2-4:30pm 16 July

This seminar explores disability representation in the visual arts sector; from lived experience of neurodivergence and disability, to further education, where art empowers young people as a tool for communication. We’ll look at what it means to be a curator working with artists who face barriers, and how these practices activate positive change. What do these changing spaces look like in practice?

Presentations with Matt Burrows (Exeter Phoenix), Anna Mankee-Williams (Falmouth University), Heather Peak (DASH) and Christopher Samuel (Artist).


The seminar will be online via Zoom with Otter AI captions. It will be recorded and published on the VASW website with BSL.

If you have any access needs that you would like to discuss directly, please contact lucy@vasw.org.uk.

Booking via Eventbrite, please see link on the right of this page.

About the Speakers:

Matt Burrows is the Curator and Gallery Manager at Exeter Phoenix, a multi-artform contemporary arts venue in Devon, UK that specialises in working with emerging and mid-career artists. He has over 30 years of experience working with contemporary art in project management, exhibition making and curating roles, in commercial, public and community settings. He also takes on a variety of freelance consultancy projects, mentoring and lecturing roles.

Anna Mankee-Williams has worked at Falmouth University since 2017 focusing on research that brings art and health together in an interdisciplinary space. Previously Anna worked in the NHS for 22 years, and subsequently the Local Authority for 11 years developing the health and wellbeing and partnership agenda. Anna’s research programmes include: The Connected Health Care project; The South West Centre of Excellence Satellite Applications; Springboard Studios; The Attune Project; CREATE – Creating research ecologies to advance transdisciplinary learning: Arts based programmes and the study of adolescent loneliness; Hear Me; and Reimagining Outpatients - Routes to Renewal in Outpatient Departments: A catalyst for change through autobiographical and transdisciplinary ethnography. Recent publications have focused on ethical issues in participatory arts, inequality and the digital divide, voices and research within care homes, unpaid carers and rurality and serious games within adolescent mental health.

Heather Peak is Artist/Artistic Director/CEO of DASH. DASH is a Disability Visual Arts organisation whose mission is to cultivate spaces for extraordinary artists. They work with artists, audiences, communities and organisations to challenge inequality and implement change. Heather is also known for her work as one half of the artist duo Heather Peak and Ivan Morison and is a Visiting Professor of fine art at UniArts, Helsinki. She has exhibited widely across the UK, Europe, Australasia, North and South America and Asia. Her work has been commissioned by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wysing Arts Centre, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Tate Modern, National Theatre of Wales, Vancouver Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and London’s Southbank Centre among many others. She also represented Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennial.

Christopher Samuel is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in identity and disability politics, often echoing the many facets of his own lived experience. Christopher’s work tells stories, often raising awareness of his experiences as a black disabled artist, missing representation within archives, and shared narratives from others in similar circumstances. This includes small detailed ink drawings, film, printing, research, and large installation-based work. https://www.christophersamuel.co.uk/

Part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA), a three year programme that includes professional development, commissioning, and support and resources. Find out more here https://vasw.org.uk/wevaa.