Café Curio Symposium: The First Four - art, disability and institutional support

Café Curio Symposium: The First Four - art, disability and institutional support

11 November 2012

Sunday 11 November 2012
2.00 - 6.00pm

Free, but spaces are limited so booking is essential

To mark the second round of Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary residencies, this symposium asks how institutions can best support and nurture disabled artists. Is it better to offer targeted funding streams and programmes or should all art be judged on its own merits? The symposium will include invited contributions from national policy makers, support organisations, curators and artists and will include a spectrum of opinions with a view to presenting a nuanced perspective of working models and opportunities as well as discussions and suggestions for strategic support of disabled artists in the next three years.

Speakers include:

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Sue Williams (Senior Officer - Diversity (Disability). Arts Council UK)

Sue Williams is currently Senior Officer, Diversity (Disability) for Arts Council England. Based in the Head Office she is responsible for leading nationally on Arts Council England’s disability equality scheme and associated strategies. Originally trained as a painter Sue has worked in the arts for 19 years developing opportunities for disabled people to access and participate in the arts and has specifically concentrated on all aspects of training professional development and education. Prior to working at Arts Council England Sue has worked in a variety of organisations including working on a project exploring access to the Art and Design curriculum at University of the Arts London, and the provision of artist support at Art Link West Midlands. She continues to draw and paint and maintain a connection with arts practise.

Mat Jenner (Relationship Manager  for Visual Arts, London, Arts Council UK)

Marie-Anne McQuay (Curator, Spike Island)

Marie-Anne McQuay is Curator at Spike Island, an Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary partner, where she is responsible for exhibitions, residencies and events and has an advisory role in Spike Associates. Previously Marie-Anne worked at FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology), Liverpool, developing collaborative context based commissions with artists that include Kristin Lucas, Stephen Willats, Superflex and Dias & Riedweg before undertaking a Masters in Curating at Goldsmiths College. She maintains an independent practice as a writer and is a visiting lecturer on a number of Fine Art and Curating courses including the University of the West of England and Kingston University.

Tony Heaton (Chief Executive, Shape Arts)

Prior to Shape, from 1997-2007, Tony was Director of Holton Lee, a 350 acre campus with short stay residential facilities for disabled people. During this time he led the commissioning and development of the award-winning Faith House Gallery and the Stables Studios. Initiator of the NDACA (the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive), Tony is also a sculptor and has a long involvement within the disability arts movement, first exhibiting in 'Out of Ourselves' in 1990, with fellow disabled sculptor Adam Reynolds. More recent sculpture, Squareinthecircle? is sited outside of the school of architecture at Portsmouth University. Tony's links with Shape go back to 1989 when working as an artist, and then as Chair of North West Shape involved in the transition of the organisation into Full Circle Arts.

Aaron Williamson (Artist)

Aaron Williamson is an artist is inspired by the experience of becoming deaf and by a politicised yet humorous sensibility towards disability. Williamson's practise is to devise unique artworks that are created on-site immediately prior to their public presentation. These consider the situations he encounters and represents, in part, his response to them. A constant theme is to challenge and subvert the romantic valorisation of social 'outsiderness' and thus portray himself in performances and videos in the guise of sham-shamans, pretend-primitives, hoax-hermits, fake feral children, charlatan saints and dubious monsters. Williamson was a recipent of the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary in 2010.

Noëmi Lakmaier (Artist)

Noëmi Lakmaier's work explores notions of the ‘Other’ ranging from the physical to the philosophical, the personal to the political. Lakmaier's work aims to emphasise and exaggerate the relationship between object, individual and space. She is interested in the presence of the viewer as voyeur and how this presence can act as the catalyst that galvanises an event and creates a tension and a divide between ‘Them’ – the passive observer - and the ‘Other’ – the objects of their gaze. Lakmaier was awarded the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary in 2008.

Simon Raven (Artist)

Simon Raven is a performance artist, film maker and sculptor. A graduate of Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and the Royal College of Art, London. Raven has exhibited at Nottingham Castle, University College London, Reading Experimental Film Festival and Chester’s Up the Wall Festival. He is the 2012 recipient of the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary and Artist in Residence at Camden Arts Centre.

Sally Booth (Artist)

Booth's practice is concerned with expressing the celebratory in the everyday. Her work ranges from a contemporary approach to traditional still life, to travel sketchbooks and drawings on till-rolls. Being visually impaired has been a significant factor in the development of her art practice and professional career. Booth's practice continues to be primarily as a painter, but she also works increasingly using photography, printmaking and film. While passionate about painting, she has also become interested in the possibilities of combining this much loved painting tradition with digital technology and has begun to incorporate writing into her work having developed an interest in artistic applications of audio-description.

Caroline Cardus (Artist)

Cardus is a visual artist, speaker and writer.  Since 1999, she has worked collaboratively with art organisations, local authorities and creative agencies across the UK, as well as pursuing individual art and writing projects.  She works in installation, print, photography and collage. Her text-based work explores the direction and the journey disabled people are on, often using phrases taken from everyday life and writ large in order to uncover layers of meaning. Caroline is also the Chair of the Board at Disability Arts Online.

Sheryll Catto (Action Space)

Michelle Kurth (Artist, Co-Director, Action Space)

Grey Vass (Education Programmer, Camden Arts Centre)

Sheryll Catto and Michelle Kurth will be joined by Greygory Vass to present a case study around the collaborative project Difference and Repetition. Through the collaboration, five learning disabled artists from Action Space's Camden Studio produced new work at both venues, culminating in a public exhibition at Camden Arts Centre. The presentation will outline how the artists’ practices developed in different directions as a result of new input and experiences and what the two organisations gained from working together.

This event is produced in partnership with Shape Arts and will be broadcast live at

The Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary

The annual bursary, set up in memory of sculptor Adam Reynolds to support disabled artists working in visual art, is organised by Shape in collaboration with host galleries and institutions. The bursary, one of the most significant commissioning opportunities for disabled artists in the UK, offers an opportunity to engage in a three month residency at a high profile gallery. A bursary of £5000 is available to UK based disabled visual artists  was set-up to provide time, space and support for artists to develop their creative practice without the pressure to deliver a particular outcome.

Previous Winners

2011 Winner - Caroline Cardus
2010 Winner - Aaron Williamson
2009 Winner - Sally Booth
2008 Winner - Noëmi Lakmaier


- Disabled parking is available but limited to 2 spaces (to allow enough room for unloading etc.) Local parking is available on Sunday but is not immediately outside the Centre.
- BSL interpretation is provided
- Seating arrangement is flexible to the needs of the audience
- A hearing loop facility is available

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