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> > Neglected Voices - a cycle of poems by Allan Sutherland

11 November 2011

Introduction

‘Neglected Voices’ is a work about disabled people’s experience, consisting of four sequences of transcription poems: 'Proud' from the words of Jennifer Taylor, 'In Memory' from the words of Catriona Grant, 'This Hearing Thing' from the words of Wendy Bryant, and 'Dan Dare Braces' from the words of Peter Moore

We get looked at a lot, and talked about a great deal, but we donít get listened to very much. This does not mean that we have nothing to say. Any number of stories are told about us, as poison dwarves, wicked hunchbacks, pathetic cripples, brave survivors or benefits scroungers. What the story is depends on who is doing the telling. That's why it matters that the stories about us are so rarely told by us.

This project attempts to rectify that situation by giving four disabled people the opportunity to tell their own stories.

'Neglected Voices' was created during a year-long residency at the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University, a research centre which has ëa particular commitment to user-led and emancipatory approaches to research and to the involvement of service users and the subjects of social and public policy in research and policy development.

The project uses the same transcription poetry technique as in my work with Paddy Masefield and Nancy Willis. That previous work was about important figures in the Disability Arts world.

These cycles of poems tell the life stories of a wider group of disabled people, drawn from the range of people involved, to a greater or lesser extent, in the Centre for Citizen Participation. They all have important and interesting stories to tell. But then so, in my experience, do all disabled people.

To read some of my thoughts about the development of transcription poetry go to www.disabilityartsonline.org/transcription-poetry

The residency was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and the application by the CCP was supported by Disability Arts Online.

You can read Neglected Voices at www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/Neglected-Voices