Bone Idle

Daisy Hvn­ter, recip­i­ent of a WEVAA R&D Bur­sary, reflects on Bone Idle, a project born out of the pan­dem­ic and expe­ri­ences as a dis­abled artist.


As a disabled mixed media artist from Bristol, my creative journey has always been deeply intertwined with my identity and experiences. Specialising in digital collage, I use cosmic kitsch themes, using art as a means of both escapism and activism. My passion for inclusivity and accessibility in the arts led me to establish Bone Idle, a project born out of the pandemic's challenges and my own experiences navigating the creative sector as a disabled individual.

The inception of Bone Idle emerged as a response to the limitations faced by disabled and chronically ill individuals, exacerbated by the pandemic's impact. Recognising the lack of positive, inclusive communities for people like myself, I envisioned Bone Idle as a space where hardships are acknowledged, creativity is celebrated, and barriers are dismantled. The name itself, "Bone Idle," serves as a reclaiming of narratives often associated with laziness or idleness, turning it into a platform for disabled creatives to shine.

Bone Idle’s beginnings as an online art club were seed funded by 100 Agents of Change’s community fund. The aim of the art club was to create a micro community of disabled creatives who could use Bone Idle as a platform to share their work and build connections. During the pandemic communities like this were so important and they were popping up everywhere, however as everything started to ‘get back to normal’ they were slowly being abandoned by their founders.

A graphic image of a print with the text "Bone Idle Archive, adjective, very idle: extremely lazy"

When Bone Idle had been running for a year I had to take a step back and focus on my own practice as an artist. During that time I worked with some great organisations around the UK who are striving for more inclusive practices and diverse voices, however it became apparent to me that despite all the positive change happening, a lot of creative spaces are still inaccessible to a lot of disabled creative and I want to change that.

What began as an online art club started evolving in mind into the Bone Idle Archive - a travelling exhibition and platform for disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent creatives. The transition from a virtual community to a tangible archive that would enable disabled creatives to showcase their work in galleries and venues that they would struggle to have access to.

A person with long hair wearing a cap, sitting on a sofa is a softly purple-lit room, next to a colourful pot plant and low table

Usually when people think of access they think “does it have a wheelchair ramp?” Or something to that effect. However access covers so many aspects and areas of peoples experiences. Networking for example is inherently inaccessible for a lot of people with disabilities, and what’s that thing they say in the creative sector? “It’s all about who you know”.

There are so many barriers that exist outside the physical structure of a venue. The creation of the archive is to dismantle those systems a bit and showcase the resilience, creativity, and joy of the disabled community; challenging preconceived notions and amplifying marginalised voices. The Bone Idle archive will be that gateway into venues that require creatives to jump through inaccessible hoops.

At the heart of the Bone Idle Archive lies the intention to provide paid opportunities for disabled creatives, fostering a sense of agency and empowerment. Each artist selected for the archive will be paid fairly to enable them to contribute their unique perspective to the collective narrative. By creating a platform that values and compensates disabled artists, the aim is to subvert the exclusionary practices prevalent in the art world, paving the way for greater inclusivity and representation.

A graphic image of a cat yawning with the text bone idle on a pink circle

My journey with Bone Idle has been marked by pivotal moments of support and growth, including the receipt of research and development funding from WEVAA. This funding allowed me to expand the project and lay the groundwork for future endeavours, such as securing Arts Council England Project funding. Through meticulous research, collaboration and consultation with disabled creatives, I have been able to refine and strengthen the vision for the Bone Idle Archive, ensuring its viability and impact.

The WEVAA research and development bursary has enabled me to make a plan for the first year of the archive. I have designed welcome packs for all the commissioned artists which will be sent directly to their homes, the artists will then have a long deadline to create their artwork and return it.

I will then be engaging in community outreach workshops to engage disabled lead groups and local communities to engage them in and contribute to the archive. I am very aware of how exclusionary archives and exhibitions can be, it’s so important to share marginalised voices and experiences as every one is so unique and meaningful. Once the artworks have been returned and workshops have happened I will then work on curating the exhibition so it can be toured around venues in the UK.

Looking ahead, the future of Bone Idle is filled with promise and possibility. I am currently working with a support worker to get together a funding application for project funding and will be building a network of partners and communities to engage in the project. Hopefully by the end of the year I will be announcing the early stages of what I hope to be a life long project to challenge perceptions, and inspire meaningful change within the arts community and beyond.

I am so passionate about this project and the aims of what I wish for it to achieve. For me, Bone Idle represents more than just an art project, it is a movement, a statement and a celebration of disabled creativity. By working towards carving out spaces of inclusion and visibility, the creative sector will be a more equitable and accessible creative landscape.

The West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA) is a three year programme of activity that aims to transform Bristol and the West of England into a place where the visual arts can thrive, providing critical opportunities and support to enable artists, curators and young people to develop their careers and achieve their potential. Find out more about the programme and opportunities here.

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