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The Criptarts are revolting!

One of the things I enjoy about being part of the Disability Arts on Line (DAO) family is that it provides for me a unique platform on which I can present my more adventurous cartoons.

Take the Criptarts for example. I haven't a clue where it's going each week and the end result is usually more of a surprise to me than to you. Of course I've got a rough outline in my mind for each episode, but it's as though the characters come alive once I've started to lay them out in the strip and they just take over.

You've only got to look at the last but one episode for an example. I'd decided to make some sort of comment about the heavy snow we'd been experiencing. I'd got a story-line mapped out and was pretty sure where it was going when Bonk, the self-defined 'nutter' with the purple spiky hair, suddenly jumped in with his joke. Just as I was about to make some serious comment about reduced access. As Aadila said: "Gross!"

You can go to the episode by clicking here.

And last week. Inspired by Liz Carr's performance as Clarissa Mullery on Silent Witness, I'd decided to 'guest' her on the strip. But what happens? The characters take over again and use it as an opportunity to take a poke at the government!

Click here and you'll see what I mean.

It was the same when I invited Penny Pepper onto the strip. I still haven't got the felt tip off the laptop!

Click here ...

So as the strip continues, be prepared for further undisciplined behaviour from Bonk, Liz, Aadila, Ben, Ranj, Val, and their guests. I will try and exercise some editorial control, but as  Colin Hambrook, DAO Editor, knows from past experience (especially with me!), I don't hold out much hope!

Posted by Dave Lupton, 7 February 2013

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 7 February 2013

The dark ages

Several people have commented recently that my cartoons have become more 'dark' of late.

I suppose that it's inevitable considering the subject matter to hand these days; disabled people dying after having their benefits stopped, the government disassembling the welfare state and taking equality back to the dark ages, what can you expect?

I'm not consciously looking for bleaker material you understand. It's just that it's being thrust into our faces everywhere we turn. Even the so called 'right wing' press have started to recognise that all is not right with the way the government is running the country ... and that's saying something!

So you'll be pleased to hear that I've been working on a new strip cartoon for Disability Arts on Line (DAO) that takes a look at disability from a slightly lighter perspective. The characters all belong to a Disability Arts group ... but you're going to have to wait until we publish to see more!

But what was that I said about the dark ages? Now there's an idea for a cartoon ...

Posted by Dave Lupton, 21 November 2012

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 21 November 2012

A disturbing story brought to us by Disability Now

This is an extract from an excellent article in Disability Now (DN) about disabled asylum seekers using art to express themselves through a painted mural in Bristol.

In the DN article, Disabled Iraqi Ahmed tells us a disturbing account about their lives and their treatment in Britain.

"People in Britain don’t seem to like the disabled. I see lots of disabled people. They drink in the park, they have nowhere to live. They try to kill themselves ...

"Britain says Iraq is rubbish but even in Iraq and Kurdistan people are treated better than this. My family send me money every month ...

"Who made me disabled? The government. Britain, America, Iraq. The governments fought. They made me disabled. They injured my leg in an explosion. I lost my mind. I lost my brother. My mother can’t talk properly now: she lost an eye and an arm in the explosion.

"The Government should be helping these people. They put me into a hostel with people who abuse drugs and drink. I’ve never drunk alcohol in my life. Why house me with drug users?

"Does this country respect disabled people? They make them sleep on the street.

"In my country, when someone dies, people come and check on you. My brother died last year. Only one person came to see me when I heard that he’d been killed. I was bleeding inside. I couldn’t talk. My family say “Are there any people around you?” I say “No.” My mother says “Be strong.”

"I’ve never seen such bad people as here. No one came to help me. I needed people to listen. I felt my insides going into a small hole. I needed a place to forget my pain. When I hear news about Iraq I just cry.

"I’m not here to slag off the Iraqi government or British government. I can’t talk properly. I don’t remember how long it’s been since I talked to my mum ... lots of people sleep on the street. My inside is always crying.

"Britain came to my country. They smashed everything, they killed people. When I came here I asked for help, but they wouldn’t help me. England has lost its mind ...

"People call me names. They say I come from the jungle. They don’t believe the things I say. They say I’m lying. I’m not lying ... it’s because I’m brown and disabled.

"They’re racist and the Government doesn’t do anything to help. They should be shouting, “Look after disabled people!”"

For the full story go to the DN web site.
 

Posted by Dave Lupton, 31 July 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2012

Crippen asks Super Crips to share the limelight

So, let's  take the suggestion a little further shall we?

We've already decided if disabled athletes AND disabled artists work together then we have a real chance of putting a spanner in the works of this divisive government, even if it's a small one.

Because let's face it, some of those disabled athletes out there are only a hair's breadth away from falling into the benefits trap that many of us currently find ourselves in.

Disabled athletes are currently the flavour of the month, especially with all of the Paralympic hype that's going on. But what happens afterwards? When their 'special' status changes and they become just another disabled person, ripe for attack by the ConDems and subject to the brutal fall of the cutting blade.

We all have our moments. Currently for disabled athletes it's the 2012 Paralympics. For the rest of us Crips it's the workhouse.

So come on you Super Crips. How about directing a bit of that limelight onto the rest of the disability stage. We need your help to highlight the reality for thousands of fellow disabled people who are being put through the ATOS wringer - with some failing to come out the other side.

Together we can make changes and have this unique opportunity to do just that. By all means compete and get your medals, but also, when the members of thepress want to interview you, talk to them about the real plight of disabled people in this country!

Thanks for listening.

 

Crippen's strip cartoon

And don't forget that you can visit Crippen's latest strip cartoon episode of the O'Crype family and their involvement with the Cultural Olympiad.

 

Posted by Dave Lupton, 23 July 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2012

Knocking down the wall

Last week at the Shape media conference I had the pleasure of meeting Kristina Veasey. She has taken part in two Paralympics and talked about her own experiences competing as a disabled athlete.

For most of us non-athletic Crips, and in particular those of us involved in disability arts, the world of the Paralympian seems remote to say the least. We see them as single minded Super Crips with no interest or involvement in disability politics and protest. What we do hear about are those sporty wheelchair users with amazing upper body strength telling non-disabled people that they don't need ramps!

The media love them as well, providing photo opportunities of 'good' disabled people (as opposed to 'bad' disabled people who are scrounging on disability benefit and can't be arsed to find a job!).

All this media hype of course goes to reinforce the stereotypes of disability that Mr and Mrs Jo Public know and love. The acceptable face of disability versus the unacceptable.

But having chatted to Kristina after her talk, I learned a few things. For example did you know that all Paralympians have to sign a contract that specifically prohibits them from taking part in any political protest during the duration of the games?

This means that if they did protest for the duration of the games, (against ATOS for example) they would have sacrificed years of training and would have to return any medals that they had won.

But some paralympians find ways around the system. For example Kristina told me that was why, as a retired paralympian, she became Amnesty International's paralympic ambassador during the Beijing games - "so I could give voice to protest."

Perhaps between us all - paralympians, activists, disabled artists - we could start to tear down the wall that the media & society have erected and start working together.

As ever the challenge is to be able to communicate more openly with each other and to be prepared to let go of those unhelpful stereotypes. I include myself in this as a veteran of creating and maintaining some of these stereotypes. My exchange with Kristina was a kick in my assumptions which I found very helpful and thought provoking.

Perhaps all disabled people, all working together could create a power base strong enough to bring this government and their draconian measures to a shuddering halt.

We can but hope.

BTW if you do have tickets for Paralympic events you may be asked to participate in an on-line survey. Why not use this opportunity to voice some of our concerns about the dichotomy between the experiences of paralympians and many other disabled people. Here's your chance to comment on the gap between the portrayal of paralympic athletes and the daily struggle against barriers that most disabled people face.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 29 June 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2012

Crippen Flickr Site

Hi boys and girls.

You'll be pleased to hear that I've made about 200 of my more recent cartoons more accessible by uploading them to a unique Flickr site. The cartoons have been split into sets and you'll find a hot button for each set on the right hand side of the page. Alternatively you can hit the 'slideshow' link and see them that way.

If you want to use any of them as part of our continued struggle towards full equality, please do so (you can cut and paste).

All I ask is that you direct people to my web site - www.crippencartoons.co.uk - Thanks.

Click on this link to access the Flickr site.

Enjoy

:-)

 

Posted by Dave Lupton, 4 March 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2012

Disability Arts and Corporate funding

As many of us will know, being a disabled artist and not allied to any group or organisation, it has always been extremely difficult to obtain funding. And those of us who produce work that has an overt political edge are even more handicapped (sic) by the funding system.

That's not to say that groups and organisations of disabled people who have applied for funding have had it any easier. For example I'm aware that our esteemed Editor Colin Hambrooke spends a large amount of his time searching for funding and then completing the endless application forms that inevitably go with this - and Disability Arts on Line (DAO) is one of our more established disability arts organisations.

And now the bloody CONDEMs, not content with slashing our benefits and support services have declared their 'Big Society'.

This involves not only the big disability charities coming back to haunt us with a vengeance (click here to see Crippen's political blog ) but also brings in the big corporations. These corporations will be encouraged to offer sponsorship to artists, including disabled artists who will be expected to compromise their art  in order to obtain funding from a specific commercially oriented funder. Funding organisations like the Arts Council may well become redundant in this scenario.

And let's not forget the new funding process called the 'National Portfolio (NP)'. This is going to change the funding landscape yet again as the system of having Regularly Funded Organisations (RFO) is overturned. As usual most of the funding will probably go to organisations like the Royal Opera House (ROH). The subsidy on bums on seats at the ROH exceeds any other subsidy for the arts. So the toffs are being subsidised at everyone else's expense ... what a suprise!

Cartoon in the pipeline re the National Portfolio ... watch this space!

Posted by Dave Lupton, 26 March 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2012

Crippen says 2011 - bring it on!

Hi folks,

here's hoping that you had a great holiday and are all fighting fit for 2011?!

I'm just getting over man flu (second dose) so have been a bit lax with regard to posting here for a couple of weeks. I am, however putting the final stages to the follow-on from my last blog where lots of you mailed and messaged me with ideas and suggestion about involving the disability arts movement with the current anti-cuts protests throughout the UK. I hope to have this up within the next couple of days. It will be well worth waiting for, I promise.

Big Society

As I've previously mentioned. I'm now running a seperate blog to carry my more political work and you can see what I'm up to there by clicking on the following link.

It's a scary time as this government are gradually clicking all of the pieces of their 'Big Society' into place, and the recent white paper intended to change the way that people give to charities in the UK is a part of this. This will affect all aspects of disabled people's lives and is part of the bigger plan to get us off the streets and back into Care Homes!

Click here to visit this article and leave your comments

Posted by Dave Lupton, 6 January 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2012

Crippen reports on the slash and burn tactics of the ConDem’s

Opposition MP’s are using the term ‘slash and burn’ to describe the knee jerk reaction of the Coalition to the financial deficit that they claim to have inherited from Labour.

Rampaging through the country in a similar way to the Viking’s when they were first attracted to our shores; the ConDem’s have spared no one in their attack upon our society. Seemingly with no real plan or any indication that rational thought has gone into this process, they appear to have indiscriminately attacked all who fall within the category of vulnerable.

Not content with slashing away at the funding needed to keep our health service, local government and educational services, transport, the arts and community services running, they’ve also ensured that any future Disabled people may have looked forward to has also been destroyed.

After years of struggling against an unjust and inaccessible society, Disabled people had begun to feel that at last they were starting to get somewhere. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) brought us much needed legislation and doors were literally opening for us all in areas of education, transport, housing, employment and the Arts.

Now those doors have been slammed shut and we find ourselves once again the government’s scapegoats, the ‘useless eaters’ without whom society wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in.

We shouldn’t be all that surprised though. Most of the current government consists of MP’s who belong to a class of people who count amongst their friends and associates those very people who created the deficit. These are the bankers and financial speculators who spirited away billions of pounds from our economy using the self same tactics!

Come the revolution!

 

Information paper

For a comprehensive analysis of the government's so called spending revue, click on the following link which will take you to the Inclusion London site and their downloadable information paper. Here is the introduction to the analysis.

"We reject the government’s claim that these cuts are either fair or progressive. They are a brutal attack on disabled people and will intensify poverty and inequality. Cuts in services and jobs will hit disabled people hard. Disabled people have also been targeted for specific cuts, particularly to Incapacity Benefit/ESA and DLA."

Download the information paper by clicking here

Inclusion London is an organisation of Disabled people run and controlled by Disabled people and promoting equality for London's Deaf and Disabled people.


 


 

 

 

Posted by Dave Lupton, 21 October 2010

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 22 October 2010

Crippen looks at the possible new symbol for the Disabled People's Movement

Leading the recent protest rally against the proposed Government welfare cuts were a large group of Disabled people. Wearing and carrying large black triangles, they were symbolizing the murder of thousands of Disabled people during the Holocaust; their aim being to embarrass Cameron and his government, who have repeatedly insisted that the most vulnerable will be protected from the impact of the cuts.

The use of this black triangle seems to have had an impact upon the general public, journalists and other non-disabled people at the protest which indicates that we may have found a symbol with which to carry our fight on into the future.

By re-owning the Black Triangle, it could become 'the' symbol of the Disabled People's Movement, a rallying cry for us all and something which articulates our demands in a more direct and recognizable manner.

Such a simple yet powerful symbol could be the very thing that we need to bring together the disabled artists, the mental health system survivors, people with HIV and AIDS, and the Deaf communities with all of the other Disabled people in the UK. This is something that we have struggled to do until now, and the powers that be have capitalized on divisions, continue to try to separate us into impairment groups and ensuring that we just fight our individual corner. 

Large corporations pay huge sums of money to image consultants and publicity specialists to come up with a symbol that the public recognizes and associates with just their company. Imagine just having to portray a Black Triangle in order for people to understand that it represents Disabled people who are working and fighting together for a just and accessible society united under the Social Model understanding and not part of the oppressive Medical or Charitable Model status quo.

I’m reminded of the immense power of the red ribbon cross adopted in support of those living with HIV and AIDS, and more recently the pink ribbon symbol which prompts us to think of those we love who live with breast cancer and those we have lost to that disease.

Envisage an MP opening an envelope in the future and a Black Triangle falls out. That is all we would need to do ... the symbolism alone would mean that we are watching him or her and expecting them to support our corner in an upcoming debate or vote. The Black Triangle could become the biggest symbol for change since the peace symbol of the 60's!

So, how about it, you articulate and feisty Crips out there? Let’s debate these issues and I promise to keep the ball rolling on this blog.

Change to original artwork following comments

Following comments regarding the use of an all black, upwards facing triangle, how about something like this (see illustration). It still retains the triangle shape but introduces a vibrant background of red with accessible white lettering depicting what it represents. What do you think ..?

Editor - You are invited to scroll down and leave your comments in the space provided below.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 4 October 2010

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 5 October 2010

Crippen is hacked off with Face Book

Many of you will know that I run a Face Book account as Crippen - Disabled cartoonist and post links to various disability related events that are going on as well as links to this blog and other disabled artists.

When the ConDem Coalition came into being I began to create cartoons that supported the stand being taken by groups and organisations who were protesting about the benefit cuts being planned. My posts carried cartoons created for the 3rd October Disabled People's Protest group and the Disabled People's Black Triangle protest group. Both of these groups are planning to be at the Tory Party Annual Conference in Birmingham this year, and to march along with thousands of other Trades Unionists, anti-poverty groups, etc., who are planning the biggest protest since the Poll Tax protests.

One of the cartoons that depicted Clegg and Cameron with blood on their hands kept being forced off of Face Book, and then my account began to get hacked. Messages and postings were sent out, alledgedly from me, enticing people to connect to various spyware harvester sites, malware and spamming sites, etc. My password was changed and for a time I was unable to reconnect to my Face Book accounts page.

I eventually decided to close the account for a period of time because it just became too time consuming, cleaning out all of the corrupt applications that were being posted on my Face Book wall by persons unknown.

It's a strange coincidence that all this started to happen when I became involved in the anti benefit cut campaigns and started to create cartoons about Clegg and Cameron's roll in all this. Other people I know, who are also involved in the campaigns have also had similiar problems with their computers.

A case of some creative hacking from some clandestine government department. Or just some malicious individual who gets his kicks from making trouble. Who knows?

What do you think?

Posted by Dave Lupton, 26 September 2010

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 26 September 2010

Crippen reports on his recent visit to the Arts and Disability Forum, Belfast

If like me, you've never visited Northern Ireland, take my advice and go there immediately! I arrived at Belfast's International terminal to discover an oasis of green rolling hills and fields surrounding a city that boasts more interesting architecture, live entertainment, theatre, exhibition spaces, museums and friendly open people than most other places I've been to.

Gallery and Events Officer Leo Devlin was there to welcome me at the offices of the Arts and Disability Forum (ADF) and give me a quick tour of the exhibition space and other facilities that we'd be using that afternoon. I'd only previously corresponded with Leo by email and it was great to actually get to meet him face to face.

Organised primarily by Chris Ledger (Chief Executive) and ably assisted by Leo and Michelle Henry, ADF's Finance Officer, an exhibition of my cartoons entitled ‘The world of Crippen’ was scheduled to kick-off that afternoon. This was to follow a short introductory talk about my work in the meeting room upstairs.

The folks at ADF had done a lovely job on the cartoons; framing them in matt aluminium and hanging them on the purpose built display boards that were set around the exhibition space.

Before people started to arrive I had a chance to chat with Chris and Leo and learn a bit more about the organisation. With strong links established with other arts organisations, ADF seems to have become the main focus for disability arts in Northern Ireland and had an impressive schedule of exhibitions and installations planned.

Speaking later to Noirin McKinney, who's the Director of Arts Development at the Northern Ireland Arts Council, she expressed her admiration for what had been achieved by the ADF team in a relatively short space of time.

The introductory talk was opened by Margaret Mann, Chair of ADF who welcomed representatives from many of the City’s allied organisations including Queer Action and Open Arts. The talk ran over time as visitors to the exhibition questioned me about events taking place within mainland Disability Arts, especially where art was being used to confront the inequality of life for Disabled people.

Chris and I actually go back some way and between us we remembered and shared with the audience many anecdotes and stories from our involvements in early DAN actions etc. In fact it was handy having her there as on several occasions my memory failed me and she was able to provide the name of a person or occasion that had slipped out of my mind (that's what happens when you get older!)

The ADF team had already started to raise awareness regarding the concept of disabling barriers within society and how disabled artists could use their art to confront these. My cartoons had been selected to reinforce this theme and they seemed to have helped generate a positive and empowering effect upon visitors to the exhibition.

The exhibition was opened by Monica Wilson, Chair of Belfast Disability Action, who spoke about past and future collaborations with ADF.  I'd previously provided a christmas card cartoon for them which portrayed Martin McGuinness as santa's little helper (I think Ian Paisley was santa!) and she pulled my leg about him still looking for me (which is what this week's cartoon is based upon!)

A further welcome was provided by Noirin McKinney of the NI Arts Council who encouraged visitors to mingle and discuss the work on display whilst enjoying the refreshments that had been provided.

A canvas containing a huge question mark had been framed and hung on one of the walls within the exhibition. Beneath this was a box with a postal slot set into it. The purpose of this was to invite visitors to the exhibition to post a suggestion for a new Crippen cartoon to be created. This had to relate to a disability related situation currently taking place within NI and which then could be presented to the appropriate political or charitable representative as part of a wider campaign.

The exhibition, entitled ‘The world of Crippen’ is staying at the ADF premises for a few more days before touring other disability related bases in NI. The individual limited, framed prints are for sale with all proceeds going to ADF to fund their continuing programme of disability arts for NI.

For myself, I found the enthusiasm and energy that was being channelled at ADF gave me a huge boost and a determination to return in the near future for further collaboration with them.

Visit the ADF website to learn more about Arts Disability Forum or contact Chris Ledger at: chris@adf.ie

Posted by Dave Lupton, 7 August 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 8 August 2010

Crippen receives disturbing news from Northern Ireland

I have been getting some rather disturbing messages from Gay Disabled friends in Northern Ireland in relation to a recent conference promoting 'conversion therapy'. This is the process where people can be 'cured' of their homosexuality through prayer.

The conference, which was held back in February was organised by Core Issues, an evangelical Christian group in Northern Ireland which promotes this so-called therapy and claims to have 'saved' numerous homosexual Christians. The star speaker is the Rev Mario Bergner, a Chicago-based Anglican preacher and leading proponent of conversion therapy, who claims to have been cured of Aids and homosexuality through prayer.

Despite a big presence at a protest rally organised by the Queer Youth Network and the Stop Conversion Therapy Taskforce (Scott), a new lobby group set up by gay journalist Patrick Strudwick, many Gay people in Northern Ireland are being badly affected by this new move by organised religion in the area. So much so that, according to one source, many are taking their own lives.

This month, The Independent published the results of a year-long investigation by Patrick Strudwick, which exposed how evangelical therapists – some operating within the NHS – try to "convert" homosexual men and women to heterosexuality. Strudwick explained the protests were to reassure any gay man or woman tempted to try conversion therapy that homosexuality is not an illness which needs to be cured. "The message of our protest is simple," Patrick told the Independent. "Love needs no cure. We want to remind the young people in the conference in the midst of so-called treatment that they are healthy, normal, valuable people; they are perfect how they are; they don't need to try to change something unchangeable and they can be happy being who they really are."

One of my sources in Northern Ireland is working with others to get Disabled artists involved in the protest and told me: "There is splintering amongst some of the queer/gay groups but a group has formed that has an ambition for artistic intervention. I have been saying F**** the divisions - that's what Northern Ireland’s sectarian history thrives on. I would like to rally the Disabled artists I connect with. They need to see that this is a humanitarian issue."

If anyone feels that they would like to become involved in this issue, please contact me at daveluptoncartoons@live.co.uk and I'll pass your contact details on.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 17 April 2010

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 17 April 2010

Crippen asks ‘what is happening to the Disability Arts Movement?’

Has anyone else noticed that we’re in danger of slipping back to where we all started from?!

I’ve always seen the Disability Arts Movement as being in the vanguard of the Disabled People’s Movement. As Disabled artists we’ve focused upon our oppression and expressed this through our art. Together we’ve used the Social Model to identify and then confront the many barriers within society that conspire to disable us; the key word being ‘together’.

However, of late I’ve seen a slide back to the early days when we were all split up into impairment groups. You know the sort of thing; mobility impaired to the left, visually impaired to the right, learning disabled over there, Deaf people … well, you get the idea. And along with each impairment group came its organisation ‘for’ and its own route for funding etc.

Disability Arts focus seems to have got a bit wooly over recent years and it seems more about blending in with the mainstream and not making our unique stand as Disabled artists any more.

Or is it me? … I’m sure you’ll let me know!
 

Posted by Dave Lupton, 17 October 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 17 October 2009

Crippen continues the theme about the current lack of funding …

Ok, I take the point from Richard Downes (last blog comments) that by only blaming the 2012 Olympics for the current lack of funding is being a bit simplistic, but I still hold to the belief that this huge white elephant is doing more damage in this area than all of the effects of the current recession combined. So here’s another cartoon along the same theme (sorry Richard!).

As part of Richard’s response however, he’s come up with an interesting idea. How about setting up our own Technothon to run head to head with Children in Need (CIN)? This would be a novel way to raise much needed funds and could draw a lot of attention away from the charitable/medical model approach that CIN rely upon to get those hard earned pounds from your pockets.

Many of you will be aware of the Facebook group ‘We shot Pudsey Bear’ which is facilitated by Richard and other Disabled activists. It quite rightly encourages debate about the stereo typing of Disabled people that is the main focus of the CIN fund raising. Portray us as pitiable and incapable of managing our own lives and the emotional blackmail kicks in and the public respond. Never mind that it reinforces the negative image that people have of us when they buy into this sort of thing.

Richard offers up some prospective recipients for any funding raised by a Technothon and these currently include Brent Advocacy Concerns (advocacy theme) and the Disabled people's Direct Action Network (political theme). What he’s also asking for are names for any group or organisation that you feel would represent disability arts for the arts theme?

I’m starting the ball rolling by putting up ‘Disability Arts on Line (DAO)!

Just leave your own nominations in the comments section of this blog and we’ll make sure Richard gets them.


Accessible Olympics?

Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnson is under pressure to uphold London's pledge to stage the "most inclusive Olympics ever".

However, according to a survey undertaken by the London Development Agency (DLA), London faces a real shortage of accessible hotel rooms to accommodate disabled spectators at both the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

A London 2012 spokeswoman said that around nine million tickets are expected to be sold for the 2012 Olympics but could not say how many of these are expected to be purchased by Disabled people.

The Mayor had ordered an audit of the capital's 100,000 rooms to check that enough are wheelchair accessible. The LDA is also spending £20.6million this year improving facilities for tourists and is seeking to convince hotels that it makes good business sense to increase their accessibility.

Currently there are around 11 million Disabled people in the UK alone ... and only 1,100 accessible rooms within the London area according to the DLA survey!


What’s in a name?

Still on a sports theme, spare places for runners are being offered by the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity for the Clarendon Run Marathon and half marathon (from Salisbury to Winchester) on October 4.

And the name of the person organising this?

Bob LEGGETT!

Well I thought it was funny!


Posted by Dave Lupton, 10 September 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 10 September 2009

Crippen looks at the current disability arts funding crisis (again!)

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?!

Posted by Dave Lupton, 4 September 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 4 September 2009

Crippen gives a heads up about the appearance of Liz Crow on the Trafalgar Square plinth

Our Disabled sister and fellow artist Liz Crow appeared on the Anthony Gormley plinth in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 8th August at 2200 hrs. And as promised, she presented a dignified but powerful statement against extreme right wing politics in its worse manifestation.

Initially clad in a cream coloured blanket that covered her from head to foot, Liz sat quietly in her wheelchair for the first 10 minutes before pulling it away to reveal herself wearing the uniform of the war time Nazi party.

Again she sat quietly as the voice of DAN activist Clair Lewis could be heard singing at the base of the column. Then pulling a collapsable pole from beneath her chair Liz unfurled a red flag which read 'Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me - Resistence'

A further 10 minutes elapsed and Liz began to shed the uniform, throwing it down in disgust at her feet. All of the time she kept the flag flying high above her head ...

At one stage a message was shouted up to Liz from her supporters on the ground: "It's alright Liz, they all get it!" Meaning that the general public, who had been watching understood what her protest had been about.

The general public in the area joined in the cheers and applause as Liz was eventually lifted from the plinth after her hour was up and she was able to join the other Danners, friends and supporters at the base. 

A powerful performance by a strong and courageous woman.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 4 August 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 8 August 2009