Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

David Hevey

It’s Always A Campaign

David has created some of the iconic moments in barriers-challenging creativity, from his landmark Creatures text (Routledge 1992) to his break-out hit, The Disabled Century (BBC 2012), right through to his recent project leadership of The National Disability Arts Collection & Archive (NDACA, HLF/ACE/JRF 2018) which delivered the long-held dream of Tony Heaton OBE and others to tell the heritage story of the Disability Arts Movement. All his work is about innovation – “I am all about finding radical ways to tell radical stories”, as he puts it.

With a mantra that his work is about diverse perspectives on the mainstream, David has created break out content for most of the UK cultural landscape. But, as David often says, he is not a ‘social worker with a camera’, he is a creative artist and creative director who leads from the front in the three key parts of high cultural impact: big creative ideas, solid organisational delivery, and knowing the audience and where they are moving to. And, for him, the work is always a campaign – about visibility, about social justice, about change, and about new ways of showing, telling and believing that change is possible.

Yet, while he is both obsessed with new ways of telling stories of breaking barriers, he is equally obsessed with getting these stories out to millions. The barriers-facing outsider has a great story to tell – and millions share such outsider experiences. This is why he tries to make innovative work to high impact – because the need is there.

And this is where Shape and David coincide. Shape is all about removing barriers to creative excellence and has a forty-year track record. David is all about the same – how to create a new cultural language through art, film, television, digital, and general cultural production that speaks to the age in which we live, that plays to millions and that delivers justice for disabled, diverse and different peoples. This is perhaps why David is the relatively new CEO and Artistic Director of Shape – because Shape and David’s creative narratives align hugely.

Coming from enormous lived experience within the intersections of under-class, immigrant and disability David’s work is about justice and aesthetics, changing the world by changing the representation and visibility of marginalised people.

But, for all the above back story, David is not the real story – for him, the work does the talking. So, here’s the links to a few samples of output he made or leads on: