Written by Lyla Johnston

10 websites and resources for disabled and neurodivergent creatives

It’s estimated that 21% of the UK’s population and 15% of the world's population has a disability. Yet practically every industry has seen both people with disabilities and neurodivergent people left far behind their able-bodied and neurotypical compatriots. This is unfortunately just as common in the creative industries as it is elsewhere, but these 10 resources and websites are here to change just that. From databases for Black disabled creatives, to art workshops and summer schools, these resources show that disabled and neurodivergent people don’t need to be called “inspirational superheroes” to be recognised for their creative talents.

ThisAbility

Founded by Sulaiman Khan, ThisAbility helps socially conscious organisations focused on sustainability, technology, or design to diversify revenues by engaging the disabled market. They don’t stop there, however – they are currently looking for recipients of their Disability Radical Imagination Impact Fund, so if you consider yourself a disabled or neurodivergent creative regardless of your job, you can use the fund to help enrich your practice.

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CriticalAxis

CriticalAxis is a community driven project from The Disabled List that collects and analyses disability representation in media. Most of the critiques are about adverts from Maltesers to Microsoft, highlighting the tropes that amplify and stigmatise disabled voices. Even if you’re not disabled yourself, this website will make you take a second glance about how disabled and neurodivergent people are usually treated in media.

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Black Disabled Creatives

Founded last year by model and actress Jillian Mercado, Black Disabled Creatives “aim to not only offer an accessible platform for hiring personnel but to help bridge the divide for creatives with disabilities”. This comes in the form of a directory showcasing Black disabled creatives from all around the world. The website also has resources highlighting the fundamentals of web accessibility and various art organisations for disabled artists all over the world.

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Hart Club

Established in 2018, Hart Club’s mission is to champion neurodiversity within the arts. Their most notable endeavour is their three-month-long summer school for adults, Hart School. which has currently set up camp near Waterloo. You can also buy artwork by neurodivergent makers via their store, or make your own art on the website itself!

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Heart n Soul

Heart n Soul believe in the power and talents of people with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for people to discover, develop and share this power and talent as widely as possible. Their main focus is on disabled and neurodivergent visual artists and musicians, creating opportunities for them to collaborate, create and share their work both IRL and URL. They hold an art session every Friday, as well as a general “chat and draw” every Monday, all on Zoom.

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Mainspring Arts

Mainspring Arts is an organisation that works across artistic disciplines to provide opportunities for neurodivergent people. As well as creating workshops and providing mentoring, they recently released anthology In Other Words. The book, featuring multiple short stories by autistic writers, also includes a foreword by Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell. Mainspring has also provided playwriting workshops and opened up a digital museum featuring work by neurodivergent artists.

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Disability Arts Online

Disability Arts Online’s magazine and blog gives disabled artists a platform to share thoughts and images describing artistic practice, projects and inspiration. They also have a directory, featuring disabled creatives throughout various art forms and intersections that you can sort by, as well as a page featuring creative events and opportunities across the UK.

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DAISYFest

Short for Disability Arts in Surrey, DAISYFest is an organisation which promotes and celebrates the works of disabled artists and disability arts organisations in the county. As well as their bi-yearly festival, they have done sewing workshops, art competitions and an exhibition based on apple orchards.

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Shape Arts

Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by providing opportunities for disabled artists. This includes the Shape Open art exhibition, Unlimited mentoring scheme and the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, a catalogue of 3,500 photographs, films and posters bringing to life the heritage and rich history of the UK Disability Arts movement.

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Intoart

Since being founded in 2000, Intoart’s vision is for people with learning disabilities to be visible, equal and established artists. As well as having physical art and design studios at Peckham Levels, their artists have exhibited at Somerset House, the Whitechapel Gallery and the V&A Museum, amongst others.

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Written by Lyla Johnston