Young Artist Development Programme 2024 - The Department for Wonder and Play’

Two years ago, we launched our Young Artists Development Programme (YADP) through which we commissioned and shared the work of 10 young disabled creatives. ‘Commissioned’ means being paid to produce a piece of artwork. It was great getting to know each artist, and to see the variety of their work took.

We’ve thought carefully about the direction we want the Young Artists Development Programme to take. Over the last few years, things have felt quite lonely and isolating, especially for disabled people. So, we decided to use the YADP in a way that not only celebrates the work of young creatives, but also encourages connection and conversation.

This year, we have opportunities for 16 (8 from London and 8 from the rest of the UK) creatives aged 14-26 to participate in a collective disabled-led zine project. Zines are small booklets like magazines, which have been used by lots of different communities to communicate ideas artistically. Our zine will have a limited print run and will be available digitally too.

A digital image combining drawings and text on a dusky blue background. At the top of the image is the logo for Touretteshero’s Young Artist Development Programme the initials YADP are at the centre of the logo with stars bursting from the centre. Under this bold white text with a black shadow reads Department of Wonder and Play - this the theme for this years YADP a programme for disabled, neurodivergent and chronically ill young people.

Successful applicants will be asked to create and develop a new piece of work over a period of around 8 weeks. Each artist will create individual work, which will be brought together and shared in the collaborative zine called ‘Department for Wonder and Play’, this is a play on the other DWP which many disabled people in the UK have to engage with.

Ideas should be broadly based around themes of Wonder and Play.

You can think about this theme in any way that excites to you.

Words that are like Wonder include: curiosity, surprise, and amazement.
Words that link to Play include: game, amuse, enjoy, relax, joke, try out and join in.

Play is really important at Touretteshero, and making art involves playfulness, experimentation, risk-taking and making mistakes. We want these commissions to give young disabled people the opportunity to use their creativity playfully and try new things – it’s part of what makes every creative process brilliant.

This opportunity is for young people in the early stages of their creative development, so there’s no need to have done anything like this before.

For most people who apply, we would expect this to be their first paid commission.

We want to support lots of different types of artwork. It could be stories, poems, songs, drawings, puzzles, photos, knitting, collage, sculptures, interviews or dances – pretty much anything that can be put into a zine.

Each commissioned young creative will receive:

£500 investment in their work and idea. This could be treated as a commission fee to pay for time, or it could be used to purchase equipment or materials. It’s flexible and will be tailored to meet what you need.

For this each young creative will contribute:
• An artwork to feature in the zine.
• A guest blog post that will feature on our website. The format for the post is flexible and could be writing, pictures or an interview. Our team will support you with this and help you think about what suits your ideas.

To apply, you need to:
• Be a UK resident aged between 14 and 26. If you’re 14 or 15, you’ll need an adult to apply on your behalf and commit to supporting you with the process.
• Identify as being disabled. We have a broad understanding of disability which includes those who are neurodiverse, chronically ill, have a learning disability, a mental health condition or who are at higher risk from COVID-19. You might not have thought of yourself as disabled before but if you experience barriers because of how your body or mind works, this is an opportunity for you. We particularly welcome applications from young people from the global majority.

You can apply via our online form, or you can download our application pack which contains all the information on how to apply. We have easy read and audio versions of the application information and an easy read application form.

The expression of interest form will ask some questions about you (or the person applying if you’re helping someone else). You’ll also be asked about your idea – this doesn’t need to be a detailed proposal but should give us a flavour of what you want to create. There’s also a section on why this opportunity appeals to you and a chance to share links to examples of previous work – if you don’t have these that’s totally fine. We’ll use the answers in the ‘about your idea’ section to select artists.

Please do not submit work for the zine at this stage – only selected artists will be asked to make new work for the zine.

The deadline for all applications is Friday, 9 February 2024 at 6pm.

Lots of Touretteshero opportunities don’t have age restrictions but this opportunity is for young people 14-26. If you’re younger, older, or do not feel a connection to theme we’ll be commissioning work for our new website soon.

We’re really excited to start getting to know a new group of young creatives and learning about your ideas. If you have any questions, or if you want an application format that isn’t already provided, you can send an email to Katie at, or call/text them on 07903 224 323.

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