In his book Future Perfect, Steve Johnson makes the observation that "as a news hook, steady incremental progress pales beside the sexier stories of dramatic breakthrough and spectacular failure".
Here on DAO I believe we buck that trend. Whilst we plotted the highlights of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad we also, through our smaller news stories and ongoing blogs, aimed to cover those incremental but no less significant steps in the arts world from a disability perspective.
This year, we follow the progress of our own Diverse Perspectives commissions, our regular bloggers and other disabled artists without the huge backdrop of 2012. Life goes on and we (and by that I mean the disability arts community) are still striving forward, furthering the debate and increasing the profile of artists in the UK and beyond.
Today, quite appropriately, is International Women's Day and we see the opening of People Like You, the exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre in which DAO is a main delivery partner. Led by LinkUpArts, it features three incredibly talented female disabled artists, Gini, Sue Austin and Liz Crow. It has been a privilege to work on the exhibition, it's catalogue and the accompanying symposium 'From the Personal to the Universal' which takes place on 10 April.
Steve Johnson talks about peer progressive networks as a means to communicate and progress as a society and I think Disability Arts historically is a great example of that. He says "Most new movements start this way: hundreds or thousands of individuals and groups, working in different fields and different locations, start thinking about change using a common language, without necessarily recognising those shared values . You just start following your own vector, propelled along by the people in your immediate vicinity. And then one day you look up and realise that all those individual trajectories have turned into a wave."
Now the first wave is well and truly over but there is a new struggle, a new fight and with that the possibility of renewed unity, whilst valuing the nuances within disability arts and diversity more generally and opening it to a wider audience.
People Like You offers a great opportunity to talk this through, open up the debate and DAO is right at its heart. We hope you are able to join in, whether that is in person or online, to be part of another incremental step that otherwise might go unrecognised and perhaps be involved a new wave in the disability arts movement.
People Like You is on show at Salisbury Arts Centre until 14 April. For details got to DAOs listings pages at www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/Events
Colin Hambrook introduces the new look DAO and invites you to attend a symposium on disability art and activism at Salisbury Arts Centre
We've been working hard during the last six months on the new design of DAO, which we launched earlier this week. Big thanks to everyone who has sent us feedback in the last few days.
Responding to our last readers survey in March 2012 we decided to move away from the handmade feel and produce a bolder design which highlighted art form to make it easier to find features on specific topics within the navigation.
We're working hard on identifying bugs in the older pages and tweaking anomalies that have appeared as a result of the changeover. Please continue to highlight anything you think looks amiss and let us know what you think of the new look by emailing me via firstname.lastname@example.org
DAO is currently working in partnership with LinkUpArts and Salisbury Arts Centre on an exhibition called People Like You. We are very excited about the symposium 'From the Personal to the Universal' which focuses on the role of disability arts and activism. This takes place on 10 April, towards the end of the exhibition. There are limited places so if you plan to attend make sure you book well in advance. The same goes for Liz Crow's Bedside Conversations which were a highlight at SPILL Festival, Ipswich last year.
For those writers amongst you there is an opportunity to come on a brilliant half day course with Marian Cleary in Writing Interviews on 9th April. This will be a great opportunity to brush up on technique and attend the symposium the following day for free!
Further details are here: www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/Opportunities?item=3870