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Colin Hambrook takes a look at the latest Christmas offering from the Disabled Avant Garde / 8 December 2010

No Room at the Igloo. The Disabled Avant Garde pose as Joseph and Mary

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I caught Ed Vaizey on BBC Parliament last week. He was answering questions before a Select Committee challenging him on whether there is any justification for spending public funding on the Arts. A key reason he gave was that he saw the Arts as a bastion for sharing Happiness. Believe it or not he described himself as the Minister for Happiness.

He talked about the economic arguments for investing in the Arts, although it was clear from the discussions that the agenda for commercial sponsorship is going to be higher on the agenda than ever.

There is a massive divide in ideas about the value the Arts bring to peoples' lives - and who the Arts are for, and whether they are simply about entertainment. And of course whether the Arts are best served, as any funding becomes more dependent on sponsorship - as a marketing tool for Business.

Disability Arts is very much about challenging perceptions around identity. The movement has arisen out of a massive lobby, particularly in the UK, to challenge the deficit model and to support authorship of creative expression, exploring Disablity as a construct.

In my opinion none do it better than the Disabled Avant Garde (DAG) producing work that combines a liberal dash of sardonic wit and disability politics. Their latest christmas offering 'No Room at the Igloo' is a 9 minute video mockumentary they've produced for youtube.

The video is a bit of fun that casts some wry comment on the commissioning process behind last years' Igloo in the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank. They also make some pertinent remarks about perceptions of 'disabled artists' - combining humour and attitude.

My guess is that seeking business sponsorship will up the anti on a reliance on the tick-box approach for any funding disabled artists can expect to realise in future. DAG take a subversive approach to the notion of the tick-box and the tragic but brave connotations it supports. The DAG image of disability arts and Joseph and Mary is very pertinent.

Have a look and explore some of the other videos on the DAG channel too.

Keywords: performing arts,visual arts


joe kelly

17 December 2010

dag sounds cool.

like the article.

like the youtube link about the igloo.

i dont like xmas but i do like christmas.

it would be nice if you posted my email

and ealing gazette cutting about the [re-configuration]CUTS [real meaning].

what can you do to facilitate writers with a passion and heart but finding it difficult at getting it together.

yours respectfully