Back in February, I had the pleasure of announcing our Young Artists Development Programme – a new and exciting opportunity for disabled artists in the early stages of their careers, to develop and experiment with their creative practices. We’ve now selected the artists who we’ll be commissioning, and I’m excited to introduce them to you.
We were so impressed by the standard of the applications that came through. Everyone who applied had such thoughtful and imaginative ideas, and it was a pleasure to see the passion each applicant had for their projects. It was fantastic to have this insight into the next generation of disabled artists, but narrowing down our selection to just ten people was very difficult!
We’ve chosen artists who use a range of different practices, and who cover different ground in terms of their subject matter. Experimentation is a big part of the YADP, and we’re excited to see the different techniques that will be used in each artist’s project. This is a brand-new programme for us, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the work it helps create.
Keep reading to learn a little more about each artist, their creative practice, and how you can keep up to date with their work.
Pronouns: she/her or they/them
Imogen is a keen and eclectic artist who derives inspiration from anything and everything – from comic books to more conventional artists. Being home-schooled has allowed Imogen to develop her artistic interests and style – which she does with both digital and traditional methods.
Imogen was recently diagnosed with Tourettes and autism, and finds that art and music (particularly rock, punk and grunge) help her to relax and alleviate her anxiety.
Rylan Gleave is a Glasgow-based composer and vocalist whose music addresses intersectional identity, re-contextualised natural situations, and quiet, furious resistance!
His compositions tend to focus on both personal and political matters, with recent exploration of navigating gender/neurodiversity and seclusion, acceptance of trauma, and the shores of Scottish archipelagos.
Rylan’s piece winding through seaweed involves a soprano saxophone playing over a sea of pre-recorded saxophone sounds. There are lots of special effects added, so it sounds as if the music is underwater.
Anton Campbell, a.k.a. Born2bDifferent, is a 15-year-old who produces videos using iMovie and iPhoto. In 2016, he started using a stop motion app to create videos for his YouTube channel. This has helped develop his speech and language skills and reduce his anxiety.
For the YADP, Born2bDifferent is producing a stop motion about urban art. This has been inspired by numerous visits to art centres, museums and a skateboard park in South London.
You can see some of Anton’s previous work on his YouTube channel.
Emily Heather Bower
Emily Bower is a young illustrator and writer.
Her work is largely inspired by experiences of autistic people such as herself and the struggle for a sense of place in a neurotypical world.
Her work mostly takes the form of comic books, poetry and art zines, writing their scripts and poetry as well.
You can see more of Emily’s work on her Instagram.
Sorcha Pringle is a musician, composer and disabled activist based in Dundee. Her work is largely in the inclusive arts sector in Scotland, where she delivers accessible music workshops, and advocates for equal access to musical and creative experiences for all.
Recently her work has become more closely linked with her activism and she expresses this through poetry and song. You can also find her drinking good coffee or on walks with her dog.
Beth A. Greenwood
Beth is a visual artist who regards art as a form of activism. As a swimming teacher and sports student, Beth combines her activism with physical and mental fitness.
Beth is aiming to build a collection of thought-provoking pieces. Beth’s project for the YADP will be a visual exploration of her experience with Tourettes, premonitory urges and Tourettic OCD thoughts.
Helena is an actor, theatre maker and teacher with an extensive range of performance experience.
She has performed her solo spoken shows at The Lancashire Fringe Festival and Frontline Festival. Her spoken word performances have been commissioned by The Harris Museum, Lancaster arts and Brewtime Collective.
Helena teaches acting at EGG Performing Arts alongside TV actress Ella Grace Gregoire, and is an assistant teacher at The Pauline Quirke Academy.
You can keep up with Helena through her Facebook page.
Maiya is a semi-verbal, neuro-disabled contemporary dance artist. She is developing her distinctive movement style combining the use of her wheelchair, the floor, and her musical background.
Taking inspiration from a quote by Amanda Gorman, ‘There is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.’, Maiya is creating a short dance film exploring finding light in intense darkness. She’ll be combining the use of her semi and non-verbal sounds, and the sounds her wheelchair makes, to create the sound score which she will be moving to.
Liam Alexander Burke
Liam is a young artist based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Inspired by the love he has for his town, he has been doing a project looking into Scarborough landmarks, and using Photoshop to create detailed artworks from his drawings.
His line drawing of Scarborough Lighthouse was recently shown as part of the Scarborough Arts Trail.
Maria is a 14-year-old artist, author and illustrator. She’s currently writing and illustrating a book to help educate people about Tourettes syndrome.
‘Tickles’ is the central character of the work Maria is creating. He’s a cuddly purple and blue monster who always wears a smile, with happy little horns and a striped tail. He’s drawn to do different movements, like vocal and motor tics. Maria hopes to help people with Tourettes to feel more included and confident.