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Michelle Baharier
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Michelle Baharier is a critically acclaimed multidisciplinary participatory visual artist. She lives and works in South London and exhibits internationally.

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2016 - Present multidisciplinary, contemporary artist, curator, performer, poet, and facilitator. In 2021, I was awarded funding from the Arts Council England, to work with the London Transport Museum and Disability Arts online on an ongoing project, resulting in a work called Walkie-Talkies, based on the poem Routemaster Race, by David Morris. It entailed collecting bus stories of individuals who experienced physical and psychological barriers along with gathering the accounts of Golden Oldies, Disability Action Network, Survivor’s Poetry, Highgate Poets, and other community groups. Ten documentaries can be viewed on Disability Arts on-line the You-Tube channel.


Furthermore, Disability Arts on-line commissioned me to paint the portraits of five inspirational individuals from the disabled community, It included the late Katherine Araniello a live art, performance and video artist; John Pring, disabled journalist and editor of the Disability News Service; Penny Pepper a disabled writer and activist; Liz Carr, disabled actor and activist as well as Baroness Jane Campbell, disability rights campaigner and member of the House of Lords.


I also had an opportunity to participate at the Live Arts Development Agency with my work ‘Head Fuck,’ which was inspired by the late performance artist Katherine Araniello.


At Age Exchange, London, I work as a visual artist with individuals suffering from Dementia. I prepare and deliver workshops for these individuals and their carers, in collaboration with musicians. The project received funding until December 2021. In addition, I have been running art workshops on zoom with HoardingUK, supporting persons with an obsessive accumulation disorder.


Furthermore, the Arts Council provided me with a grant to develop my own arts practice (DYPC), which includes learning new skills to expand my knowledge and expertise.


In 2020, my video work was presented online by Mad Covid, Dwell Time Press and other websites including YouTube, to reach a wider audience with an interest in live art experiences. Furthermore, I was invited to participate in the exhibition Gabinete Secreto - Letters of Friends from Confinement, Vigeo, Spain. In addition, I secured funding from Unltd to deliver the psychogeography walks through London’s Bermondsey and Southwark, working with local unemployed people, gathering local stories for walks. My strolls often attracted a wide interest and were funded by Public Health organisations, such as the National Survivors where I arrange virtual walks during various lock downs.


As a member of the Sharp Gallery, London, part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation, I was invited to do an online residency during 2019-20 and worked with the Trust, presenting workshops at the Welcome Foundation, in London. What does Colour mean to you? The new body of work referenced the seminars and was exhibited at Dulwich Picture Gallery in London where Yinka LLori, created a colour pavilion. I was invited by the Sharp Gallery to exhibit at this event.


My work Miss Havisham’s Wedding Dress was on view at the ‘Museum of the Mind,’ Bethlem Hospital, London in 2019-20 as part of an exhibition exploring the experience of people who use mental health services. In March 2020, the gown was also displayed at the ‘Women for All Seasons’ exhibition at the Art Academy, London. The dress was created for the Alternative Fashion show to celebrate Dickens bicentenary in 2012 and has been displayed and used in many contexts.


In 2019, I was engaged by Turning Point, an organisation providing a range of health and wellbeing services, to work with homeless people to deliver psycho-geography walks in West London, mainly under the Westway. Furthermore, I was commissioned to paint a private mural for an international company, called EMH Global, and participated at the Live Arts Development Agency, in Colchester, in the DIY GILF Island workshops which led to the creation of a collective video artwork.


In 2017, I worked by invitation with VISION Artists, a group of adults with learning difficulties, to celebrate the World Para-Athletics Championships. The group was commissioned to create a mural on London's Shoreditch Art Wall, run by Murals for Mankind, managed by Peter Mackeonis.


1993-2016 Founder, Artistic Director and CEO of CoolTan Arts, London. In twenty-five years, I grew CoolTan Arts from an old suntan lotion factory squatted social centre in Brixton to a user-led disabled people’s arts and mental health charity. CoolTan Arts worked with over three thousand people face-to-face per year with its participatory art programme. The charity improved the lives of individuals with mental distress through creativity, self-advocacy, and volunteer opportunities within the arts. During my tenure at CoolTan I developed psycho-geography walks and other collaborative events with different communities. The Largactyl Shuffle was part of our phenomenally successful walks project being run by CoolTan participants with lived experience of mental distress. This project drew attention to the medication Chlorpromazine, one of the first anti-psychotic drugs, causing the deterioration of motor functions which manifests in a slow hobbling walk. The project was first commissioned by the Department of Health and awarded a section 64 innovation grant. The walks were also supported by the Tate Modern and The Maudsley Hospital NHS trust and in 2011 was specially commissioned for the Liberty Festival at the Southbank Centre, then at the Olympic Park in 2013/14 as well as at the Science museum as part of their late-night openings to their Mental Health collections. The guided participatory walk was then commissioned by Southwark Council’s Public Health Department through which we published a book in 2014 entitled Cool Walks  - Available to download. In 2014 CoolTan Arts won funding to deliver Arts on Prescription with GP surgeries.


There were amazing events, such as in 2014, Artangel invited CoolTan Arts to develop Van Gogh walks in collaboration with Saskia Olde Wolbers piece ‘Yes, These Eyes Are The Windows,’ and M Sánchez-Camus. We used copies of Van Gogh letters for participants to understand the artist’s mental distress and engage in a shared experience. At the Science Museum 2013-14, CoolTan Arts were commissioned to deliver their popular Science Museum Lates programme for a year. I managed and organized relevant walks and as a collective we produced a book and CD, Science Museums Lates, in collaboration with Paula Roush.


1996               Manager & Curator, Women’s Centre Peckham, where I curated six exhibitions, including my own installation, Shop Till You Drop, and others.

1985-87          Manager & Curator, Submarine Gallery, London, where I collaborated with Peter Lewis, on several exhibition projects.



1985-87          Slade School of Fine Art, London, P.G. Dip Fine Art. My studies focused on drawing, photography, sound, performance, installation, and filmmaking.

1982-85          Exeter College of Art and Design, Exeter, BA Hons 2:1. I studied painting, drawing and sculpture. My dissertation focused on Concrete Walls: Mental and Spiritual.

1981-82          Watford College of Art & Design Foundation, Watford, London. It involved printmaking, fashion, photography along the traditional art subjects.



1984               Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. During my time at the Städelschule, I  mainly studied photography, print making and performance.



2006                ILM Level 3/5 Management.

2006                ILM Level 5 Coaching.

2004                School of Social Entrepreneurs, Certificate.

2001-02          Morley College, City & Guilds 7307 Certificate in Teacher Training.

1998-99          University of the Arts, Diploma in Digital Media.

1997-98          University of the Arts, Certificate in Digital Origination.

1993                Goldsmiths’ College, Certificate in Supervisory Management.

1980                Hertfordshire County Council, Stage II Youth and Community Work.



2021               Arts Council Funding for Developing your Creative Practice, received funding £9,000.

2020               Arts Council Funding for the Walkie Talkie Project, received funding £24,000.

2020               UnLtd, Funding for Psycho Geography Walks, received funding of £5,000.

2019               Turning Point, Funding Psycho Geography Walks in West London with homeless people, received funding of £2,000.

2015               GSK IMPACT in collaboration with Kings Foundation, developing several artistic projects, dealing with mental health issues, received funding of £40,000.

2014               Health Education East London, NHS, Art on Prescription, received funding of £14,000.

2012               CoolTan Arts was recognised as ‘Creative Hero’ in Mental Healthy.

2010-11          CoolTan Arts Community Project Award.

2006               UnLtd, India learning journey, residency to learn from other social enterprises in India to create an income.

2005               UnLtd, Women make Art, Women Art Group, received funding of £5,000.

2004               UnLtd, Women make Art, Women Art Group, received funding of £2,000.

1996/97/98     Represented UK women Artists in the USA at the Women’s caucus of Arts for the Arts Council England

1996               Art of Housing Magazine with Nat West Markets, publication.

1996               Sex health and education exhibition at CoolTan Arts, funded by the London Arts Board,

1995               Slump, South London Undiscovered Master Pieces CoolTan Arts,

1987               The Slade School of Fine Art, Julian Sullivan Award, Student of Merit, PG Diploma, received funding of £500.

1986                The Slade School of Fine Art to publish a small collection

1985               Exeter Arts Centre, Springboard Competition, received funding of £150.



2021               Art Exchange

2021               HoardingUK

2016-             Present, Artist at Vision.

2002-16          Morley College.

2006-11          London Business Fine Art Tutor.

1996               Lambeth College Foundation Course.

1996               West Ham Technological College, Foundation Course.

1996,              Exeter College of Art & Design Degree Course.

1996               Southwark College, Foundation Course.

1995               St Martin’s College of Art and Design.

1994-99          Access to Art Course Foundation, Lambeth Adult Education College.

1986-93          Watford College of Art & Design.



2016               Trustee of the Mental Health Providers Forum.

1997-98          Chair Tenants and Residents Association

1997               Trustee of CoolTan Arts.

1986-87          Trustee of Southwark Arts Forum.



2021               Bethlem Gallery, Artists Collaborations, ongoing, currently working Chris Lewis James on a performance called Tea Break.

2021               Disability Arts Online commissioned Ivan Riches and Richard Downes to film a poem recital. The filmmakers commissioned me to write a poem about the pandemic.

2020-01          Five Portraits for Disability Arts on-line. I was commissioned to paint the portraits of five disabled people.

  • Mural for Private Office. EMH Global, in collaboration with VISION Artists.

2017               Hoxton Art Wall, Murals for Mankind.

2012               Camberwell Green CoolTan Arts, the Bench was commissioned to be placed under the Gingko Tree for people to sit and talk. The bench was conceived by me and made by Rossen Daskalov.

2011               Camberwell Green, Gingko Tree, planting a Gingko Tree with the comedian Arthur Smith and CoolTan Arts users, to commemorate individuals who took their lives, due to benefit changes.

2000               Artist Studio Company logo, Brit Art Poster.

1999               This is My Life, National Children’s Bureau, Greater London Arts Development, Disability Arts Network.

1994               A Book for Printed Matter, NY, NY, USA. A one-off handmade book.

1992               Performance at Nose Paint (Now Gasworks)– Like Insects We Won’t Go Away, Vauxhall, London, UK.

1990               How many Bars of Soap can you make out of me? Two billboards for the Lewisham Visual Arts Festival, London UK.

1988               Sedition - Projects UK, tape recording, broadcasted over the telephone on British Telecom. Newcastle Upon-Tyne, UK. Available at Tate Gallery Archives.

1984               Mural for Acre Lane Centre, Brixton, London, UK. It involved working elderly people in a pension centre.


2021              Visual Artists Association, UK.

2020               South London Women Artists Association, UK.

2015               Bethlem Gallery UK

2015               Sharp Gallery, UK.

2009               Outside-in, UK.

2008               Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, UK.

2005               Fellow of the School of Social Enterprise, UK.

1999               Alumni University of the Arts

1999               Axis, UK.

1987               Alumni Slade School of Fine Art, UK.

1985               Alumni Exeter College of Art and Design, UK.

1984               Artists Newsletter, UK.



2021               The Haiflu Project  Haiflu - More to life than Covid

2021               My work appears in the Artists responding to a post card project, published in the Postcard project, ISBN: 978-1-5272794-9

2021               A. Morrison & K. Jay-R, The Brown Envelope Book, produced in collaboration with Don’t Go Breakin’ Our Arts. ISBN 978-1-8384966-1-6.

2021               Disability Arts Online  - Michelle pays tribute to some of her top disability activists

2021               Dwell Time Press - Michelle's poem - We Ain't Got a Clue.

2020               Siren Poets – What If We Can’t Save the Earth

2021               Poetry Express Newsletter #64

2020               Poetry Express Newsletter #62 ISSN 2056-970X.

  • Poetry Express Newsletter #61 ISSN 2056-970X
  • Book with Public health and Southwark council.

2014              Science Museum Lates. Book and CD

2013               Food for Mood ISBN 9780952419020

2013               The Rag Show - Charles Dickens Bicentenary

2012               Diagnosis-Hysteria prescription Hysteria, Women of CoolTan Arts. ISBN 978-0-9524190-3-7

2011               Anthology of Poetry. ISBN 978-0-9524150-1-0

2006               Brainwave Magazine.

2002               I am Elimination Reiteration by Michelle Baharier ISBN 09524190 17

1999               A small collection selected poems by Michelle Baharier ISBN 0-9524190 09

1995               Sex Health and Education Catalogue.

1995               Slump Catalogue.

1994               Liberation Criminal Art Show Catalogue. Selected Poems ISBN 095 24190  09  

1993/98          Ongoing Brixton poet’s magazine.

1987              Slade School of Fine Art A Small Collection by Michelle D Baharier.



2021               Disability Arts Online  - Michelle pays tribute to some of her top disability activists.

2021               Southwark News - When The Question Was Posed, She Answered.

2021               Camberwell artist creates works based on stories of people with disabilities and public transport.

2019               Southwark News - Artist to share stories and hidden legacies of women during Suffragette City night walk.

2018               Smashing Records Abs Tripp from DASL (Disability Advice Service Lambeth) discusses how music fires people up to jump higher, ride further and shout louder. This week Abs interviews Michelle Baharier, creative leader, artist, and leader of midnight walks. [Repeated Monday 4am.]

2015               Cooking Classes To Enhance Mental Well-Being - Beyond The Body.

2015               Rosemary Shrager - Cooking mental health.

2014               Guardian article - The Do-It-Yourself Creative Community, Where Art Overcomes Mental Distress.

2013               Food For Mood.

2013               Guardian Article - A postcard to the world artwork inspired by Olympic and Paralympic games.

2013               Dazed Digital- The rise and fall of the art squat.

2013               CoolTan Arts Wins Innovation Award. Disability Arts Online- Cooltan Arts Innovation Award.

2011               Guardian Gallery - Cooltan World Mental Health Day in pictures.

2006-12          Radio shows on Resonance FM.

2010                Disability Arts Online - CoolTan Arts premieres three films at the British Film Institute.

2010               Disability Arts Online - Disabled People Make History.

2007               Guardian society- Clare Allan, interviews Michelle Baharier Its My Life

2007                Cooltan Arts will be using funds from the sale to provide essential services for our participants.

2001               South London Press, Artery, Private Eye.

2000               The Times.

2000               Thoughts on a Page.

1998-97          South London Press.

1996               Dial magazine The Jerusalem Post Galie Zahal (IDF Army radio Israeli) Radio Radius

             100 FM. (English show on Israeli radio.) Radio Radius with Rivka Michaeli (in Hebrew).

1995               G.L.R. Radio UK.

1995               South London Press. Artists Newsletter, Wayzgoose Magazine, University West England) Don't tell it.

1994               Big Issue. Time Out.

1991               Working it out Feminist Art News. 1988  Women Artists Slide Library Journal.

1988               Kaleidoscope, Radio 4 BBC.



  • Mad Covid, Dwell Time Press,


  • –19 Sharp Gallery, on-line residency.

  •             Sharp Gallery, on-line residency.

2006               UnLtd, India, A learning journey. Residency to learn from social enterprises in India to generate an income.



AKA @dyslxicRant on twitter;  Michelle Baharier instagram .


References can be made available upon request.