In May 2012, Disability Arts Online (DAO) was awarded a Grants for the Arts Award by Arts Council England to deliver Diverse Perspectives, a national project featuring residencies and commissions for disabled artists with arts organisations resulting in digital artwork to be premiered on DAO. In addition the funding gave us the opportunity to produce coverage of the Cultural Olympiad with its specific focus on the Unlimited programme of work produced by disabled artists.
Below are brief introductions to the eight Diverse Perspectives commissions DAO published during 2012/ 13
Gini: Creatives in Con.Text
Gini was awarded a Diverse Perspectives commission to make creative responses to conversations with artists and audiences at Salisbury Arts Centre. The series of extended poems Gini produced as scrolls give a creative insight into peoples' reactions to work exhibited and their reasons for coming to the Arts Centre.
Creatives in Con.Text: the major scroll and Con.Text within FLINT: the minor scroll - have been published on DAO with an animated version of Endelig: the secret scroll, to follow. Experimental stages of this commission were recorded on Gini's 'Creatives in Con.Text' blog. Trish Wheatley has reflected on the commission in a Creative Case for Diversity blog.
A collaborative effort between LinkUpArts, Salisbury Arts Centre and Disability Arts Online resulting from Gini's residency was developed into an exhibition called ‘People Like You’, which showed at the arts centre from 8 March - 14 April 2013. Gini was part of the curatorial committee for this exhibition alongside representatives from Salisbury Arts Centre and Disability Arts Online.
'Creatives in Con.Text' grew from a previous ‘sitting in residence’ project, responding to the exhibition 'The View from Here' which took place at Salisbury Arts Centre from 9 November - 23 December 2011.
Liz Crow: Bedding In, Bedding Out
Liz Crow's live durational performance 'Bedding In, Bedding Out' will feature as part of 'People Like You' at Salisbury Arts Centre from 10-12 April 2013. Liz Crow has been writing a blog discussing the ideas that the piece engages with at www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/liz-crow
Initially, 'Bedding In' featured at SPILL Festival, held in Ipswich Art School Gallery from 1-3 November 2012,
Each day of the performance Crow put her 'private self' on show in bed, and invited members of the public to Bedside Conversations, gathering round the bed or perching upon it to talk about the work, its backdrop, its politics.
Drawing on audio recordings and time lapse photography of the performance - a short film - Reflections from the Bed - was posted in DAOs gallery at www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/liz-crow-bedding-in-bedside-conversations
Rosa Postlethwaite reviewed the performance at www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/liz-crow-bedding-in-spill-festival
Ivan Riches: Outside In artists' video portraits
Ivan Riches was selected to collaborate with two Outside In artists to make a series of short, moving image, digital works.
Outside In is a groundbreaking initiative produced by Pallant House Gallery in Chichester which aims to provide a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world either because of mental health issues, disability, health, social circumstance or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as art.
Ivan produced video portraits of Paul Bellingham and Julian incorporating their imagery and drawing on their identity as artists and the creative processes they use. Colin Hambrook has written about Ivan Riches' artists' video portraits within the context of the Creative Case for Diversity
Crippen and John O’Donoghue: The O'Crypes
DAO commissioned cartoonist Crippen and writer John O’Donoghue to create a series of cartoons for an episodic graphic novel that takes inspiration from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Cultural Olympiad and the media representation of disabled people.
Working in collaboration they created a narrative throughout the novel based around the O'Crypes - a family of disabled people and their friends, all of whom have a range of impairments and experience disability in different ways.
Designed to be both entertaining and thought provoking, this series of works aimed to comment, challenge and excite by exploring various angles on events during summer 2012
Aaron Williamson: The Eavesdropper
Commissioned by DaDaFest 2012 as part of 'Niet Normaal: Difference on Display' in association with Liverpool Biennial, Aaron Williamson created a tour into researching the personal histories of the life models who posed for some of the Victorian painters whose work is on display in the Walker Gallery, Liverpool.
As artist in residence at the Walker Art Gallery Aaron Williamson used his time to ‘eavesdrop’ upon the paintings in the collection. DAO commissioned the artist to blog about his his work-in-progress on The Eavesdropper recording responses to his research within the gallery archives.
DAO published a written record of Aaron Williamson's findings, both factual and imagined in his Tales of Life Models in the Walker Art Gallery's 'High Victorian Art' Room 8
'The Eavesdropper' which was part of the Liverpool Biennial and DaDaFest 2012, culminated in a series of performance-based interventions in the gallery in November 2012.
Dolly Sen: Greenhouse of Hearts
Dolly was commissioned to make moving image work about the Royal Academy of Arts access programme work with Portugal Prints: to explore the relationship Portugal Prints has with the RA, and to highlight the amazing, inspired, dynamic work that this small project is producing.
Dolly says: “We are in a time of cuts in arts, and I want to show what society and arts gains from a project like that, and what it loses if it disappears. It will follow the stories of the staff and participants, and the history of the project itself in a celebratory film about the heart of Portugal Prints, and how the RA access programme nurtures that heart but that could be broken by its future being in danger.”
Aidan Moesby: Hang On It'll Be Okay
As part of DAO’s Diverse Perspectives programme, funded by Arts Council England, artist Aidan Moesby was commissioned to make work for exhibition at The West Yorkshire Playhouse in response to a series of dialogues and conversations with the theatre staff. ‘Hang on, it’ll be okay’ responds to a period of organisational change within the organisation. His lighthouses, exhibited from 17 June - 1 July 2013 are a metaphor for the purpose of the arts as a beacon, there to guide and to create safe passage.
Aidan works extensively around ideas of disability and relationships to between people and places and how we engage with spaces - both the built urban environment and rural - on a physical and psychological basis. All his work is based around research conversations and from this he makes responsive installations and interventions.
He is an artist representative to the board of trustees at the Art House - a leading disability, equality and diversity organisation based in Wakefield.
John O'Donoghue: Shape
John O'Donoghue was commissioned to collaborate with Shape to report on events and programmes of work being run by this leading Disability Arts organisation.
Shape have lease of a Pop-Up Gallery – five floors of luxurious City office space occupying 60,000 square feet in the heart of London. John went along to Shape In The City’s Pop-Up Gallery at 40 Gracechurch Street to review the work on show.
In an interview with Tony Heaton the Shape Chief Executive Officer talked about his involvement with the Disability Arts Movement. Set up in 2008 Shape's annual Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary is a significant opportunity for disabled visual artists, offering a three month residency at a high profile gallery. In an overview of the work of the first four winners of the bursary, John investigates the value of the artwork produced in residency to date.
At Shape's Headlining Disability debate on media representation of disability, in June 2102, Will Self, in conversation with Mike Shamash, posed the question of what it would be like to live in a world where disability didn't attract prejudice or stigma. In a creative response John imagines such a parallel universe...