Image description - 16 photographs of disabled artists, all of which are described beneath their individual portraits below. In addition there is a crocheted imposter - a yellow minion character from the film Despicable Me. Toilet roll shaped with large round glasses and a tuft of black woollen hair on top.
Disconsortia is disabled artist-led
Disconsortia is a consortium of extraordinary disabled artists. We are currently focussed on developing a community in the North East of England, where there is both a rich tradition of Disability Art and a vibrant collection of current disabled artists working in a range of artforms. Disconsortia has begun in a fairly small and supported way to ensure we can meet everyone's access requirements, ensuring that those involved represent a broad diversity of people coming from all sorts of different perspectives. As we begin to grow, we want to continue to welcome disabled artists from the North east, as will begin to advertise public events soon. We plan to begin to raise the profile of disabled artists, however they choose to identify themselves, and their work. The following is a directory of artists who have taken part in Disconsortia North east to date. The directory will grow as we do. New wave, new thinking, new future.
Directory of Disconsortia Disabled Artists
Lisette Auton is a disabled writer, activist, poet, spoken word performer, actor, theatre-maker and creative practitioner – she does stuff with words. She is an award winning poet and one of Penguin Random House UK’s WriteNow mentees for her children’s novel. She was awarded the 2019 Early Careers Residency for Literature at Cove Park by the Fenton Trust, and is on the TSS Publishing list of Best British & Irish Flash Fiction 2018-2019. Lisette delivers passionate spoken word pieces using lyrical techniques to spiral out from the personal to the universal. All of her work seeks to make the invisible visible.
Black Robin is an Irish disabled artist based on the North East, specialising in the documentation of the work and work processes of disabled artists, with material spanning 20 years. He documents original processes and uses both film and photography. He also uses a specific form of portraiture exhibition to give disabled subject a voice and to give disabled people visibility. He has documented theatre, film, community, visual art and dance projects, as well as working a digital artist creating projections within performance with a number of disabled artists.
Bex Bowsher is a feminist writer and theatre maker based in County Durham. She likes to tell stories that have elements of magical realism and interrogate the status quo - always looking for how the world could be a better, kinder, brighter place. She enjoys making collaborative work and is always searching for new co creators to find new ways of telling stories. Her play ‘Spoon Theory’ at Live Theatre Newcastle was described by one critic as “the next I, Daniel Blake”. She has just finished a year as part of the BBC Writer’s Room’s inaugural Writer’s Access Group.
Sarah Crutwell, an exceptional poet, spoken word artist and facilitator who is an integral part of the Teesside scene. Sarah is a depressed anxious feminist who is mostly found wearing pyjamas or wearing clothes that look suspiciously like pyjamas. A writer, spoken word poet and creative event organiser from the North East of England, Sarah’s work explores ‘the things we lower our voices to talk about’. With a background in theatre, her performance is engaging, honest and highly emotive. Her poetry takes on issues such as mental health, sex, gender, politics, ingrained sexism and a woman’s right to make her own decisions.
joey (play) was new wolsey theatre testing ground commission produced in association with greyscale. 2019 society of authors award for waters of life (poem length of afon wysyg (river usk) with welsh poppies, the site of britains last insurrection to date and widened horizons). francis chagrin award from sound & music / sage gateshead summer studio residency 2019 developing ships-ov-fool. rose carved in rain forthcoming solo exhibition, newbridge project gateshead. forthcoming solo show provoked to madness by the brutality of wealth developed as part of BOOST : the Third Angel Mentoring Scheme 2019 in association with Sheffield Theatres
An enthusiastic professional in the arts sector with a wide range of experience. I trained in acting with Graeae theatre company and toured in their much acclaimed production of Mother Courage. I did a performing Arts Degree at Newcastle College which was a major achievement for me, given the barriers that still exist in much arts training for disabled people. I have lots of experience working with learning disabled people, and across all disability. I have been awarded a number of Arts Council grants to create work, and presented my one woman show Never-Neverland at ARC earlier this year. I also created a production called Occupation which looked at the impact of Government cuts on disabled people. It had four professional actors and a community cast of 12.
Kevin Howard is a freelance artist, photographer and musician working nationally and internationally. He collaborates with many artists on socially engaged projects and works with many schools and community groups. In 2017 Kev created an exhibition called d-Formed, which was seen by over 30,000 people, looking at disability in societal terms and also highlighting the surgical experience of many disabled people. The powerful exhibition looks at the body, the disabled body and its sculptural form. The piece is also politically charged and relates to disabled people's experiences of government policy. Video excerpt of experimental sound and visual piece. Kev was recently award a distinction for his MA in Art at Teesside University.
Paul James is the Senior Creative Associate (Children and Young People's Programme) at Live Theatre. He established the multi award-winning Education & Participation Department at Live Theatre in 1998 and has directed and produced numerous projects. Paul has worked with many writers associated with Live Theatre including Lee Hall, Tom Hadaway, Michael Chaplin, Julia Darling and Paddy Campbell. He has also directed two productions for Monster Productions that went on national tours. Prior to this Paul worked as an actor for a variety of theatre companies including the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Bristol Old Vic, Talawa, Northern Stage, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Liverpool Everyman, Northumberland Theatre Company, Live Theatre and various community theatre companies.
Lady Kitt is a maker, researcher and drag king who has been working in a social practice for 11 years. Based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, their projects have taken place all over the world, winning awards& involving thousands of people. Kitt uses paper crafting, performance, &research to create objects, events, interactions. Their work is driven by an insatiable curiosity to explore, share and (gently) insight the social functions of making. Some of the things that have happened as part of Kitt’s practice are: super-sized origami, policy changes & the creation of an international feminist art magazine for and by children.
Kim McDermottroe is most well-known locally for the fantastical creatures she brings to life for the flagship Northern Festivals. Yet Kim’s work is deeply rooted in the real. For Kim, as a child, drawing was a way to get closer to the fascinating world of animals. Naturally Kim was drawn to work with animals but she soon realised that her true passion was in art and the creatures she could capture, create and bring to life on paper and through sculpture. Soon she was creating new worlds of her own and imagining the creatures which could populate these worlds. Kim sees worlds behind our own world which describe our internal landscapes and dreamscapes. Her work runs, hoots, flies and climbs straight out of the boundary between the real and the imagined - a menagerie of impossible beings. In 2019 Kim was selected as one of the F:entrepreneur #ialso 100. A campaign showcasing 100 female entrepreneurs who multi task in their business.
Dr Simon McKeown
Simon McKeown is an award-winning, international visual artist renowned for his work which touches on and considers disability. His work has been seen all over the world and involves movement, motion capture, games technology, inflatable structure and large-scale outdoor projections and performances. Cork Ignite was seen by over 10,000 people and Prometheus Awakes, a large scale commission, was part of the 2012 celebrations across the country. Simon is currently exhibiting No Passengers a DaDafest in Liverpool and has a large scale projection project in St Helens called We are Still Here. He is also an academic and is a lecturer at Teesside University.
Coll Metcalfe is a freelance deaf performer, actress and writer based in the North East. With an extensive background in physical theatre and improvisation, Coll brings a wild elegance to her storytelling, drawing her audience into the very centre of her world. Coll draws on her experiences as a deaf person and incorporates sign language into her delivery, offering a visual third dimension to her words. Coll has developed her own bold and unique style of writing and performance which brings together the deaf and hearing worlds.
I am the founder and Director of Rory’s Studio and as a Deaf British Sign Language user, I strive to illuminate Deaf Culture within mainstream forums. I graduated from Newcastle College in 2005, with a foundation degree in animation and illustration. I began my professional career as an illustrator, working in collaboration with writer Julia Donaldson on her children’s book Gruffalo. Since then I have worked extensively as an ambassador for Deaf awareness and won awards for my film work. My work includes Driving Inspiration, a short film for the Paralympics, Gothrella, a theatre production made for Deaf and hearing children and families, which involved working in collaboration, with a team of eight professional artists. In 2015 I was appointed a Director of Surface Area Dance Theatre CIC. In May 2017 I travelled to Tokyo, Japan to collaborate with Japan Deaf Theatre and begin a creative dialogue with company members to explore thematic concepts found in the Ginger Bread Witch, which was supported by Arts Council England’s, Artist International Development Fund, recently adapted to a children’s theatre production at Northern Stage.
As an artist, curator and writer, Moesby's work is at the intersection of the visual arts, wellbeing and increasingly, technology. Site or context-specific interventions serve as a catalyst for conversations to promote social change. His current work investigates the dual crises of Climate Change and Mental Health exploring the relationships between the outer physical weather and internal psycho-emotional weather.
Steph Robson aka Hello Little Lady
Steph Robson, aka Hello Little Lady, is an artist and creative practitioner using visual, written, audio and participatory practices to explore the Dwarfism community’s lived experiences.
Her debut exhibition ‘You’re Just Little’ in 2018 revealed the obstacles, challenges and societal assumptions Dwarf people face every day. The participatory elements participants from the Dwarfism community in the U.K, the U.S.A, and Australia that challenges the notion of perspective and gaze on the gallery wall.
Steph’s passion is to give a voice and the platform to the Dwarfism community through creative arts. To enable and empower Dwarf people to be in control of how their narratives and stories are published in a world that often ridicules and objectifies our bodies within society rather than showing compassion and understanding of this disability.
Her work explores the themes of accessibility, othering and the tensions between the disability and society.
I have been composing and performing disability-related songs, sketches and film scripts for 25 years. Profoundly influenced by the 'old guard' including Ian Stanton and johnny Crescendo, for a while I found my tribe. Over the past twelve years I've been working for Shoot Your Mouth Off, co-created with my friends Steve Carolan and Derek Mathews, we have built a unique and far-reaching body of video productions with learning disabled actors and crew, with 42,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel! I've continued to write and record songs with the Karen Sheader Band, but for the past few years have felt quite isolated, so it's wonderful to have this opportunity to share work with old and new friends.
Vici is an award-winning playwright and theatre director who has worked in Disability Arts and Theatre for 27 years in the UK and Ireland. She is Artistic Director of Little Cog, the North East’s premier disabled-led theatre company and is Co-Founder of Cultural Shift, a strategic artistic platform for disabled artists. Vici is committed to rich, multi-layered theatre which brings a new aesthetic and engage audiences in new ways with previously untold or mis-told stories. Having worked nationally and internationally, Vici is Associate Artist at ARC Stockton, Artistic Directing Collaborator with Full Circle Theatre Company – an ensemble of learning disabled theatre makers and has a scholarship for a practice-based PhD in Disability Theatre at Teesside University.