Libraries Gave Us Power

Thick black lined doodled image of Explore York Central library surrounded by colourful key words captured at the 90th celebration event on 23/09/17.

I’m currently working with Explore York  as part of their celebrations to mark their 90th year.  At the anniversary event on 23/09/17 I  asked people to give me 90 words for the 90th year of this wonderful library. More specifically, on a large sheet with a doodle of the building in the middle of it I asked; 

‘What does Explore mean to You?’ Continue reading “Libraries Gave Us Power”

Once Seen Theatre, York.

If you have a few moments, watch this and please vote for Once Seen Theatre Company York to support their bid to the Aviva Community Fund.  They are an amazing group of actors with learning difficulties who want to tell their stories of power and suvival – being told no, being given no chances or choices, living in institutional care for 38 years and more. But they are not bitter, they just want a chance to give it a go. As they say, ‘they want people to come and see what they can do, not what they cant!’  Vote here – https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/vot…/project/view/17-4234 until 21st November 2017.

Group Print

Group print is a fast paced low tech participatory method that can help capture the experiences and perspectives of a place based community. The approach values and emphasises the importance of everyone’s involvement, and combines a place based icon with emotive key words from participants. Group print creates co-produced art pieces that capture everyday diversity as well as highlighting the social interconnectedness of people and place.  The above images shows the end result from previous group prints I have supported.  

‘…so I do the hand thing…’

'...so I do the hand thing...' - shown at the Shape Open Exhibition 2014/15.
‘…so I do the hand thing…’ – shown at the Shape Open Exhibition 2014/15.

I managed to capture my lovely late great friend Barbara Stewart (1956-2016) saying ‘…so I do the hand thing…’ on an audio recording during an interview I carried out for my PhD research. There were several people present at this focus group type interview, including Barbara. The purpose of the research was to explore representation and identity issues about disability, from people with direct lived experience of it. An abridged version of my PhD was published as a chapter in an academic text in 2009, titled ‘Disabilities: Insights From Across Fields and Around the World’. The transcript of the extract read as follows; Continue reading “‘…so I do the hand thing…’”

‘Being Disabled is Fun’

‘Being disabled is fun’ explores language use and truth construction, and how disabled people are powerful actors in the reworking of everyday realities. Drawing on the words of Steven Cole (1963 – 2016), a learning disability day service survivor, this piece uses speech synthesis to present a series of alternative ‘world’ truths. Continue reading “‘Being Disabled is Fun’”

Dyslexic Discourse; E-book accessibility and the resistance of literacy norms on Maggot Moon.

First published In June 2013, in the Write4Children journal, this paper considers e-book accessibility and literacy norms in relation to dyslexia.  Beginning with a personal account of e-book accessibility, the technical and corporate challenges of accessible publishing are briefly reflected upon.  The production of ‘dyslexia’ is then explored in terms of Craig Collinson’s (2012) ‘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. In this way it is suggested that while accessible e-books have the potential to liberate readers in progressive ways, this can only be achieved if every-day and institutional language producers resist the literacy norms through which we are socially ordered to perform speech acts in particular ways.  Sally Gardner’s recent book, Maggot Moon, is then considered for the way in which it promotes a positive representation of dyslexia and the leadership the book shows by way of it’s multi format and accessible publishing style. Continue reading “Dyslexic Discourse; E-book accessibility and the resistance of literacy norms on Maggot Moon.”

Discourses of Disabled Peoples Organisations

This chapter published in 2012 considers the discourses of Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs). Drawing on the work of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu we explore the rise of the disabled people’s movement in recent history, the development of DPOs and their gradual colonisation, moving from a radical political and social movement to pseudo government agents. Using notions of power and resistance from Foucault, and capital, field and habitus from Bourdieu, opportunities and challenges for DPOs are explored. These are critically considered in terms of the implications for the project of impairment management, inclusion, and the preservation of the cultures of disabled bodies, minds and identities.

Full Reference Blackmore, T., & Hodgkins, S.L. Discourses of Disabled Peoples Organisations: Foucault, Bourdieu and Future Perspectives. In: ‘Disability and Social Theory: New developments and directions‘ Editors: Dan Goodley, Bill Hughes and Lennard Davis. Palgrave (London) – 2012. Click here for authors copy.