Meet the Liverpool Biennial Critical Friends Group.

The Critical Friends Group will work together as a specialist steering group made up of people with lived, professional and caring experience of Disability and long-term health conditions.  They will work alongside the Liverpool Biennial team to inspire change across the organisation, as we transform our engagement with Disabled, d/Deaf, and neuro-divergent communities.

The group will meet 4 times a year and will use their experience to lead decision making across all projects.

The group have varied experience across the arts, academia, activism, care, education and health, to ensure we have a broad spectrum of knowledge when creating an inclusive environment for disabled artists, audiences and the team and Board.

This project is realised in collaboration with Dada Fest and supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Our Critical Friends are: Amina Atiq, DaDa, Garry Robson, James Casserly, Porcelain Delaney and Rob Ellis.

Learn more about them below:

Amina Atiq

Freelance creative working across the cultural and educational sector; published poet, performance artist, creative practitioner and award-winning community activist.  Currently sits on the Anti-racism board for Curious Minds & Diversity Action Group at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres and Critical Friends Group at Liverpool Biennial.

BBC Words First Finalist, awarded Steve Biko Young Achievers, featured 100 Inspirational Women of Merseyside and Future List 2022 of Northern Woman awards. Featured on Poetry Please, BBC 4 Radio, Arab News, The Independent, Cordite Poetry Review, Queensland Poetry Festival: Use Words First (Wrecking Ball Press), Not Quite Right for Us (Flipped Eye Publisher, Speaking Volumes), British Muslim TV, Eurovision 2023 and many more


DaDa is an award winning and pioneering disability and Deaf arts organisation based in Liverpool with international reach and impact. As an organisation they are most known for DaDaFest, their biennial cross-arts festival which has nurtured and supported many renowned Deaf and disabled artists from the UK and beyond. Between festivals they support artist development, working with artists to ‘try, develop, become’.

DaDa were one of the first disability-led arts organisations in the UK and since starting in 1984 we continue to campaign for greater equality and access for disabled, Deaf and neurodivergent people within the arts.

Find out more about DaDa’s work at:

Garry Robson

Garry Robson is a disabled Theatre Director, a singer, an actor, a producer and writer. He has appeared extensively in TV and Theatre both nationally and internationally and produced and Directed several theatre shows and short films.

As Artistic Director of a number of major International Deaf and Disability Festivals he has curated several art exhibitions as well as Co-Curating the seminal Niet Normaal exhibition for DaDaFest 2012 and the Paralympics.

He was very happily based in Liverpool for a decade or more as the Artistic Director of Fittings MultiMedia Arts where alongside his colleagues he created and directed several groundbreaking works fusing theatre, music and the visual arts.

James Casserly

James Casserly believes that everyone should have an equal chance in life regardless of your ability. James is a football coach and currently travelling 32 county’s of Ireland on public transport. James has Cerebral Palsy and Polyarticular Juvenile Arthritis.

James recently worked with the Ombudsman for Children as a speaker and member of the Youth Advisory Panel for Beyond Limits Summit in Sligo and Limerick where he proved to be very successful in using his voice to empower others.  James is also very interested in sport and has completed his PDP Level 1 and 2 coaching badge and is working with the FAI to continue his coaching education and encourage others as a disability to do similar.

He recently visited European Parliament to do an access review and earlier this year spoke at Sports Ireland, Under Dept. of Sport, on Inclusion in Sport and barriers to participation for persons with a disability, or reasons why you may get drop offs. He is currently in 6th Year Leaving Cert applied and aspires to having his own travel show or consultancy when he finishes his education.

Porcelain Delaney

Porcelain Delaney is a theatre maker and multi-skilled performer. She frequently tours and has performed headline acts everywhere from Paris to Dubai.

She also works within arts governance and consults for several national theatres on access and inclusion.

Rob Ellis

Rob is a Wirral based artist and living with a disability. He attends Blue Room every week and attends his art studio in Birkenhead.

He manly creates abstract/ cubist artworks in his studio and then tries to sell them at local makers markets and exhibitions.

He also owns a local business called Robs Artwork 2020.