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DANDIFEST!

flyer showing four of the Norwich Dandies dressed up in their glad rags

Art collective extraordinaire, The Norwich Dandies, are planning Dandifest! a two week happening, launching on Monday 28 April 2014, running through the May Bank Holiday, and ending on Saturday 10 May 2014. The Norwich Dandies, established in 2010, have worked separately on a vast array of projects, but always have the most fun when they work together. An impressive line-up of Guest Artists will be announced in the run-up to the launch.

Feedback from Helen Jones, after MindOut’s Wellbeing Day in Brighton. “The Norwich Dandies were a delight… They artfully created a corner of creative inspiration and got everyone involved… whatever their level of skill… they were generous, gentle, gorgeous and we can’t wait for them to come back...!”

Current Norwich Dandies are:
Eloise O'Hare, artist and campaigner, currently co-organising the Norwich Rising event, Drum For Justice, an international One Billion and Rising event on Vanentine's Day, highlighting violence against women. Eloise also works for Hospital arts and is a leading campaigner in stopping junk mail to save trees.

Chrissy Sabberton, artist, performance artist, and campaigner, explores the way women are portrayed in the media, and wears a lot of pink.

Dugald Ferguson, artist and actor, is currently working in Berlin. His multi-media show Torrents of Rapture, received Arts Council England funding, and has been seen in London, Madrid, and Brighton, where it touched the hearts of millions.

Ann Nichols, photographer, photojournalist, and campaigner, regularly photographs protests, campaigns, and celebrations. Her work often features in the media.

Vince Laws, founder of the Norwich Dandies, is a poet, artist, and campaigner. Channel 4 News broadcast live from Vince's last happening - a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the Winter Olympics. He was Arts Council England funded for the B.Right.On Festival last year.

Dandifest! will centre on St Margaret's Church of Art on St Benedict's Street, Norwich, with art, poetry, politics, live events, workshops, photography, and whatever else turns up between now and then.

If you want to get involved, get in touch. Volunteer Dandies are always welcome. Contact The Norwich Dandies via vincelaws[at]gmail.com

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 25 February 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 1 March 2014

Vince Laws takes up the OUT140 challenge to tell a coming-out story in 140 characters

I told my parents I was bisexual when I was 16. They said "go to your room."
I’m involved in a project on Twitter called OUT140, which has collected coming-out stories from the LGBT community, their friends and families, told in 140 characters or less (i.e. a tweet on Twitter). Some participants then made their stories into 12-second films, which were shown on the giant Fusion screen in Norwich, Europe’s biggest public access screen, for 2 weeks in January 2010.

Mother said i wud rather you were a prostitute than a lesbian. 
Next, community filmmaker, Shelly Telly, who devised OUT140, adapted it to be shown on 2 old tellys during the Norwich Dandies exhibition in May 2010. We collected more stories and currently have over 200.

When I told my cousin my daughter is gay she asked, "Do Lesbians have wombs?"
Now OUT140 is being shown on a giant plasma screen at the Norwich Arts Centre, while 39 of the coming-out stories have been blown up and stuck on the walls. I chose one story to turn into a piece of text art, a found poem, which hangs in the bar. It reads: Grandma asked Mum if I had a boyfriend. Mum said I was gay. Grandma said has she got a girlfriend then?

I like Grandma’s immediate acceptance and the fact that this short story contains 3 generations of women. I collected used greetings cards from members of the LGBT community and cut them into individual letters. Greetings cards are the invisible threads that join us to our friends and family. I stapled the cards to hanging threads, and hung the piece about a foot from the wall so you can read the shadows. 

Rejection, everywhere. Church sed: possessed by demons. Hell. Threw my jeans & LPs away. Wore dresses for Jesus. Kept away from friends.
It’s easy to think that LGBT people have it easy now, everything is legal, society has moved on, but actually coming-out is a very individual experience. Only recently I chatted to a 40 year old gay man who lives at home and cares for his homophobic mother and as a result has never had a partner, never allowed himself the chance to be in love, and won’t do so until she dies. 

The difficult part was coming out to me. Being gay made me feel filthy, unworthy. Then meeting Him I realised there is nothing wrong with me
OUT140 is at the Norwich Arts Centre until August 31. 

You can read and add to the OUT140 stories on Twitter
You can watch some of the OUT140 films on 12seconds.tv

Posted by Colin Hambrook, 9 August 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 November 2010