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Colin Hambrook:Editorial - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

DAO reaches places no other web journal does - according to editor Colin Hambrook / 17 June 2010

drawing of an abstract figure with tree, star and sickle moon

Miro Man. Drawing © Colin Hambrook

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I feel strongly about the sense of being part of a worldwide disability community that DAO invokes - and which guides my sense of editorship of the journal. The engagement that DAO stirs in its audience and the sense of ownership by the contributors - is something irreplaceable.

At least ten per cent of DAOs 6000 plus, visitors per month come from outside the UK. It's maybe not massive numbers comparative with other online arts journals - but the difference is that DAO has a dedicated audience, shown by the amount of interaction we receive.

Nothing demonstrates this more than a recent email I received from Suzanne Robertson editor of El Portavoz Newspaper, (The Voice Carrier) - a publication from Costa Rica, designed to provide a space where disabled people can freely express themselves, encourage discussion on disability topics and help to represent a more accurate and positive image of disabled people.

With kind permission Suzanne has agreed I can reproduce her communication here:
"I am a keen follower of the DAO website, and I would like to congratulate yourself and your team on creating such a powerful tool in promoting Disability Arts in the UK.

In terms of disability legislation in Costa Rica, we are very far behind in implementing practices outlined in national and international policies. One main area of neglect is the provision of equal access to culture, a fundamental human right that our organization is actively fighting for.

The term disability culture is a concept that has not arrived here yet. We still live in a society that is just barely adapting to the social model of disability, let alone trying to introduce developing discourses such as the Affirmative Model.

Although we have a long way to go, we are determined in getting there! We are passionately aware of the artistic talent that disabled Costa Ricans have to offer and of the abundant disability history waiting to be uncovered.

Through our publication we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we believe can be directed in helping to create initiatives that promote Costa Rica's own Disability Culture. At this present time we are presenting a proposal to the national government body on disability in
order to create a collaboration plan to support and make this initiative a reality.

Whilst looking on the internet, for definitions of Disability Culture, I came across the excellent article by the poet Simon Brisenden, entitled;What is Disability Culture; originally published by Disability Arts in London Magazine.

I think it would be a powerful element to not only include as a reference in our proposal, but to also republish in our newspaper; especially as literature regarding this subject over here is literally non-existent!

On the DAO website, I noticed that you managed and edited this magazine for many years. Do you have any knowledge on who to contact in order to obtain permission to republish this article in Spanish, how to correctly quote when and where it originally appeared and if there is any more background information on Simon Brisenden."

Sadly, Simon Brisenden passed away at least ten years ago, now. I have been following leads to touch base with his sister Diane who I believe holds Simon's estate in trust - which includes intellectual copyright on the many excellent discussion pieces around disability arts and culture that he penned.

It is a testament to the strength of the disability community that the voices of individuals like Simon Brisenden can continue to echo around the world. If anyone knows how I might get hold of Diane Brisenden would they contact me via editor@disabilityartsonline.org.uk

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Comments

/
20 June 2010

From the first time I met you over a coffee at the offices of Disability Arts in London (DAIL)I knew that I'd discovered a true friend. Your support of me and my work as Crippen during your own stint as Editor at DAIL and then as Editor at Disability Arts on Line (DAO)is indicative of the selfless support that you give to all disabled artists.

I know that it's often been a real struggle for you to keep all of the balls in the air for DAO, especially with the cuts in funding that we are now experiencing within the arts. But your constant enthusiasm and commitment to disability arts over the past 20 odd years has been an inspiration to us all.

Thank you

Arty Farty

/
20 June 2010

And so say all of us ... I know many disabled people who've received encouragement and support from Colin in this way.

It is so rare to find someone in a position of control, like Editor,who doesn't just follow their own agenda. Indeed, I for one have noticed that Colin stands behind many a new contributer to the DAO site and backs them to the hilt, often on some quite contentious issues.

And let's face it, anyone who can control Mr Crippen like he does, deserves a medal!

Crippen

/
20 June 2010

... i HEARD THAT!

Vicky

/
6 July 2010

I also want to say how much I personally feel grateful to Colin for his work with DAO and for his continuing support of disabled artists and activists in the UK and beyond. I used to feel I'd lost touch with the disability arts scene. But DAO makes me feel that I'm still part of this world and that my contributions to debates, no matter how small, are still relevant and, most of all, wanted. Thank you! xx

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