Emily Davison by Rose Foran

This moving poem has been sent in by Rose Foran, along with a beautiful piece of embroidery for the DASH PROCESSIONS project. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have at DASH.

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Emily Davison

 

I can feel. And hear them. Before I

see them. Thunderous, pounding, like a thousand

hearts, throbbing up, upwards, to me. Splitting

earth from its core. Crowds part, as if sensing

destiny. Drawn ever closer - a sacrifice to

sound. There. And there. On the horizon. Small

and delicate of bone like little children,

their satin colours, whispering, rustling upon

skin and yet more satin. Racing, racing

through the elliptical. How they seemed to

fly. So beautiful, so, so beautiful. But eyes

are renowned liars. It is time.

 

I make a move. Another. Then another. No

hand stays the inevitable. The moment is

mine. Now, I see them, for the first time.

In their true glory: manes flying, nostrils

Flaring, eyes wildly orbiting. And throbbing.

Throbbing, beating, pounding hooves. Sweaty

Flanks, sinews- muscled in express speed.

Towards me. The King's horse – a beauty,

moulded an equine perfection. I see you. See

Your guided grace, glide towards, me. My

colours are with me now. Are part of me.

Violet. White and green. Deeds not words.

Deeds not words. A breath expands all

that I am. Then falling, falling, like slipping

into sleep. Fetlocks, hooves, shadows, ear

to the ground – a deep, throbbing, dying

heart. Violet. White and green. And. And.

Darkness. No stars.

 

Rose Foran

ArtStudio01

Artist Tanya Raabe Webber tells us about work at her Shrewsbury based studio supporting Disabled artists.

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In 2015 I joined forces with learning disability artist Alison Picknell from Telford to set up a transient studio that we evolved around church halls, community halls and home studios around Telford and Shropshire.

 

Our aim was to provide a safe creative inclusive space where disabled artists, learning disabled artists and non disabled artists could develop their art work, whilst developing opportunities to develop their creativity, pursue their artistic ambition and contribute to the contemporary visual art sector.

 

In 2016 we moved into the free project space at Participate Contemporary Space CIC in Shrewsbury, where Alison and I continued to develop our work. Alison began to become an artist in her own right, with her work being profiled on the Outside In website, in their online shop and on their promotional material. Prior to this Alison's work was exhibited in Compton Verney where she sold all her work. This resulted in a much higher profile, giving her confidence in her work to start making her paintings on a large scale.

 

Alison and I continued to work closely together developing our collaborative arts practice and looking for professional development opportunities to expand our studio group and artists collective.

 

As a disabled artist and pioneer of so may aspects of the Disability Arts Movement, I found Alison's artistic drive and ambition to succeed and continue the development of her own practice and ArtStudio01 extremely compelling. I felt I understood this need in her to want to paint and to create her work as a fellow artist. So I chose to continue to support her as a voluntary Artistic Director of ArtStudio01 in our shared ambition to make ArtStudio01 into a supported studio space.

 

Over the next year we both spent time spreading the word about ArtStudio01 in order to build our artists collective so that we could become a more sustainable group with a small income to buy materials with. Alison also needed support to enable her to travel independently from Telford to Shrewsbury, so her friend Krisstel became her travelling support. Then Krisstel enjoyed making art too so in turn joined as learning disabled artist, then Krisstel's husband, who also likes art joined us. And then there were 4!

 

In the meantime I was supporting and mentoring learning disabled artist Mark Lloyd, whom I was successful in getting an Arts Council England Grants For the Arts (G4A) Award for Reasearch and Development, and mentored him in expanding his arts practice, exploring ways to showcase his 30 year archive of his drawings of motorways and trains, his creative skills set and introducing him to a wider creative cultural view through visits to galleries and museums - local to the West Midlands. Mark's mentoring and skill set development all took place at ArtStudio01, and continues to do so along with Mark's Mum Wendy who decided she wanted to learn to paint landscapes.

 

In February 2016 we got another ACE G4A to go on a cultural exchange trip #Take6 to Project Ability in Glasgow, to see a co-curated exhibition of the artists of ArtStudio01 whom I'd been mentoring over that last year, through the DASH Cultivate scheme. A pioneering moment, as I developed an inclusive progressive mentoring strand in the DASH Cultivate programme that was tailored to include learning disabled artists in developing their own professional practice.

 

Since then Mark has exhibited his work in Kaarisilta Bieniel Helsinki, Finland and his work is very popular and continues to sell. Alison has sold several works on Outside In to European buyers. Krisstel has been commissioned to make new work and continues to develop her skills in watercolour techniques in landscapes. Tristan is collaborating with artists in Participate. Sarah Jane has joined us and is enjoying the Health and well-being benefits of creating her menagerie animal drawings. Artist Ross Prince has joined us from Loudwater Studios and is creating a moodscape wall.

 

Exciting news is that I have been awarded an ACE G4A Lottery Grant to tour 5 supported UK learning disability arts studios and 1 international studio in Finland. I'll be joined by Producer Jennifer Gilbert and evaluator Mandy Fowler to do action research and development into contemporary artist practices and Studio models. This will feed into the development of ArtStudio01 and specialist mentoring in partnership with DASH.

 

ArtStudio01's future is looking extremely bright and exciting. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or check out the project blog to keep up with our happenings.

Frrelance Administrator at Shropshire Inclusive Dance

SiD is recruiting for this exciting new post.

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This is a key role within the organisation – you will be responsible for ensuring effective and efficient administration for Shropshire Inclusive Dance, working alongside the artistic directors.

You will play a key part in supporting a growing and ambitious organisation, putting administrative systems into place at the beginning of our journey and supporting us to develop and grow.

https://sidance.live/2018/02/11/sid-is-looking-for-a-freelance-administrator/

DASH PROCESSIONS Workshop 1 - Guest blog by Anne Marie Lagram

Find out what happened in the first of our PROCESSIONS workshops

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I couldn't have wished for a better group of women to get us started who were happy to give their thoughts and opinions relating to not only the project but to the bigger picture of women in Shropshire today. They were also great about being decisive regarding ideas of how the banner should look and be constructed.

 

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It was decided that the banner will be split into three sections in view of the project being taken to three different locations.

Section one-A central panel will be produced at The Hive which will incorporate the Shropshire Hills, a larger circular sun/moon and the words – WE ARE HERE- incorporated into the design. One of the areas of discussion was about the fact Shropshire is still an unknown place to the rest of the country and the women of the county are also unknown. When we looked at historic banners the majority stated where they were from and so a statement firmly placing us was decided as our strong statement. It was also decide that the words Shropshire Women would be put on the outer border. The materials for that central panel will be a base of felt because of its strong colours and ease to use (no fraying) but that we would work into these felt sections with needle felting, stitching and 'podging'. The names of important Shropshire women will be part of the design as a close up detail.

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Section Two – will be an outer border to the central panel and will frame the central image. This will be made by the group meeting at Quatt. Some ideas of what this may look like were mooted and the idea that maybe a series of individual pieces of a patchwork might be a good construction method. But it was decided that it was important that the group that shows up at Quatt would be best placed to determine this. I would like to have the same/continued conversations with this group in the same way as I had at the first meet up at The Hive.

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Section Three– will be the main border and tabs that hold the banner on to poles and additional pieces. This will be done at a drop in session at participate and as an 'outreach' part of the project. We know some people want to be involved but can't get to the sessions and so we thought this was a good way of enabling everyone to have their voice heard. We are going to invite people to make a strip of fabric that states their geographic location and to also add a word/words that express something about being a woman in Shropshire today.  The completed strips of fabric need to be approximately 10inches/26cms in length and 3 ½ inches/9cms in width. We will then add these strips either as a fringe at the bottom of our banner (we were inspired by our Morris Troop The Shropshire Bedlams costumes) or made into links to form a fabric chain that unifies all the women of Shropshire.

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The construction of the components of the banner will take place on Tuesday June 5th at The Hive and we hope as many people as possible will come and join in.

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We also formed a face book group called Shropshire Subversive Stitchers (the subversive stitchers bit came from a comment relating to the banners and procession one hundred years ago) Already we have lots of people being actively involved in researching Shropshire women, posting about the suffrage/suffragettes and putting how they feel being involved in the project as well as saying something about being a woman. Please do join the group an become involved in the conversation.

 

DASH PROCESSIONS - Guest blog by Anne Marie Lagram

Read about the Artists' Suffrage League, the 'Mud March' and

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We asked our Artist for DASH PROCESSION Anne Marie Lagram to write a guest blog about her thoughts before we begin.

To sign up for one or all of our workshops, please see our eventbrite page here.

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I've already learnt so much about women's suffrage history since agreeing to be part of this project and particularly about the 'original' processions made by tens of thousands of women on the afternoon of Saturday 13 June 1908 who processed through central London to the Albert Hall, where they held a rally. The reason for the procession was to draw the country's attention to women's demand that they should be given the vote on the same terms as it was given to men.

I've found out about  the Artists' Suffrage League founded in January 1907 by Mary Lowndes which was set up to  involve professional women artists in preparations for what became known as the 'Mud March' which was really the first procession tried by women as part of their tactics to raise awareness. The weather was so inclement for this march that the 1908 procession was deliberately moved to summertime.  I have now been introduced to many women artists who I had never heard of thanks to researching for the project. I feel honoured to be treading in the footsteps of these spirited women who used actions and words and images to get their point across.

For the 2018 Procession we want to bring Shropshire women together through this creative project and to give an art platform for their voices heard. We are not fighting for a right to vote, as our predecessors of 100 years ago, but we should use this opportunity to consider and say something about how we see ourselves as women in relation to the original aim of equal status. It's a chance to comment, celebrate, commemorate, remember and look to the future. It's also a chance to identify ourselves as a geographically linked group of women living in a diverse and very spread out county.

My role as lead artist as enabling a design that reflects the women involved with the project. Firstly we need to discuss anything and everything about not only the occasion of the past but how we want to make it about women today. The ideas, words, images that come from these initial discussions will then be developed into a design that will make not only a striking piece of art work but also reflect the people contributing to it. We are keen to enable any woman to take part whether as an individual at home or as part of a group at work or as part of one of the sessions we are running and so in view of this I see the banner being made up of many sections that when bought together forms our combined efforts and opinions.

In regards to making the Banner we hope to combine a variety of textile techniques but please do not think you have to be great at sewing to take part in this – we will develop the best ways to make it so that all skill levels are not only involved but are of equal value to the project. I'm hoping I can show some of you a few new ways of working as part of the project.

But the heart of this is about being involved and so we ask all women in our wonderful county to please take part in some way;  there will be templates on social media/DASH website for individuals to make a piece of the overall design which will be personalised in some way, I want to encourage women to send in words/images/thoughts about being a woman in Shropshire today. We want as many of you as possible to come to some of the group sessions we will be holding and to come with us on June 10th to carry our banner. Be a part of a very special project that has only come about because of the pro-active women – our grandmothers and great grandmothers- who were impassioned enough to do something about the inequality and injustice they experienced.

We will let you  all know more regarding the design and making of the Banner and when and where workshops will be  after the initial meet up at The Hive – Shrewsbury on February 12th 11.00am

Finally we see the art piece as already having begun, this discussion, communication, ideas, thoughts are all a part of it, as are the messages and info put out there and the responses we get. Whilst making a banner is our key objective we think the journey we make to get there is of equal value and importance.

If you are unable to come to our first workshop but have ideas, please follow us:

Twitter: @DASH_ARTS

Instagram: @dashdisabilityarts

Facebook group: DASH

Join our email list and keep an eye on our website!

 

DASH job opportunity

Exciting role of Learning and Engagement Manager!

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DASH is an established Disability Visual Arts organisation. We have been leading the professional development of Disabled Visual Artists since 2008. In recognition of this work, Arts Council England awarded DASH with a significant increase in funding for 2018-2022.

This has enabled us to grow our staff team, to include a new Learning and Engagement Manager, who will extend the scope of our work to include Disabled Children and Young people – the Disabled artists of tomorrow.

We're looking for someone who has a strong commitment to Disability Art and the Social Model of Disability. You will need a wide knowledge of working in the Visual Arts and experience of working with Disabled Young People. You will be self motivated and a team player. You will have the skills to work strategically with a wide range of partners and people. The post will involve frequent travel to cultural organisations in England.

We are offering a salary of 15,734-GBP for 21 hours a week (full-time equivalent of 26,223-GBP), and 15 days annual leave a year. We also offer a 6% employer contribution to a workplace stakeholder pension.

Further details and an application form are available below. Video and audio applications will also be accepted. The closing date for all applications is 5pm on Monday 11th December 2018. Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place on 29th & 30th January 2018.

Click here for fiurther information and documentation.

FEDS is live

The exciting Film Exhibition, Distribution and Sales Trainee Scheme (FEDS) is live!

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Our career-making FEDS scheme is now open!

If you want to get into film but can't see a way to do it, this scheme is for you. FEDS is a proven route into the film industry and you will:

- get eight months of London Living Wage paid training at a film festival or cinema in York, Stirling, Glasgow, Cardiff or Sheffield;

- make a creative contribution, become a valued member of the team and learn a range of skills

- get a CV that will put you ahead of the competition

- attend regular industry sessions that inform you about the whole film business.

This scheme has helped dozens of people get their start in film, with over 80% staying in the film industry.

We want to make the film industry more inclusive. People of colour and people who consider themselves to have a disability are underrepresented in cinema and festival jobs. That's why we strongly encourage applications from these groups.

All you need to do to apply is fill in our short application form by 18 October. You don't need past experience, but you do need to have a passion for films and audiences. Read more here.

Ways of Seeing Art

Exploring the links between Art and Audio Description...

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Six months ago, Shape took part in Tate Exchange with a programme featuring a series of art workshops, a showcase of work by the artists shortlisted for Shape's 2017 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, and a Symposium exploring the links between audio description and art. 

To accompany this programme we created a booklet highlighting the barriers disabled people face in the arts, with an emphasis on blind and visually impaired people, and to encourage arts organisations to experiment with their audio description offer (as well as other forms of access) so that a richer, more creative experience is provided for the public.

You can access a free digital version of the booklet at www.shapearts.org.uk/news/ways-of-seeing-art-booklet 

To purchase a physical copy, please email marketing@shapearts.org.uk

The Incorrigibles

Perspectives on Disability Visual Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

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In 2015, DASH was awarded funding by Arts Council England and in partnership with mac Birmingham, to create a book, an encyclopaedia if you will, of the most pertinent and esteemed disabled artists in the UK. It published in 2016, sharing it's birthdate with the 40th anniversary of Shape Arts. As a trustee at DASH and as an emerging disabled artist, the development of this book was of interest to me.

The definition of the term 'incorrigible' is boldly stated at the beginning; "(of a person or their behaviour) not to be changed or reformed." This definition acts as a necessary introduction to the book.

Adrian Plant and Tanya Raabe-Webber, two artists who identify as disabled, discuss just that. The decision to self-identify and the impact that has can be both problematic and beneficial on an artist's work, particularly in the mainstream art world. They introduce the motive of the book being both an enlightening tool and necessary celebration, against a place where disability arts is still largely discredited. They explain how Cultivate, a bespoke mentoring project for disabled visual artists, and acted as a foundation talking point and catalyst in the creation of this book. Most of the artist's featured in the book were part of such groups, and so it rings throughout the book as important reference points.

Craig Ashley's short essay discusses how the book came to fruition from the symposium Awkward Bastards. There is a clear reaction from the notable lack of presence from such a book and the disability arts lack of recognition in the mainstream arts world is frustrating. He gives a detailed account of political views:

"We felt there was a question around legitimacy that also needed to be framed as part of the conversation, to acknowledge the historical context of exclusion and subsequent civil rights action in Britain during the post-war period."

He touches on the issue around the legitimacy of the mainstream arts world, and discusses the positive movement that can be taken from the symposium, notably that the Arts Council cited diversity to be 'a key issue in relation to the programming and audiences, leadership and workforce of all our funded organisations.' from 2014. He references the Black Arts Movement as a means to illustrate a similar need for a revolution to push forward the Disability Arts Movement. Ashley gives an informative, honest yet optimistic hope for change, in which Awkward Bastards clearly encapsulated.

Tony Heaton begins his own essay by quoting Bill Bryson on the surprising figures of British Inventions and how that includes disability arts, as a unique springboard to an informative view of the Social Model of Disability. He gives a historical account of how the politics of disability has challenged local authorities, given access to the arts and built positive relationships that have led to the current form of disability arts.

The Incorrigibles are 14 selected visual artists discussing their practice. They were asked 6 questions that aimed to provide "inspiration and advice to the readers of this book" in which it most definitely delivers.

The sorts of questions posed were not in anyway assuming, and instead scoped an interesting and colourful portrait of them as individuals, as artists, and as disabled people, along with the difficult question around self-identifying as a disabled artist. The use of questions very much dictated their answers;

"What/who inspired you to want to become an artist"

"What were the main personal challenges you faced during your early career as an artist and what strategies did you develop?"

"As an established/respected artist can you reflect on your relationship to the so called 'mainstream' museum and art worlds?"

"In what ways has the existence of the 'Disability Art movement' helped or hindered your career development?"

"Tanya Raabe-Webber identified herself to be a disabled artist, borne out of the Disability Arts movement. How do you choose to define yourself as an artist and why?"

"What advice would you consider most vital to give an emerging Disabled Artist and why?"

Although many of the artists simply feel their destiny was to always be an artist, or that their education nurtured them into becoming an artist, many of the artists felt it grew from a form of rebellion against mainstream views imposed on them during their youth, which comes as no surprise to a disabled artist. This notion spurred self-led teachings of their chosen art form; in fact, disability led many of them to art. As David Hevey says, "Just when it couldn't get any more weird; it did: I got epilepsy. This was both the final and terrible end, and the enlightening beginning of the rest of my life."

Jon Adams is an esteemed artist specialising in abstract digital illustrations.  When asked about identifying as a disabled art maker, he answers, "I am artist first and yes, I'm an autistic person".

Perhaps this view of self-identity aids the positive relationship he has with the arts sector in which he works.

"I have actively been chosen for projects because of my Autism/Asperger's... If you want to see work that is different, commission people to think differently, but also think differently about the way you commission and treat them...to be honest I've never registered that there is anything other than mainstream; I don't like using the word mainstream as it implies segregation... The work should speak for itself."

This I think is agreed from most art makers whether disabled or not, Bobby Baker makes the equally important point that rather her disability, she feared of being ousted at St Martins for being simply being a woman and not conforming to housewife ideals.

Juan delGado also echoes this point of view.  Highlighting the ever-growing how the digital landscape gave him and other independent filmmakers the platform for real artistic success on a mainstream stage.

One of the highlights of the book is the contribution from Sue Austin. Sue Austin is a wheelchair user who uses herself as the subject in her work. Her work encapsulates the term 'disability arts', as her chosen images from 'Creating the Spectacle!' depict her 'Flying Free' through a coral reef in her wheelchair. This body of work, as she explains, I personally was delighted to see her included in this book. I wrote my dissertation on the disabling images the media portrays, I found her work to be the most notably? against the argument in my research.  I found myself nodding in agreement when she states, "I feel a sense of recognition and shared identity with Disability Arts that acknowledges the complex realities of the disability experience."

These are just a few accounts of the importance of disability arts and the liberation of disability arts. "Disability Arts exists and I for one feel better and stronger in knowing this."

Statements like this by Heaton, are peppered throughout the book, shouting loud and proud about disability arts, and thereby creating a medium to talk openly about the history of disability arts, it's current position in difficult times, and encourages discussion and optimism for it's future.

The Incorrigibles offers viewpoints around political movements, and erased rich history, often overlooked by mainstream arts. It acts an empowering tool that any artist should be proud to have on their bookshelf to fully understand the complexities of an important genre of art.