A Disconsortia Manifesto for North East
Our manifesto will develop as the North East cultural sector works with us
Who we are and what we’re about
Disconsortia is a group of disabled creatives who are sick of being ignored and are exceptional and certainly not bored. Bold North easterners who are revolutionary, ingenious, tenacious and resilient.
We are rebuilding a community by forging new pathways into the arts landscape in the North. We are raising our profile, developing practice, sharing skills and knowledge, providing internal support, building networks and challenging prevailing orthodoxies in how the arts are done. We are a voice, many voices, of disability and the arts, and expect to be included and involved, and to lead and influence, arts activity and practice.
Disconsortia has begun with a bang, but a managed and supportive, accessible bang, with the support of allies DAO and ARC Stockton. However, we are open, and will be welcoming new disabled artists all the time. We want to meet people where they are, and not put people off with excluding language.
Disability is a big word, but its not a bad word. It can be described as an umbrella terms for anyone with conditions who experience barriers and inequalities as a result in their everyday lives. An inaccessible environment in society is the disabling factor. We don’t expect anyone to describe themselves in ways that they are uncomfortable with.
What we are going to do
We are going to change the face of the arts in the North East and sow the seeds of a movement, working with key allies to achieve this. We want to see permanent change for disabled people in the arts. We will educate and agitate, produce and promote our art by establishing ourselves as Disconsortia, by collaborating with each other, and by creating partnerships with venues, organisations and funders. We’re identifying gaps for disabled artists in the arts in the region and will strategically address them whilst creating opportunities for disabled artists to showcase their work, and for venues, organisations and disabled artists to have opportunities to work together and learn from each other, with the support of Disconsortia.
- We are going to develop plans for an artistic takeover in the North East, involving multiple artforms, artists, groups and showcase the work on a variety of scales.
- We are going to create art with, by and for everyone, ensuring that disabled practitioners have platforms and profile. The work will enlighten, educate and entertain.
- We are going to share the rich traditions of disability art specific to the North East, and ensure that our regional experiences and identities are included.
- We want to ensure that arts activity happens in all parts of the region, finding ways to make it accessible to everyone.
- We are going to ensure an infrastructure to support disabled artists is developed providing resources, support and opportunities.
- We are going to fundraise for this activity in two blocks, the first for the development of Disconsortia and our artistic plan for the takeover, and the second will be the delivery of the takeover across the region.
- We will make decisions about how Disconsortia is structured, how the work is delivered and the projects and finances managed, and how decisions are made about the work we do together, all the while maintaining creative and artistic processes where possible.
Why are we doing this?
- We would like a stronger voice in the arts in our region and to be able to influence any discussions involving diversity and disability
- There are low numbers of disabled professionals employed in NPOs and other arts organisations
- We are not valued or supported equally as professional artists
- A paternalistic approach exists in all areas of diversity
- There are unclear progression routes for disabled artists to move on through their careers
- We would like to promote new models of practice and ensure the arts ecology of the North East has healthy involvement of disabled artists on equal terms
- The arts sector needs educating about the Disability Arts movement, the regional body of work produced by disabled artists and who is working now in the region and making really exciting work
- To feel like we have a support network, and that there is cohesion and opportunities for collaboration
- To ensure artists don’t feel that they have to hide any conditions or impairments
- To improve the status of disabled people in society and in the arts
- To challenge the artistic canon which holds many negative stereotypes, tropes and narratives about disability, entrenching those views further in society