Today it has been wonderful to see the tag #WeShallNotBeRemoved gaining so much traction to champion the voices, the work and the rights of Artists with disabilities at the moment.
The Disability Arts movement has made huge gains in raising the voices of people living with disabilities, as well as using innovative, exciting approaches to art and performance. With the impact of Covid-19 on both the Arts and on people who have health issues, it’s so crucial that these Artists and Arts organisations can continue to thrive.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Fingersmiths, Extant and Deaf Explorer for commissioning me in the past to document some superb work. I’ve learnt a great deal about creativity, communication and accessibility through being part of these projects. We are all enriched through the graft of people who really raise the bar to make art accessible and inclusive. We are so much poorer without these important voices.
I highly recommend streaming Graeae Theatre’s ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful’ for a glimpse into an inclusive world where deaf, visually impaired and disabled performers take centre stage. ‘Crip Camp’, currently streaming on Netflix is also important viewing – it tells the story of America’s Disability Rights Movement and how its leaders were shaped by being in a space which allowed for their creativity and self expression. Now is the time to amplify work of such organisations so that these voices and this talent is not removed. We must make space for people living with disabilities to be seen and heard at a time when so many are in isolation.