Media release: New opportunities to diversify cultural commentary

diverse critics image

Deadline for applications: Friday 20 January 2020

ASPIRING disabled arts writers and journalists are invited to join a new career development programme set up to increase the diversity of people working in the arts by improving access to career progression.

In a partnership between Scotland’s award-winning independent cultural magazine The Skinny, Disability Arts Online and Creative Scotland, the Diverse Critics programme is offering four bursaries to Scotland-based writers.

Taking place between February and June 2020, the programme will include one to one mentoring, writing assignments (across print and digital platforms), and workshops covering review and interview technique, opinion piece writing, and pitching strategies. The Skinny will publish participants’ work across its print and online editions alongside further paid opportunities for writing to be published on Disability Arts Online.

Creative Scotland’s Graham Reid said: “Professional arts criticism is an important element of the creative cycle, connecting work in the sector with audiences and providing artists with informed responses to their work. Creative Scotland are delighted to be partnering with Disability Arts Online and The Skinny for the mentoring of four emergent disabled writers, working across disability arts and the wider arts sector.”

Trish Wheatley, chief executive, Disability Arts Online, said: “Disabled people are massively underrepresented across the arts sector, and this is felt just as keenly within arts criticism. It’s our modus operandi to bring disability perspectives on arts and culture to make for a more vibrant, diverse and inclusive sector. That’s why we’re excited to be working with Creative Scotland and The Skinny to develop a cohort of new voices, building sustainable careers for them and bringing fresh perspectives for audiences.”

Peter Simpson, digital editor, The Skinny, said: “The Skinny celebrates creativity across the arts, from music to film to literature, and aims to encourage readers to engage with their local scenes whether that’s as artists, audiences or critics. The Skinny also understands the importance of bringing new voices into the fold and offering a platform for new ideas and perspectives, and is delighted to have the chance to present the work of the Diverse Critics in print and online.”

Applications can be made by sending an example of arts writing, a cover letter including an original idea for an opinion piece, feature or interview, and a short note explaining your interest in the programme, along with a full CV to by 17:00 on Friday 20 January 2020.

Photograph: courtesy of Disability Arts Online

Notes for editors:

Full application guidance and more information about the programme can be found on the Disability Arts Online website.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Follow us on Twitter @creativescots, Facebook and Instagram

Disability Arts Online is an arts organisation led by disabled people that occupies a unique global position with its UK-based website, social media network, partnership and consultancy work, artist development programmes, and vibrant community of disabled creatives. The website hosts high-quality editorial covering in-depth interviews, opinion, reviews, news, podcasts and videos, discussing arts and culture from a disability perspective. This gives disabled artists a place to talk about accessing the arts and to critique the development of artistic practice across all art forms. Disability Arts Online values the social model of disability as a tool which supports disabled artists to reclaim disability as an identity that challenges the experience of discrimination and/ or marginalisation.

The Skinny is one of Scotland’s leading culture, entertainment and listings magazines. Since 2005, The Skinny has offered an independent take on cultural life in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee through its free monthly magazine, website, social media channels, live events and special projects. In recent years, the magazine has collaborated with the likes of Edinburgh International Film Festival, Kelburn Garden Party and Hidden Door to champion new artistic talent. Pick up a copy of The Skinny at venues across Scotland, visit, and follow The Skinny on social media @theskinnymag

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