Coming from a marginal background being Autistic, disabled and having mental health conditions; inclusive arts has always been a difficult sphere of the creative arts that I have experienced.
So how do I try to be inclusive within my creative practice?
- Share my story with individuals I collaborate with: by opening up about my difficulties, struggles and how I’ve overcome stigma and stereotypes is an important part of my practice as I focus on creating work that focusses on perspective, authenticity and telling stories using the creative arts. When working with others, it’s important to have background knowledge of each of the collaborators to ensure we understand a little about each other’s philosophies, interests and varying differences, Diversity in our stories is always wonderful to hear.
- Handouts, leaflets, posters and PowerPoint slides ALL are presented with accessibility and inclusion in mind. This includes using high colour contrast backgrounds, easy to read fonts, not overcrowding pages and using alternative text if required. In order to be inclusive, we must try to be inclusive in every way we can, including the information we share.
- Transparency is key. I can only speak from my own experiences and not as a qualified therapist or arts worker. I have various skills others do not, and vice versa. This is what makes inclusive arts so inclusive and accessible… meeting others like you, for you, working with you, to create art in creative exchanges.
- Listen more, talk less. A big part of my philosophy is in providing safe, comfortable spaces for individuals to be their authentic selves and create artwork that allows them to share their stores and life experiences. When we listen to others, we learn more about them and, in turn, provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere where individuals feel Abel to use their most authentic voices to verbalise their ideas and stories.