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New Voices London is a project funded by Arts Council in partnership with writers' development agency New Writing South and Shape Arts. Through this programme DAO intends to enable a group of emerging writers to develop critical and blog writing skills to support online arts-writing practice.

The programme aims to create a space for disabled writers to gain an experience of engaging with DAO’s online community through publishing a series of blogs, discussions, reviews and comment on the artistic process.

New Writing South
New Writing South works with all kinds of creative writers and new writing in the south-east region: authors, playwrights, poets, screen writers, radio writers, journalists and more.

They offer writers development, encouragement, resources and opportunities to make new contacts. They also programme numerous events that aim to enhance skills, stretch creativity and broker partnerships with those who produce and publish work.

Information about New Voices workshop leaders

Bella Todd
Bella Todd is a Brighton-based freelance arts journalist specialising in theatre and music. She has worked as Editor of what’s-on magazine Latest 7, Staff Writer at Time Out and Entertainments Editor of The Argus, and is currently writing for The Guardian, Time Out, The Arts Desk and Red Bull’s Culture section among others.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Nii has been published in over 30 magazines, e‐zines and journals and has written, contributed to or edited more than 10 books. He is the author of three poetry chapbooks; eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999) and M is for Madrigal (2004) and the self‐published shorter (2005), which is a vehicle to raise money for a writers' fund in Ghana and co‐edited the groundbreaking Tell Tales Volume I short-story anthology with Courttia Newland and regularly edits x magazine. As a socio‐cultural commentator and advocate for African writing, Nii has led forums internationally, has sat on discussion panels for BBC Radio with literary heavyweights such as Booker winners, Margaret Atwood and A S Byatt, and he runs the African Writers’ Evening series, at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden.

Mark Bryant
Mark joined New Writing South from Arts Council England in September 2008 where he worked in Advocacy and Communications. Prior to this he held various administrative positions in the public, private and voluntary sectors. As New Writing South’s Operations Manager, Mark manages the website, which hosts the online courses and all NWS current information. He also manages the social networking sites and e‐newsletters, communicating with 1000’s of writers every week.

Richard Downes

Richard Downes is a Disability Equality and Advocacy Trainer, a practicing Advocate for a Disabled People's Organisation, an Activist and Photographer.

He says: "I once wrote for life now I write in life. I'm looking forward to developing a blog presence with personality for DAO whilst delivering comment, reviews, photos and views on disability and how it's represented."

Please click on this link to read Richard Downes blog

Deborah Caulfield

Self-portrait by Deborah Caulfield

I’m an inconsistent artist; I create in words and pictures. New Voices is a fantastic opportunity! I’m looking forward to overcoming my blank-page fear, finding out why I draw and, if all goes well, writing interesting articles about the events, exhibitions and other people’s artworks I’ll be covering.

I create in words and pictures. New Voices is a fantastic opportunity for me to show off a bit. I’m hoping it will help me overcome my blank-page fear and also, perhaps, find out why I draw.

Mainly I’m here to write some fab reviews. I might decide to explore the relationship between disability and art. Then again, I might not.

I am definitely very excited about going to see David Hockney at the Royal Academy.

Ian Drury and I attended the same school for wayward crips, so I can hardly wait to have my socks rocked off at Reasons to be Cheerful.

Please click on this link to read Deborah Caulfield's blog

Obi Chiejina

My name is Obi. As an ex-medical laboratory assistant and published fictional writer I’m fascinated by the role of science in inspiring literary authors to write ground-breaking traditional and contemporary novels.  Currently I work as freelance worker whilst re-drafting a crime/thriller/medical drama novel aimed at adults.

Predominantly I intend to write about the dialogue between the sciences and the arts by focusing on the role of science in inspiring visual artists to create innovative works for art galleries and playwrights to create ground-breaking drama for theatre.

Nicole Fordham-Hodges

Nicole Fordham Hodges is a poet, and thrilled to be one of DAO's  New Voices. In her blog, she would like to untangle her artistic process as if it were knotted string. She'd like to nudge her poetry out into the open, if it will come. She'd like to test the truth of her own and other people's work, by tapping them against each-other. She'd love to know who you are, and  hear your comments on what she's written.

You can read Nicole Hodges blog at

Charlie Swinbourne

photo of writer and film-maker Charlie Swinbourne

Charlie Swinbourne

Charlie is a journalist and scriptwriter. He has written for the Guardian, BBC Online and a range of deaf publications.

As a scriptwriter, he has created a range of award-winning films featuring deaf characters, from Hands Solo to My Song. Charlie's website & blog: