Bodeelanwigch explores the representation of dyslexia and related learning difficulties that challenge language and literacy norms. Presented as an audio visual poem, the original text written by the disability activist and artist Simon Brisenden (published in ‘Poems for Perfect People’ in 1987) this piece reconsiders the themes in relation to notions of dyslexia and associated learning difficulties. Drawing on personal experience, Bodeelanwigch alludes to Craig Collinson’s (2012) concept of ‘lexism’, which relocates the problem of dyslexia as not individually owned, but rather the consequence of expressing diverse reading, writing, speaking and hearing in relation to ‘literacy norms’. This considers how dyslexics defy language conventions and thus are able to facilitate alternative knowledge interpretations of the world. Society’s emphasis on correct speech, writting and hearing ostracises those with diverse language use and is often overlooked, hidden or dismissed as a valid ‘impairment’ for the policy context. The strict imposition of literacy norms in society, especially the education setting often work to make visible diverse language use as dysfunctional and requiring correction. The consequences of which position them as outsiders and expose them to discrimination. In turn this devalues the unique insight of diverse language users to be able to see beyond and rework oppressive conventions. Bodeelanwigch is then a celebration of diverse language use and actively resists ‘literacy norms’ that work to make visible dyslexia and associated learning difficulties as dysfunctional, rather than valid realities. Bodeelanwigch is was shown at the Shape Open ‘[In]visible’ exhibition in Jan 2015 at the Shape Gallery, Westfield Stratford, The Street, London, E20 1EJ. See –…[in]visible.aspx

Published by SLH