The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive supports emerging artists who are shaping the spirit of the Disability Arts Movement. Here you can learn about the artists we have worked with so far and their individual journeys into disability arts heritage.

Poppy Nash

The artist Poppy Nash was awarded NDACA’s Face the Fear grant to create the project 12/7 Tripping. It consists of printed textiles, ceramics and laser cut numbers to form a mystical representation of what it feels like to live with Type 1 Diabetes. By making the invisible visible, the project shows the intrusion, relentless and unforgiving nature of the condition – which impact the nuances of daily life and Poppy’s fear of thinking about the future.

A woman with short dyed blonde hair, posing in her art studio among printed textiles and a sewing machine.
Poppy Nash photographed by Melanie Hyams, (2017)

Tate Exchange

Poppy was later invited by NDACA to appear at Tate Exchange as part of Shape Arts’ Ghost in the Machine event. Poppy helped us to create an installation of photographs, t-shirts bearing slogans from the disability rights protests and images of  ‘12/7 Tripping’. Here, you can explore ‘12/7 Tripping’ and take a look at our event at Tate Exchange.

Read an interview with Poppy Nash


Research and Development Awards

NDACA’s R&D Award programme gave four disabled artists a £1,000 bursary and five mentoring sessions with key figures from the Disability Arts Movement. Here, you can meet the four recipients, explore their art practices and learn about how they got on with their mentors.

Aminder Virdee

Aminder Virdee is a multidisciplinary artist working across multiple art forms, including performance, sculpture, installations, painting and moving image. Aminder was mentored by Tony Heaton, Shape’s CEO for 9 years and now Chair of the organisation.

‘Keep This Leaflet. You May Need To Read It Again.’ (2015); Mixed Media

They visited workshops, attended events, worked on applications and researched funding opportunities. Aminder was successful in her application to Graeae’s Ensemble project, an opportunity she applied for with the assistance of Tony.

Aminder wrote about the experience:

I have learnt so much during my time with Tony… he has imparted his knowledge surrounding sculptural mediums, materials and processes, alongside discussions and feedback regarding my ideas.

Mark Tamer

Mark Tamer is an experimental photographic artist working with both analogue and digital mediums – work pictured above. Mark was mentored by Allan Sutherland, the author of many publications including the award-winning ‘Disabled We Stand’ (1981), a classic text of the disability rights movement.

Image from Mark Tamer’s series, ‘A Memory That Fades Like a Photograph’

Their mentoring sessions involved discussions around Mark’s ideas for new or current projects, with Allan providing recommendations for further exploration to develop the work.

Reflecting on the experience, Mark said:

Having the R&D award helped to validate the project in my own mind and made it something worth pursuing rather than just another idea I had.

Jack Bull

Jack Bull is a Brighton based artist specialising in mixed media paintings. Jack was mentored by Tanya Raabe-Webber, an acclaimed disabled artist challenging the notion of identity within contemporary portraiture.

Mixed Media Painting, (2012), Jack Bull

For one of their mentoring sessions Jack visited ArtStudio1, Tanya’s studio in Shrewsbury, and met other artists who worked there. Throughout the R&D programme Jack and Tanya took turns working on collaborative paintings, swapping them over with one another each time they met. The below image shows Jack and Tanya starting work on the pieces.

Zara-Jayne Arnold

Zara-Jayne Arnold is a London-based writer, performer and workshop leader currently working with In Sight Theatre, of which she is Co-Founder. Zara-Jayne was mentored by Julie McNamara, the Artistic Director of Vital Xposure, a dynamic theatre production company.

During the mentoring sessions, Julie and Zara-Jayne discussed her play ‘Waste’ which she is reworking with the hope of touring it nationally. Zara-Jayne had the opportunity to spend a day shadowing at Vital Xposure, during which she discussed character development with Julie and explored the idea of using digital formats as part of the performance.

Reflecting on the mentoring process, Zara-Jayne said:

I have learnt how to keep the suspense by not revealing things too early in the script and the sessions have helped me plan a schedule of when to complete certain tasks by.

Zara-Jayne promoting her show ‘Naming Culture’