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

11 November 2011


‘Neglected Voices’ is a work about disabled people’s experience, consisting of four sequences of transcription poems: 'Proud', 'In Memory', 'This Hearing Thing' and 'Dan Dare Braces'.

As disabled people, we get looked at a lot, and talked about a great deal, but we don't 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. Neglected Voices attempts to rectify that situation by giving four disabled people the opportunity to tell their own stories.

'Neglected Voices' was created by Allan Sutherland's during his year-long residency at the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University in 2010/11.

Transcription Poetry

Transcription Poetry

21 November 2011

Allan Sutherland discusses the form of 'Transcription poetry' - as a vehicle for documenting the lives of disabled people



23 July 2012

Have just come to these pieces and I'm feeling so pleased I have. One of the things I do is oral histories. Had a bit of a struggle with the 'proper' oral historians when I chose to make the tapes not as auditory perfect as possible but rather to reflect the everyday realities of the disabled women who I was recording. I wasn't going to distort my community, but it seemed process mattered more than real. In those transcripts were words that sang that needed some other way to set them (as well as their voices). This approach might be just the thing. Thanks for the profoundly wonderful pieces you have given us to date.

Kaite O\'Reilly

24 November 2011

This is a great project - let's try and promote it wherever we can. I've just send a link to all my friends and put the press release on my blog. Let's stop the 'Neglected Voices' being neglected now they're here in the public domain.

Jane Campbell

21 November 2011

The voice of experience tells us so much more about other people and therefore ourselves. All humans grow by testing their understanding of the world against those of others. If disabled people never articulate their own story and their own minds, we not only lose them, but we lose something of ourselves. Neglected voices, is one of the best creative responses I have seen for a long time, to our social exclusion.

Everyone at some point in their life, will either become a disabled person or is a disabled person. If you want to prepare for life, if you want to enjoy life, then excluding our memories and understanding of the world will inevitably take away from you. Nothing about us, without us must be a fundamental principle for living an inclusive life. Neglected voices, is a brilliant way to help society understand our culture and to understand themselves better.

Alison Wilde

8 November 2011

These stories made me think, feel and reflect on the lives and circumstances of others, reminding me of our unique differences and considerable commonalities. They brought together the strengths of both artistic and sociological imaginations, retaining a strong sense of authenticity. The poetry brims with life in all its multi-textured complexity.

The way these stories are told are redolent of the work of Woody Guthrie; not only do they demonstrate some truths about disabled people’s identities to the world, they remind us to take pride in our lives, our struggles, and our work.

Mat Fraser

7 November 2011

The powerful, enlightening, and both joyous and sobering “Neglected Voices” joins the growing ranks of hitherto unheard points of view, visions and impressions of the World, from Disabled People. This breath of fresh air builds as each poem delivers its message and form across the pages, developing both individual and larger story arcs that resonate with anyone who reads them. This is a collection of poems that demands to be included and listened to, read and digested.

Liz Crow

7 November 2011

Is it documentary? Is it storytelling? Is it poetry? Yes! What Neglected Voices has

succeeded in doing is representing the lives of a small group of disabled people in a way that their voices, personalities and experiences ring from the page.

Because Allan Sutherland is able to retain the rhythm and flow of the voice in his poetry, we build an emotional connection with the teller and find an aliveness to their recollections that is so often missing from traditional representations. Sutherland is developing a very interesting new narrative approach which is an immensely valuable contribution to recording the lives of marginalised communities and I hope this is a body of work and a methodology that he will be able to continue to build on.

Anat Greenstein

7 November 2011

Wow!!!! This is really inspiring and moving. Thank you very much for sharing this. Can I please read your methodology paper? I find it very relevant to my research and particularly for a project I did with school students in which I used comic strips as a form of data representation and analysis.

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