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The Way Ahead

Image of a road sign with disability symbols and text that reads Disability is not a choice, your attitude is

Disability is not a choice - your attitude is. Sign by the BAB group (Bucks Association of Blind

Natalie Andrews from Dada-South got to see the touring exhibition Way Ahead and sent us the following report.

Coincidently planned to correspond with the day that the Disability Discrimination Act's final rights of access came in to force, The Way Ahead exhibition was launched, to highlight the everyday thoughts of disabled and deaf people. Funded by Inter-Action MK, various disabled and deaf groups and individuals within the Milton Keynes area were offered the opportunity to attend workshops with disabled artist, Caroline Cardus.

Exhibited in such a public space - the Milton Keynes shopping centre - it was great to see the audience extended from its usual invited individuals and interested artists, to the intrigued shopper. Crowds soon built up and with a theme that everyone could relate to, the messages being conveyed in the art works were simple to understand.

Using the theme of UK road signs the people involved had been able to produce strong and powerful images that at first glance could have been mistaken for those currently used. Caroline explained that she had provided the attendees with the basic tools to visually communicate their thoughts. These ranged from the obvious warning triangle right through to directional signs and information signs. She also informed them of the traffic symbols already in existence, as source material.

And the outcome - an intriguing and extremely useful insight in to the mind of a disabled or deaf person. Many were strikingly evident, such as 'Steps get the thumbs down' (with a simple warning sign and a thumbs down symbol) and 'Label jars not people'.

Others were more thought-provoking, such as a charity money pot sign with the brief description:

'keep non-disabled people employed and perpetuate the myth that Disabled people need charity and pity not equality and rights.'

I had many favourites but the one that has stuck in mind my to this day was the sign stating: 'Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.'

For further information contact Annette Conneely at Inter-Action MK on 01908 678 514 or email
Further dates and venues
14 January - 18 February 2005

Holton Lee, East Holton, Holton Heath, Poole Dorset BH16 6JN
Phone: 01202 625 562