'Disability arts left hanging by a thread' is the title chosen by The Guardian in their new article published last week which focuses in on the effects that the 'Access to Work' scheme is having on the future of the arts sector. 2 years ago we saw disabled people as they took part in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony and in the Unlimited Festival (which returns to the Southbank Centre in September!) I ask our government why making cuts to the Access to Work scheme is seen as a positive effect on our society? 'Disabling the disabled people from having the opportunity to work, weather that is creatively through the arts or as a whole contributing to their community and society? Why are we closing the doors on those opportunities that contribute to a disabled person's well-being and interaction with the society? What hopes does that leave for young disabled people and their future? .... 


The article that I am referring to from the guardian (link is at the bottom of this post) particularly focused on Jenny Sealey, the artistic director of the disabled theatre company Graeae. It goes onto explain how like the 80 or so deaf and disabled artists which Graeae employ each year Sealey herself requires help to perform her job through the government's Access to Work scheme. For her that's for language interpreters that without she cannot access her own projects both here in the UK and abroad. So without this right support in place these artists cannot go to work, 'just as those who took part in the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games would have been unable to participate without adequate support (The Guardian 2014).

We saw a significant interests in the skills and abilities of deaf and disabled people in international co-productions but like Jenny highlighted these projects cannot even get off the ground if they do not have the correct access to support to do so. The cuts to Access to Work scheme severely compromises not just the work of Graeae but of all Dance organisations who have working with disabled people at the forefront of their mission. It's a really scary thought that time could be turning back on us and we could end up in a dull situation of reduced opportunities and acess to the arts for disabled people.

Things have got to change! I'm not just saying this as someone who has followed the disability arts movement at the forefront of my own research for the past 4 years but because the arts are an important part to our society, they have the ability to be fun, inspiring and important in teaching us new things! I really don't want the past to redo itself, come on government get your bottoms into gear! Take a look around at the incredible work that companies all over the UK contribute to the arts and in particularly for disabled people.  
thanks for reading,