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Culture innit?! / 19 September 2008

The organisers of London 2012 have announced plans for the largest ever celebration of disability arts as part of a Cultural Olympiad (what is it about that term that makes me shudder?!). Originally called ‘Extraordinary Abilities’ (I know!), they’ve now decided to call the event ‘Unlimited’, although this clearly doesn’t relate to the amount of funding that’s being pledged. compete cartoon

To date, only £600,000 has been offered for a series of commissions for Disabled artists and arts organisations over the next four years, leading up to the 2012 Games. Put into perspective by comparing this amount to the six billion already spent on the 2012 games, you may be forgiven for beginning to see another agenda emerging here.

It’s surely no coincidence that the London Disability Art Forum (LDAF), who would have been one of the more credible Disabled people’s organisation ideally placed to manage this event, were forced to shut down several months ago due to lack of funding. Or perhaps that’s just me being paranoid again?!

In reality £600,000 is a tiny drop in the ocean for Disability Arts, and to expect this amount to be enough to make an impact over the next four years is ludicrous. For Jude Kelly, who is the culture chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to state that this would ‘influencing the future of culture’ makes it clear that she has no understanding of Disability Art, or where we as Disabled artists are coming from.

Perhaps they should appoint a Disabled artist to manage this event, and we could really show her what ‘unlimited’ really means!

Clair’s Songs - And talking about Disabled artists, have you seen what Disabled singer/songwriter Clair Lewis has been up to lately? As well as appearing at the recent Liberty event in London, she’s been creating some new and powerful songs about our struggle, several of which are now up on her MY Space site. Here is the link for her page.