Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

DAO Onyx Project

The Onyx Pilot Project is a Disability Arts Online (DAO) project, funded by Arts Council England.

Through three related strands of activity delivered between May 2021 and April 2022, the project puts ethnically diverse, disabled artists and creatives in the driving seat.

STRAND 1: The Onyx Collective, a group of 10 artists who share the lived experience of disability and racism, will be nurtured and resourced to: create new work that results in a publication, leading on selection and commissioning; instigate its own programmes; and be a critical friend to DAO and critique the wider sector.

The artists are: Priya Mistry, Debs Williams, Ashokkumar Mistry, Miss Jacqui, Alexandrina Hemsley, Kuli Kohli, Ngozi Ugochukwu, Omikemi, Nila Gupta, and Dolly Sen.

STRAND 2: DAO will employ two ethnically diverse mentors to deliver one-to-one artist development sessions that are more relevant to a diverse range of artists.

STRAND 3: The Onyx Collective will commission 10 artists to deliver 12 accessible artist presentations – to energise the sector with creative, reflective, informative and critical digital content for audiences across multiple regions of England.

Trish Wheatley, Director, Disability Arts Online, said:

“This grows out of our Covid-19 response and urgent anti-racism activity… The Onyx Pilot Project makes a firm commitment to employing freelancers, initiating care-driven, sustainable working practices. It will help to embed anti-racism into DAO and challenge intersectional discrimination in the wider sector.”

Alexandrina Hemsley, Onyx Collective member, said:

“I am excited to be part of this wonderful group of artists and creative practitioners working and learning together, across so many different disciplines. I am looking forward to holding different spaces in our industry and advocating for racial equity through our practices and the practices of other disabled artists with lived experiences of racism.”


For more information about the project and the artists involved visit Disability Arts Online