I have been invited to take part in residencies, appointed as writer in residence, and commissioned to create new work. This is 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 Commissions
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.
The film premiered on 10th September 2020 at 5pm at Durham Book Festival.
Following the success of Writing the Missing: A River Cycle, Journal Culture Awards winning Performance of the Year 2021, All At Sea pushes the boundaries of creative access, kindness and care in a continued creative partnership with Rob Irish.
Commissioned by Durham Book Festival and premiered 14th October 2021.
We’d love it if you would meet us at the waves.
I was commissioned by Pilot Theatre to write a monologue to be performed as part of Northern Girls. At our first meeting they asked if there was anything I would like when it came to casting:
‘Yes. I’d like to write a neurodivergent character, but only if you will cast a neurodivergent actor. Will you do that?”
They said yes.
Lemon Top is a moment in the life of neurodivergent Stella, as she prepares to give The Big Speech. It’s about being Northern, neurodivergent, learning how to fit in, to live with grief. I am really proud of this piece. Seeing her come to life on stage was a watershed moment for me, and I need to write more… Looking for an audition piece for a neurodivergent actor? Just ask me via the contact page and I will send it to you.
Towns and the Cultural Economies of Recovery
I worked with the University of Southampton to design a creative workshop for Darlington residents. We made zines together and followed prompts. I used the conversation generated throughout the session to create a lyrical essay – a poem – made up from the words which were spoken. You can read and listen to it on the website here.
The work will also be exhibited from November 2021 to the end of the year at Darlington Hippodrome Theatre, and in the waiting room at Darlington train station.
Kirkleatham Museum – Living Through Lockdown – Commission
Photographer Kev Howard and I were commissioned by Kirkleatham Museum to work in collaboration to create an exhibition about our experiences of living through the first UK lockdown in 2020.
Launched on the first anniversary of this occasion, 23rd March 2021, I am immensely proud of the work we created together, that it was a major commission for two disabled artists, and of the friendship we forged through this time. We still check in with each other every Friday.
Photos by Kev Howard. Words and readings by me.
DASH – Awkward B*stards at Home – Commission
I was commissioned by DASH to create a film for their strand of work commissioning disabled artists to explore their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It premiered on Friday 22nd January 2021 at 6pm.
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.
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. You can read it here.
The work was 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. You can read all the work, and listen to the podcasts and read their transcripts here.
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.
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.
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.
I used the paid time and space to R&D (research and develop) a new piece of theatre, write an essay about ‘Who is it for?’, to create a disability toolkit, and make a short film.
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 project to explore these questions.
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
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
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.
Darlington Wonders Commission
Commissioned by Creative Darlington, this commission was part of a call out to encourage residents of Darlington to respond to a creative brief about Darlington Wonders. I created a spoken word piece for the project which is in audio form and as a transcript on the website. There is also an interview with me talking about my creative process and how I came to make this piece. There are interviews and pieces of work by three other Darlington based artists working in different mediums. You can find out more about the project here.
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.
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.
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.
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.