How can disabled artists change the ‘mainstream’ arts sector?


Watch the recorded ART session (with captions and BSL):

Watch the recorded ART session (with captions only)

For a flavour of responses on #UnltdSymposium, browse our Wakelet round-up




Andrew faces his head to the side towards the camera with a slight smile. He has dark hair and is wearing a shirt and jacket. There are plants and trees in the background. Andrew Miller is an arts producer, programmer and executive. He began his career in broadcasting as one of the first disabled presenters of mainstream British television with credits including ‘Boom!’ for Channel 4 and ‘Advice Shop’ for BBC1. Andrew went on to become a BAFTA and RTS award nominated producer and director of arts and music documentaries. Focussing his career in the arts, Andrew joined Arts Council England as Music Officer, becoming Head of Performing Arts in the West Midlands. Subsequently he established a new and highly successful arts centre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. In 2017 Andrew was Executive Associate at Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust (Royal & Derngate, Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Core at Corby Cube), a role created for him as one of Arts Council England’s first cohort of Changemakers. Uniquely, Andrew serves a National Council Member of both Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales and is also a non-executive director of UK digital arts development agency, The Space. In 2018 he was appointed as the Government’s first Disability Champion for the UK Arts & Culture Sector by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Read Chair Andrew Miller’s blog on the Art session




Lloyd Coleman is sitting on a red chair Lloyd has slick blond hair and is wearing glasses. Lloyd poses casually towards the camera Lloyd Coleman is a composer, clarinetist and Associate Music Director of the Paraorchestra and Friends, the Bristol-based hub responsible for the world’s only large-scale ensemble of disabled musicians, the British Paraorchestra. Lloyd plays an active role in supporting the organisation’s development, working closely with its founder and Artistic Director Charles Hazlewood. Lloyd’s music has been performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, among others. Born in South Wales, he won a place at Manchester’s Chetham’s School of Music before moving to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He now lives in Bristol.


Outi Salonlahti has long fair hair and is smiling at the camera in front of a patterned red and turquoise background.

Outi Salonlahti is a Bachelor in Cultural Management and a Master’s student of Cultural Policy in the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Outi is also Planner and Accessibility Advisor in the Culture for All Service, which promotes equality within the fields of art and culture in Finland. Outi is currently working on her Master’s thesis about the positionality that artists with disabilities and Deaf artists have within the Finnish art and culture field. The Master’s thesis has its roots in the work that Sari Salovaara and Culture for All have done with the so called ‘path of an artist model’. The aim of the study is to gain an insight into what opportunities and challenges people with disabilities are experiencing in their careers as artists.


Sari Salovaara has short grey and light brown hair and is wearing purple rimmed glasses. She has a closed smile and it wearing a yellow jacket standing in front of a colourful mottled background.Sari Salovaara has MA in Art Education and works as Senior Specialist at Culture for All Service in Helsinki, Finland. Culture for All Service promotes equality within the art and culture field. She has a history within the disability movement. Sari is involved with Finnish national policy making and chaired the Disabled people and Culture Committee between 2003–2005. Sari attended the Cultural Inclusion work group 2010-2012, in the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, as an expert member. Most recently, Sari has been exploring the career possibilities that disabled people have in the arts in Finland. Using a so called ‘path of an artist model’ Culture for All Service highlights the factors that influence a disabled person’s involvement in the arts during her or his lifetime.


A black and white photo os Mark looking at the camera. He is wearing a white shirt and jacket with a badge on the lapelMarc Steene is the Director of Outside In. He established the project in 2006 and continues to oversee it. An experienced figure in gallery and museum learning and engagement, Marc is a strategic thinker, partnership broker and leader in his field. He is highly innovative and creative and has the skills needed to realise and manage ambitious and ground-breaking projects. Marc sees his work as enabling people’s creativity, challenging concepts as to who is an artist and what art is. He seeks to create a fairer art world where a wider body of artists are recognised and have the opportunity to have their work seen and valued and gain opportunity in the art world. Marc has been responsible for the programming and curating of acclaimed exhibitions of outsider, modern, historic, international and contemporary art, and for the presentation and interpretation of one of the most significant collections of Modern British art in the country.


Jess has short black curly hair. She is wearing a blue jumper and has one hand to her face. Jess has lepoard skin gloves on and is a wheelchair userJess Thom is co-founder of Touretteshero, an Artist, Playworker, and expert Fundraiser. Jess has had tics since she was a child but wasn’t diagnosed with Tourettes until she was in her twenties. With some encouragement from her friends, Jess decided to turn her tics into a source of imaginative creativity and the Touretteshero project was born.






Jo Verrent stands at a podium speaking into a microphone. She is wearing a navy shirt with colourful circles on, a pari of dark rimmed glasses and her hair is dark grey.Jo Verrent believes that ‘different’ is delicious not divergent. She works in arts and culture at strategic levels embedding the belief that diversity adds texture, turning policy into real action. Jo is the Senior Producer for Unlimited – the world’s largest commissions programme for disabled artists. Unlimited is a programme delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin, working with partners Arts Council, Arts Council Wales, Southbank Centre, Tramway, Spirit of 2012 and British Council. Jo created a video installation –Take Me to Bed – with Luke Pell, which won Best Work in Festival in Limerick Light Moves and tours internationally. Working with Sarah Pickthall, Jo created SYNC – examining the interplay between disability and leadership which has run in UK, Australia and Korea. Jo has won both Cosmopolitan’s Woman of Achievement Award and her village’s cup for making jam. She is on the Northern Advisory Panel for Arts Council England and regularly advises on access. Jo is a Clore Fellow.

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