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> > > Heritage Lottery Fund announces support for Shape and the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive

12 February 2013

Different parts of old-style wheelchairs are mounted upon a wall to form the shape of Great Britain. The wheels and other parts create the map out of solid objects and the spaces they enclose.

Great Britain from a Wheelchair 1994 © Tony Heaton

It was announced last week that as lead partner of the Arts and Disability Consortium, Shape has received initial support for a £962,000 bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive.

Bringing together a number of disability led arts organisations, universities, galleries and museums from across the UK, the project aims to preserve, digitise, and make public the significant works of art and items that have been important to the Disability Arts Movement. The archive will help to capture an understanding of the historical influence of Disability Arts and the social struggles of the movement in changing attitudes towards disabled people.

Development funding of £99,600 has been awarded to help Shape progress their plans to apply for the full grant at a later date.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

"We're delighted to be giving initial support for Shape's ambitious and thoughtful plans to tell the story of disability arts - a story that has never been properly told before now. This is particularly timely after last September's inspiring Paralympics and we hope that as the project develops it will tap into and build on the legacy of London 2012."

The project aims to work with and mentor disabled and non-disabled volunteers to collect, preserve and catalogue artefacts. It will capture oral histories of key protagonists, and establish and promote an on-line digital Archive to engage with communities all over the UK. This will be complemented by a series of exhibitions, events and an education programme to reach communities all over the UK.

Tony Heaton, Chief Executive of Shape said:

"This is the first disability-led collection and archive in the world and will be truly unique, for the first time the achievements of disabled artists will be properly documented and our rich history will be told…"