I've been asked to do a lecture on disability arts, mentoring disabled artists, developing partnerships, plannning processes and... um, everything, it seems, in the whole wide world of disablity arts, where we're at, where we should be going, and how - specifically - we get there.
It's not too much to ask, is it? Could that be steam coming out of my ears?
This sort of thing is fascinating, but it's not easy. At present - certainly in mainstream academia - there's no standard, widely taught course on disability art and artists, although I hope there are some somewhere, or at least in the pipeline...
My art education barely had enough background on minority groups like women artists (!), let alone disabled ones. For the past few years I've been trawling the internet, collecting magazines, reading articles where I can find them ad infinitum, in order to educate myself about disability politics and the development of disability arts in particular - who's who, what has gone before, where it's currently at, and finally, what my place in it all may be.
This post has little direction other than to be a break in all the head-spinningly academic literature crowding my gibbering brain at the current time. Some things I have to sit down and read with a dictionary (like the writings of Dr Paul A. Darke), an internationally respected academic, writer and cultural critic who has written and created extensively around the issue of identity and culture (so says his site), because an art education mucking abaat with paints doesn't really teach you many long words, well, not enough to mix it with the heavyweight thinkers on this subject anyway.
I hope to compile a links section soon so people who visit the blog can see what's out there so far. If anyone reading wants to suggest anything, by all means do so - it'll likely not be a definitive list and all contributions are greatly welcomed! There is good stuff out there, such as Allen Sutherland's Chronology Of Disability Arts 1977- March 2003 courtesy of the National Disability Arts Forum website. I'm currently ploughing through it. It's much easier to find this kind of information now that it probably was ten or twenty years ago, for which I'm extremely grateful.
It's cold outside, the rightkind of weather to make you happy to curl up indoors with a book, a dictionary and a big plate of biscuits.
And right on cue - here comes the rain.