After reading the recent article on DAO about the way the media are colluding with the current UK goverment in villifying disabled people, the hoo ha about the paralympics and cultural olympiad seems like monumental claptrap.
There is an ever-inflating myth about the olympics involving heroism and perfection. The Nazi Olympics of 1936 embraced this passionately. With society's elevation of the super-crips and demonisation of the rest of us 'underachieving scroungers', have we come such a long way in the last 75 years?
One of the main Paralympic sponsors - Atos - is responsible for writing off thousands of disabled people from legitimate claims for benefit. On this basis alone, we should be boycotting the bloody event. A huge Thank You to Vince Laws for pointing this out at the Tate Modern in September.
Alongside Atos, we have a range of corporate sponsors who embrace such events to 'greenwash' many of their dodgy activities. Let's deal with them later.
Understandably caught up in the ghastly funding quagmire, many artists seem to be embracing 2012 with its 'exciting possibilites' and not voicing much criticism about it. In this light, it was so refreshing to see Katerine Araniello and Aaron Williamson tirading at this year's Liberty Festival about the current state of what is now passed off as 'disablity arts'.
Hopefully, we will be seeing a lot more of their fearless interventions at the toxic jamboree of Summer 2012. Oh to find out that there are more artists with as much to say and the courage to say it. Now that would be a good 2012 outcome.
For some time now, the NHS has been rolling out the Personalised Mental Health Care Programme. Since hearing about it a few months ago, I haven't been given a clear idea of what it's about. But I do know that it enables Mental Health System Users to access funding for education and training opportunities if a professional agrees that there is benefit for your mental health.
So far, I'm really happy with this as I've been able to enrol on a one-day-a-week course with the Prince's Drawing School. I'm really enjoying the course and would strongly urge any disabled artists currently using the mental health system to look into the possibilities of this programme. Don't be put off by the vagueness you may come across from professionals. It's quite a new programme, so insist that they find out about it if they don't seem quite sure.
Find out more at www.rethink.org.
Another brilliant service I have been using since leaving the Recovery Centre earlier this year is Employment Support at St James House in Camden. This programme gives you good professional support in finding sustainable employment opportunities if, like me, you've been closed for repair for a while. Well worth checking out, if you live in Camden, and also having a look for local programmes if you don't.