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Unlimited @ Southbank Centre - disability arts online
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Unlimited artist Chris Tally Evans blogs about what it’s like to have his storytelling project and film, Turning Points, as part of the Unlimited Festival at the Southbank Centre / 4 September 2012

photograph of three people sat at a table doing an interview with two people standing behind holding equipment

Chris Tally Evans with reporters and technicians from Roundhouse during his interview for their podcast

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It’s day one of the Unlimited Festival and I’m on the balcony of the Southbank Centre with London in all its sunshine glory as a backdrop. And I’m surrounded by a gang of teenagers, all thrusting things purposefully towards me. No I’m not being menaced. Far from it. This is a group from Roundhouse in North London doing a summer media course and they’re interviewing me on film and audio simultaneously for their website project.

How good is this? What more proof can I have that this unprecedented platform for disability art, which is Unlimited, is reaching some parts that I could never have got to without it: teenagers wanting to talk to a disabled middle-aged man about the power of stories and the way modern media can enhance them.

Sagal, my interviewer, is full of life and laughter as she checks out my star sign (Pisces), tells me she’s a crab (Cancer) and comments that we’re good fishy folk to be getting on together.

They all seem genuinely interested in my work and that of all the artists at the Festival. Since one of the main things I wanted to do with my commission was inspire young people to grab hold of the future and shape it for themselves, this moment’s pure gold for me.

Wandering around the Unlimited exhibition I am staggered by the variety of what’s going on that’s mind-expanding. Pieces of disability art are just everywhere. Some of it might be tucked away in corners so unlikely that I wonder if anyone who’s not in the know will actually find these gems. But that doesn’t alter the fact that just to be here shows that something must have changed in the last 20 years.

There are artists whose work I know here and many I don’t. But it comes to me that much of the work is speaking about voices, about people’s stories being heard and celebrated above the clamour of an image-obsessed world. It may be true that disabled artists continuously have to prove themselves but it strikes me that it’s probably going to be a bit easier with a CV that says: shown at Southbank Centre.

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Hear (and/or read via the transcript) the podcast Chris was interviewed for by Sagal from Roundhouse Radio: Unlimited: Dive Deep.

Keywords: disability art,film,podcast,radio,story telling,unlimited,2012