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Colin Hambrook:Editorial - disability arts online
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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.

Colin Hambrook on portrayals of 'disability'

24 September 2012

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Earlier this month I attended a Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University. One of the papers that has stayed with me was a piece of work-in-progress on ‘Disability in Cultural Spaces’ by Nancy Hansen from Manitoba University. She'd been to The Lowry Museum in Salford, where one of her favourite paintings 'The Cripples' is displayed. I've never been a particular fan of LS Lowry's work. I’ve always felt a certain discomfort with the atmosphere of...

Comments: 8

Colin Hambrook with an update on DAOs programme to cover Unlimited

18 September 2012

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Crippen's O'Crypes title frame cartoon introducing all the characters in the cartoon blog

It's been an eventful year for DAO so far, gathering responses to the Unlimited commissions by disabled and deaf artists that have been wending their way across the country, culminating in the Festival at the Southbank Centre which ended just over a week ago. Since then I've been at a Disability Studies conference in Lancaster University in which the ideas that originally spawned the Disability Arts movement are still celebrated - even though those ideas have perhaps become fragmented...

Comments: 0

Trish Wheatley looks forward to the Channel 4 film about the Great British Paraorchestra

8 September 2012

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photo of disabled musicians on stage at Glastonbury

Showing on Channel 4 at 5.25pm on Sunday 9th September 2012 is a documentary tracking the development of the Great British Paraorchestra. The idea for it was conceived by internationally renowned conductor Charles Hazlewood, inspired by his disabled daughter and the Paralympics. The initiative is described as "a global movement to recognise and showcase disabled musicians with extraordinary abilities. Its mission is to end the limitations placed on them, not by their physical ability...

Comments: 1

Colin Hambrook asks will the Paralympic opening ceremony provide more of a laugh than Katherine Araniello's take on the 'Superhuman' ideal being proselytised by Channel 4?

29 August 2012

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The London 2012 Paralympics, which will be broadcast in over 100 countries, with a count down to the opening ceremony being broadcast on Channel 4 tonight. After months of top level secrecy I got an email earlier from an excited disabled performer saying "it's all tantrums & tiaras back-stage". I can just imagine! All those 'superhumans' in the background getting ready to flex some bicep. Personally I find the whole malarky about how 'inspiring' we are - as...

Comments: 7

Trish Wheatley looks forward to 'The First Four'

21 August 2012

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Montage of Sally Booth's photographs of light through the windows at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

I was drawn into the world of Disability Arts four months after Adam Reynolds passed away. Consequently I never got to meet the man that lives on so fondly in the memories of his contemporaries. I worked at Holton Lee, where I saw his work displayed in the buildings on a daily basis. His major legacy, aside from his wonderfully insightful and at times humourous sculpture, is the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary. Its fifth recipient, Simon Raven is currently in residence at Camden Arts Centre....

Comments: 2

Colin Hambrook introduces The O’Crypes

20 August 2012

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Frame 1 (from the 6 frame Crippen cartoon strip that accompanies this blog)

The O’Crypes have whet the appetites of many DAO readers with over a 1000 pageviews since episode one which we published on 9 July. Many of you have left messages saying how much you’ve enjoyed the characters and have followed the dilemmas they are facing in the plight of dramatic cutbacks to services whilst huge amounts of money are being spent on the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad. Each episode is set to represent a different storyline about each member of the family cutting...

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Trish Wheatley gets inspired at DaDaFest

19 August 2012

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Image of event programme reads: DaDaFEst 2012 presents an evening with Evelyn Glennie Saturday 18 August, 7:30pm with an image of Evelyn Glennie beating the drums at the Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012

What a cracking night for DaDaFest! One act from the Olympic Opening ceremony and one from the closing ceremony, it was as if it had all been planned! Ruth Gould, CEO of DaDaFest introduced it as the biggest night in the history of the twelve-year-old festival. Hosted by the iconic Liverpool Royal Philharmonic and sitting in anticipation to watch Dame Evelyn Glennie, Britain’s most successful percussionist, I totally agreed. I'm not going to detail the actual performance here, except...

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Colin Hambrook on the launch of DaDaFest 2012 at The Bluecoat in Liverpool

13 July 2012

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photo of the white brick wall of a gallery with a series of large black letters tumbling down near the bottom of the wall

DAO Editor Colin Hambrook has been getting about a bit lately. And care of a train journey sponsored by Virgin, he managed to make it to the launch of DaDaFest at The Bluecoat in Liverpool yesterday afternoon. There was hilarity in the air. A team of volunteers dressed in white coats and armed with clipboards mingled to ask whether or not we considered ourselves to be normal. Apparently they had been at it all day, outside Lime Street station, questioning Scousers about their view of how...

Comments: 1

Colin Hambrook on the launch of Unlimited at the Southbank Centre

11 July 2012

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red painting of an african woman

DAO Editor Colin Hambrook had the pleasure of visiting the launch of the Unlimited commissions yesterday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London's Southbank Centre. Bringing together all 29 Unlimited commissions, Unlimited: the Revelation starts here is a showcase for a platform of new works spanning dance and performance, visual arts, comedy, circus, music and theatre. The 11-day celebration is the finale of Southbank Centre’s summer-long Festival of the World, which presents projects...

Comments: 4

Colin Hambrook aks 'what price integration?' in response to the Headlining Disability conference

20 June 2012

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Crippen's freak show cartoon

DAO Editor Colin Hambrook attended Shape's debate on media representation of disability at the Southbank Centre yesterday. Predicated on the idea that there is a change happening… and that disabled people are leading in that process, an audience of 150 or so were treated to an afternoon of debate from some key disabled professionals within the world of arts, sports and media. The main attraction of the afternoon's event was a debate between University lecturer Mike Shamash and...

Comments: 7

Colin Hambrook reflects on Nicky Clark's 'Pay Me, Don't Play Me Campaign'

10 June 2012

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screenshot from Nicky Clark's PAyMe Don't Play Me Campaign

Liz Carr wrote recently in an interview with Richard Downes on DAO that what bothers her is how worked up the media gets with lambasting comics like Ricky Gervais over 'mong gate' when the reality is that nobody gives a shit about the real issues affecting disabled people’s lives. You can be declared fit for work by Atos just six weeks before you die - and it might just about make the Guardian's letters page! Nicky Clark has recently written an insightful piece for the New...

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DAO sub-editor Marian Cleary asks how we can become more accessible when it comes to content on the site

31 May 2012

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a black and white photograph of a field with flags made out of pages from books

As Colin Hambrook reported recently, DAO is soon to have a facelift. As well as responding to your comments made via our recent reader survey, we are also keen to build on our previous successes regarding accessibility to the site. After the site was last overhauled in 2008, DAO received a Commendation for digital access in the prestigious 2009 Jodi Awards. It’s no surprise really since the web company DAO works with - Surface Impression – have long and established relationships...

Comments: 1

Colin Hambrook, reports on news about DAO, past, present and future

18 May 2012

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the disability arts on line logo

We've had an exciting time recently finishing off DAO’s New Voices project. Our 2012 group of New Voices writers have been fully engage with DAO. During the project, their blog entries, reviews and interviews have delivered lots of interaction from our readership. In preparation for our next project, Diverse Perspectives, we’ve been awarded a significant Grants for the Arts award by Arts Council England (ACE) to do a range of things. Firstly, we are commissioning eight disabled...

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Colin Hambrook discusses a recent paper on the social model of disability

17 April 2012

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image of a foetus inside a womb, holding a mobile phone

It feels like things are coming inexorably to a head. Running alongside a year of arts events being rolled out under the banner of the Cultural Olympiad, there is a growing sense of foreboding as the current tide of political changes threatens to change the state of play for disabled people in the struggle to maintain quality of life. It seems that the vision of a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens, is being...

Comments: 1

Colin visits the David Hockney exhibition at the RA

26 March 2012

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image of a Hockney landscape, looking down a hill at a long, winding road

Judging by the numbers of disabled people I saw at the Royal Academy's David Hockney exhibition last Saturday, there is a will that goes beyond simply paying lip service to accessibility, to market the gallery to include disabled people. The huge scale of the work on show, and the use of vivid colour means this exhibition is largely accessible for visitors with a range of sight impairments. The audio-guides provided had some clear, informative descriptions of the scale and detail of the...

Comments: 1

Colin visits Sanchita Islam's Pigment Explosion Party

12 March 2012

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intricate drawing of an inner landscape, using a range of media

Creativity is a place where difficulty and beauty can share the same bed and offer something of value. The Creative Case for Diversity is an approach - mooted by the Arts Council - in an attempt to have a conversation about how it is that Art that comes from artists outside the usual narrow definition of who can be defined an artist and what can be defined as art, is often the most original work being produced. DAO as a platform has attempted over recent years, to open its pages up to work by...

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Colin comments on DAO discussions around disability/ inclusive theatre-making

8 March 2012

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three dancers perform outdoors, covered in paint, with a large action painting in the background

DAO has published a couple of reports, recently on events about access to theatre and theatre-making. In her review on The Scottish Dance Theatre’s Pathways to the Profession Symposium, Jo Verrent concludes that the discussion at the conference “isn’t a battle for access, it’s about a critical contribution to culture.” Putting our experience as ‘diverse’ artists, out there is a process of finding the keys held by the gatekeepers, in a climate ever more...

Comments: 4

DAO's Director, Trish Wheatley invites readers to air their views on DAO in return for the chance to win £40 of Amazon vouchers

1 March 2012

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DAO is currently attracting record numbers of readers peaking at 14,000 visitors per month viewing over 32,000 pages in February, which is absolutely fantastic. Thank you to all our writers and readers for their contibutions and do keep returning for all the latest in blogs, news, reviews, listings and much more.  As we gear up for an unprecedented year of cultural activity we are keen to collect your thoughts on DAO's successes and areas in which we could improve. It would help us...

Comments: 0

Colin writes on the BBC documentary 'Deaf Teens in a Hearing World'

15 February 2012

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portrait photo of a young woman, pictured in profile, with a smile on her face

I usually watch television documentaries on disability, expecting to be slumped in my chair groaning after two minutes, before making my excuses to the disability movement and switching off with a refusal to write yet another blog about the ignorance that abounds in the world of the media. DAO recently had a surge of activity in response to our New Voices writer Charlie Swinbourne’s review of the BBC 3 documentary ‘Deaf Teens in a Hearing World’, screened earlier this month....

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Trish Wheatley blogs about the latest content on DAO

3 February 2012

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A multi-layered composition in which the artist has combined painting with many photographs, postcards and badge-like objects to evoke the struggle of the Suffragettes.

Here at DAO we’ve had a fantastic start to what promises to be an astonishing year for disabled artists.  Each month we will aim to highlight some of the new content and alert you to upcoming opportunities to get involved with DAO. So, new for this month we’ve published a flurry of new blogs from our regulars, Gini, Vince Laws, Signdance, Gary Thomas, Oska Bright, Sam Jacobs and Aidan Moesby to name a few. We also welcome five writers who have just started on our Arts Council...

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Colin discusses BBC Vision's program for 'Able' disabled people

22 January 2012

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black and white picture of a microphone

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...

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Colin wishes all DAO's contributors and readers all the best for the festive season

15 December 2011

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black and white image of a furry teacup, taken from above

DAO is preparing to wind down for the end of year break. Firstly I'd like to give a warm thanks to all our contributors and to wish all our readers all the best over the festive season. It has been an exciting year for DAO, with its readership having gone up by a fifth since the summer. We have recently come to the end of our New Voices programme in Brighton and are now looking forward to a fresh start running the course in London in partnership with New Writing South and with Shape. There have...

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Colin reports on 'Bad News for Disabled People' research, which reveals the extent of misrepresentation of disabled people in the media

6 December 2011

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At last Saturday's MeCCSa Disability Studies Network event titled 'The Representation of Disabled People in an Age of Austerity', Nick Watson from Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research at Glasgow University , presented findings from research into a shift in the way that the media is reporting on disability. The Centre analysed 2,276 print articles, focusing on the Express, Mail, Sun and Mirror plus the Guardian newspaper as a counterpoint. They chose to look at all articles...

Comments: 3

How do art historical texts and the media deal with disability? Answers on a postcard please...

15 November 2011

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For the Outside-In Step-Up program I am doing some research on how artists talk about themselves in terms of disability; and how art historians and academics refer to disability. As a beginning I am planning to gather as much material as I can on a broad spectrum of artists, before narrowing down to focus on a few artists. The point of my research is to look at references to disability and impairment from the perspective of the Social and Affirmative Models of Disability. As a rule of thumb,...

Comments: 8

Colin reflects on decibel's aim to bring Performing Arts from across the diversity strands under one banner

24 September 2011

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photo of a man in a blue, sports top, whirling a hula hoop

A week on from decibel, the Arts Council’s Performing Arts Showcase in Manchester from 12-18 September 2011 and I am still reeling from the expanse and breadth of the work we saw there. At a time when the recession is hitting the Arts, it was exciting to experience a festival that understands how bringing artists and companies from across the range of work being made under the diversity banner can create an atmosphere that fosters new challenges, new conversations and new ways of doing...

Comments: 0