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PERFORMING ARTSLAB REPORT 20.3.06 at The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome Aims of the ARTSLAB To look at the following issues and come up with practical solutions:    

How to get our work shown in the Mainstream Arts World How to develop our careers as Disabled Artists Identify the barriers that stop these happening Come up with practical solutions to the identified barriers, which can be put in place by Venues and promoters  Produce a DVD, made from footage of the two artslabs, which can be distributed to venues , Arts organisations and promoters

The Performing Artslab looked at the Barriers and Solutions, by creating Pieces of Forum Theatre as an Artistic interpretation of these. Who came We decided to not advertise but select Disability Arts groups and individual Disabled performers, who are at a stage in their careers, which would ensure they would be have a lot to give from their personal experiences. We produced a flyer with an outline of the day and targeted this to a number of people in early February: GROUPS  Arty Party in Telford  About face  Front Line Dance  Blue Eyed Soul  The Shysters As all these groups are led by Non disabled people. we asked them to ensure that a Disabled member of their Company came with their director. We had a poor response from the two Dance companies, with no reply from Frontline and Blue Eyed Soul’s disabled Dancer at college on that day.


The other companies work with learning Disabled People and Arty Party attended and the Shysters would have, but their Company member was ill on the day. About Face were on tour on the day. ORGANISATIONS  WMDAF  Birmingham city Council arts access officer  ACEWM Representatives from all three Organisations attended INDIVIDUALS  WMDAF’s database  DASh contacts We emailed WMDAF’s artist register (40-50 contacts) and had responses from three artists, two who attended We found one artist through Blue Eyed Soul , who didn’t attend on the day Attendance Rebecca Virgo Sue shortland Webb Arty party Ally Smith Abid Hussain Angela powell DASh

BSL Interpreters Support Workers Mat Fraser Cerrie Burnell

Comedian/performer Musician Nathan- DJ Kevin- Co ordinator Arts Access officer Birmingham ACEWM WMDAF Mike Layward- Director Tanya Raabe- Visual arts Paula dower- Gen Manager Two Two Lead Artist/Facilitator Co leader

It was essential that we had someone to lead the day who was inspirational and an experienced workshop leader. Mat Fraser was the perfect choice, with Cerrie co leading the day.


The Day The day ran from 11am to 5pm We started with an introduction of ourselves, the history of the artslab concept and what we would like to achieve We then had a series of warm up games/exercises which led into group work. We then created a list of barriers which were put forward by the group. LUNCH After lunch we divided into two groups and each group created a piece of Forum Theatre, using some of the barriers suggested in the morning. Forum Theatre was devised by Augusto boal, a leading Brazilian Theatre Director as a way to democritise theatre and as a tool for oppressed people to find a voice. It involves creating a short piece of theatre which has a problem or barrier, this piece is rerun , with the audience allowed to intervene, suggest what the main character can say to solve the block or taking the main characters place to see if you can do better. using some of the barriers suggested in the morning. We then ran the first piece and interventations were made by the ‘Spectactors’ and similarly in the second piece. We then reformed a group and went through the barriers from the Morning and suggested solutions Barrier Second Class treatment Lack of representation Lack of regional funding Isolation, lack of support, leads to lack of confidence Lack of authentic stories theatre/TV etc Lack of opportunity for positive role models to shine Needs aren’t met, Labels Mainstream doesn’t care about Disabled experience, Disabled

Solution Illegal use the DDA Artists to get engaged/involved Find other sources of funding Use the Disability Arts networks Know your rights and demand change, Be forthright Know your rights and demand change, Be forthright Be proud


Arts groups isolated, Ignorance of hidden Disability issues Mainstream disability groups negative towards hidden disabilities Lack of training opportunities and mentors Lack of trust Language. Disability legislation has been seen as a physical access issue only Too many Venues having token commitment to employing Disabled Artists Lack of respect/listening

Funded Mentors

Use the DDA

Use the DDa

Use the DDA

Some conclusions we came up with were:  The Disability Arts movement is weak, particularly some Disability Arts Forums. These need to become strong proactive organisations supporting and developing the work of individual Disabled Artists  Name and shame ‘bad’ Arts centres/Venues Individual Artists need to use :  The DDA  The DAFs  ACE  Mentors

Visual Arts Slabs report  

A summary report from the Visual Arts Slabs in Walsall.

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