Image Description - a slide which says On Whose Shoulders We Build - a history of the disability arts movement in the North East of England. The photograph is credited to Black Robin and features Karen Sheader and the late Lindsay Carter, who is holding a toy dog which is wearing comedy glasses, and was taken at Arcadea's Metamorphosis Ball, held at the Sage Gateshead in 2006 as part of the Mimosa Festival.
Heralding a new wave of Disability Art in the North East of England, Little Cog Theatre Company is delighted to be working in collaboration with Black Robin, who has secured funding from Arts Council England and support from ARC Stockton, to develop a living archive which will create a platform to share work from disabled artists past and present. The North East has a rich and proud tradition of self-organised disability arts practice, which has remained largely discreet and hidden. It is essential to collate and raise the profile of the strong body of work created by the disability arts community, which is currently not reflected in the artistic heritage of the region. On Whose Shoulders We Build will also share and acknowledge the tireless and ongoing work undertaken by many disabled artists and activists to bring about the change we have today.
We think it's a brilliant time to introduce this project to the North Eastern landscape. There are sources of disabled-led work going back at least 35 years, and yet, we know that advances in the equality of disabled artists still have a long way to go. On Whose Shoulders We Build coincides with disabled artists in the North East coming together to create Disconsortia, an artist-led consortium working towards making artistic change happen. And this is also a time where there is pressure on the arts to do more about diversity. On Whose Shoulders We Build will champion, celebrate and showcase a passionate, vibrant community of artists who so often are ignored and undervalued by mainstream arts.
On Whose Shoulders We Build is in its first phase of development and involves a variety of activities including a series of interviews, workshops & written commissions, ensuring that the specific & rich nature of disability art in the North East is put centre-stage. The project will launch with an exhibition running from 29 June - 10 August 2020, in the main gallery at ARC Stockton, celebrating pioneering work. It will be filled with fascinating portraits, quotes and artefacts reflecting the voices, contemporary work & thinking of disabled people from our region. We will post more information nearer the time.