DaDaFest and Disability Arts Online present Disability Arts and Access in the Digital Age, Online


Price: Free but please register via the eventbrite link


a line drawing of free individuals breaking down a fence to reach a wheelchair-user

DaDaFest and Disability Arts Online are hosting a panel discussion event on 30th November 2pm-3.30pm, to provoke the arts and cultural sector to improve digital inclusion and remove barriers.

In the light of the crisis this year and the opportunities to open up digital practice, this will be a chance to look at what access solutions we can put in place in the digital age, examining discriminatory barriers that we advocate removing as we move into a new understanding of the value and importance of digital in connecting and showcasing innovatory arts practice.

The event will consist of a series of video presentations about digital practice and disabling barriers followed by a moderated panel discussion.

Artists Pierce Starre, Julian Gray, Nicola Smith, Amelia Cavallo and learning disability arts organisation Stay Up Late will present short video provocations showcasing digital artwork and exploring digital exclusion as well testimonials on accessible processes.

These presentations on developing a digital practice during lockdown and beyond, will be followed by a live panel discussion chaired by DAO Editor Colin Hambrook with Clare Reddington CEO of Watershed, Vici Wreford-Sinnott Director of Little Cog and DAO Associate Artist Ashokkumar Mistry who will discuss a call to action, instigating organisational change and eliminating discriminatory practices within the arts.

Anyone will be able to watch a live stream of the videos and discussion, but we want to also involve you in the conversations. People registering in advance will be able to join the live discussion session, providing you with an opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts on this critical subject.

Panellists biographies

Clare Reddington joined Watershed in 2004, establishing its creative technology programmes including Pervasive Media Studio and Playable City. She become CEO in 2018. Clare works with industry, academic and creative partners from around the world to champion inclusion, support talent and develop new ideas. Clare is a Visiting Professor at University of the West of England. She is chair of Emma Rice’s Wise Children, and a trustee of RSC and British Council.

Ashokkumar Mistry is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator working in the UK and internationally. By subverting technologies, he challenges conventional ways of making and viewing art. “As a person who sees and experiences the world differently,  Much of my work is concerned with my interactions with the world and how I make sense of everything”.

Ashokkumar didn’t identify as neurodivergent until he was in his 40s, and it was a seminal moment for his artistic practice. Since then, he has been focused on researching and writing about disability and neurodiversity. His writing encompasses direct research and personal experiences relating to neurodiversity with a view to sharing experiences and changing attitudes. He is currently Associate Artist with Disability Arts Online, a Development Artist with The Spark Arts and a Fellow of the International Association Of Art Critics (AICA-UK).

Ashokkumar has been commissioned by the BBC and a number of galleries such as the Lowry and Southbank Centre to create artworks and exhibitions.

As a curator, he has worked with AIS for a number of years developing innovative and thought provoking exhibitions. Ashokkumar has also developed a number of exhibitions in Taiwan for National Cheng Kung University and A-Glow space.

Vici Wreford-Sinnott is an award winning British disabled playwright, screenwriter, activist and equality strategist whose work tours nationally and internationally, and now digitally. She is the Artistic Director of Little Cog which is a disabled-led theatre company based in the North East of England. Vici has been active in the UK Disability Arts movement for almost thirty years having developed a number of pioneering projects and productions to ensure that the stories of disabled people are placed centre-stage in the arts.

Vici has created a number of innovations in how the theatre sector can include and involve disabled people at all levels including Cultural Shift, developed with partner ARC Stockton which is a strategic artistic model. During lockdown she has created a number of accessible online opportunities and resources. She has delivered a programme 12 online masterclasses, commissioned three disabled artists to explore and create new work, and has created two pieces of critically acclaimed digital work: Siege starring Philippa Cole and commissioned by ARC Stockton and HOME Manchester, and Funny Peculiar starring Liz Carr, Mandy Colleran and Bea Webster. Vici also curated an accessible online exhibition with Disconsortia featuring the work of 14 disabled artists.

Participants biographies

Unapologetically queer, disabled, and mixed race, Julian Gray is passionate about equality and minority rights, and these themes weave themselves into his artwork. His independent comics feature minority characters rarely seen in mainstream media, with non-exploitative storylines. Julian is a registered member of the Association of Illustrators.

Pierce Starre situates their personal cultural experiences as a neurodivergent performance artist who grew up with Deaf parents, within a broader social and political context. In June 2020 Pierce presented a live-streamed performance artwork in collaboration with their partner Nicholas Ball, exploring what it means to be visible as a queer couple in a heteronormative world. Pierce recently presented a new online performance work as part of Vivid Live’s VLTV and they also run Drip, an artist led platform facilitating the exploration and development of Live Art in Liverpool.

Nicola Smith is a neurodivergent artist who uses different mediums including live art intervention, performance, sound and video. Her performances involve movement, music, dress-up, sensory materials, special effects, gesture, speech, pictograms and Makaton. Her solo and group creative process uses access and interpretation mechanisms for dialogue, to challenge stereotypes and signal in performances inclusively for people.

Amelia Cavallo is a blind, USA born theatre practitioner, academic and workshop facilitator. They works as a multi-disciplinary performer, musical director, lecturer and consultant on access and audio description. Currently, they are a Phd candidate at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama studying intersections of gender, disability and sexuality. They have also performed with disability led theatre companies such as Extant, Graeae and Birds of Paradise as well as with regional theatres such as The New Wolsey, Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Royal Exchange Manchester. Amelia is also co-founder of Quiplash, a theatre company making space for disabled people across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Recent publications include a co-written chapter with Maria Oshodi in Theatre in the Dark: Shadow, Gloom and Blackout in Contemporary Theatre, and Seeing the Word, Hearing the Image: The Artistic Possibilities of Audio Description in Theatrical Performance in RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre.

Stay Up Late is a registered charity committed to promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities to live the lifestyle of their choosing. We began as a campaign started by the punk band Heavy Load based around enabling adults with learning disabilities to stay to the end of gigs and concerts. We now run a connection project called Gig Buddies, a Quality Checkers team, which inspects and reports on supported living settings, and other support and advisory groups on issues affecting adults with learning disabilities. We’ve helped charities set up Gig Buddies projects around the world and since COVID-19 hit, we’ve been reimagining what a “gig’ means, finding new ways to connect with our community online, and expand our reach to embrace more than live music.

Captioned, BSL Interpreted, Audio Description



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