27 February 2024

Making Space is an inclusive artist development programme for learning disabled and neurodivergent artists, led by the Royal Academy of Arts.

Located in the heart of London, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is a place where art is made, exhibited and debated. Venture Arts artist Josh Brown, was selected to take part in Making Space, their inclusive, year long artist development programme, working with a group of learning disabled and neurodivergent artists.

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Josh in the RA gallery.

Josh Brown is a photographer and printmaker, whose passion for film comes through in his art. His body of work includes poster designs for some of his favourite films and photography of architecture.

Over the past eight months, Josh has been attending the RA on a monthly basis, meeting with the other Making Space artists for learning and mentorship. Taking inspiration from the collection, exhibitions, and each other, the artists have worked to expand and develop their own art practice. Artist educators Georgia AkbarHelen Rousseau and Anna Farley have worked alongside the cohort, supporting them to gain new skills and shape their own professional development.

Josh has been keeping a diary during his time at the RA, exploring how his practice has evolved and what he’s learnt from the team at RA and his fellow artists in the group. This blog shares a selection of this diary and his favourite photos from the experience.


A young bearded man sat at a table painting.

Making Space is about bringing people from different art spaces together in London to help you with your ideas and learn new skills.

“The Royal Academy of Arts is a big space but with nice quiet areas. There’s lots of art and lots of old art. I travel to London once a month with Jacenta, my Venture Arts tutor, and my mum. Me and mum stay at my Uncle’s in London.

Through Making Space I have met lots of other artists from different places, I’m the only Manchester artist. I’ve learned what sort of art they all like to make, and got ideas from seeing other people and their work.

It’s different from Venture Arts, a much bigger, much bigger space. There’s lots to look around, I like the library, lots of old books and artwork. The first session was very good actually, we did meet and greet, it was great to just meet people and look around.


Josh in a gallery pointing a a sculpture as part of Making Space.

The teachers at the RA have taught us new skills and helped us to try different things with textiles, painting, building sculptures and multi media. We learnt different painting techniques such as painting on plastic and fabric. It was different because fabric and plastic can be stretched. We used water to paint on the fabric and used thicker paint too. We mixed different colours. It was very good over all because I tried lots of different techniques. 

I’m proud that I shared my skills with the group, I led a workshop in stencil printing and taught people how to do it, step by step. I taught them how to make a poppy stencil. One of the artists, C.C, learned how to do it and then did it at home. People thanked me and said it was amazing. Some of the other artists did workshops as well.


Josh brown stood in front of a wall of poppy print, he is wearing a paint splattered apron.

We finish the residency later this year. It’s been amazing to work with people who know so much about art, the people who run the workshops are very nice and helpful and I have learned lots of skills from them. People learning from me as well has made me feel good, feel very proud.

I feel a bit happy and a bit upset about it ending soon. It’s been an amazing gigantic experience to work with new people.”


Find out more about Making Space here.

Find out more about Josh and his artwork here.

Josh currently has a zine of his film poster prints available to purchase for £6 in our online shop here.


A screen print of the Jaws poster, with a large blue sea, a sharks head and the words 'Jaws' at the top in red.

Josh Brown, Jaws, screen print, 2019.

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