Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

Curatorial Commissions

The Curatorial Commissions Programme is an exciting multi-year collaboration with three major UK galleries to provide individual residencies for three curators, who identify as Disabled, looking to further their careers in the arts.

Over the last year DASH has forged partnerships with Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Birmingham and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) and we are very happy that to announce that our third and final partner, based in the East of England will be announced this October.

Meanwhile the programme is already well underway at MAC where Milton Keynes based artist Anna Berry joined as our first curator in residence in April.

For more information about Anna please head to her Artist Page on this website and for audio interviews with Anna as she progresses through her year in residence head over to our blog page, while Press and comms information can be found here.

The Curatorial Commissions Programme is supported by Arts Council England, who have committed £100,000 over the period 2018 - 2021 to the project as part of DASH's work as a National Portfolio Organisation.

"The Curatorial Commissions programme aims to change the culture of the visual arts sector so it becomes more inclusive and accessible. There is a lack of Disabled people in positions of influence within the visual arts, and the longer-term aims of the project are to support the development of Disabled curators, who will become the directors of the future.

As part of the commissions we will also be working with each organisation's learning and engagement team to increase levels of participation and engagement among Disabled children and young people, led by our Learning and Engagement manager. It is a really exciting period of development in the work of DASH"

Mike Layward

DASH has been working with galleries and arts centres in England and Wales since 2009 creating opportunities for Disabled artists to exhibit and curate.

These opportunities have significantly advanced the careers of more than 15 Disabled artists, and have influenced and changed the thinking of a number of key people in these galleries. However we assert that further cultural changes must be made within the visual arts sector in order for it to become more inclusive and accessible.

MAC is committed to working with diverse artists while also offering a varied programme that is accessible for all. Prior to the Curatorial Commissions Programme, they worked alongside DASH during Noemi Lakmaier's year-long residency, that culminated in a venue-wide exhibition and national seminar.

Visual Arts Producer, Jessica Litherland, who acts as Anna Berry's mentor at MAC, makes sure that her experiences include working across departments within the centre, from film screenings to event and exhibition planning, with a specific focus on working with collections.

MIMA has recently issued its call for curators and will be announcing the successful applicant before in November. The new resident curator on the programme is expected to start before Christmas working within their collection.