Disability Arts Online announces new cohort of Associate Artists for 2020-2022


Disability Arts Online (DAO) is delighted to announce its new cohort of Associate Artists: Letty McHugh, Ashokkumar Mistry and gobscure.

photo of a hand reaching into the air, holding a small white piece of ceramic

ships-ov-fool (online) performance originally commissioned in 2020 for GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre. Photo by Liz Rose Ridley.

The Associate Artists Programme aims to facilitate access and opportunity for marginalised voices.The artists will undertake a flexible programme of professional development activity from summer 2020 to spring 2022. They will collaborate with each other to explore their artistic practice and leadership, as well as working with DAO staff and partners to receive strategic and operational support and creative producer mentoring.

This is the second cohort of the programme, the length of which has been extended from one to two years due to the disruption and impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the sector.

“We’re thrilled that Letty, Ashok and gobscure have accepted our invitation to work with us as our new Associates. Now more than ever we need diverse artists embedded in organisations to lead us through this challenging time. I’m looking forward to developing close relationships with the artists, using our expertise to support them make the next step in their career. This is an exciting opportunity for them to provide insight and lead change to place disabled artists voices at the centre of the arts industry.” – Trish Wheatley, CEO, Disability Arts Online

About the artists

Letty McHugh is an artist and writer. Her work explores the universality of personal experiences and the resilience of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

Letty McHugh said:

“I was surprised and delighted to be invited to work with Disability Arts Online as an Associate Artist. Over the associateship I hope to develop a new body of work exploring the impact of chronic fatigue. Inspired by the idea of a medieval Book of Hours, I will create a modern, secular book of hours with the hope of bringing solace and connection to people living with chronic fatigue.

I will also be continuing to work on existing projects and expanding my writing practice and experimenting with filmmaking and audio.”

photo of printed paper artwork

Seaworthy Vessel. Photo by Letty McHugh.

Ashokkumar Mistry is a multi artform artist. Using both physical and digital media, Ashok uses play, metaphor, repetition, ritual and reflection to create artworks and performance that sit as a mirror to contemporary human insecurities.

Ashokkumar Mistry said:

“As a neurodivergent artist, who has been “emerging” for the past twenty-something years, this associateship is a fantastic opportunity to finally make the creative strides I have always craved to. I will be picking up the baton from past associates, including Aidan Moesby (who has gone on to a residency with MIMA), by focusing my attention on disabled curators and the effect of a lack of real critique of art by disabled artists. And I’ll be delving into punk as a mindset and its relationship to disability arts. I hope you’ll join me in this journey.”

brightly coloured semi-abstract painting

Untitled. Ashokummar Mistry

gobscure is a self-taught writer, performer, artist who works cross-artform internationally, reclaiming spaces for and with other marginalised, silenced people. gobscure said:

“Used to having little support, this is an amazing chance to have a family to belong to, two years of support working with the team and the other artists, and to develop our work without boundaries. There’s this top down narrative in society – we want our associateship to be about giving voice, rewriting ‘the’ narrative, helping people be more connected. Art for social change, for justice, for voicing the silenced. Working with DAO is the perfect fit.”

Person wearing a paper hyena mask, and dress made of paper, whilst a woman with a walking stick sits next to them on a park bench

part of a body of work celebrating ‘hyena in petticoats’ mary wollstonecraft who was mad, bad, rad, bi, mutha, internationalist, feminist-b4-the-word, pamphleteer & more. Photo by Shân Edwards.

The Associate Artists programme is part of DAO’s Talent Development programme, which has been made possible thanks to a new grant of £75,000 over 3 years from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. It is also part funded through DAO’s work as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

To receive news and updates from Disability Arts Online and the artists throughout their associateship, sign up to the newsletter at www.disabilityarts.online/about/signup/

Follow Disability Arts Online on Twitter and Instagram @disabilityarts and on Facebook @disabilityarts.online and the hashtag #DAOAssociates.