Disabled artists are an essential part of our cultural landscape in Leeds. For last week’s International Day of Disabled People we spoke to Gill Crawshaw curator of Possible All Along, an online exhibition by thirteen disabled artists in Leeds.
The exhibition came about after a workshop that Leeds 2023 held in September, on access and inclusion. I was one of the people invited to do a provocation. In the discussions that followed, participants shared practical ideas for improving access and to being more inclusive of disabled people in their organisations. This gave me the impetus to organise this exhibition that would make local disabled artists more visible.
Thirteen artists are showing their work in Possible All Along. There’s a wide variety, including sculpture, painting, digital collage, video and textiles. This is, however, a mere selection and I hope that other disabled artists will get in touch.
At the end of a turbulent year, the exhibition acknowledges the mixed feelings of disabled artists to the changes that have taken place. There are positives, with many arts events taking place online. In a world of disabling barriers, the internet offers possibilities for greater access and connections for many disabled people.
But without doubt, the pandemic is affecting disabled people extremely badly, in terms of health, loneliness and money problems. In Leeds we believe that the arts have a vital role to play in improving people’s lives. So now is the time to work in partnership with disabled artists and audiences.
Possible All Along shows what is possible now, and looks forward to the possibilities ahead, to make the arts in Leeds more accessible, more inclusive and more equal.
The exhibition can be viewed at https://possibleallalong.co.uk/