Disability Arts and Advocacy
Disability is a subject really close to my heart. I have a congenital hand difference which means I too live in a world with a non-standard body, where the rules of engagement are different. Working as a disabled artist has taken me into some joyous and wonderful work spaces. Working with people who are delighted to alter their way of working to make a project accessible to you is a beautiful thing, even small changes and that attitude make for a kind and creative space. Working with other people with impairments takes away the potential for harsh judgement, instead all bodies, minds and people are different and have different needs and can flourish in a supportive space.
For anyone who is interested, my hand is an example of macrodactyly, a rare growth difference that I was born with. I’ve had six surgeries, the last being over twelve years ago. My hand is now stable and whilst I will always have to adapt my movements and playing, I’ve done a lot of the learning and it’s pretty easy to live with.
Disability Arts Projects I've been involved with:
I have worked with the Paraorchestra since 2012, working with them on the Paralympics Closing Ceremony, The Queen's Speech 2012, The Nature of Why, Kraftwerk:Rewerk, Terry RIley's In C with Extraordinary Bodies
RNS Moves - the opening project with Candoco, 2 x RNS Moves concerts, R&D weeks and a recent orchestral commission and concert
RNS Moves with Royal Northern Sinfonia - Joe Cutler Premiere
11 March 2022, orchestral concert
RNS Moves played with the full Royal Northern Sinfonia for the first time on 11 March as part of a commission written by Joe Cutler. Written in a concerto grossi style, the main orchestra took the "tutti" (the bulk of the music) whilst RNS Moves provided colour through solos and small ensembles. It was a particularly challenging lever harp part - I think the trickiest piece I've had to date in term of lever changes!
We Ask These Questions of Everybody
Jan 2021, contemporary opera based on a PIP assessment
I'm delighted to be working with HERA and composer Amble Skuse on the opera "We Ask These Questions Of Everybody". They describe it best:
Hannah needs help. She meets Lynn. Lynn works for a company that works for the Department of Work and Pensions. An assessment takes place. And then something else.
This is an encounter between two women, an audience, and a riotous chorus of disabled voices. With text drawn from real conversations; samples, soundscapes and singing; and interactive software; WE ASK THESE QUESTIONS OF EVERYBODY shares radical, surprising and utopian disabled perspectives on self, society and the body.
This is a 50-minute live and digital operatic event sharing disabled people’s experiences under austerity in the UK, performed by an exceptional cross-genre, all-disabled ensemble.
More info here: https://www.wearehera.co.uk/we-ask-these-questions