Diverse Critics: Four writers selected for scheme

Four emerging writers have been selected for the Diverse Critics scheme from Disability Arts Online, Creative Scotland and The Skinny

Article by The Skinny | 12 Feb 2020
  • Diverse Critics

At The Skinny, we're always excited to hear from new voices, and to offer a platform for people to share their analysis on the artistic world around them. That's why we're so pleased to be involved in the Diverse Critics scheme, a new collaboration with Disability Arts Online and Creative Scotland to support four aspiring Scotland-based disabled arts writers and journalists.

After an open call for applicants, four writers have been selected for the scheme – they'll receive a bursary, mentoring, training, and we're pleased to say we'll be publishing their work in The Skinny both in print and online. Disability Arts Online will also provide additional paid writing opportunities for the quartet.

In naming the four critics, Graham Reid, Equalities and Diversity Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Professional arts criticism is an important element of the creative cycle. As well as the artists and companies creating and presenting new work, it is vital that those critical voices are representative of the diversity within our society. This pilot project aims to help remove some of the barriers met by emerging disabled writers but is also about recognising the value of a rich diversity of perspective for readers, audiences and artists.”

Here are the four writers selected for the Diverse Critics scheme...

Julie Farrell

A disabled writer and accessibility consultant based in Edinburgh, Julie Farrell writes fiction and narrative non-fiction. Her young adult novel Fractal received a special mention from the Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award 2019. Disability, mental health and equality are prominent themes in her work.

Farrell says: “I believe in the power of positive language in making the arts inclusive to those with disabilities, and arts criticism is an excellent way to deliver this. This programme offers everything I need to step up my journalism career, and the fact it’s being delivered by people who understand my needs gave me the confidence to apply.”

Samar Ziadat

An early career freelance curator, educator and activist based in Glasgow, Samar Ziadat is the director of Dardishi Festival and currently works as an arts programmer at Glasgow Zine Library and the Scottish Queer International Film Festival.

Ziadat says: “I’m currently in the process of expanding my portfolio to include arts writing. This programme provides the perfect opportunity for me to gain the confidence, skills, contacts, feedback and mentorship to take this step forward in my career – especially as a politically-engaged queer disabled woman of colour.”

Emily Rueggeberg

Emily Rueggeberg is an art historian specialising in Modern and Contemporary Art, with a focus on Feminist and Performance Art. She was the Curatorial Fellow for the Hawn Gallery in Dallas, Texas (2017-18), and has curated exhibitions on queer culture, zines and the darknet.

Rueggeberg says: “Being accepted onto the Diverse Critics programme is an exciting opportunity for me to strengthen my critical writing skills so that I may continue to support marginalised artists and achieve my goal of improved inclusivity in the arts.”

Katie Driscoll

Katie Driscoll is a writer for Starburst Magazine, and recently completed an MA in Film Programming and Curating. Her areas of interest include the intersection of feminism and the horror/exploitation genre, artists’ film and moving image, and punk culture in the 1980s.

Driscoll says: “I still find networking and pitching daunting, and I hope the support of the programme gives me a sense of inspiration and structure in sharing my ideas with others and learning to turn my creativity into coherent pitches, then translating them into something people want to read.”