Ray Young

Ray Young is an award-winning interdisciplinary performance artist and writer based between London and Nottingham.

Ray Young is a trans-disciplinary performance artist, maker and writer. Their practice exists at the boundaries of activism, queerness, race and neuro-diversity, holding space for those at the intersection of multiple realities, through collaboration and resistance to traditional form.

Ray’s practice over the last few years has led them to a place where they are now moved to prioritise notions of rest, care and recovery, and what it means to both create and receive art while centering care and intentionality. Ray is concerned with how to build a practice that is more holistic both in terms of the whole self, and in drawing together art, nature and technology.

Ray has previously been awarded the Live Work Fund, which gave Ray a moment to reflect, experiment and excavate ideas within creative structures that feel safe, supported, inspiring and radical. In 2023, Ray was selected for Jerwood New Work Fund.

Ray intends to use the Jerwood New Work Fund to help them realise an idea that they have been considering for some time: Plough will be an immersive film installation, a work of speculative fiction using Afrofuturist narratives to consider ownership and access to nature. Subverting colonial methodologies and how we lay claim to land and peoples, Plough will transpose the Black queer body onto the British countryside, allowing it to exist and expand in this vast rural space.

Plough will combine live action with digital technologies to enhance the world building and immersive nature of the piece, offering a visceral connection between body, artifact and soil. A live programme of events and performances will activate the space, inviting community and campaign groups to discuss what it means for Black and brown people to navigate rural environments.

When asked what they are looking forward to about their Jerwood New Work Fund project, Ray said,

I am excited to bring together a collective of Black, brown and queer creative voices to collaborate with, while at the same time developing my own experience working with different technologies and forms. I am also looking forward to bringing my work into spaces outside of theatre and performance venues, and to discover and connect with the new audiences that I hope this will attract.

Ray Young, image credit: Rosie Powell
Ray Young, Plough, concept photo, photographer Myah Jeffers