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Speak Up Sooty - That's Representation

2 October 2015

Blog Richard Downes

Posted this on my work facebook page the other day: "I'm really looking forward to having some little monkeys visit at the end of next month. But something has got my goat today and its a pig of an advert in the Times for Debra in support of Butterfly Children, kids 'living with Epidermolysis Bullosa - a painful genetic skin blistering condition which makes... skin as fragile as a butterfly's wing. To find out more about butterfly children.....' Should be used to it by...

Mental Health Week's theme is Dignity, I am still looking for it.

2 October 2015

Blog Dolly Sen

Mock up of pharmaceutical drug, reading 'Dignity cannot be taken 4 times a day.'

Next week is Mental Health Week and this year's theme is dignity. This is my take on it: Dignity cannot be taken 4 times a day Being labelled, pathologised and medicated, I cannot claim my mind for myself I cannot claim my life for myself So how can I even have dignity? Medicine does not heal But seals the scream Is that dignity? Dignity are never in the side effects. Weight gain – my arse is getting bigger than my dreams. Too tired to reach for the day, let alone the sun. Try having...

Should we replace the ‘d’ word? Hell, no!

1 October 2015

Blog Trish Wheatley

A photograph featuring several popular toy brands modified to look like they have various impairments

I’m fired up to write a blog about something that we grapple with all the time working in the disability arts sector. Yes, the ‘d’ word. I’ve just read a BBC Ouch blog entitled 'Is it time to stop using the word "disability"?' by Rebecca Atkinson, who headed up the Toy Like Me campaign to persuade toy manufacturers to include disabled characters. In my opinion, we absolutely don't need a new word for disability/disabled. The word isn’t the...

Disabled is the new able

30 September 2015

Blog Richard Butchins

An image of the torso of a man sporting a variety of labels such as 'average', 'awkward',  'dribbler', 'overcome'. He wears a stethoscope attached to his chest

I was at the Edinburgh festival this year. I sat on a panel entitled ‘Disability a creative advantage’ which was a fun bit of rhetorical cant.  But, the thing that struck me most was the presence of disability; it was everywhere, it’s like a new ‘art’ fashion.   Will there be lines of clothing?  Will, “Top Shop cripples,” “Mongs’ at Muji” and “Spazridges” be all the rage? Wheelchairs shall replace Penny...

Creative Future host readings from their anthology of impossible things

29 September 2015

Blog Colin Hambrook

photo of performer/ writer Jackie Hagan sitting in a bathroom

Last night the Free Word Centre in Holborn played host to writers from the Creative Future Literary Award ceremony reading poetry and prose pieces on the theme of ‘impossible things’. With support from Lemn Sissay and Maggie Gee and prizes of cash and mentoring from the Literary Consultancy the room buzzed with interpretations of the idea of ‘impossibility’: everything from Catherine Edmunds inanimate furniture to Peter Jordan’s ever-expanding warrior. I was struck...

News: BBC See Hear Weekend 2015

29 September 2015


News: BBC See Hear Weekend 2015

From 2- 4 October 2015, the BBC See Hear Weekend 2015 will celebrate all things in film and television related to sign language and the deaf community, led by BBC Bristol’s flagship programme See Hear. Join 'Doctor Who', 'Aardmann Animations' and Award-winning filmmaker, Bim Ajadi for a weekend of screenings and workshops at Watershed on Bristol’s Harbourside.

Review: Vital Xposure: The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence

27 September 2015


Vital Xposure sets out to produce cutting edge theatre that celebrates hidden voices with extraordinary stories to tell. In doing so ‘The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence’ follows on from the companies’ 2011-2013 production ‘The Knitting Circle’, which evolved out of research into the testimonies of women locked away in long-stay institutions. Review by Sophie Partridge

Review: Theatres of Learning Disability: Good, bad or plain ugly

24 September 2015


Published by Palgrave Macmillan, Matt Hargrave’s is the first book to focus exclusively on theatre and learning disability from an artistic perspective. Over five years Hargraves researched the work of several companies and artists giving detailed analysis of work by Back To Back, Mind the Gap, Dark Horse, the Shysters and Full Body and the Voice. Review by Gus Garside

Review: Vital Xposure: The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence

23 September 2015


Vital Xposure sets out to produce cutting edge theatre that celebrates hidden voices with extraordinary stories to tell. In doing so ‘The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence’ follows on from the companies’ 2011-2013 production ‘The Knitting Circle’, which evolved out of research into the testimonies of women locked away in long-stay institutions. Review by Colin Hambrook

Review: Unlimited: Liz Carr: Assisted Suicide The Musical

23 September 2015


The Boiler Room at Pleasance Theatre, Camden played host to a 4-day R&D period for Liz Carr’s Unlimited commission, Assisted Suicide The Musical with an invited audience for a showing of work in progress on Friday 18th September. Review by Trish Wheatley

Interview: Artist Aaron Williamson tells Dao about his new work Demonstrating the World

6 October 2015


Over a period of five weeks, Performance artist Aaron Williamson invited visitors to witness the building of an odd set of ‘absurdist’ furniture at the Shape Gallery in Westfield Shopping Centre. The pieces will become key to the performance as it becomes ready to tour later this autumn. Colin Hambrook asked Williamson and Producer Edd Hobbs about what it means to ‘demonstrate the world’.

Interview: Film/ TV Director Bim Ajadi talks to Dao about his career

29 September 2015


Award-winning filmmaker Bim Ajadi’s credits include co-directing a film for Channel 4 shown at the London Paralympic Ceremony in 2012. With a media career spanning almost 15 years, Colin Hambrook asked Ajadi about his professional journey so far and his ongoing commitment to nurturing fellow deaf talent, as he prepares to deliver workshops at the BBC’s See Hear Weekend in Bristol.

Experimental Art Is Catalyst for Urban Revitalization

14 September 2015


DisArt was a multi-venue Disability Arts Festival, which took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from April 10th to July 31st, 2015. Through several world-renowned exhibits of Disability Arts from all over the world, DisArt Festival 2015 challenged its audiences to reconsider the importance of community, identity, and difference. Report by Alexandra Kadlec

Resource: Crowdfunding for Organisations

18 July 2015


As part of a Catalyst project, working with Stopgap, Salisbury Arts Centre and The Point, Dao-ista Alice Holland took on the task of producing a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for a show by disabled punk performance poet Rowan James: 'It's For You To Say'. Here she gives some background to the thinking behind the project.

Gallery: Emma Stephenson

5 September 2015


Emma Stephenson is a London based artist/illustrator working mainly on reportage projects and themes. Her latest project is about her perspective on the world from her wheelchair.

Poetry: Alan Morrison: Shadows Waltz Haltingly and the Shadow of Huntington’s

3 September 2015


For Alan Morrison the task of tackling poetically his mother’s fifteen year-plus fight with Huntington’s Disease, and its ultimate claiming of her, was an emotionally and psychologically thorny one. But so deeply had he been affected by witnessing the many harrowing stages of his mother’s illness that he inevitably attempted to assimilate it all through the expressive medium which comes most naturally to him: poetry.