Disability Arts Online leads on new programme to develop disabled critics in Scotland


Diverse Critics is a new programme offering bursaries, mentoring and publishing opportunities to disabled arts writers/journalists based in Scotland, delivered in collaboration between Disability Arts Online, Scotland’s award-winning independent cultural magazine The Skinny and Creative Scotland. The programme will take place between February and June 2020.

Group of people sitting around a table

A group of Disability Arts Online’s existing writers.

Aspiring disabled arts writers and journalists are invited to join this new career development programme set up to increase the diversity of people working in the arts by improving access to career progression. Applications are now being accepted.

The programme will include one-to-one mentoring, writing assignments (across print and digital platforms), and workshops covering review and interview technique, opinion piece writing, and pitching strategies. The Skinny will publish participants’ work across its print and online editions alongside further paid opportunities for writing to be published on Disability Arts Online. The opportunity will also offer practical career skills and a £1500 bursary. Access needs and travel will also be covered.

Creative Scotland’s Graham Reid said:

“Professional arts criticism is an important element of the creative cycle, connecting work in the sector with audiences and providing artists with informed responses to their work. Creative Scotland are delighted to be partnering with Disability Arts Online and The Skinny for the mentoring of four emergent disabled writers, working across disability arts and the wider arts sector.”

Trish Wheatley, Chief Executive, Disability Arts Online said:

“Disabled people are massively underrepresented across the arts sector, and this is felt just as keenly within arts criticism. It’s our modus operandi to bring disability perspectives on arts and culture to make for a more vibrant, diverse and inclusive sector. That’s why we’re excited to be working with Creative Scotland and The Skinny to develop a cohort of new voices, building sustainable careers for them and bringing fresh perspectives for audiences.”

Peter Simpson, Digital Editor, The Skinny said:

“The Skinny celebrates creativity across the arts, from music to film to literature, and aims to encourage readers to engage with their local scenes whether that’s as artists, audiences or critics. The Skinny also understands the importance of bringing new voices into the fold and offering a platform for new ideas and perspectives, and is delighted to have the chance to present the work of the Diverse Critics in print and online.”

Applications can be made by sending an example of arts writing, a cover letter including an original idea for an opinion piece, feature or interview, and a short note explaining your interest in the programme, along with a full CV to joe@disabilityartsonline.org.uk by 17:00 on Friday 20 January 2020.

Further details on the programme and applications process can be found here.