Disability History Month
The purpose of observing Disability History Month is to encourage everyone to respect individuals with disabilities, and realise how we have empowered ourselves throughout history, rather than just being an object of pity. To focus on our strengths and to promote understanding rather than stereotypes. And also to find out how people with disabilities have not only achieved in their fields, but achieved and actively convinced others that their disabilities are not barriers.
As this year’s theme is Art, we want to find out what people with disabilities have achieved in the artistic and creative realms, and how this reflected the perspectives of disabled artists – and brought about change.
Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso, Tony Heaton and Tanya Raabe-Webber, even pop stars such as Lady Gaga and James Arthur – all of them had or have a disability.
People need to recognise that a disability is only one part of someone’s life – it doesn’t stop us from achieving what we want to, from believing in what we do, or from getting what we want and need in order to be part of society like everyone else.
I think in the 21st century many of us are lucky that discrimination due to disability is seeming to decrease, at least from my perspective.
But for how long was this the case? Which people campaigned to get us there? What thoughts, images and representations became popular, became ‘the norm’ if you will, replacing other, perhaps less positive, thoughts, images and representations – and what impact did this have on the people who saw these?
Also, let’s talk about Art. Because the various types of art at least in the UK today, in different ways to the various types of disability, are also sometimes underrepresented, sometimes underfunded, sometimes seen as ‘an easy/’soft’ option’ in schools, and sometimes the benefits of the many types of arts are dismissed.
Disability History Month Coming Soon!!
UKDHM is held 22nd November to 22nd December. To find out what’s happening on Disability History Month nationally, go to http://www.ukdhm.org.
The UK Disability History Month organisation are happy for schools, colleges, universities, trade unions, libraries, museums, DPOs, community and other organisations to publicise our theme and hold meetings or run activities at any time.
Every week we will post an exhibition of a different genre of artists, or organisations, who have changed opinions about disability through their art! You can explore them using the menu at the top.
By the final week, we will exhibit the drawings, paintings, poetry, stories, short films or other artwork of us disabled students here at King’s College London and in other universities, college and youth groups across the UK.
We’ll show them both online under our ‘Your Artwork’ section, as well as in a physical exhibit somewhere down the line – our first event will be on the 21st November!!
If you want to get involved and submit a piece of artwork, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will put on other events during Disability History Month as well, so stay tuned! Student society groups around King’s will also put on events – we’ll post them here as they come!
There are many many more disabled artists than the writers of this site can research or know. Therefore this project will represent only a snapshot of people out there doing awesome stuff. However we will attempt to find people from all walks of life, and introducing many different messages.
If you know of another artist with a disability or organisation supporting disabled people to be creative, either in the past or in the present, you can get in touch and they may be featured on our website as well!
The writers of this site are mostly students, so we have other commitments as well as writing for this website. However, updating Access The Arts, increasing education, and allowing disabled artists to express themselves will always be a priority for us!