Eleven: Disability arts: the building of critical community politics and identity


This chapter examines the disability arts movement in Great Britain as an example of a self-organised, critically conscious community established with political aims: around the rights of disabled people to access, inclusion and respect. It considers the role of disability arts in forging individual and collective identities grounded in a re-evaluation of the meaning of disability. It also explores ways in which disability arts have challenged dominant representations of disabled, and is illustrated by reflections on poems by the disabled writer Sue Napolitano. The affirmation model, a theoretical development expressing the distinct social critique emerging from disability arts, is outlined as a tool for making sense of disabling assumptions, encounters and practices in everyday life. The chapter concludes by suggesting that perspectives developed by disabled people can offer an opportunity for reflection on the emancipatory potential of community development practice.

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