Posted by Colin Hambrook, Thursday 20th May, 2010
I have had the privilege of working at the heart of the disability arts community over the past 17 years, producing a variety of publications. I currently edit both www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk and Dada-News at www.dada-south.org.uk and am immensely proud of the achievements of the artists and writers I work with. Much of the work I advocate is dedicated to using our art to get the message out there, about the barriers we face, as disabled people.
I have been engaged with the survivor movement since the mid-1980s, having lived with a variety of mental health labels, as well as M.E. Disability has been the bedrock of my life experience; and I consider myself very lucky to have found a place in the world where my art and my writing fit the bill.
I’ve seen a lot of changes and developments. The past ten years, in particular, have seen the sense of community, based on pride in difference, become fragmented, as expectations have become a lot higher. The Disability Arts Forums that supported our community arts endeavours have gone or rebranded their aims and vision, as the criteria for funding have changed; and the focus has turned to finding partners and allies in the mainstream of arts activities.
However, disability, deafness, difficulty and impairment continue to be emotionally laden terms that we grapple with and argue over. Across the spectrum, we are a community of cousins, embracing difference – and looking for roads that broach the barriers that continue to prevent us from taking an equal part in society.
I am looking forward to taking a pro-active role with Accentuate. The programme has the potential to make disabled peoples' unique vision and experience of the world visible to a wider chunk of society. As an Our View core advisory member, I hope to take a part in ensuring this happens as an exciting array of arts activity gets underway.
There are some fantastic projects being devised and I look forward to having contact with the artists and the arts managers who are engaged with developing programmes under the Accentuate banner.
The Ideas Hub group ensures that the views and contributions of disabled people inform every level of the programme.
This is a group of key thinkers within the disability cultural sector initially drawn from the original Our View Core Group. We also aim to attract other deaf and disabled leaders to contribute to specialist areas of work. The Accentuate Ideas Hub lead debate concerning disability issues and disability cultural thinking.
The Ideas Hub perform advocacy for Accentuate at national and potentially international level. They will also develop innovative ideas about new projects and areas of work. This hub will ensure Deaf and disabled people continue to lead and inform Accentuate.