I am at the Fifth Social inclusion in the performing arts conference in Barcelona (but V Jornadas para la Inclusión y la educación en las artes escénicas sounds so much better #jornadasinclusion2013).
It’s a gift to be given the opportunity to speak about my thoughts and opinions on re-framing diversity through the arts – and when you have to present ideas for an audience who doesn’t necessarily understand your language (of course there was also translation), it helps you clarify what you mean, crystallise your thinking.
And basically it comes down to this.
I think when many people see art by disabled people, by homeless people, by any group we are used to separating out, they still first see ‘the group’ and then see the work.
By seeing the group first, it’s like they put on a pair of glasses – a set of assumptions. And usually these assumptions are negative. ‘I won’t like it’, ‘it won’t be good quality’, ‘I won’t understand it’, ‘it’s not for me, it’s for them’, ‘it’s not really art, it’s good for them to have a chance to do it though’ and so on.
How do we get people to take the glasses off? To come to the work of such artists – any artists – with clean vision?
No answers, but for me, this is now one way I can describe what I do. I try to take the glasses off, or at the very least, I try to clean them for people so their vision can be cleaner.
Thanks to the British Council for asking me out here.