Disability Arts Online – Sharing Disability Arts & Culture with the World
We are small but committed disability-led organisation set up to advance disability arts through the pages of our journal. Our raison d’être is to support disabled artists, as much as anything by getting the word out about the fantastic art being produced by artists within the sector.
We give disabled artists a platform to blog and share thoughts and images describing artistic practice, projects and just the daily stuff of finding inspiration to be creative.
We know that being an artist is a hard road to travel and that being a disabled artist takes extra layers of resilience and fortitude, so we give support by connecting you with like-minds primarily through our social media networks. In a more limited capacity we will respond to email requests for information and advice.
Primarily, we publish editorial, blogs and showcases of art, providing a place where opinion pieces, reviews and interviews can be shared and commented on. We have a small commissioning budget and are always looking out for pitches from disabled writers, so if you have a proposal for an arts opinion piece, review, or blog about your artistic practice then do email editor Colin Hambrook via editor[at]disabilityartsonline.org.uk
Disability Arts Online offers a means for the wider arts sector to engage with disabled artists by sharing professional opportunities on our listings pages, reading about their work on blogs and editorial and in some cases, with partnerships facilitated by our consultancy services.
Disability Arts Online’s listings cover disability arts and culture related events as well as accessible performances of mainstream work. The listings also has a section for arts jobs and career development opportunities, artistic commissions, residencies and competitions.
When and where we can, we like getting out and about to speak at conferences and to produce events at festivals. As well as doing Disability Arts Online, our Director Trish Wheatley has extensive experience as a producer of performance and visual arts, and our editor Colin Hambrook has worked on many performance poetry events.
Our understanding of disability arts and culture is informed by the Social Model of Disability, as an antidote to the Medical Model of Disability, which assigns us as rejects in need of being fixed in order to conform to normative values. We see disability arts and culture as a supportive environment where experience of barriers we face as disabled people can be shared and our lives valued.
Our latest and biggest project Viewfinder is the reason for the relaunch of Disability Arts Online. You can see our archived content going back to 2004 by clicking on this link. As part of the Viewfinder programme we hosted a series of writing workshops for disabled artists with renowned arts journalist Bella Todd.
We are in the process of launching a new video-based platform featuring new video commissions, curated playlists and live streaming of arts and culture. We’ve been busy behind the scenes working with partners SPILL Festival, SICK Festival and Carousel on a series of video playlists and commissioned film highlighting arts practice from within those organisations that reflects a disability / Deaf perspective on the arts.
Who is Disability Arts Online?
Trish Wheatley is Disability Arts Online’s Director and works three days per week. Working in the arts sector since 2005, she has developed a passion and specialism in working with and supporting disabled artists having started her career at Holton Lee curating and managing the Disability Arts programme. In 2009 she moved into freelance work and has a significant portfolio which includes: Shape, London, LinkUpArts in Salisbury, consultancy work for Disability Arts Online, project development for many individual disabled artists and the creation of Freewheeling. Her other part-time work is currently as the Project Manager and co-producer for Freewheeling which produced Sue Austin’s Unlimited commission, ‘Creating the Spectacle!’.
Colin Hambrook is Disability Arts Online’s editor, working three days per week. Colin set Disability Arts Online up initially as a channel on ArtsOnline in 2002. In 2004, he registered Disability Arts Online as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, setting the journal up as an independent organisation. Since then he has strived towards his vision for the site as a journal dedicated to work by deaf and disabled artists, which reflects on disability as a social and political construct from a Social Model perspective. He has worked in the field of disability arts for 20 years having produced a variety of web and print based publications in that time. He is also a disabled artist in his own right and has two illustrated poetry collections to his name. Knitting Time published by Waterloo Press in 2013 was shortlisted for a Ted Hughes Award.
Joe Turnbull is Disability Arts Online’s subeditor and project co-ordinator. He studied Politics at the University of Manchester but has since gone on to pursue a career in arts journalism. He has written for the Guardian, Apollo Magazine, Frieze, a-n News, this is tomorrow and Garageland. He was previously Politics Editor at the Inky Needles publishing group and Publications Editor for Art Map London. In 2011 he helped establish Novel, an arts and culture magazine based in his native North East. Joe has long been an outspoken critic of the hierarchical power structures of contemporary society and campaigns for the rights of various marginalised groups.
Alice Holland shadowed Trish Wheatley for a year as a trainee producer, learning Arts Management and Producing for Disability Arts. She currently works with us on a one-day a week basis, helping to produce aspects of our Viewfinder programme. She has previously been a showgirl, fire-eater, pornographer and continues an illustrious career as an uppity feminist.
Disability Arts Online’s Board members
Michelle Molyneux is a visual artist and works in the arts sector. Currently she is the Director of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain and its companies: the Contemporary Ceramics Centre and Ceramic Review magazine. She began working in arts and disability in 2005; she was the Director at Gallery Gachet, a collectively run exhibition and studio space built to support artists, administrators and curatorsto encourage dialogue on issues relating to mental health illness, trauma, or addiction. Later, based on her work with Gachet, she was invited to become a Trustee of Tangled Disability Arts, an organisation that develops and promotes the work of disabled artists. Also, at that time she was appointed Director atFUSE Magazine, overseeing the publication of this seminal quarterly which provided reporting, documentation and critical thinking on socially and politically engaged arts practices.
Tony Heaton: English, North West in place and spirit. Father, artist, sculptor, fiddler of bits, likes animals but not pets, likes people but from a distance. Currently CEO of Shape – disabled and deaf people and the arts – based in London. Prior to this Tony spent ten years as Director of Holton Lee in Dorset, creating short-stay residential accommodation with exhibition spaces, gallery, and studios and NDACA (the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive). You can see more of Tony’s work at www.tonyheaton.co.uk
Dr Colin Cameron is a Senior Lecturer in Disability Studies at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. He has been active in the disabled people’s movement since 1992 within organisations including the Northern Disability Arts Forum, Inclusion Scotland, Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living and Shaping Our Lives. As well as writing sardonic short stories and poems his more serious work includes book chapters and journal articles on Disability Arts and identity in, e.g., Emerging Issues and Insights in Disability Studies, The Community Development Journal, Popular Music and Parallel Lines. His PhD thesis, ‘Does Anybody Like Being Disabled?’, involved clarifying and developing the affirmation model, a non-tragic framework for making sense of the experience of living with impairment in a disabling society. His book Disability Studies: A Student’s Guide, is published by Sage.
Dr Emmeline Burdett gained her PhD from University College London in 2011. She is an associate of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS) at Liverpool Hope University, and a book reviewer for H-Disability, which is part of H-Net, an online humanities resource run by Michigan State University. In addition she sub-edits for Disability Arts Online, and edited a number of chapters of Dr Colin Cameron’s book Disability Studies: A Student’s Guide. She contributed a chapter on Eugenics to the same book, and has also written a chapter for Dr David Bolt’s forthcoming book Changing Social Attitudes towards Disability. Her interests include disability and bioethics, and portrayals of disability in the arts.
Simon Startin is a freelance theatre-maker and activist of some twenty years standing, including work with Graeae, Fittings, BBC, Channel 4, Royal Exchange Manchester, Hampstead Theatre, London Bubble, Red Shift, Theatre Royal, Oldham Coliseum, Birmingham Rep, Kazzum and many others. Simon has been London Bubble’s writer-in-residence for the past ten years, having now completed 14 professional commissions as a playwright, five of which were awarded Time Out Critics Choice. Associate artist of both London Bubble and Graeae. Graduate of the Young Vic Director trainee. Lectured on the MA Applied Theatre course at Goldsmiths College in Community Theatre and Disability Aesthetics. Alumni of the BAC 21st Century leadership scheme. Under the umbrella of the Young Vic Simon has founded the Deaf and Disabled Directors Network, and works with the London Theatre Consortium. He is currently directing a project at the RSC investigating disability aesthetic and Shakespeare, working with Caroline Horton on a new satire about tax havens and filming ‘Mapp and Lucia’ for the BBC, starring Miranda Richardson, Frances Barber and Anna Chancellor.
Consultancy and Partnership Publishing
People we’re working with:
British Council – consultancy and refresh development of their Disability Arts International website – a platform designed for international arts programmers, venue managers and policy-makers
As well as filling Disability Arts Online with great content, we also help others in the arts to build their websites, and to learn how to write online.
Examples of previous digital outputs and content development
Creative Case for Diversity: This website was built in 2011 for Arts Council England as they launched their ongoing approach to increasing the representation of diversity within England’s arts and culture.
Sue Austin: This website was designed by Disability Arts Online staff in 2014 for disabled artist Sue Austin and built in collaboration with our long-term web developers Surface Impression using their bespoke content management system, Content Curator. The brief from the artist was to bring the artwork to the forefront of the website, hence the outcome with an oversized header that uses one of her most recognisable images. This website is an ongoing collaboration through which Disability Arts Online hosts and provides ongoing support. Future developments are also planned as the website is migrated to WordPress this year for increased flexibility and social media integration.
Previous consultancy and partnership activities have included:
Shape Arts, London – general web development assistance and also content generation for their Animate project
Parliamentary Outreach – we made a three minute web film to sit within the new Rethink Parliament outreach initiative. This was a national, one-year project to work with individuals with experience of mental health in an art workshop setting. To see the film and to find out more about the programme go to www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/rethink-parliament-dao
Other partnerships and consultancy activities are in the pipeline: we always welcome enquiries about working together. Please email Trish Wheatley, Director, Disability Arts Online at trish[at]disabilityartsonline.org.uk