Art and Social Change, The Disability Arts Movement curated by Anna Berry, Birmingham


Price: Free


Oil painting of Sir Bert Massie CBE, seated in a powered wheelchair wearing a blue suit, holding a model car and a book titled Liverpool 800. The background is vivid red.

As part of DASH’s Curatorial Commissions Programme, Anna Berry has been undertaking a year-long placement at MAC. She has been working closely with their Visual Arts team to learn how they approach the curation of their shows. This exhibition, developed and curated by Anna, is the culmination of her placement, showcasing her new skills while linking to the wider programme at MAC.

This exhibition presents some of the art work, along with objects used by Disability Rights activists, that raised awareness and effected political change for disabled people. The Disability Arts Movement were a civil rights group of artists and activists who fought the marginalisation of disabled people. Their work supported the struggle of Disability Rights activists, which led to the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995.

The long term aim of the Curatorial Commissions programme is to support the development of Deaf and Disabled curators, so they can become the Directors/ Curators/ Programmers of the future, addressing the cultural changes that must be made within the visual arts sector in order for it to become a more inclusive and accessible art form.

Bookable events:
BSL tour on 1st February at 1pm

The Last American Freak Show + shorts, Sun 9 Feb | 2pm | Certificate 15
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the last American Freak Show! Careering across America in a ramshackle old school bus, Samantha X and Dylan have started their own show, a motley crew of outsiders who perform as The Lobster Girl, The Half Woman, Dame Demure, and The Elephant Man are resurrecting the dying art of the sideshow. They flaunt their disability – what makes them ‘different’ is also what unites them. Disabled people calling themselves freaks and hitting the road to exhibit their deformities tell their stories and entertain a paying audience.  The Last American Freak Show is an evocative, compelling, often funny and personal documentary looking into the world of the disabled and the idea of the sideshow. The screening will be preceded by two short films about disability – Elegy for the Elswick Envoy (22 mins) by Nancy Willis and Frida Kahlo’s Corset (9 mins) by Liz Crow.

Curator talk and tour 27th February at 6.30pm

Public Conference – Disability Arts: Slaughtering the Sacred Cows Wednesday 11 March | 11am-4pm | MAC Theatre | Free, booking required
Are we robust enough to criticise ourselves? Are there no-go topics which aren’t debated in Disability Arts? This dynamic event examines current issues related to the challenges and opportunities of Disability Arts, bringing together leading practitioners including keynote speaker, artist Aaron Williamson.

Relaxing the Building Sun 15 March | Free | All Day | Throughout MAC
MAC will be ‘Relaxing’ the building for the day by providing sensory spaces and reducing the use of fluorescent lighting and screens, while offering a range of activities aimed at people who prefer a Relaxed environment.

Booking via MAC Birmingham’s Box office

Box office contact: 0121 446 3232

BSL Tour on 1st February. The exhibition is on the ground floor of MAC which has wheelchair access. For more information about MAC’s access facilities and services, please visit


Midlands Arts Centre, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH

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