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Colin Hambrook established Disability Arts Online in 2004. Since then he has been editing and maintaining the journal and its social media outlets. In his blog he comments on aspects of stuff going in within Disability Arts and the specific arts programmes Dao is engaged with.. as well being known to vent the occasional rant.

Colin visits the David Hockney exhibition at the RA

26 March 2012

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image of a Hockney landscape, looking down a hill at a long, winding road

Judging by the numbers of disabled people I saw at the Royal Academy's David Hockney exhibition last Saturday, there is a will that goes beyond simply paying lip service to accessibility, to market the gallery to include disabled people. The huge scale of the work on show, and the use of vivid colour means this exhibition is largely accessible for visitors with a range of sight impairments. The audio-guides provided had some clear, informative descriptions of the scale and detail of the...

Comments: 1

Colin Hambrook discusses a recent paper on the social model of disability

17 April 2012

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image of a foetus inside a womb, holding a mobile phone

It feels like things are coming inexorably to a head. Running alongside a year of arts events being rolled out under the banner of the Cultural Olympiad, there is a growing sense of foreboding as the current tide of political changes threatens to change the state of play for disabled people in the struggle to maintain quality of life. It seems that the vision of a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens, is being...

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Colin Hambrook, reports on news about DAO, past, present and future

18 May 2012

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the disability arts on line logo

We've had an exciting time recently finishing off DAO’s New Voices project. Our 2012 group of New Voices writers have been fully engage with DAO. During the project, their blog entries, reviews and interviews have delivered lots of interaction from our readership. In preparation for our next project, Diverse Perspectives, we’ve been awarded a significant Grants for the Arts award by Arts Council England (ACE) to do a range of things. Firstly, we are commissioning eight disabled...

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DAO sub-editor Marian Cleary asks how we can become more accessible when it comes to content on the site

31 May 2012

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a black and white photograph of a field with flags made out of pages from books

As Colin Hambrook reported recently, DAO is soon to have a facelift. As well as responding to your comments made via our recent reader survey, we are also keen to build on our previous successes regarding accessibility to the site. After the site was last overhauled in 2008, DAO received a Commendation for digital access in the prestigious 2009 Jodi Awards. It’s no surprise really since the web company DAO works with - Surface Impression – have long and established relationships...

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Colin Hambrook reflects on Nicky Clark's 'Pay Me, Don't Play Me Campaign'

10 June 2012

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screenshot from Nicky Clark's PAyMe Don't Play Me Campaign

Liz Carr wrote recently in an interview with Richard Downes on DAO that what bothers her is how worked up the media gets with lambasting comics like Ricky Gervais over 'mong gate' when the reality is that nobody gives a shit about the real issues affecting disabled people’s lives. You can be declared fit for work by Atos just six weeks before you die - and it might just about make the Guardian's letters page! Nicky Clark has recently written an insightful piece for the New...

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Colin Hambrook aks 'what price integration?' in response to the Headlining Disability conference

20 June 2012

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Crippen's freak show cartoon

DAO Editor Colin Hambrook attended Shape's debate on media representation of disability at the Southbank Centre yesterday. Predicated on the idea that there is a change happening… and that disabled people are leading in that process, an audience of 150 or so were treated to an afternoon of debate from some key disabled professionals within the world of arts, sports and media. The main attraction of the afternoon's event was a debate between University lecturer Mike Shamash and...

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Colin Hambrook on the launch of Unlimited at the Southbank Centre

11 July 2012

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red painting of an african woman

DAO Editor Colin Hambrook had the pleasure of visiting the launch of the Unlimited commissions yesterday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London's Southbank Centre. Bringing together all 29 Unlimited commissions, Unlimited: the Revelation starts here is a showcase for a platform of new works spanning dance and performance, visual arts, comedy, circus, music and theatre. The 11-day celebration is the finale of Southbank Centre’s summer-long Festival of the World, which presents projects...

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Colin Hambrook on the launch of DaDaFest 2012 at The Bluecoat in Liverpool

13 July 2012

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photo of the white brick wall of a gallery with a series of large black letters tumbling down near the bottom of the wall

DAO Editor Colin Hambrook has been getting about a bit lately. And care of a train journey sponsored by Virgin, he managed to make it to the launch of DaDaFest at The Bluecoat in Liverpool yesterday afternoon. There was hilarity in the air. A team of volunteers dressed in white coats and armed with clipboards mingled to ask whether or not we considered ourselves to be normal. Apparently they had been at it all day, outside Lime Street station, questioning Scousers about their view of how...

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Colin Hambrook introduces The O’Crypes

20 August 2012

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Frame 1 (from the 6 frame Crippen cartoon strip that accompanies this blog)

The O’Crypes have whet the appetites of many DAO readers with over a 1000 pageviews since episode one which we published on 9 July. Many of you have left messages saying how much you’ve enjoyed the characters and have followed the dilemmas they are facing in the plight of dramatic cutbacks to services whilst huge amounts of money are being spent on the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad. Each episode is set to represent a different storyline about each member of the family cutting...

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Trish Wheatley gets inspired at DaDaFest

19 August 2012

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Image of event programme reads: DaDaFEst 2012 presents an evening with Evelyn Glennie Saturday 18 August, 7:30pm with an image of Evelyn Glennie beating the drums at the Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012

What a cracking night for DaDaFest! One act from the Olympic Opening ceremony and one from the closing ceremony, it was as if it had all been planned! Ruth Gould, CEO of DaDaFest introduced it as the biggest night in the history of the twelve-year-old festival. Hosted by the iconic Liverpool Royal Philharmonic and sitting in anticipation to watch Dame Evelyn Glennie, Britain’s most successful percussionist, I totally agreed. I'm not going to detail the actual performance here, except...

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Trish Wheatley looks forward to 'The First Four'

21 August 2012

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Montage of Sally Booth's photographs of light through the windows at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

I was drawn into the world of Disability Arts four months after Adam Reynolds passed away. Consequently I never got to meet the man that lives on so fondly in the memories of his contemporaries. I worked at Holton Lee, where I saw his work displayed in the buildings on a daily basis. His major legacy, aside from his wonderfully insightful and at times humourous sculpture, is the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary. Its fifth recipient, Simon Raven is currently in residence at Camden Arts Centre....

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Colin Hambrook asks will the Paralympic opening ceremony provide more of a laugh than Katherine Araniello's take on the 'Superhuman' ideal being proselytised by Channel 4?

29 August 2012

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The London 2012 Paralympics, which will be broadcast in over 100 countries, with a count down to the opening ceremony being broadcast on Channel 4 tonight. After months of top level secrecy I got an email earlier from an excited disabled performer saying "it's all tantrums & tiaras back-stage". I can just imagine! All those 'superhumans' in the background getting ready to flex some bicep. Personally I find the whole malarky about how 'inspiring' we are - as...

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Trish Wheatley looks forward to the Channel 4 film about the Great British Paraorchestra

8 September 2012

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photo of disabled musicians on stage at Glastonbury

Showing on Channel 4 at 5.25pm on Sunday 9th September 2012 is a documentary tracking the development of the Great British Paraorchestra. The idea for it was conceived by internationally renowned conductor Charles Hazlewood, inspired by his disabled daughter and the Paralympics. The initiative is described as "a global movement to recognise and showcase disabled musicians with extraordinary abilities. Its mission is to end the limitations placed on them, not by their physical ability...

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Colin Hambrook with an update on DAOs programme to cover Unlimited

18 September 2012

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Crippen's O'Crypes title frame cartoon introducing all the characters in the cartoon blog

It's been an eventful year for DAO so far, gathering responses to the Unlimited commissions by disabled and deaf artists that have been wending their way across the country, culminating in the Festival at the Southbank Centre which ended just over a week ago. Since then I've been at a Disability Studies conference in Lancaster University in which the ideas that originally spawned the Disability Arts movement are still celebrated - even though those ideas have perhaps become fragmented...

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Colin Hambrook on portrayals of 'disability'

24 September 2012

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Earlier this month I attended a Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University. One of the papers that has stayed with me was a piece of work-in-progress on ‘Disability in Cultural Spaces’ by Nancy Hansen from Manitoba University. She'd been to The Lowry Museum in Salford, where one of her favourite paintings 'The Cripples' is displayed. I've never been a particular fan of LS Lowry's work. I’ve always felt a certain discomfort with the atmosphere of...

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Colin Hambrook on Liz Crow's 'Bedding-In'

2 November 2012

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I often edit DAO from my bed. As someone with ME who has limited capacity for getting out and about responding to emails, publishing and sub-editing are frequently done between bouts of resting in bed. So when Liz Crow sent DAO a proposal for a Diverse Perspectives commission for an artwork involving a live bed-in I was particularly intrigued. Her intention for the live performance was to make a statement about the immense contradiction between the public face of the artist as someone with an...

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Colin Hambrook attends Simon Raven's 'Ghost Writer Party'

1 November 2012

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a young woman dressed in a black and white dress tentatively plucks a cheese on a stick from the head of a figure dressed completely in tin foil

I wanted to write a quick update on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. On 31 October Simon Raven produced a vibrant event at the Camden Arts Centre to celebrate the ending of his residency there as part of his Adam Reynolds Bursary awarded by Shape. There was inevitably a Halloween theme to Simon’s ‘Ghost Writer Party’. People were dressed suitably as Dorian Grey, Edgar Allan Poe and there were several Miss Havisham’s knocking around. Simon did a...

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Colin Hambrook attends the 21st Anniversary celebration of Survivors’ Poetry

9 November 2012

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screenshot of the homepage of the survivors poetry website

Last night was the 21st Anniversary of Survivors’ Poetry. It’s not difficult to fill the Poetry Café in Betterton Street, London, but it was a suitable venue for what was for me, an emotional occasion. Being involved with Survivors’ Poetry through the 1990s was instrumental in my getting involved with the Disability Arts Movement. Joe Bidder was then and remains to this day, an engaging mentor and advocate. Without him I would never have been able to move forward with...

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Colin Hambrook posts the debate from FaceBook group on disability art and Identity

5 December 2012

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ink drawing of several figures in a strange landscape

Last week DAOs FaceBook group was the site of a raging debate about disability, art and identity. Between 19-27 November members of the group posted something in the region of 15,000 words in 122 posts. Responses were passionate. It was a valuable debate testing the validity, or otherwise of Disability Art, a Disability Arts Movement and of definitions of being a 'disabled artist'. Many of the contributions question the social model ethic of 'self-definition' and the validity...

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Richard Downes discusses the debate on Disability Arts And Identity in last week's editorial

9 December 2012

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digitised image of an old clock



I am an old clock. Tick Tock Tick Tock
I call myself a disabled clock because the experience of impairments that I had over time is one of discrimination. The response of society to my impairments led me to a less than useful places where I was brutalised by watchmakers, not clockmakers, with callouses – later it meant restricted employment opportunities – and later still to mental health issues. Tick Tock Tick Tock
. I tried with varying shades of success to mainstream,...

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Why mental health is a 'disability' issue

10 December 2012

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I've been mulling over the range of comments that were entered in last weeks online debate as posted in DAOs editorial. In response I have to say, first off, that we have stop thinking of disability as a physical attribute. Disability is a state of inequality brought about as a result of oppression within society. This is often to do with physical barriers and lack of physical access, but it is also because of attitudinal barriers. What I would like to emphasise to those who would...

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Here's wishing all DAO readers love and peace over the festive season from the Criptarts and all of us at Disability Arts Online

20 December 2012

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A festive seasonal message from disabled cartoonist Crippen, featuring the Criptarts cartoon characters

Trish and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all DAO readers a very happy, peaceful holiday and to thank all our contributors and trainees for their continued support and engagement this year. It's been an exciting 2012 with some fabulous work produced as a result of our Diverse Perspectives commissions from Crippen and John O'Donoghue, Ivan Riches, Liz Crow, Gini and Aaron Williamson. We had a tremendous time covering the work resulting from the Unlimited commissions and...

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A guest editorial from Q.S Is in response to Colin Hambrook's article on medication and mental health

7 January 2013

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a black and white drawing of a woman knitting

I read your DAO editorial Colin and found it very illuminating. I'm personally, not an advocate of medication either. Actually, I've been asked to write a book by an organisation called KAOS, based in Brussels, which will include essays detailing my own personal strategies and methodologies to deal with issues of the mind, along with accompanying artwork. I have no proof, but I think making art and writing helped me recover from psychosis and stopped a recurrence of episodes. I think...

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In a guest editorial Denis Joe asks 'Whither Disability Arts?'

28 January 2013

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painting of a bedroom interior with bare floorboards by Van Gogh

When I was in junior school I remember we were reading David Copperfield and the teacher used to break off from the reading to tell us something about Charles Dickens. I hated those diversions. I wasn’t interested in Dickens only in what he produced. To this day I still find it irritating that people feel the need to tell me about the man/woman behind the work as if this has any bearing on the end result. But I came to realise that this wasn’t merely a preference on my part. Whilst...

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Colin Hambrook introduces the new look DAO and invites you to attend a symposium on disability art and activism at Salisbury Arts Centre

1 March 2013

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a pair of hand drawn wings, extended to the sky, white on dark blue.

We've been working hard during the last six months on the new design of DAO, which we launched earlier this week. Big thanks to everyone who has sent us feedback in the last few days. Responding to our last readers survey in March 2012 we decided to move away from the handmade feel and produce a bolder design which highlighted art form to make it easier to find features on specific topics within the navigation. We're working hard on identifying bugs in the older pages and tweaking...

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