In light of the unprecedented situation caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, which will hit the Disability Arts Online community doubly hard – adversely affecting both disabled people and the self-employed – they outline what measures they’re taking, including a new commissions pot for disabled artists.

These are scary times for people. Not only are people’s health and lives at risk, for many, so are their livelihoods. Even for those not directly affected, social distancing measures means greater isolation. But it’s times like these when your community becomes more important than ever, and we very much feel privileged to be part of such a compassionate, empathetic and caring community. Disability Arts Online is a relatively small organisation, but it is committed to supporting you in every possible way.

New Commissions

  • After a quick finance review, DAO allocated £8,000 to a new commissions pot which disabled artists can apply to. You can be working in any art form. They can only accept applications from disabled artists based in the UK, though proposals with international collaborators, where a UK disabled artist is the lead are fine. There are three tiers of commissions:
  • Artist Presentations: Give a 30-minute artist talk from the comfort of your own home via Facebook Live and IGTV, then answer questions posted by viewers in the comments section for 15 minutes. Disability Arts Online will provide tech-support and a dry-run to get you up to speed. They will pay you a fee of £200 (up to 10 artists will be selected).
  • Day in the Life Articles: DAO is looking for a series of features that give an insight into the working life of an artist. Your feature could be more process-orientated and take us through a specific creative process. It could refer to a specific day but give an overview of your practice. It could be playful or profound, depending on what feels right to you. You could film or record your day and share aspects of it. How much you do or don’t talk about disability or impairment issues depends on whether or not it feels appropriate to share those with DAO’s audience. Commissioned artists providing a written article are encouraged to record an audio version to increase access. Video versions should include captions. £120 for written articles, £150 for videos (up to 10 artists will be selected).
  • Open commissions (£50 – £500): Pitch an idea for an online event, discussion, performance or exhibition – anything that can take place or be displayed online. These are open commissions so bring your best ideas and suggested costs. Please consider audience access in your application (additional funds will be available to cover these costs). Applications from partnerships or collectives are welcome.

To apply:

Deadline: Monday 6 April.

Email describing your idea, with a bit of background information about yourself. DAO absolutely welcomes applications in multiple formats including audio, video etc.

From April onwards DAO will also be commissioning content for the website for publication in May and beyond, so writers can pitch to us in the usual way.

Other Covid-19 steps

Spaces for the community to gather: Disability Arts Online has always been a digital space where  community could congregate and meet peers. If you haven’t already, join their 6000+ strong Facebook group, or joinn them on Twitter or Instagram.

Talent development: DAO will offer more free one-to-one Artist Development Sessions via Skype/telephone/Facetime during the crisis. That’s an hour of dedicated time from one of their experienced team on any number of topics. They’ve also continued to deliver our Diverse Critics talent development programme for four aspiring disabled journalists in Scotland remotely, which so far has been a success.

Content: If social distancing or self-isolation is driving you up the wall with boredom, our great content will be continuing unabated. Guest Editorship from the brilliant Sandra Alland is coming up over the next four weeks. You can catch up with the first 10 episodes of the Disability And…Podcast here (or on the podcast platform of your choice), if you haven’t already. Also, some great guests for the Podcast already recorded, including Sarah Gordy on Disability and…Sex, Sandra Alland hosting a conversation about Disability and…LGBTQIA+ & Class issues, Alexandrina Hemsley and Deborah Williams talking Disability and…Race and Birds of Paradise’s Robert Softley Gale on Disability and…the Mainstream.

Events listings: Most in-person events currently in their events listings are likely to be postponed or cancelled. However, it’s still a great place to advertise (free of charge) and discover livestreamed or online events.




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