New Year Thoughts. by Abbe Brown

Happy New Year! A New Year brings resolutions; in my case, try something new, do more exercise, (seek) a work-life balance, complete one’s project responsibilities on time. Unusually, these came together last night. Thank you CityMoves in Aberdeen for introducing me to Salsa. As I read all the posters (the instructor pointed out most people don’t do this, it must be a lawyerly thing) I was excited to see much of interest to our project. CityMoves offer Creative Movement classes for adults with learning difficulties, Stepping Stones workshops for children with special educational needs and has “Step Forward” , an integrated performance group for people with and without learning difficulties. As I reflected on this later, I realized that I was listening to a BBC Five Live programme by Phil Williams which included a discussion on the availability of taxis to people with disabilities (particular reference was made to wheelchairs and guide dogs). Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson was featured, as well as a leading human rights and disability lawyer. One theme I took from this was the continuing disconnect between what the law might say in terms of equality and adjustment and the reality. The positive feelings from CityMoves were fading fast… I was encouraged, however, by my Twitter feed making me aware of the taking of some positive steps by Dr Catherine Easton, a member of our Advisory Board, who is organizing a free event in Lancaster on accessibility and websites.

So, an “evening off” was a reminder of value of our project. We are focusing on elite dancers with physical disabilities: from the legal perspective, however, the issue of increasing interest to me is the (still) entrenched inequality facing all those with disabilities. The challenge is to ensure that addressing this is part of the day job of us all, to bring about a new perspective (a new “normal”, if such a term must continue). If my contribution helps the InVisible Difference team as a whole to develop new narratives and arguments for dance and the body, so much the better.
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