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> > > Preview: Lets Make History Together 2012

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Still from 'Together!' by David Morris

Richard Downes looks forward to a free festival timed to coincide with UK Disability History Month

Wait for it. What's this? A Free Festival of Disability Art, Culture and Human Rights in Newham. Surely its too good to turn down. Right? Organised by the United Kingdom Disabled People's Council to celebrate both the Paralympics, and Disability History Month, Together 2012 hosts an exciting programme led by local disabled people, disabled people's organisations and known names from within the Disability Arts Movement.

Featuring visual arts, live music, mail art and poetry,  as well as photography, dance, storytelling and film making workshops the festival will also host a number of associated events too numerous to detail here.

So follow this link to see the full programme for the Together 2012 Festival. Needless to say like all good disability festivals the rich diversity of talent existing amongst us is there to be enjoyed, celebrated and relished.

Inspired by the late, great, poet, film maker and campaigner, Dave Morris, a central theme will be a three day film festival featuring, on the first day, his last film Together!

This should be shown to all naysayers and doom merchants casting aspersions on the validity of our great Movement. It starts with portraits and then scenes of protest over which Dave Morris intones a simple poem full of complex ideas suggesting our individual strengths, sadnesses and pride in surviving and living together whilst also showing what we achieved working in solidarity, one to another, one within organisations, one moving on to be included in a wider remit.

Together! then  returns to the concept of the one to reveal a series of talking heads, some you may know, some you won't, who have gone on to lead in their own fields of interest whilst remaining keen to provide for disabled people benefiting from their slipstream. Whilst we share the film here it should be an inspirational treat when shown on the big screen with more of Dave's films which tread the world from the good old east end to the orient (not Leyton - football fans); local to global, pie and mash to rice noodles, pearly kings and queens to the Beijing Paralympics. Together we can unedrstand how far we have come and decide how much further we want to go.

As a reviewer I am at a loss to know which part of this packed and varied programme to dip into. I recognise much I want to go to, lots that I want to experience, much I wish to see and hear; and ideas that really excite me. Yet at the same time I live in perpetual dread of festival burn out.

So it is that I am gladdened to be reminded by the organisers that festivals are also a wonderful opportunity to sit back and relax in warm comfortable, surely accessible venues, to meet old friends make new ones, and spend a chilled time away from it all in the run-up to the winter holidays. The organisers further  guarantee experiences that will make me laugh, cry, think, but most of all entertain me. And importantly; it’s all free! What more do you want for nothing.

Make Together 2012 the treat it promises to be by getting together, take friends, motivate the family, tell them you know a good thing when you see it and get yourself off to Newham. Time to be together from Friday 16th November to Tuesday 18th December.