Mike Layward - Artistic Director

Mike Layward has worked in the arts for nearly 40 years, as a performer, musician, carnival designer, maker, puppeteer, producer, director and live artist. He has worked across the UK, France, Holland, Spain, Palestine and India.

Since 1999 Mike has been Artistic Director of DASH and has been instrumental in DASH gaining a National reputation as the leading Disability Visual arts organisation. 

Mike's philosophy is based on the belief that the arts are and have to be a vehicle for Social change.

Mike has an MA in Activism and Social Change (Leeds University) 2009.

Paula Dower - Operations Director

As well as working part-time for DASH Paula is also a painter and photographer, her usual subjects are horses and the natural world. She lives in Wellington with her husband, daughter and two cats.

Paula thinks that DASH makes a difference by creating opportunities for artists, bringing people together through workshops in the county and extending reach of DASH by creating partnerships with other cultural and disability organisations.

"Working for DASH is incredibly fulfilling. Creating new projects, fundraising and managing them can be stressful at times, but it is always rewarding."

Ian Wainwright - Treasurer

Ian is an electricity distribution engineer by profession and is now managing director of an information management company providing services to companies who own and operate major infrastructures ranging from networks to process plants and airports.

His association with DASH began in 1999 when he was asked by the PR Director of the company he worked for at the time if he would volunteer as an advisor to Business in the Arts to undertake a business planning project for a small organisation called Disability Arts in Shropshire, which was a fledgling offshoot of the Shropshire Disability Consortium, and had aspirations to become an independent charity in their own right.

The project was expected to take a month, two at the most, but Ian was so impressed with the enthusiasm, talent and commitment of the organisation and the artists which it supported that he became one of the founding directors and trustees and has continuously served on the Board of DASH ever since.

Adrian Plant - Art Treasurer

Adrian studied Art, Photography and Film at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art (1978-81).   After leaving college he worked for museums and galleries across the UK, including the Cambridge Darkroom, the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford and the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich.

Adrian then worked for the Tate Gallery in Liverpool (1989-99) as Curator to develop projects supporting the gallery's exhibitions and commissions programmes, including managing artist's residencies such as working with Antony Gormley and a local community to create Field for the British Isles.  

Adrian gained an MA in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Liverpool (1995-1998).  

In 2001 Adrian was appointed the first Exhibitions Officer for Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Shropshire Council Museums Service, where he has developed an innovative curatorial policy to engage new audiences for contemporary art:
'The aim is to develop new ways to invigorate, animate and (re) interpret our historic museum collections (and the heritage environments of Shrewsbury and Shropshire) through commissioning and exhibiting the work of local, national and international contemporary artists.'

Adrian has curated exhibitions and commissions with a wide range of international artists including Antony Gormley, Louise Short, Vladimir Arkhipov, Ivan and Heather Morison, Ken Feingold, Rosemary Butcher, myvillages.org, Paul Bush, Helen and Newton Harrison, Dorothy Cross, Marcus Coates, Shirley Chubb, Neil Brownsword, Iain Gardner, llana Halperin, David Haley, Brandon Ballangee and Thomson and Craighead.

Adrian is an experienced mentor to emerging artists, was a Trustee for Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown (2002-07) and has been a Trustee for DASH since 2010.


Yvette Priestley - Secretary

Yvette was born in Shrewsbury and spent her early years in the town before going to school in Coventry for visually impaired children. Her Dad and his large extended family still live in the Shropshire area.

Yvette's world as a visually impaired child growing up in the 1980s, had very little to do with art. She says that she did enjoy art at school, but was quickly encouraged to concentrate on 'sensible' subjects to get on in life.

She spent three years back in Shropshire on and off after leaving university - and during this time has vague recollections of hearing about DASH.

Yvette got a 'proper' job, which led her to London. "This is where my taste for art began. My workplace was close to Tate Britain and I got involved in access projects at the gallery. This started with helping develop picture described tours of the gallery and putting together an orientation guide to get to the gallery."

"A group of visually impaired people was then set up to advise Tate Britain and Tate Modern on its access work. The touch tours and picture described tours really flourished at this time. I also did some evening classes in sculpture and ceramics in my limited free time."

Yvette relocated to Birmingham for work reasons in 2006 and shortly after this read an advert in the Guardian by DASH for new Directors. It appealed to her because it was based in Shropshire and it linked her interest of making the arts more accessible to disabled people.

"I became Chair in 2008 and I think it is more important than ever to support disabled artists and audiences."

Rachel Gadsden - Patron

Rachel Gadsden is a multi-award winning artist who has a BA and MA in Fine Art; she was artist for Hampton Court Palace 2008 - 2009, and has undertaken 4 major commissions for UK Parliament (2009 – 2015). London 2012 Cultural Olympiad commissions followed - Unlimited Global Alchemy and Starting Line.

In 2013 Gadsden represented the UK, creating “This Breathing World” for Qatar – UK Year of Culture 2013, for British Council and Qatari Government, HRH Prince Charles formally opened the exhibition. Further 2013 commissions included Talking Souls with BC South Africa & Cube of Curiosity with Marc Brew for Liberty Festival.

In 2014 Gadsden created a digital artwork for the Sochi, Winter Paralympic Torch Lighting. Gadsden also embarked on Al Noor ~ Fragile Vision, a multi-cultural collaborative UK and Middle East project and she recently completed 14 Stations of the Cross paintings for St Joseph's Cathedral, Abu Dhabi.

2015 commissions have included The Four Fridas for GDIF, Almanda for Freewheelers Theatre and Media and ILHAM exhibition and conference at MIA, Qatar.

In 2016 Gadsden was awarded an Artist international Development Fund Award and an a-n Travel Bursary to go to Palestine and has been appointed lead artist for the Lighting of the Rio Paralympic Torch Festival at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

Gadsden was awarded the National Diversity Award 2013: Positive Role Model for Disability was shortlisted for the European Diversity Awards, Hero of the Year 2014 and won Breakthrough UK - National Independent Living Award "Influencing disabled people's participation in society".


Jonathan Hyams - Chair

Jonathan has worked in community development and on equality, diversity and anti-discrimination issues as a practitioner, mentor and trainer for more than twenty five years.

He has wide experience of setting up and managing community and voluntary organisations, partnership work at different levels, and research and consultancy in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Jonathan's interests include using the arts in community development work, and rural anti-discrimination practice. He is a director of several voluntary organisations, including DASH.

Carrie Slawinska - Administration and Communications Manager

Carrie is currently on maternity leave until September 2019.

Carrie joined the team in March 2015 as our Administration Assistant.
She has previously worked as a freelance artist, and in a variety of arts administration and curatorial roles for Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage, including Exhibitions Officer at Bilston Craft Gallery.

"Having worked freelance and for a local authority, working for DASH is a new and exciting learning experience working in the Arts. The Board are really supportive of the great work that DASH are doing. Having joined the team at an exciting time with recent successes including IN commissioning project, Awkward Bastards symposium and our current projects Tu Fewn, Inside and Cultivate to name a few, I'm proud to have supported DASH to bring Disability Arts to mainstream audiences and to continue to supporting both established and developing Disabled Artists."

Carrie studied Fine Art at Staffordshire University and has delivered practical arts and crafts sessions in a range of settings, including the Beacon Centre, Wolverhampton. She is also a carer for a family member and has recently trained as a Dementia Friends champion.

Tanya Raabe-Webber - Trustee

Tanya was born to paint and so indeed she did and she still does - with passion drive and commitment! She lives in Pontesbury and dreams of becoming Lady Pontesbury one day!. 

In 2010 tanya was the Winner of Ability Media International Award-Visual Arts and in 2008 she won the DaDa International FestivalVisual Arts. But most recently, Tanya was shortlisted for National Diversity Awards; LifeTime Achievement Award

She has been a practising Visual Artist, devising artworks, running workshop and residencies with Deaf and Disabled people nationally, exploring and challenging the notions of identity, a disabled self in a disabling world.

Tanya gained a BA(HONS) in Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic, an MA in Communication Design at Manchester Metropolitan University as well as a PGCE in FE-Special Education .

Tanya has exhibited as a solo artist and in many group exhibitions nationally.

Through a collaboration with DASH she was Commissioned by Meadow Arts, to create a series of portraits of the staff and volunteers from NT Croft Castle in 2012-13. She joined forces with DASH on their Cultural Olympiad, Unlimited project M21 and was an associate artist with Fittings Multi Media Arts 2009- 2012. Other commissions include BBC2 The Culture Show 2010, DaDa International Fest 2008,  Architects Inside Out: Tate Modern, Art Matters:Tate Britain, Shape and Engage: Explore project.

Craig Ashley - Trustee

Craig Ashley is a curator and producer based in the West Midlands. He developed, implemented and oversaw delivery of the visual arts programme at mac birmingham from 2009 to 2016, following completion of the arts centre's £15m redevelopment. Notable exhibitions he curated for mac include: Vered Lahav's The Garden (2013), pondering migration and the notion of homeland; Qasim Riza Shaheen's Prodigal Son: Traces of a disciple astray (2010) and The last known pose (2014), bringing together collections of the artist's work exploring the gaze and the guise; and Barbara Walker's Shock & Awe (2016), newly commissioned drawings acknowledging the contribution of Black servicemen and women to British war efforts over the past 100 years. Most recently Craig curated Peter Kennard's retrospective exhibition, Off Message, bringing together seminal works from the artist's career spanning 1962 to the present day. Craig is currently Director of New Art West Midlands, the contemporary visual arts network for the region, and is a mentor on DASH's Cultivate scheme.

Sarah Coxall - Learning and Engagement Manager

Our newest member of the team Sarah Coxall took up the new post of Learning and Engagement Manager in April 2018.
This new post has been made possible with our uplift in Arts Council England funding which DASH successfully applied for 2018-22.
The role will enable DASH to work with Disabled children and young people - the future artists of tomorrow.
Sarah says: "I'm looking forward to identifying Disabled children and young people with interests and talents in the visual arts, be it making, exhibiting or curating, and creating a programme at DASH that supports and develops their passions."


Lucy Nicholls - Trustee

Lucy Nicholls joined the board in September 2017.

Lucy is a Creative Learning Producer and Arts Council England funded Change Maker at the critically acclaimed, Stan's Cafe Theatre Company. Lucy previously worked freelance for 10 years, both nationally and internationally, with small grass-roots organisations and large NPOs, managing and delivering projects, producing and performing. She has a BA (hons) and MA in performing arts and PGCE in post-compulsory education.
You can follow Lucy on Twitter here: @LucyONicholls

David Prytherch - Trustee

David Prytherch has been a freelance glass sculptor/engraver since the mid1970's, and has exhibited internationally. His work has been bought by many private and public collections including Corning Museum of Glass, New York, The Victoria And Albert Museum, London, Crafts Council UK and Broadfield House Glass Museum.

In 1986, having just been elected chairman of British Artists in Glass he was knocked down by a car and disabled, preventing him from working full-time as a practitioner, and began to move his work towards consultancy, mentoring, project management and academic research relating to technology, disability and haptic perception for which he was awarded a PhD in 2003.

His work experience has been wide ranging and varied, and has included involvement with creating art work in a variety of media both digital and material, both solo and as part of a team, mentoring and advising other arts practitioners and SME's, teaching, managing and coordinating arts events, developing and coordinating research projects, seeking funding opportunities etc.

He is an Honorary Research Fellow for Birmingham and Solihull NHS Foundation Trust and was recently appointed Course Director for BCU's MA in Arts, Wellbeing and Mindfulness.




Su Barber - Administrator (part of Maternity Cover for Carrie Slawinska)

Su Barber is making a welcome part-time return to the Arts World, after a decade of supporting mothers and children locally, as Restoring Motherhood and Cando Doulas, supporting parents with learning difficulties.

Su says “I used to be on the board of DASH about 19 years ago, in an advisory capacity working as Bridgnorth District Council's Arts Development Officer, then I moved to work at Belmont Arts Centre (now the The Hive) as Youth Music's Action Zone Co-ordinator, so it really does feel like a big full circle. Its great working with lots of people from the past still forging ahead in the arts and new people too with lots of exciting developments in the area. It's going to be a great year!”


David Harman - Marketing & Communications Manager

David worked for many years in Marketing and Communications for some of the biggest professional sports events in the world until redirecting his focus into the arts four years ago.

Since then David has worked primarily in dance with companies such as; Birmingham Royal Ballet, black led dance company ACE dance and music, Altered Skin, Dance Hub and most recently, Shane Shambhu, in shaping and implementing strategies for better Communications and Marketing.

"It's fantastic to be able to bring the experience I have gained over the years to an organisation that I can really shout about," David says, "the work DASH does is incredibly exciting and extraordinarily important and I look forward to letting the world know more about it through my own contribution to the company."