Access some areas

Here are some notes from a workshop I ran with Gem Carlier of Aire Place Studios, at an excellent symposium organised by curators and PhD candidates Kerry Harker and John Wright. The symposium was organised by Kerry and John on behalf of the Artist Led Research Group, to give opportunity for urgent discussions about artist-led … More Access some areas

Welfare Imaginaries

I was pleased to have been invited to speak at the Welfare Imaginaries first seminar in a series last month. It’s great that the organisers knew about Shoddy and wanted to include a disability narrative in this project, which examines how ideas of welfare state have been constructed over time. Here are the notes of … More Welfare Imaginaries


I was asked to write something for a publication accompanying a project called Figure-Process-Material, part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle outreach and engagement programme. This project involved a number of community groups in an  educational programme that also aimed to connect people to local galleries and break down some barriers along the way. Because I … More Figure-Process-Material

UK AIDS Memorial Quilt

The AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservation Partnership is reaching out to anyone who was involved in creating the UK’s AIDS Memorial Quilt. #AIDSQuiltUK The UK’s AIDS Memorial Quilt is an irreplaceable piece of social history and remembrance of those who died of HIV and AIDS in the 80s and 90s. The quilt has been in storage for several years now … More UK AIDS Memorial Quilt

Being inspirational

I (finally) got round to writing a post about how problematic being called inspirational is for disabled people. It seemed timely with today being the start of the Rio Paralympics. But then I saw this video: and saw that journalist (and supporter of Shoddy) Frances Ryan had beaten me to it! Being called inspiring or … More Being inspirational

Shoddy artists part of guerilla gallery at Tate Modern

Two of the pieces that featured in the Shoddy exhibition made another appearance on Sunday 4th Sept at the start of DPAC’s week of action. Vickie Orton’s Maze of Life and Lesley Illingworth’s Story Telling Coat were part of a “disobedient exhibition”, Art4Rights, that took over space in the Tate Modern for a few hours. … More Shoddy artists part of guerilla gallery at Tate Modern

Raise your banners

Political banners, with their traditions reaching back through the labour movement, have something in common with the Shoddy exhibition. Being fabric-based is the obvious connection, with a skillful use of embroidery, appliqué and painting to convey a strong message. Banners often carry a message of protest or resistance, but are as often about identity, pride, … More Raise your banners

A Womb with a View

A Womb With A View (AWAV) is a tactile, textile post-punk cylindrical sculpture and accompanying ambient soundscape that featured in the Shoddy exhibition.  Made by artists Gemma Nash (sound) and Jenny Byrant (textile), this multisensory piece is a creative response to growth attenuation treatment, gender identity and reproductive rights. The piece was initially sparked by … More A Womb with a View

This coat tells a powerful story

Lesley Illingworth‘s Storytelling Coat deals head-on with the theme of “shoddy” government policies and practice towards disabled people. While the outside of the coat highlights the many positive qualities of disabled people, such as strength, patience, intuition, the lining tells a different story. MPs’ names are partnered with the name of a disabled person from … More This coat tells a powerful story

National coverage for Shoddy: today’s Observer

A great story in today’s Observer – in the main paper (page 15 if you’ve got the actual newspaper copy) by Frances Ryan, who quickly picked up the story of Shoddy via Twitter. You can read the article, Disabled artists use their skills to highlight ‘shoddy and cruel’ treatment over benefits, here.   And I … More National coverage for Shoddy: today’s Observer