1 December 2004
Celebrating disability arts is a document commissioned by Arts Council England for the European Year of Disabled People, celebrating 30 years of disability arts. It contains an essay by Allan Sutherland giving an overview of the achievements of disabled and deaf artists and profiles 14 of the artists and companies who have made a name for themselves.
Sutherland charts a range of major events that have helped establish this new and exciting art form, as well as providing a background to the social landscape, which has laid the foundation for its emergence. Celebrating disability arts gives a summary of developments from the first disability arts forum through to the setting up of Disability Arts In London magazine and a whole network of disability arts agencies across the country.
It details some of the major events which have put disabled artists in the driving seat of a network of disability arts forums and development agencies promoting the work of disabled artists and putting access to the arts for disabled people on the agenda.
Disability arts has come into existence in order to counteract discrimination. This publication charts the groundbreaking work of companies like Graeae Theatre Company, NDAF, LDAF, Shape and individual disabled and deaf artists who have influenced its development. Some of the artists like Johnny Crescendo perform issue-based disability arts, whilst others like Caroline Parker are concerned with pioneering new artistic forms. What the publication makes clear is the valuable contribution these artists and this art form have made to the cultural life of the country.