Will and I have spent yesterday afternoon at a fascinating event organised by Devoted and Disgruntled and put on by East London theatre group Access All Areas and performer Cian Binchy. The central question was:
‘How can we better support artists with learning disabilities or autism in making their own work?’
This feels like an important question. I’m becoming increasingly concerned that few, if any, learning disabled artists are taking part in conversations about disability arts. Yesterday’s discussion was incredibly interesting and started to explore why this might be the case, and how venues, commissioners and other organisations can work with learning disabled artists to change it.
The event used an approach called Open Space. This is a way of having meetings where the agenda is set by everyone. There are several key principles which underpin the Open Space concept — and yesterday afternoon I found myself having a ‘ticcing fit’ next to several large notices spelling them out.
Will, who was supporting me, said they were great principles to have a fit by as well as a conversation.
Yesterday’s discussion was part of the Vault Festival – so there’ll be other events over the coming weeks to look out for including Cian’s excellent show, and a series of dinner talks including one by me this Friday.