefit 47 established and younger generation disabled artists.

a photograph from the Vamos Theatre Production of Awkward Bastards

Image from Awkward Bastards – Vamos Theatre

DASH, a disability visual arts organisation that supports and commissions the work of disabled artists, has won the £150,000 award following a long history of producing provocative interventions that continue the legacy of Dada, Absurdism and Surrealism into the 21st century. With a history of work including visual arts, dance, theatre, live arts and festivals, DASH has undertaken truly ground-breaking work – projects that have challenged perceptions, fostered and mentored new Deaf and disabled artists, encouraged professional development and helped to engineer change in the sector.

Mike Layward, DASH’s Artistic Director said about winning the award:

“To be awarded the Ampersand award for this surreal intervention will not only have a massive impact on disability arts but will show that the visual arts institutions are now open and willing to change.”

The Ampersand Foundation which supports high-quality exhibitions and projects was founded in 2011 by businessman, collector, and philanthropist Jack Kirkland to support the visual arts. Their CEO, Flor Souto, commented on the award, saying:

“What we want to achieve with this award is to enable curators and directors working in an extremely tough funding environment to realise a project that they always have dreamt of doing but have been unable to do so far due to funding pressure. We hope DASH’s winning project will be realised in a post-pandemic world and will help with the re-vitalisation of the sector.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, commented:

“This is exciting news for DASH and marks an important moment for disabled artists and creatives across the country. The Ampersand Foundation Award is one of the most substantial and imaginative awards in the arts and is designed to help an organisation realise a ‘dream‘ project.”

For DASH to be awarded the Ampersand Foundation Award 2021 will not only have a huge impact upon disability arts but will also continue their work towards the dream of a level playing field with mainstream arts organisations.