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Crippen looks at the current disability arts funding crisis (again!) / 4 September 2009

I’m hearing from groups and organisations of Disabled people who are continuing to have problems with fund raising. Some of this funding relates to events, performances and exhibitions that are being planned, whilst other funding is actually needed to keep these organisations running. We’ve already lost two of the biggest Disability Arts Forums due to a lack of available funding and it now looks as though many other smaller groups and organisations are considering closing down.

The problem is plain enough to see. The 2012 Olympics is continuing to be a large black hole into which most of the funding originally earmarked for charitable projects is being sucked. From the first estimate of 2.5 billion pounds, the amount of money that the 2012 Olympic Games has cost us so far is now over SEVEN BILLION pounds, and there’s still another couple of years before it opens.

If any of you have tried to obtain funding for an arts project recently you’ll find that an additional criteria has crept in … you now have to show just how your project will interact with the 2012 Olympic Games! This is the clearest indication to date just how the event has taken over so called charitable spending, diverting government spending, lottery earnings and many other established grant provision.

Apparently this is not new. The Roman emperors used to divert social funding to their own games whenever they felt that the general public needed a diversion; something to take their mind off of what was happening within the corrupt political arena. Sound familiar?!

Keywords: disability art,disabled people's movement,funding



10 September 2009

ha ha ... you say tomato and we say tomarto eh?!


9 September 2009

Drat. I knew I said it poorly, as soon as I posted the comment. I meant, the rest of your comment to Lady ...., where the "born in a handbag" comment was made. Not to me. But I think your comment to me is fun. (I recently was asked a question on 34th St., NYC in the shadow of the Empire State Building, by a tourist and I cleverly was able to say, "Where in England are you from?". So there. (He was asking me where he could buy a nice hat.)

I have a pen-pal in England, with same illness (CFS/ME) and I'm always asking for translations of English to understand, such as in clothing words. (I read the Guardian online and we use different words for things like 'jumpers',etc.)


9 September 2009

Nah Sanda, not patronising ... you're american so we have to speak slowly and loudly to you (like we do to all foreigners!);-)


8 September 2009

I saw the play some decades ago, but didn't get the reference. Thank you, on all counts. I was looking for a nice way to ask if your comment might be sexist, too.

But I couldn't think of a way. Maybe

patronizing in your reply (the rest of it).

And I do like the cartoon!

5 September 2009

Hi Kjell, good to hear from you. there's no problem using the cartoon as long as you give a reference to this Disability Arts on Line blog. Thanks.

Some excellent points Richard as usual.With regards to Richard's query in respect of what disability arts group to include ... over to you guys.

richard downes

5 September 2009

I accept that there is a funding crisis and welcome the attention that is being paid to it.

The organisation I work for, Brent Advocacy Concerns, is working through its own funding crisis.

But I think its far too simplistic to blame it on 2012. I think there is great confusion about the position of disabled people in society today. As Tooney Bliar said, we have our rights, we need to accept our responsibilities. A comment like that was his first on disability when elected. It allowed him to pursue his christian democratic belief that there are deserving disabled people and undeserving too. His acolytes pursue this stupidity through benefit reform and we are thrown to the lions.

The question is what do we do about it. A cartoon is a good start. it reminds us where we are and what we face.

I've also been promoting the idea of a technothon using facebook through the "we all shot pudsey bear" facebook group. We determine what groups we want to fund and then we go head to head with children in need. using computers as television.

Given that some groups liike Clair Lewis's Cherie Burnell group has 94,000 members I think there could be some legs in it. But having said that are the legs working. Ooh er!!!

The groups i have nominated are Brent Advocacy Concerns (advocacy theme), the disabled people's direct action network (political theme), which arts group should we back (arts theme)?

Kjell Stjernholm

5 September 2009

Oh, sorry... link to the post would be:

Kjell Stjernholm

5 September 2009

Hi Dave, I'm Kjell Stjernholm, artistic manager of Moomsteatern in Sweden (professional integrated theatre based on actors with intellectual disabilities) and blogger at

I've taken the liberty of showing your cartoon on arts funding in a post (mostly in swedish) where I set your critique against Boris Johnsons claim to promote disability arts for 2012.

I hope you approve. If not, please email me, and I will take post down immediately.

Oh... great blog by the way. It's bookmarked.

Seen Boris statement? Look at


4 September 2009

Hi Sanda, you're becoming quite a regular from across the pond. Thanks for your input. The 'handbag' reference was to our correspondent Lady Bracknell who's based upon a character from the Oscar Wild play 'The importance of being Ernest'. She uses the imortal line in the play ...'A handbag?!'when Ernest admits to having been found in one as a baby!


4 September 2009

Being of a "certain age" (and what does

"born in a handbag" mean?, Crippen - you used it in reply on last comment; it's not used on this side of the ocean) -

I have been observing the art world since I started my art career over forty

years ago. Artists are observers and problem solvers, and artists who are disabled are both "plus".

When I became disabled, in the 1980s, I knew I needed to remain "connected" to

other artists, particularly as I was nearly totally homebound (CFS/ME). I had

experience in the women's art movement in NYC in the 1970s, being in a large group and also in a small group. In the large

women's art group, I invented a Board Member At Large position for researching grants for individual artists, which was voted upon and I reported at meetings.

I belonged to a small women artists

support group for ten years, until I became too ill (which included the others

"running away" in fear of my as yet undiagnosed illness) to participate outside of my home. The group did monthly meetings in each others' studios and had a couple of shows in public spaces.

When I began the "pen-network", a group by US mail, or post, as you call it,

I remembered all the hassles that went with funding:applications for grants, huge amounts of paperwork and boards.

(I have had grants from a foundation, as an individual artist. Lots of paperwork, record keeping, lots of time/physical effort.)

I also remembered that when I'd been "a wife" who accompanied my spouse to the US South for his job as an organizer in the Antipoverty program, I observed the problems that his work partner noticed in the theater group, of which he was a Board Member, while doing the job I mentioned.

I also had been doing freelance

management consulting work, to support my art career (pre-disabilities). One of my

clients was a nonprofit magazine.

My decision was to begin a totally independent of funding small group, using a postal (post office box), getting free

publicity to find other artists (which worked very well) and not do any fundraising. People chipped in stamps or small amounts of cash to pay for xeroxing the smallest newsletter, which still gets

"published". Smallest list, no doubt.

I do send to journalists, etc. from time to time. (The newest, mentioning Crippen's Blog, went in an e-edition - a

new tool, which I then put onto paper and mail out, went to DAO for forwarding.)

My goal was to be independent. It has worked since April, 1985.

As an artist, as a person with disabilities, autonomy is major for me, as long as possible. (I have help from a spouse who is "carer", doing the mailing chores, which I term "love's labors".)