Trish Wheately, DAOs new director introduces herself / 22 July 2011
I’m a Dorset girl through and through. I was born here and am based here. It was here that I was introduced to Disability Arts in fantastic fashion, as a then recent photography graduate from art school in Wales, when I landed a job at Holton Lee in 2005.
I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. I had the chance to meet many disabled artists through curating the contemporary arts programme, working intensely to develop the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, whilst all the time learning about Disability Arts and the workings of the arts, cultural and charity sectors from Holton Lee’s then Director, Tony Heaton.
In May 2009 a spanner was thrown in the works when redundancies followed a difficult period for fundraising. This, like for so many, was initially a testing time following a recent house purchase. However, I quickly came round to seeing the situation I found myself in as a fantastic opportunity and began to build what became a successful freelance business, specialising in developing and producing projects with disabled artists.
And so, here began my somewhat ridiculous travel routine covering four counties; working for artists and organizations including Sue Austin, Dance Aware, LinkUpArts and the LinkUpArtists’ Network, as well as picking up occasional work for Arts Council South West, Shape London and Disability Arts Online.
This freelance work gave me a real opportunity to work closely with artists in a way that wasn’t possible in my previous employment. This was, and still is, a real joy that has reinforced my growing understanding of the challenges of working as a contemporary disabled artist. I see myself as a collaborator within one of the most exciting, relevant and largely still to be discovered active art movements.
DAO is central to people discovering disabled artists and their work. I’m very excited to be part of that and am looking forward to the challenges the work of director will bring.
If you want to know about more about my artistic practice to go www.trishwheatley.co.uk I also have a blog, considered to be a sketchbook of ideas and links, which combines two of my greatest passions: the arts and bikes. It could be interpreted as the reverse of this new DAO blog.
Keywords: disability art