Disability Arts Online (DAO) is delighted to announce Alexandrina Hemsley as our next Guest Editor

a portrait of a woman of colour

Alexandrina Hemsley

Alexandrina Hemsley will take the reins as Guest Editor for the month of July 2019, commissioning 12 pieces of original writing and authoring 4 articles of her own. Hemsley is a dance artist, choreographer and writer who lives with long term mental health vulnerabilities.

Hemsley was chosen as Guest Editor for summer 2019 from the 21 outstanding applications we received at the end of last year through an open-call process for DAO’s Guest Editorship programme made possible by Arts Council England’s National Portfolio funding.

The aim of the guest editorships is to develop new editorial voices in the sector and bring fresh perspectives, new audiences and different approaches to DAO. It is intended to challenge the organisation, challenge DAO’s audiences and become a platform for experimentation, diversity and intersectionality. The Guest Editorship programme is an established twice-annual feature and the next advertisement for candidates will appear in Autumn 2019.

Hemsley’s guest editorship will broadly be shaped around themes steered by questions around what constitutes a sustainable arts practice while navigating invisible disabilities. She aims to feature artists and other arts professionals to help consider questions such as:

When do voices rise and fall?
When is silence or non-disclosure, self-preservation?
How are each of us complicit in advocating for or discriminating against disability arts sectors?

Hemsley will draw on her embodied experiences of not being believed, an ongoing process of being diagnosed, a past misdiagnosis and questions of whether a formal medical diagnosis is accessible or desirable.

She will also use this editorship as an opportunity to spend time raising the profile of dance makers, an artform we recognise as underrepresented within DAO’s editorial.

Hemsley trained in contemporary dance but now works across disciplines of live art, dance, dance for camera, theatre, mentoring, creative and critical writing. Her practice is shaped by and insists on embodied enquiries into a multiplicity of voices.

She co-edited BELLYFLOP Magazine (2012-2015) an online platform that focused on both independent and commercial dance. Since 2010 she has assisted at Magpie Dance classes working with both children and adults with learning disabilities to create dance pieces.

Her critical writing has been published by Sick of The Fringe, SPILL Festival, a new publication exploring queering the future, Hereafter (Unbound) and she wrote the introduction for Selina Thompson’s Salt (Faber & Faber). Upcoming publishing includes The Silver Bandage (Bookworks) and LADA’s Live Art Almanac Vol. 5.

Speaking about her Guest Editorship, Hemsley said:

“I am thrilled to have been offered the Guest Editorship for July 2019. The chance to not only begin formalising my writing practice but also to engage with a wide range of incredible practitioners in what for me is a relatively new professional context.

Personally, the past seven years have been a time of coming to terms with and articulating my hidden disabilities and their impact on my arts practice. I am now approaching the editorship from a place of being able to navigate my needs and experiences more visibly both within and outside of arts organisations.

As a woman of colour what is continually at stake, is the intersectional entanglement of systematic discrimination. I am endlessly motivated and inspired by how practitioners can undo, resist, find rest and connection. I hope to gather a sense of all this and more within my editorial content.”

Writing link http://alexandrinahemsley.com/category/writing/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexandrinahem?lang=en-gb
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexandrinah/