Help us buy a new kiln!

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We need to buy a new kiln in order to continue our successful ceramics programme for learning disabled artists and participants.

Please share this link to our Crowdfunding page to find out more and donate. Thank you!

Ceramics plays a key role in our workshops and we run six classes a week form our studio in Hulme and often run outreach projects in the local community. Clay is a fantastic tool for creative engagement and lots of our participants love working with it to create functional and sculptural works. However we are in desperate need of a new kiln to continue with our ceramic work.

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Student Volunteering Week 2017: Christian Sinclair – Guest Blog – Manchester Community Central.

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“I’d highly recommend volunteering to anyone!”

Christian volunteered with us and worked with us during one of our Schools Projects as Assistant Facilitator. He helped us create stop-motion animations and helped our participants to edit the footage for an exhibition Techno-colour, recently exhibited at The Lowry, Salford Quays.

Here you can read his guest blog about his experience for Volunteer Centre Manchester – Official Student Volunteering Week here. Thanks Christian!…


Creative Minds North Conference 2017

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Venture Arts are proud to be leading on Creative Minds North Conference with Creative Minds Project on the 15th of June 2017 at HOMEmcr, Manchester.

Creative Minds North is the fourth regional disability led conference in the UK produced by Carousel and Venture Arts in collaboration with the following organisations from across the region: Mind the Gap Theatre(Bradford); DIY Theatre Company (Manchester); The Lawnmowers Independent Theatre Company (Newcastle); TIN Arts (Durham); More Music (Morecambe); Blue Room at the Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool); Dark Horse Theatre UK (Huddersfield);  Prism Arts (Lancaster) and Headway Arts (Northumberland).

The conference will continue the discussion about how art is created by people with learning disabilities and the way this art is talked about, created and presented.

The main themes for our first conference of 2017 are:
– How do we create great art?
– What does the term professional mean?
– How can the work be best described and discussed?
– How can we help the wider arts world to commission work?

At the conference you can see performance, film and visual work and take part in discussions. Artists will present their work and there will be opportunities to talk or address the conference themes in a variety of accessible ways.

Creative Minds brings together artists and performers with learning disabilities and a range of people from the wider arts world to look at quality, leadership, inclusion and collaboration.

If you have any questions about group bookings or access issues please contact the Venture Arts team on or call on 0161 232 1223.

Get your early bird tickets here: 

For more information please see their website:


OutsiderXchanges at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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Exhibition: OutsiderXchanges at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art


Venture Arts presents an exhibition of works produced throughout the OutsiderXchanges project at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art from 1-31 October 2016 (previewing Friday 30 September).


Over the past 7-months, OutsiderXchanges, a visual arts project based on collaboration, reciprocal learning and creative exchange has brought together six learning disabled artists and six contemporary visual artists in one studio space. Taking parity of ideas and aesthetic approaches as a starting point the resulting works blur the line between art and life, inviting the viewer to challenge their own conceptions of art and what might be considered ‘outsider’ art.


New works developed throughout the project will now be exhibited at the Quay Gallery, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Materials and documents will also be exhibited alongside the final works to reveal the relationships, work, play, and collaboration that led to the final outcomes.


Artists involved in the project include: Juliet Davis, Barry Anthony Finan, Matt Girling, Jane Louise Graham, David James, Sophie Lee, Sarah Lee, Horace Lindezey, Simon Raven, Rosanne Robertson, Leslie Thompson and acclaimed artist Tanya Raabe-Webber.


The exhibition previews on Friday 30 September, 6pm-8pm and will feature an ‘Art Party’ with a live performance by experimental sound art band ‘The Psychedelic Brain Cells’ plus special guest appearances from Rudolph Walker, British Bulldog and Sue Nicholls! There might even be some ham and crisps, chocolates, carrots and hummus and possibly even pineapple on sticks and celebration cake!…..


Coinciding with the exhibition, Venture Arts presents the Symposium: Collaboration in Practice that will bring speakers from leading organisations across the UK together, to share their experiences of collaboration in contemporary disability visual art practice including; Amanda Sutton, Director, Venture Arts, Manchester; Ruth Gould, Director, DadaFest International; Tanya Raabe-Webber, Artist; Charlotte Hollinshead, Artist Facilitator, Action Space, London; Elisabeth Gibson, Executive Artistic Director, Project Ability, Glasgow; Shan Edwards, Chief Executive/Artistic Director, The Art House, Wakefield. During the day there will also be interactive and multimedia presentations of the work by the 12 artists involved in Venture Arts project OutsiderXchanges.

Taking place on the 18th of October at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, from 10am – 4pm.

During the day there will also be interactive and multimedia presentations of the work by the 12 artists involved in Venture Arts project OutsiderXchanges.

Book you’re free tickets HERE

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

For access requirements please contact –

Fundraising Consultant required

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Venture Arts is currently seeking an arts fundraising professional to undertake a four month targeted fundraising drive for specific initiatives, until January 2017.

We are looking for someone who has experience and success in securing funds from Trusts and foundations, Arts Council England, and the Big Lottery.

The brief will require a targeted approach and a minimum of 10 applications to trusts and foundations, alongside supporting other major bids to larger funding bodies.

We estimate that the time required will be approximately 1.5 days per week .

  • Proven experience and a recent track record of success in raising significant funds from trusts, foundations and institutions.
  • Proven success in applying for funding to a range of organisations including large institutional funders such as Arts Council England, Comic Relief, Big Lottery, Children in Need etc.
  • A good knowledge and understanding of the voluntary sector funding environment and available income streams.
  • An excellent knowledge of fundraising in the arts.



Please send a CV and expression of interest, no longer than two sides of A4, along with a proposed fee for the consultancy, stating if it includes VAT and/or expenses, to Amanda Sutton by email ( by no later than 7th September 2016, with a view to the work starting on 19th September.


Funded by Cabinet Office’s Local Sustainability Fund and delivered by Big Lottery Fund

Venture Arts Secures £147,000 of Art Council England’s Elevate Funding

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Arts Council England Logo

Venture Arts is delighted to announce that it has secured £147,000 funding from the Arts Council England’s Elevate Fund, which aims to strengthen the resilience of organisations who are working towards the creative case for diversity.

The funding will be used over the next 18 months to build on the progressive work Venture Arts do in the North West to support and promote learning disabled artists, and continue to champion equality, diversity and artistic excellence in contemporary visual arts.

Developments will include a new studio space in addition to the current studio in Hulme, Manchester, which will allow more emerging artists to develop their own personal practice and work with other lead artists in the field. This grant will also help the organisation to diversify its income streams to become a stronger more resilient organisation in order to grow and develop its artistic programme reaching out across the North of England

Amanda Sutton, Director of Venture Arts said: “We are over the moon to receive this funding from Arts Council England. With our current ACE funded project OutsiderXchanges already in progress, this feels like the perfect time to build on the momentum and springboard our organisation into an exciting future.

Our OutsiderXchanges project will be presented at The Manchester Contemporary in September. Our other plans include a symposium on Tuesday 18 October, hosted at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts, to discuss collaborative practice in contemporary visual art, and present the work of emerging artists both with and without learning disabilities. We’re really excited about embarking on further projects and reaching a wider audience with our work.”

Howard Rifkin, Chair of the Board of Trustees said: “This funding marks an exciting and ambitious new phase for Venture Arts. It will enable the organisation to offer further opportunities to emerging and exciting visual artists in the North West. It also enables our team to share their best practice with other leaders in the field, to work towards a greater diversity in the visual arts on a national level.”

Book your free tickets for –  Symposium BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art: Collaboration in Practice  HERE

(Tickets are limited)

Sign up to our newsletter HERE

For more information about this and other projects Venture Arts are developing please contact Amanda Sutton / Emma Bosworth on /  or call on 0161 232 1223. 

OutsiderXchangeS Update

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OutsiderXchanges is a pioneering collaborative visual arts project that Venture Arts has initiated in partnership with Castlefield Gallery and Baltic centre for Contemporary Arts. Supported by Arts Council England, OutsiderXchanges brings together learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists in a shared art space to explore collaborative practice and create new work.

All the artists are now half way through this experimental arts project and we were delighted to invitemembers of the public into the space on Saturday 28th May as part of Chorlton Arts Festival at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces, Chorlton. The day was a great success as the public were given the unique opportunity to meet the artists and see the artistic collaborative developments. The day including a live drawing of the event by Leslie Thompson, Horace Lindezey interviewing willing participants about ‘School Days’ with collaborating artist Juliet Davis. If you would like to hear more about these interviews check out Manifest Arts Podcast from the day here.  David James and Matt Girling also shared their artistic practice and collaborative ideas on the day too.
Here is a small video of the studio
Read OutsiderXchangeS Press Release
Keep up with the project via the blog here

New Job Opportunity- Business Development and Fundraising officer at Venture Arts

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It is an exciting time in our organisational development and, as a result, we are seeking an experienced Business Development and Fundraising Officer to enable the organisation to consolidate and expand its work through a more diversified funding portfolio. Reporting to the Manager and board, you will take responsibility for raising funds from trusts, grants, institutional funders and private donors. Consequently, we need a person with a proven track record in researching, collating, preparing and submitting multiple grant/funding application forms along with strong monitoring and evaluation skills. You must possess a high level of written English with well-developed communication skills. You will be prospecting, building and maintaining relationships with funders and funding bodies.
Remuneration Package:
Fixed term one year contract with possible extension beyond this subject to funding.
Salary £27,000 per annum (pro rata).
Hours: 30 hours per week based in Manchester.
Remote working will also be considered for experienced candidates.
Holidays: 4.2 weeks per year plus two weeks over the winter break.熊林探险大冲关
Successful applicants will be required to have a clear DBS
Full Job Description and Person Specification here: Venture Arts Business Development and Fundraising Officer

Application form here:VA_BusinessDevelopmentandFundraisingOfficer_ApplicationForm plus equal ops_May2016


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Venture Arts are seeking expressions of interest from visual artists who would like to be considered to engage with the OutsiderXchangeS project.

OutsiderXchangeS is an exciting, experimental, collaborative visual arts project that will bring together learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists to develop shared ideas and new contemporary work.


Venture Arts is working in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) to deliver OutsiderXchanges.

Lead organisation Venture Arts are now seeking expressions of interest from visual artists who would like to be considered to engage with the OutsiderXchangeS project.

OutsiderXchangeS came about to develop the talents and profile of learning-disabled artists and also to investigate the potential to make new, interesting, challenging work through visual artist ideas exchange and real collaboration.

Venture Arts are looking for 5 artists to work alongside 5 learning disabled artists to develop ideas, share practice and, through collaboration, develop contemporary art. The partnership is particularly keen that this initiative creates an opportunity for both learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists to share an interactive workspace, for their own work and the potential for collaborations.

Acclaimed disability artist Tanya Raabe-Webber will work with all the artists involved focusing on assisting in the collaborative process with all artists, as well as developing her own work throughout the project. The intention of the project is that the work will be shown on a number of platforms so we are particularly interested in hearing from artists who use a range of media in their work.

All successful artists will receive £1000 artist bursary and given a free studio space for five months (February – July 2016) coming together for 1-2 day(s) per week to share their studio with a learning disabled artist involved in the project. The bursary is intended for artists to use in the production of their own work.

The project and art created will be showcased by Venture Arts, Castlefield Gallery and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, following the residencies in Autumn 2016.


The work will be made in Manchester and in Newcastle Gateshead so we are looking for 4 Manchester based artists and 1 Newcastle Gateshead based artist. Manchester based artists will work from a central studio location in Manchester and the Newcastle Gateshead based artist will be at BALTIC 39, Newcastle.

Please e-mail your expression of interest to

Deadline: 08 January 2016 Interviews: W.C. 18 January 2016

Please include the following in your expression of interest:

  • Brief outline stating your interest in being involved in this artist exchange.
  • Brief outline of initial ideas of how you would interpret and approach the project.
  • Examples of recent work/links to websites containing examples of previous work
  • Your CV

Contact Amanda Sutton for any further inquiries you have regarding the project or the application process.


Tel: 0161 232 1223
Venture Arts
43 Old Birley Street
Manchester, M15 5RF

* In the interest of better communication, the partnership led by Venture Arts, with Castlefield Gallery and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead would like to further clarify the OutsiderXchangeS project.

The partnership planned this project to be a professional development opportunity for both learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists.

For learning disabled artists this is an opportunity to work alongside other artists, one or two days per week when they will use the shared studio as a drop in studio. Learning disabled artists will not be based there at other times. For other artists, this will be an opportunity to interact with learning disabled artists. The open call is intended to attract artists who want to learn from learning disabled artists and the exciting field of learning disability visual art practice.

The selected artists will have their own free studio space for 5 months, which will be adjacent to or adjoining the shared studio space. The studios will be at Baltic 39, Newcastle and project spaces run by Castlefield Gallery in Manchester. Artists will not be expected to lead or run workshops, or support learning disabled artists. That is the expertise and responsibility of Venture Arts. The idea is to create a platform for collaboration to take place between artists. We envisage that all artists involved in the project will be inspired by each others practice in creating work. The £1,000 bursary is to support artists in their own practice.

The partnership is led by Venture Arts, who has been working in visual arts with learning disabled people since 1985. Venture Arts is a small charitable organisation that works from Manchester with learning disabled artists.

Venture Arts has selected 5 learning disabled artists to work in the shared studio space, once or twice a week. They will be accompanied by lead project artist Tanya Raabe-Webber and experienced artist mentors. This project aims develop the work of talented learning disabled artists, through giving them the opportunity to work in a professional artist space alongside other artists. *

Venture Arts is charitable Community Benefit society (No. 28604R) working in visual arts with learning disabled people since 1985. Our vision is for learning disabled people to be valuable contributors to our culture as artists, workers, participants and audiences. Venture Arts is a visual arts organisation that develops the creative talents and career opportunities of learning disabled people. Web address:

Castlefield Gallery (CG) Founded in 1984, CG is one of Northern England’s most active and successful organisations/agencies for developing emerging contemporary artists and practice. Its ambitious curated exhibitions programme responds to national and international trends, promoting artists at key stages of their careers, including subsequent Turner Prize nominees/winners and exhibitors at international festivals. Central to CG’s activities is an artist development programme including the CG Associates members scheme and the recently launched New Art Spaces. CG’s vision is for the North to be where artists can develop work of international standing. Its mission is to nurture talent, explore cultural trends and deepen audience’s relationship to contemporary art. Web address:

BALTIC is a major international centre for contemporary art situated on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, England and has welcomed over 6 million visitors since opening to the public in July 2002. BALTIC presents a distinctive and ambitious programme of exhibitions and events, and is a world leader in the presentation and commissioning of contemporary visual art. Housed in a landmark ex-industrial building, BALTIC consists of 2,600 square metres of art space, making it the UK’s largest dedicated contemporary art institution.

Web address: |

The Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN) represents and supports a diverse and vibrant visual arts ecology, embracing a broad range of artistic and curatorial practice across the nine English regions. CVAN’s ultimate goal is to nurture contemporary visual artists and organisations in order to produce internationally regarded, critically engaged work that is valued by our society. Web address:

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