Another Blow to Disability Arts in Scotland?
b)other is the title of the artists’ collective formed in July 2009 by Sandra Alland comprising of 9 artists Stuart Crawford, Nathan Gale, Y. Josephine, Jennie Kermode, Rebecca Pla, myself, Penny Stenhouse and Kristiane Taylor.
The exhibition as put by GoMA is part of their ‘social justice exhibitions’ with ‘ This year the topic is lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender life. The exhibition will both celebrate and raise awareness of LGBT people, their rights and history.’
Despite this GoMA are currently charged with a number of serious allegations in formal complaints submitted by the lead artist Sandra Alland in regards to disability discrimination, bullying and contractual and marketing failures by GoMA staff in what was supposed to be a residency specifically to support a disabled artist-in-residence (full post on this to come soon).
These allegations are still under investigation and yet whilst we have such serious discrimination of disabled artists under the umbrella of a ‘Human Rights’ exhibition – the latest blow to Disability Arts in Scotland has been reported by Etcetra Issue 492 Disability Arts enewsletter. It reads
A little over a year since the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) announced its plan to consolidate and develop Disability Arts in Scotland with its excellent “Ignite” one off funding programme, yet before the programme has actually finished we learn that the SAC Equalities Department is being dissolved and that the Arts and Disability Post (Robert Gale’s job) is to be lost.
We all suspected that as a result of recent financial turmoil equality would take a hit, but this is nothing short of nuclear.
This decision by SAC, made without consultation, to close this department and let Robert go, sends on a big clear signal to arts and cultural organisations in Scotland and beyond.
It’s going to be difficult for the Council to make an influential argument for inclusion, disability arts and equality in general, if it’s seen to be turning its back on these issues.
And it’s going to be easier for those arts organisations that deny how important being equal and inclusive is, to argue that they have neither the capacity nor the resources to become so.
We just hope that disabled people and disabled artists won’t miss out because of this step, and that it won’t leave a gaping hole in Scottish culture where there could and should have been a mountain.
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