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Colin Hambrook established Disability Arts Online in 2004. Since then he has been editing and maintaining the journal and its social media outlets. In his blog he comments on aspects of stuff going in within Disability Arts and the specific arts programmes Dao is engaged with.. as well being known to vent the occasional rant.

Who draws the line on what is or isn’t a useful life?

14 January 2016

Blog

A photograph of Liz Carr as Clarissa Mullery in the BBC's Silent Witness. The image is a close up on her face with a crime scene in the background.

The journalist Matthew Parris has a bit of a thing about ‘usefulness’ as an important human trait. When interviewed by disability activist and wheelchair user Baroness Jane Campbell on BBC Radio 4’s first Today programme of 2016, he branded her as “a clearly useful person” because of her place in the House of Lords. Parris makes his politics clear. His recent article in the Spectator was headed: ‘Some day soon we’ll all accept that useless lives...

Comments: 4

Defend disabled people's right to independent living

3 June 2015

Blog

The Government's plans to do away with the Independent Living Fund (ILF) on 30th June are going to have an immense impact on many individuals Dao works with either directly or indirectly. The ILF helps over 18,000 disabled people with high support needs to live independent lives in the community rather than in residential care. The fund was introduced in 1988 as the Conservative party at that time realised that supporting disabled people with personal care needs to live independent lives,...

Comments: 1

To define or not to define: the dirty 'disability' word

27 October 2014

Blog

photo of three images of the artist throwing an artificial leg at a pyramid of collecting cans

A stimulating discussion unfolded on Dao’s FB group last week in response to the Shape Open Exhibition, which was launched at Shape’s Gallery in Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford last week. The call-out for Shape’s annual Open Exhibition was for the third year opened out to disabled and to non-disabled artists specifically asking for work on the theme of [in]visible. The question posed was whether Shape should be supporting work by artists who didn’t necessarily see...

Comments: 7

Congratulations to Mat Fraser for the recent award given to Cabinet Of Curiosities: but isn’t Disability being firmly put back in a box?

16 June 2014

Blog

photo of performing artist Mat Fraser standing in front of a series of shelves containing prosthetic limbs

It was good to hear that Mat Fraser has won the Arts and Culture Award category in the Observer Ethical Awards 2014 for his show Cabinet of Curiosities: How Disability was kept in a Box. I interviewed Mat before the show went on tour and was wowed by his performance in the Science Museum earlier this year. For me it was akin to the kinds of cabaret performance we, in the disability arts movement, were lucky to see Mat do 20 years ago: Mat, angry, proud, projecting a cynical humour advocating...

Comments: 2