DisabilityArts.Online: Sharing Disability Arts & Culture with the World
Being an artist involves taking the creative and challenging route to achieve a sense of professional satisfaction. This route becomes even more challenging for disabled artists, who work with resilience and spirit to win their dream and contribute amazing pieces of craftsmanship and brilliance to the world. DisabilityArts.Online is an organization that gives disabled artists a platform to blog and share thoughts and images describing artistic practice and projects that help others find inspiration to be creative.
In this interview, we speak with Colin Hambrook, the Editor at DisabilityArts.Online. Read on!
How did DisabilityArts.Online start? Who or what was the inspiration behind it?
DisabilityArtsOnline has been a not for profit organization since it was formed in 2002. I have been a keen advocate of the Disability Arts Movement for over two decades, especially since the time I edited a monthly newsletter for the London Disability Arts Forum.
My excitement is down to the fact that Disability Arts reflects aspects of the human condition that are unique and tells stories that are unheard of in any other art genre.
Could you give us a glimpse into the exciting projects that you are working on?
Well, we’re working on a wide range of things at the moment. It’s been a great pleasure to support Raquel Meseguer with her installation ‘A Crash Course in Cloudspotting’. Also, I am delighted to be one of the subjects for the ‘light choir’ for the first evocation of the installation at Ovalhouse in London.
We’re working with the British Council on their Disability Arts International website. We’re also working with Bath Spa University on the D4D program, with an exciting contribution to one of the eight workstreams called Electric Bodies. We also worked with Unlimited – an arts commissioning program that enables new work by disabled artists to reach the UK and international audiences.
Furthermore, we are working on interview profiles of a number of commissioned artists and pitching them to a plethora of platforms to get the word out about their excellent achievement in the field of arts. I am also engaged in some on-ground work with Disability Arts In Surrey (DAISY).
What is Social Model of Disability? How is it different from Medical Model of Disability?
Everything we do at Disability Arts Online is founded on the social model of Disability. Disability is seen falsely as being largely about medical issues when in reality it is about access, and our society’s responsibility to ensure that all barriers against inclusion are removed for the full participation of its disabled members.
Share with us some of the most inspiring stories of people who are part of your community.
Commissioned by Unlimited, Rachel Gadsden has been working with disabled artists in the West Bank in Palestine to support their practice with plans to bring their work to the UK.
Tony Heaton was commissioned by London Lumiere as one of 50 artists produced by Artichoke and commissioned by the Mayor of London for lighting up the capital with sound and light installations. He is currently showing his playful and revolutionary piece, Raspberry Ripple outside the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank.
What are your future plans for DisabilityArts.Online?
Soon, Disability Arts Online will become part of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio, a cycle of four-year funding for organizations to help achieve Great Art and Culture for Everyone. Disability Arts Online will be bringing in some new activity and improving its existing services to include:
- Commissioning disabled people to write about arts
- Running an Associate Artist program with small commissions attached
- Mentoring sessions for up to 50 emerging or established disabled artists per year
- Supporting disabled artists to blog about their practice
- Providing consultancy services to arts and cultural organizations to enable them to become more inclusive and accessible to disabled artists and audiences.
How does being on a .ONLINE domain help you brand your website?
It was good fortune that the .Online domain name came up just at a time when we were redesigning and relaunching a new brand of the DAO journal in 2016. It fitted our brand name perfectly because the word ‘online’ was already in our organization’s name. .Online made our organization name relevant again, instead of making it sound a bit dated. It’s also a brilliant match for us because our organization name is our entire URL.
“Starting a new online community? Get your .ONLINE domain now!’