Open Call – Empowered: Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent Artists


Bradford Producing Hub presents, Empowered – a wide-spanning programme of projects, workshops and events focusing on artist and ally empowerment, training and development. 

Empowered: Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent Artists is part of a wider series focussing on supporting, responding to the needs of, and ultimately empowering marginalised artists. The programme launched back in November 2022 with Empowered: Black and Global Majority Artists, was followed by a series for LGBTQIA+ artists, and now returns to collaborate with deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists.

Application Deadline:
11 AM on Monday 2 October 2023

If you need to receive the information on this page in a different format, please email us at


25 - 27 October 2023

What time?

10 AM - 5 PM


Mind the Gap


Bursary places are also available

If you need support with your application, please email us at
About the programme

Empowered: Deaf. Disabled and Neurodivergent Artists is a free programme which will take place across 3 days in October 2023.

The project aims to create a safe space to share experiences, hopes and wishes for the industry, while acknowledging specific challenges and opportunities for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists. 

We aim for these sessions to be a place to connect, spark creativity and inspiration, and collect insights that will inform our ‘Make the Change’ allyship strand of work, which, alongside our Artist Charter is part of our mission to develop and sustain a strong and inclusive arts sector in Bradford and beyond.

Is this for me?

Bradford Producing Hub are seeking 15 established or aspiring artistic leaders identifying as disabled and/or neurodivergent.

Participants will:

  • Be a deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent identifying artist or creative from any artform
  • Be from Bradford, Yorkshire or the North (Bradford applicants will be prioritised)
  • Have some experience of the arts industry with an ambition to become a future creative leader
  • Be engaged and interested in productive conversations about their identity, and receiving training to support their future ambitions in creating a more inclusive industry
  • Be interested in collaboration, connecting with, and supporting other deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent artists both locally and on a larger scale.
What we provide

The 15 selected artists will be eligible for bursaries to attend, plus access and travel costs to participate in each of the sessions, see our FAQs below for more information. Meals will also be provided.

Following this series, we will continue to nurture marginalised artists through our Empowered and Series of Care programmes, as well as through our other training and networking events. We will continue to listen to the needs of marginalised artists, and respond to these findings within our Make The Change allyship strand of work and our Artists Charter. 

About the programme schedule

Applicants are ideally expected to attend all sessions. The sessions will be-led by Alexandra Whiteley, an experienced artist with lived experience of disability and of advocating for themselves and other artists while making institutional change in the arts.

Session 1: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: What we need from the industry 

Date: Wednesday 25 October 2023
Time: 10 AM – 5 PM
Location: Mind the Gap

This session will find productive ways to hold space for collective and individual lived experiences. There will be a focus on how this discussion can be distilled and put to use through:

  • informing allies on the reality of our lived experiences
  • offering ways for them to be more lucid and accountable when implementing anti-discrimination in their programming, artist development, and general interactions with disabled and/or neurodivergent artists

The session will also hold space to dream

  • what would our ideal artistic work look like? 
  • who would be leading and making? 
  • what art would be made? 
  • how can we reach those goals collectively and individually?

Join us to collaborate, brainstorm, and reflect on how we can move forward together.

Session 2: Creating Community: how we nurture the creativity of ourselves and others

Date: Thursday 26 October 2023
Time: 10 AM – 5 PM
Location: Mind the Gap

This session will focus on how we can build each other up as artists and support each other. We’ll also examine the goals, paths, and trajectories we envision for our individual careers, and places in the industry overall. 

The discussions, ideas, and provocations will be captured through a zine making workshop led by local artist, YAYA.

Session 3: Hear from the leaders and your reflections

Date:  Friday 27 October 2023
Time: 10 AM – 5 PM
Location: Mind the Gap

This session will consist of sessions, talks and Q&A’s with leading disabled and neurodivergent artists from across the arts sector, working in a range of artforms and from a range of backgrounds. 

Go and See trip: TBC

We love to add a trip to go and see new work to our programmes, and these are always an inspiring and bonding experience for our cohorts. Details of this trip will be confirmed either before the programme commences or decided as a cohort for a later date. 

Apply now!

Applications close at 11 AM on Monday 2 October 2023

If you need support with your application, please email us at

Meet the facilitators
Alex is a white female with black hair with a heavy fringe. She is wearing a red polka dot scarf in her hair, black glasses and red lipstick.

Alexandra Whiteley

Is the lead facilitator

Alexandra is a disabled director and dramaturg, and recently competed a year as a member of Sheffield Theatres Bank Cohort. While her specialism is in Shakespeare and classical text, she has also worked extensively in new writing and horror both as a director and dramaturg and has a keen interest in accessible work (in particular BSL and integrated audio description).

Alexandra is also an experienced facilitator, devising and delivering workshops from primary school age to drama school level. She also works as an access consultant and as Safeguarding and Access Lead for Radical Body Arts.

Katrina Woolley

Will be providing wellbeing support across the programme

Katrina is a chronically ill producer and facilitator of work that explores the relationship between performance and wellbeing.

She is the founder of Big Mind Theatre and Sightlines Festival, has worked with companies including Utopia Theatre and MAYA Productions, and was previously a supported artist at Sheffield Theatres, where she ran a creative affinity space for other chronically ill theatre-makers.

She also works as a Support Worker and Youth Engagement Officer for mental health charity, Young Minds. Katrina has loved every opportunity she has had to come together creatively with other disabled people, so is very excited to be involved in BPH’s Empowered programme.

Jenn Wilson

Will lead The Consent Compass session on Day 1

Jenn is a performing artist, producer, writer, instigator and entertainer.

Jenn is the founder of the International Day of Consent, Chair of Happy Valley Pride and leader of The Irregular Way. Jenn has lived and worked in Bradford for over 3 decades, engaging with communities and making innovative performance work, including infamous genderqueer drag persona Mysti Valentine.

Jenn will be bringing their professional practice as a therapeutic coach and her lived experience of neurodivergence, queerness, creating and facilitating, to hold space for the group and individuals taking part.

Illustration of YAYA by YAYA. They have black curly hair, glasses and are holding paper and pencils


Will host the zine making session on Day 2

YAYA AKA ‘The Street Autist’ is a street artist and illustrator from Bradford. 

They are currently the Artist in residence for Bradford’s The Party People Project. 

YAYA’s illustrations have featured in campaigns for Amnesty and they primarily create work about equity and Autism.

See YAYA on Instagram

See YAYA’s website


To apply, please complete this form. Answers can be submitted by typing directly into the form. Some of the questions can by answered by uploading a video or audio file. To help you prepare your application, some of the questions are listed below. 

We will confirm your place week commencing 9 October 2023, please pencil the progamme session dates in your diary when making your application.

If you need to submit your application another way, please email us at

To help you prepare your application, we have listed some of the application questions below:

  1. What would you offer by being part of the Empowered: Disabled and Neurodivergent Artists group?
    What would you gain by being part of it?
    Feel free to tell us about your experience, or the experience you wish to gain and what interests you about this programme
  2. Do you have any access needs we need to consider so that you can attend the in-person and online events?
    You will be able to upload you access rider if you prefer
  3. We’d like to know a bit about you and your background.
    In your own words, please state below how you identify. Please tell us about as many of the following areas as you feel comfortable with: Age, gender, ethnicity, class, education level and disabilities.

Wellbeing support will be available during and after the sessions. The Mind the Gap team will provide support to any of their students attending the programme. We will also provide any accommodate needs you may have to enable you to participate in the programme.

We can provide bursaries, access and travel costs to enable you to attend this programme. Please let us know what you need on confirmation of your place.

Bursaries are a contribution towards your time to help you attend when you might otherwise be working. You can claim up to £75 per day.

Access costs are for additional costs you may have to pay to enable you to attend; things like disability support, translation, or childcare. 

Travel costs are to help you with the costs of travel to our events using public transport. 

We do not means-test or ask you to prove that you need this financial support, but we need to agree in advance what costs we will cover (wherever possible), and will ask you to provide receipts to claim costs back from us. We can reimburse your travel costs for the sessions on standard class public transport (bus or train) – you will need to provide us with a receipt, so please keep hold of this. If you need to take a taxi, please get in touch with us as we’ll need to approve this in advance.

The work created during the marginalised artists series will inform our Empowered: Make the Change allyship strand of work. 

It will also inform the Artists Charter we are developing. This will be an empowerment and accountability toolkit for the arts and cultural sector and the freelancers, artists and staff who make it.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your application before applying, please email us at

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