Commissions and Residencies

I’ve been truly fortunate to have been invited to take part in residencies, appointed as writer in residence, and commissioned to create new work. On this page you can read a brief summary of some of the most recent work I’ve created, and the people and organisations I’ve worked alongside.

For further information, or if you’re interested in how we could work together, please contact me.

Durham Book Festival Film Commission

I was commissioned by Durham Book Festival to create a film based on my New Narratives of the North East commission, ‘Writing the Missing: A River Cycle’. I have written, produced, directed and performed in the film, and have also been in the position to be able to commission three new pieces of work in response. These are from extraordinary North East disabled artists Bex Bowsher, Sarah Crutwell  and Vici Wreford-Sinnott. Working with filmmaker, Rob Irish, I have transposed from page to film, creating something new. In a beautiful, startling and mesmeric lyrical dialogue with my brain, the river and the sea, I weave together character and setting to provoke debate and action: 25% of people in the North East are disabled, why do we not take up that cultural space?

With captions, BSL interpretation and audio description embedded from the beginning, this film shows the power of disability arts; that access is a right, a right which leads to creative freedom, innovation and wonder.

You can come and meet me online, by the river for the premiere on 10th September 2020 at 5pm. Tickets and more details are available here.


New Narratives for the North East Commission

Fifteen writers have been commissioned to create new work about the North East in an ambitious project from New Writing North and the North East Culture Partnership.

photo description: turquoise background, blue text reads 'In order to thrive we need strong narratives and stories, which help shape our collective imagination.'
photo description: turquoise background, blue text reads ‘In order to thrive we need strong narratives and stories, which help shape our collective imagination.’

My commission is a collision of poetry, verbatim text from interviews I’ve conducted, lyrical essay and manifesto looking at disability arts and crip culture in the North East, how we do not take up enough cultural space, and linking this to an ambitious form based on a river cycle.

The work will be presented in a variety of forms from autumn 2020, including as essays, films, podcast episodes, and as part of a special digitally-focused Durham Book Festival, before being collected in an anthology to be published in 2021.

Here you can read more about the work, and the other commissioned writers.


The Puffin Book of Big Dreams Commission

I was commissioned by Penguin Random House UK to write a story for their flagship Puffin 80th birthday anthology THE PUFFIN BOOK OF BIG DREAMS. My story, THE GANG, is wonderfully illustrated by the incredible Elisa Paganelli.

Publishing 3rd September 2020, you can pre-order the book and find out more about the project HERE.


FIELD Residency

FIELD took place as a conversational residency between 15 and 26 June 2020. I was one of 14 northern freelance artists who were chosen to work alongside Katherina and Alister from the extraordinary theatre company Two Destination Language. We spent a fortnight together in the virtual Kitchen (where the best bits happen on a residency) and in Conversation. For the Conversation we were joined by those who work for organisations and NPOs. You can find out more about the residency here and watch our final ‘WHAT IF?’ conversation.

FIELD NOTES, a publication based on our time together, is available here to buy a print copy and to read for free online.

the cover for FIELD NOTES illustrated by Katherina Radeva in stunning green and pink brush strokes with the names of all the contributing writers.
image description: the cover for FIELD NOTES illustrated by Katherina Radeva in stunning green and pink brush strokes with the names of all the contributing writers.

Little Cog Staging Our Futures Commission – Writing/Righting the Missing

In July 2020 I was awarded one of three Staging Our Futures commissions by the incredible disabled led theatre company Little Cog and funded by Arts Council England.

Lisette is wearing ringmistress costume, a top hat and a paper moustache. photo credit -taken at the Disconsortia DIY Cabaret by Kev Howard
photo description: Lisette is wearing ringmistress costume, a top hat and a paper moustache. photo credit -taken at the Disconsortia DIY Cabaret by Kev Howard

You can read the announcement of the commission here.

Little Cog Staging Our Futures commissions are aimed at disabled theatre makers who are pushing boundaries, questioning the world we live in and delivering powerful performance work. We want to support vibrant and pioneering artists who make work that provokes, excites and engages audiences.

This commission will buy me time and space to research and develop Writing/Righting the Missing as a one-woman piece of accessible theatre. It will be radical, wild, challenging, quiet, kind and brave. It will push me as a performer and a writer. It will be creatively accessible, built in as part of the creative process right from concept.

Please help me to Write/Right the Missing! Please would you use the contact form and send me your missing. This could be something you physically miss, something personal, something you feel you’re missing from. It could be any of those things or none of those things. I promise to keep your missing safe and anonymous and to use it with care and kindness. You can read more about it on my blog.


Disconsortia – At The Table Commission

How do I grow and evolve as an artist, if I know what it is when I begin, if I already know I can do it? How can I be bold and leap? I am using this artistic commission from Disconsortia’s At The Table projectto explore these questions.

photo description - four wooden pawns, pieces from a board game, in dark purple, cerise, orange and yellow.
photo description – four wooden pawns, pieces from a board game, in dark purple, cerise, orange and yellow.

This commission gives me time, space and money for a R&D phase for the beginnings of a workshop, or a something, which can provide a tool kit/space for others to safely and bravely fail. So far it seems to want to be in the form of a board game…


Courtauld Institute of Art Commission

I was commissioned by the Courtauld Institute of Art to respond, through poetry, to work from their collection that relates to art and food. This was performed as part of [ONLINE] Open Courtauld Hour: The Art of Feasting on 18th June 2020.

The film is available below. My section begins at 50 mins. Please watch the entire episode which contains a staggering amount of information and thought presented by incredible women. Captions can be found by clicking the button bottom right of the screen.


2019 Early Career Residency for Literature at Cove Park by the Fenton Trust

photo description: I'm sitting at my desk in my studio, wearing a purple cardigan. The desk has a lamp, laptop and phone, a mug with a lipstick mark and lots of parers and pens on it. In the background you can see through the window to an adjacent hobbit hut with grass growing on its sloped roof. photo credit: Alan Dimmick
photo description: I’m sitting at my desk in my studio, wearing a purple cardigan. The desk has a lamp, laptop, phone, a mug with a lipstick mark and lots of parers and pens on it. In the background you can see through the window to an adjacent hobbit hut with grass growing on its sloped roof. photo credit: Alan Dimmick

In September 2019 I had the incredible experience of being awarded a three week funded and paid residency at Cove Park, a rural idyll on Scotland’s west coast, where I lived and worked alongside international artists from many different disciplines. I took part in Cove Park’s open day by holding a reading and spoken word performance. I used the time to write a draft of my novel, and to focus my time on reading, making books, and working out what I wanted to do next in my career. There is never any time to focus on the latter as a freelancer, and I was especially grateful for that opportunity. It also made me realise how important my own space was, so on my return home I found myself a studio. The time living, creating and talking with other artists was invaluable, a huge turning point for me. I returned more determined, and I knew I was a writer. I would go back in a heartbeat. I’ve never known so much sky.

Cove Park is an international artists residency centre located on an outstanding rural site on Scotland’s west coast. Our residencies support the development of new work by national and international artists, groups and organisations working in all art forms.”


Between Waves – Residency with Archipelago

dsc_0040+ archipelago with lisette auton @cobaltstudios 'between waves #3' 11th october 2018 © ken drew bw
Archipelago with guest Lisette Auton @cobaltstudios.ouseburn ‘Between Waves #3’ 11th October 2018 © Ken Drew

BETWEEN WAVES was an exciting new project exploring the possibilities of collaboration and the creativity of female artists with award winning jazz band, Archipelago. Archipelago performed a series of special concerts in their home town of Newcastle upon Tyne, featuring four specially selected guest performers and presenting brand new music devised with those artists during an intensive 2-day rehearsal. Through this process of sharing, learning and creating together we discovered new ways of working with music and explored new perspectives on creativity with our new friends, our audience and ourselves.


Disconsortia Commission and Residency

Disconsortia is a North East consortium of extraordinary disabled artists. As part of Disability Arts Online’s Electric Bodies project I was appointed Writer in Residence for their inaugural two-day event and commissioned to write both a lyrical essay and create a brand new character and performance piece to headline at the DIY Crip Cabaret – the Northern Crip Mistress.

You can read the commissioned lyrical essay here.


Crossing the Tees Book Festival Residency and Commission

Crossing the Tees is an annual two week book festival programmed by the libraries which make up the Tees Valley. I was appointed Poet in Residence and designed and delivered a masterclass and workshops for both adults and school children. I attended lots of events and was commissioned to write a poetry collection about my experience of the festival, INK FLOWS, which is available here.


MIMA Residency and Commissions

MIMA (Middlesbrough Institue of Modern Art) appointed me as Writer in Residence and during this time I created their schools literacy programme and a poem, LAYERS which is in response to a painting called FORTRENN by Kirkland Main and hangs in their gallery.

In my ongoing relationship with MIMA I have also been commissioned to create further pieces of work such as THE ROADS ARE WIDE, for the LIKE project; Community Charters which were exhibited at the Walthamstow Art Assembly; and WHO ARE WE, a lyrical essay.


Apples and Snakes Commission

Apples and Snakes commissioned me to write, illustrate and perform a pecha kucha style performance – 40 timed images projected on screen accompanied by a live spoken word performance.

Lisette Auton – Other Mothers
When people with disabilities are routinely sterilised, is a eugenically purified world just around the corner? How does the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ hold up today? In the era of Trump, are women’s reproductive rights regressing? Do you have to have a child to be a mother??


Luxi ltd. Commission

Luxi Ltd. commissioned me, with support from Arts Council England’s emergency recovery package, to write an article about access as kindness. It focuses on how online meetings leave a huge part of the population behind, and are inaccessible for numerous reasons, and a provocation to do better.

You can read ‘The Inaccessibility of the Future (or, What To Do When You Just Can’t Zoom) here.


Belonging Commission

I was commissioned by the Dorman Museum to work with a local group of older people to look at the work of David Watson. From this workshop I created a new poem which was exhibited in written and audio form at the exhibition.


For further information, or if you’re interested in how we could work together, please contact me.

Other commissions I’ve undertaken are listed on the Project Portfolio page.