Disability Arts Online spoke to Catya Wheatley and Hanne Olsen, the new editors of Disability Arts in London (DAIL) Magazine
Tell us about yourselves ...
Catya: I'm a born-and-bred Londoner living near Birmingham. Although I have worked in journalism for almost fifteen years, I spend most of my time writing drama scripts and creating web sites. I have worked all kinds, ranging from a bored computer clerk for Maldon District Council (I lasted only four weeks) to working on the Deaf Film Festival since its birth in Gateshead in 1992.
Hanne: I've come into disability arts from a mental health angle through Mad Pride. I trained at Disability Times and only came into journalism two and a half years ago. Up until then my main interest was fiction, reading and writing. I still want to write but for now I'm engrossed in DAIL and being a part of its development
How are you planning to develop DAIL?
Hanne: We have many plans to develop DAIL. In the current issue, there is a questionnaire actively making sure that our readers have a chance to have their say. From this issue, DAIL is going bi-monthly for the next year. This will enable the magazine to be more topical and feature more art and artists. If all goes well, DAIL will return as a monthly publication at end of 2005.
Catya: That said, over next six months, the magazine will go through its transformation. Let me explain, there is a huge demand to have DAIL going national because many readers would like the magazine to cover works and careers of disabled and deaf artists across the country.
Another thing, one of our priorities is to have the magazine adhere to the Plain English Campaign to make it fully accessible to all its readers.
Hanne: To reflect the change to a national publication, we are looking for a new name. We would be delighted to hear from anyone with suggestions. We plan to send out a feedback sheet to all readers who read the dail magazine in alternative formats, e.g. Braille, large print and audio tapes, to see if we can improve the quality of these alternative formats.
Catya: With time and patience, the magazine will have enough revenue to support its costs. That will help us reach all corners of the UK. A wider circulation will generate more opportunities for disabled and deaf people in the arts to promote their works.
It's a case of us trying to enlarge the magazine's circulation, to the point where the magazine will become the place for all its readers to discuss issues within Disability and Deaf Arts. I think going national will enable all readers to feel that they are part of the national disability arts community, which - I hope - will put the end to a sense of isolation and, perhaps, alienation.
What are the issues you will be exploring over the coming months?
Hanne: A priority for the magazine is to revisit what Disability Arts is all about. We want DAIL to explore and debate the varying definitions of Disability Arts. We also want to have full discussion of the relationship between Disability Arts and Deaf Arts.
We will be broadening the pool of writers and artists featured. We have introduced new columns and sections which will be more proactively inviting writers and artists to contact us with ideas and material.
Catya: We will be providing practical information and guidance for those who are trying to make a living in the arts. We are also keen to give coverage to new talents as well.
front cover of the latest issue, DAIL Magazine