Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by providing opportunities for disabled artists, training cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people, and through running participatory arts and development programmes.

Shape's main programme is the Shape Open, the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, the Shape Collection and our artist network. Shape also runs NDACA - the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive - and co-delivers arts-commissioning programme Unlimited with Artsadmin. In addition to this, we provide access auditing and training services to arts organisations. All of Shape's work is informed by the Social Model of Disability.

You can read and download our Annual Reviews here.


Our founding principle and philosophy is that all disabled people should have the opportunity to participate fully in arts and culture.

Vision – what we are working towards

An inspiring and inclusive arts sector, accessible to all 

Mission – how we will make it happen

We will promote great art and inclusive practices, knowledge and learning, to ensure that disabled people have active and influential roles in arts and culture - as leaders, artists, participants and audiences, and as part of a skilled workforce.

Values – the foundation of our beliefs and guiding purpose

  • Inclusion  
  • Ambition
  • Creativity  
  • Excellence

These values inform and drive our key strategic aims, detailed in their own section below. Our values are enshrined in all we plan, think and do.

Strategic aims and four year plan

Over the next four years, Shape Arts will build on our existing legacy by focussing on five strategic aims:  We will:

1. Work with cultural sector organisations towards promoting greater accessibility and inclusion – opening talent and audience pathways.

2. Raise the aspirations of disabled people wanting to work and lead in the cultural sector, providing high quality, accessible learning and development opportunities to support their careers.

3. Support disabled artists to achieve excellence and inspire a new generation of artists to emerge.

4. Improve the public perception of disabled artists and raise their profile across the UK and internationally, to diverse and growing audiences.

5. Lead with landmark and influential “game-changer” projects to build our creative and cultural reach, and continue to pioneer the way for disabled and diverse people who face barriers.

Artistic Statement

Our interaction with artists is central to our work, and we support and help to empower disabled artists working across a range of creative disciplines.

We provide professional development opportunities for artists, including mentoring schemes, workshops, talks and networking opportunities, and advice about raising your profile. We provide accessible exhibitions and showcase events, both live and online, where work can be received and recognised, challenged and championed, before diverse and growing audiences.

We are dedicated to working with emerging as well as established disabled artists. We are committed to inclusion and diversity, working with people of all ages and from a range of cultural and economic backgrounds. We run a rigorous and critically acclaimed programme of commissions, bursaries and awards, and are privileged to work with some of the boldest and best artistic and curatorial talent in the UK. Many of these award-winning artists go on to mentor younger or emerging artists within our programme.

We champion high quality art that is ambitious, challenging and intriguing. We celebrate the creative process as well as the finished product. We support the element of risk in making excellent art and we value creative ambition.

We encourage people to get in touch with us about any area of our programme. If you have any queries please contact us.

Creative Case for Diversity

As a disability-led organisation, we support Arts Council England's Creative Case for Diversity across our artistic programme. We do this by working with artists from every background and social group, and where possible encouraging collaboration between different disciplines and individuals. We also support our sector through provision of access training and auditing, by which means venues of every size and orientation can improve their ways of working with disabled artists, and improve the quality and accessibility of their offer to all disabled people, including their audiences. For more information about our training, please go to this link:


As part of an overall sustainability strategy, we work pro-actively in support of initiatives, whether creative, economic or practical, which have as their goal the sustainability of the environment. To find out more about our Environmental Policy, please go this to this link

Want to work with us? Have ideas to help us develop our programmes? Get in touch with the team via [email protected]