Disability and the Politics of Visibility

It is now widely acknowledged that the voices of disabled people have been missing from our cultural landscape. Disability and the Politics of Visibility is a series of commissioned talks by five vital and exciting disabled artists at the forefront of thinking and writing.

Vici Wreford-Sinnott is a disabled theatre and screen writer and director based in North East England, who has dedicated her career to changing the narratives around disabled people. She has invited and curated a broad range of ten-minute pieces from Dolly SenCheryl MartinJamie HaleSteph Robson and Sophie Woolley with each of them exploring the theme of the politics of visibility as disabled people and artists from their own perspectives. The writings are punchy, powerful, definitely surprising and all beautifully disrupt accepted ‘wisdom’. It’s time to tell a new story.

Watch the pieces below, or click ‘Watch on Youtube’ to read further info about each writer and their unique response to the commission.

‘I want to ask a lot of questions to a world that doesn’t see me when I want to be part of the world, and sees me, a disabled person, just to hate or pity me. It is hard to live or fit into a world that doesn’t love you, that wants to erase you, sometimes wants to hurt you… My piece is my comeback to that.’ Dolly Sen is a disabled, working-class queer who has a brain of ill-repute that wants to disrupt systems that hurt people. Because of this she is a writer, artist, performer and filmmaker

In ‘Sawubona’, Cheryl Martin talks about being a visible minority with a hidden disability, and how she created solo stage shows to bring the voice of someone with lifelong mental health disabilities to the stage [rather than be talked about in shows by those who have to “deal” with people like her], and to let others like her know that their future can be different from their past.

How can we move beyond a division based on ‘visibility’ to acknowledge and develop a solidarity that recognises the complexities, interdependencies, and constantly changing perceptions of ourselves and our community? Jamie Hale is a queer / crip artist, curator, poet, writer, playwright, actor, facilitator, trainer and director – otherwise known as ‘busy’, ‘interdisciplinary’, or ‘indecisive’.

The artist, Hello Little Lady, invites you into a stream of consciousness that attempts to make sense of the conflicting narratives she faces while navigating the prejudice, indifference and intolerance from everyday stares, sniggers and sneers she experiences as a visibly disabled person with a rare form of Dwarfism.

Sophie Woolley presents ‘Augmented’, a piece about overcoming the internalised stigma of writing about cochlear implantation to create a remarkable and entertaining solo show about power and the future of humanity. She also touches on her transforming identities over time, her hilarious YouTube series ‘Deaf Faker’, and when she has and hasn’t centred her Deafness.