I have just finished an internship at the disability arts organisation Shape. I was helping with the Unlimited Festival which was held at the Southbank centre. The festival was great it was really inspiring to see performances by people with different bodies and experiences. It opened my mind to what is possible and the scope of subject matters to create work about. People were very brave in what they revealed about themselves, for me it set a new bar for what is possible. At the research and development talk one of the most physically disabled performers who needed an interpreter to be understood spoke about developing a performance on sexual abuse of and by disabled people. I was really struck by the extent of obstacles they faced but the person willing to undertake the task is the person for the job.
I really love the team at Shape they are such a varied group it’s like working with the X-men, many of the staff have access needs, which the organisation successfully works around. It is all about people’s ability to do their job and enabling them to do that. At the end I was helping with the Shape Open Exhibition, which has opened in the gallery in Westfield. The organisation Sencity was working from the back room of the gallery. They have varying hearing levels and are setting up sensory club nights were the focus is on all senses not just sound. It was interesting to see them communicating with each other using sign language and made me realise there is a whole community of people with their own language and culture.
The internship gave me the opportunity to see the arts from the inside to see how these organisations work. At the private view at the Unlimited festival there were people from the Arts Council who are some of the most influential people in the arts. I joked with my colleague asking him who should I talk to for a job. Its so odd to realise these gods are just people too. Overall I have learnt that you need to be easy to work with. People don’t have time to run around after you. Present yourself well and be professional communicate clearly and be likeable. People want to deal with other people rather than emails. It’s important to be around to do things to be in that world where opportunities happen.
Visit the Unlimited website here.