Shape Arts is a disability led arts organisation working to provide opportunities and support for disabled artists, as well as disabled individuals wanting to work in the arts and cultural sector.  Shape Arts also works with cultural organisations to encourage greater inclusiveness and better confidence in working with disabled people.

Below we have outlined our philosophy, guiding aims and principles.


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

 1. Inclusion

 2. Ambition

 3. Creativity

 4. 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 four strategic aims:  We will:

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

2. Raise the aspirations of disabled people wanting to work in the arts & cultural sector, encouraging ambition and talent to freely thrive

3. Provide high quality, accessible learning and development opportunities to support disabled artists and individuals in building sustainable careers

4. Promote excellent, inspiring art by disabled artists to diverse and growing audiences

noemi lakmaier installation

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 go to our contact page which is linked here:  Contact us.

Image: Noemi Lakmaier 'Experiment in Happiness'. Photo by Hannah Facey.

Video: 'Re-framing disability'. This short film formed part of an exhibition held by Shape in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians in 2011. 'Re-framing disability' explores a group of rare portraits from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and looks at their impact today through contemporary responses from 27 disabled participants from across the UK. The participants were invited to have photographic portraits taken and be filmed, forming part of the exhibition.


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