Some thoughts from Aidan Moesby, the Festival’s Disability Associate
When we think about disability there is a tendency to imagine the visible and the physical. Perhaps an image of a person in a wheelchair springs to mind. However the diversity of disability is much more complex than this.
With the legacy of the particularly successful London Paralympics in 2012 and the images in the media due to recent global events, we are becoming more accustomed, and hopefully more tolerant, to those not just with visible disabilities but also those with hidden ‘impairments’. The Invictus Games are a good example of this and increasingly the focus around mental health issues.
However, there is still much to do around accessibility, discrimination and stigma with regard to disability. The Festival already programmes outstanding work by and about artists with Disabilities. This year sees Candoco and Owen Lowery visiting Salisbury and An Angel at my Table is being shown as part of a Kiwi film double bill. And to further its work around this, ASIAF has taken the bold step of having a Disability Associate to experience and respond to the Festival.
As Disability Associate I am taking a look at the work of the Festival as an organisation through a disabled lens. This includes exploring the attitudes and language around disability, accessibility and equality across the range of activities of the Festival.
During this year’s ‘City Encounters’ I became The Bureau of Audience Discrimination, to playfully highlight the random and often contextless way people with disabilities experience both ‘passive’ and ‘active’ discrimination in the everyday.
Throughout the Festival at Salisbury Arts Centre and the Playhouse I have curated a series of changing interventions which highlight issues around disability in a playful and gently provocative manner. Continuing my ‘Headlines’ work with my imaginary newspaper, ‘The Daily Compulsion’, I will show a changing headline of questions and statements which people with disabilities often experience or are directly challenged with. In addition, in the Playhouse a plinth with a bell jar atop will house a changing installation which highlights some of the pejorative language and stereotypes around mental health.
On Saturday 11 June I hosted an open table at Salisbury Arts Centre. I invited people to join me to discuss and comment on any issues raised by interventions during the Festival and to discuss broader issues around Disability, Equality and Accessibility.
Supported by Unlimited Impact