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> > > Review: Together 2012 Festival Launched

22 November 2012

photo by Des Blake  of a woman standing in front of a window with her arms outstretched

Photo of 'Woman in Window' by Des Blake

Richard Downes attends the launch on 21 November of 'Together 2012', Newham’s friendly Disability Arts Festival at The Hub, Star Lane, East London

Late arriving at the the Hub, venue for Together 2012’s Disability Arts Exhibition, a singer songwriter ends his set with Romeo and Juliet. Canning Town, poisoned by love. Not a place or time to die.

I am here for the launch of the festival. A banner and inflated rings signify people scorched by the speed of the Olympics. I sit at a table. Diverse communities pass by and acknowledge my presence with a nod. Perhaps this will be the friendliest festival.

My table is in front of a sign, ‘Choices Club’. The entrance was step free and automated. Disabled People meet here. Our language is spoken and our practices observed. The exhibition is of work by the local community.

Sarah Hughes, Poetry and Spoken Word Producer, is acting in a voluntary capacity tonight. She escorts me around the exhibits. She knows the work well; the people who made it, the groups they came from, and the form the works take. She is imbued with a collective pride in these groups; Active Plus, Grassroots, and the fantastically named INUF, Independent Newham Users Forum where she attends an Art Therapy group. We are very chatty en route. Words testifying to the importance of Art hang in the air.

I excuse my interest in photography as the reason I am particularly taken with Des Blake’s entry. I find myself almost apologising for treading on the toes of others in making my choice. Subsequently I am introduced to Des who poo poos his contribution as an accident. To be in a place with Marie, wearing what she’s wearing, standing like she’s standing, where she stands, with the light that throws the shadow where it lies, and then discovering how best to display the photograph, creating the optical illusion it then delivers; as a complete accident – aw!!! come on. I find this modesty hard to take and talk about the classicism within the pose of angelic crucifix, only to be told Marie just happened to be there at that time, just happened to shrug when she did.

Des works for Active Plus His project provides free Dyslexic Diagnostic Assessments, so that if you have the impairment, you can then present evidence in support of a formal assessment.

Des introduces me to Marcus Barr, the singer songwriter, whose act I largely missed. He operates within a new genre called Urban Music Hall. He is young, enthusiastic, attracting the interests of Tom Robinson. His intention is to find a tune with which to relate his experience and to tell his tale with a sense of fun. We fall into swapping stories about our chosen art forms. We share many understandings. Our art brings life, invigorates, speaking loudly with pride.

I say goodbye to Sarah and I look around me. Many of the artists are here. They have bought friends and family with them. The community is intact here. It shares a glory in the achievement of work well done, well presented and a festival well-organised Together we created a hubbub at the Hub. If I don’t make it through the wintry fug on the way to Star Lane Station (accessible) maybe Canning Town won’t be such a bad place to die after all. Could there be a better recommendation.

Look to the programme attend, participate, be included.

Click on this link to go to DAOs listings for Together 2012



18 December 2012

I enjoyed the evening of the viewing of all the disabled peoples art,and poetry event.I would like to thank you Ju and Julie.To bring us all togehter,in this dark evenings ,and celabrate .What we have manage too achive together.Carry on this celebration of disabled people,as we are a minority group,this usaully doesnt happen .


2 December 2012

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the article and it was great to meet you!

Julie McNamara

24 November 2012

What a great review. This sounds fabulous. I truly wish the organisers and community the best of success with this festival. It's about time we had an event creatively led by disabled people for disabled people that is not strangled by financial constraints or the hidden agendas of the Funders. Well done Together Team!

I hope to attend some of the events when I get back to London!

Des Blake

23 November 2012

Hi Richard,

Des Blake here, thank you so much for the ‘shout outs’ I really must admit some of the photo was intended but most of it was an accident, just been in the right place at the right time!

Also thank you for your fantastic review of the event it was really accurate and captured the spirits and feeling of the events,

Kind Regards,

Des Blake

Active Plus

ruth gould

23 November 2012

Wish I could have been there - really excited for the team in Newham and hope that this continues

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