In a blog on Parallel Lines recently, Aaron Williamson made the point that “the notion that an individual is disabled by their impairment is still the prevalent mainstream way of thinking.” One of the ways it manifests is in the often tokenistic way that organisations attempt to make concessions towards disabled people.
Looking at the BBC Vision’s current training opportunity to find disabled presenters -‘PresentAble’ - leaves me with that certain feeling I get in the pit of my stomach whenever I see programmes designed to wrest disabled people from a well of despond. I would wish for something positive to come from the opportunity. Perhaps for those individuals who end up taking part, it could represent an opportunity that would not have otherwise been obtainable!
But the language of PresentAble is steeped in notions of ‘celebration’ and ‘overcoming’ – a trend Aaron identifies as “a noticeable return to specifying individual impairment rather than social identity as the basis for disability art.”
True this is about the media, rather than ‘art’… and as such it would no doubt for some mean a laudable opportunity. But it’s that taking the ‘dis’ out of disability, thing, that seems to perpetuate itself in the arts and the media
I happened to look through the ad and the application process online and ended up feeling they were - once again - looking for someone with a visible impairment who doesn’t have the kind of disabilities for who the application process itself would not present any barriers. Again there is a contact to get in touch if you want them to consider making reasonable adjustments…
If you are interested in PresentAble go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/news/presentable.shtml for details on how to apply. Applications are open until 31 January