Online platform set up for ill and disabled artists

Published: 27 June 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Providing tangible support: Katie Walters of Radical Body Credit: Nicola Young

Coventry-based disability arts organisation Radical Body has started an online platform designed to connect and support disabled and chronically ill artists and audiences.

Hosted on Facebook, The Radical Body Network will provide a virtual space for housebound and nearly housebound performing artists to meet, collaborate, share their work and offer each other feedback and support.

Set up by performance poet Katie Walters, Radical Body is supported by the Belgrade Theatre’s Springboard talent development programme which offers three years of tailored support to new companies and emerging performing artists.

Initially, the platform will be used primarily for discussion, with regular conversations, weekly check-ins and a monthly community call. There will also be space for sharing creative opportunities and a chance to get assistance with applications.

In future, it will be used to host virtual masterclasses and open mic nights with a view to producing work that integrates live-streamed and in-person performances.

Walters said, “as an emerging artist I found it incredibly difficult to access resources designed to support people starting out in their career. There are also a lot of things you’re expected to do, like getting out and consuming as much art as possible, going to open mic nights, meeting people and having the confidence to sell yourself to them.

“I’ve always struggled with those things because I’m autistic. About three years ago I developed a debilitating chronic illness which made things I’d already been finding difficult straight-up impossible.

“We’re a very small team and we’re not currently receiving any funding. For the time being we’ll be making every effort to provide tangible support, so if you’re a singer, dancer, actor, writer or anything in between, don’t be afraid to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.”