The Diverse Artists Network (DAN) evolved from the rich legacy of the Tribe Of Doris festival, renowned for its 30-year history of engaging diverse communities, artists, and workshop leaders. This foundation laid the groundwork for recognising the essential need for a platform dedicated to networking, advocacy, and representation of diverse artists. Additionally, it highlighted the importance of fostering connections across venues, arts organisations, festivals, and funding bodies.

The concept of DAN took a significant leap forward in 2017 during a strategic development session, where it became evident that nurturing these vital elements was crucial. Consequently, the Diverse Artists Network was officially formed. Vandna Mehta and Deasy Bamford, both with substantial backgrounds in community development and the arts, were instrumental in developing the unique approach of DAN’s network meetings.

The first DAN event at the Trinity Centre in November 2017 underscored the critical demand for advocacy, networking, mentoring, professional development, and financial support for underrepresented artists. DAN quickly emerged as a key player within the city

for bridging connections amongst stakeholders and  driving positive change within Bristol’s dynamic arts scene. This marked the start of an ongoing journey to empower and elevate more diverse artists, solidifying DAN’s role as a cornerstone of support and opportunity in Bristol. By 2020, DAN’s influence had expanded significantly, with a community of 90  diverse artists. Its influence extended beyond Bristol, forging partnerships with entities like Pearl Exchange, Wye Valley River Festival, and Shambala, thereby creating opportunities for artists across various regions. In response to this growth, DAN evolved into The Diverse Artists Network CIC in August 2020, establishing a more robust organisational structure.

In 2022, DAN’s momentum continued with an Arts Council organisational development grant. This grant was a turning point, enabling the formation of a representative board of trustees, the establishment of an advisory group known as “Friends of DAN,” the drafting of a business plan, and the launch of the DAN agency. These developments put DAN on a path toward garnering additional support and opportunities for artists, and strengthening connections within the arts sector across the whole of the South West. Rooted in the principles of Hindu philosophy, Soham (“you are, therefore I am”) and the southern African ethos of Ubuntu (“I am because you are”), DAN has consistently focused on the needs, aspirations, and direction of artists. Additionally, DAN has been instrumental in offering essential support and networking opportunities to arts organisations, venues, and festivals. This has enabled them to expand and diversify their programmes and offer, while also enhancing and broadening their impact.

Our Vision is for an equitable and just arts industry in which diverse experiences inform a rich cultural landscape of opportunities that are relevant for a larger proportion of our city and its communities.

Our Mission is to achieve this vision through building a strong network, programming relevant events and showcasing and raising the profile of diverse artists.



Supported Artists


Consulted Organisations


Mentoring Sessions Delivered


Networking Events Held