Dear Esteemed Members and Colleagues
Now that I have completed my first month full time at DAC, I would like to share a few of my observations and give you some idea of where we would like to take the company in the future.
The staff here at the office are wonderful – they work so hard to serve the membership and represent disability arts across Wales. Their commitment and dedication is a joy to behold and I am so enjoying getting to know them and their regions and work. Their knowledge of the locations they serve in really assists us to gain a clear idea of how best to identify opportunities for the future. This year’s delivery of the Open Art Exhibition and the many MaDCaff’s around the country have been warmly received: their success has been down to the hard work of the staff team. I am so full of admiration for them.
As we move into a new era of DAC, I want to make sure that we are more in tune with the principles of the social model of disability and continue to use the arts, not only to showcase and develop the artists within Wales, but also capture opportunities to highlight social injustice. All arts are in some way political [with a small ‘p’] and have a function beyond admiration and entertainment. They capture moments from beauty to suffering, they affirm and motivate us, they mirror society to raise concerns, and give us hope in our shared humanity. I aiming to ensure DAC develops in confidence and excellence, gaining more attention for doing so. I heard yesterday of an artist who describes themselves as an ‘Agitator’. I just loved this – and it made me think that we need to make space for more of us to have the courage to develop work from uncomfortable places, and to choose labels that describes our passions in the way we make or produce our arts work.
However, we do function in some pressing times: we don’t know the impact of Brexit as yet – but it will have an effect on the future of the arts in one way or another. We need to be sensible as we move forward as we cannot exist without arts funding and other opportunities to deliver our work.
I am planning to hold a ‘meet the director’ session from January 2020 to March 2020 across Wales. This will introduce myself, listen to you and get to know your needs, identify gaps and find ways of us working together to make Disability & Deaf Arts in Wales stronger and much more impactful!
I hope you have a wonderful festival season and look forward to meeting you in 2020.
Picture is of ‘The Window’ by Rosemarie O’Leary from DAC’s 2019 Open Exhibition