DaDaFest claims to be the biggest deaf and disability arts festival
worldwide and DaDaFest International 2010 presents art from a unique cultural
perspective, challenging the thoughts of the audience with its theme ‘objects
of curiosity and desire’.
DaDaFest International 2010 has commissioned talented artists from around
the globe, with disability artists and non-disabled artists performing
together. Around one hundred artists - with some from as far afield as
Uganda, India and America - have been invited to perform or show their
work with a number of new commissions and UK premieres.
asked DaDa head
Ruth Gould answers a few questions on DaDaFest and its connection with
the local arts scene.
How has DaDaFest affected disabled arts
& artists locally?
We started as a way of making the opportunity to programme the work of
local disabled/deaf people into mainstream venues. It has allowed a platform
for their talent to be seen, but also as we have grown in status and reputation
it allows us to bring in bigger names and cutting edge artists who can
inspire and act as roles models.
Any examples of how local disabled artists
DaDaFest launched the performing careers of Laurence Clark, Liz Carr and
helped others to gain extra work and opportunities.
are the links between mainstream and disabled arts locally?
We have worked to make sure that disabled and deaf artists can gain opportunities
to work outside the disability arts sector and be seen as artists in their
own right, so we have linked in many with new opportunities and I feel
have created a healthier city in the process.
What barriers do you feel DaDaFest has
knocked down and what remain?
Not enough - still many remain. There is not enough disability and deaf
arts programming outside DaDaFest time - though we have seen huge culture
change within organisations such as National Museums Liverpool. People
value the arts more and value the arts work of disabled/deaf artists.
We have helped people understand what is meant by access and the need
to programme relevant work.
What does the theme for DaDaFest 2010
mean to you?
We still turn heads, we still get asked intrusive questions, we are still
seen as outsiders. The theme ‘Objects of Curiosity and Desire’
acknowledges this, but then turns it on its head to say we are also objects
of desire. We are lovely, sexy people and should be acknowledged as ordinary
like everyone else - note I did not say 'normal'!