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Strength: Broadsides from Disability on the Arts
A new book from Paddy Masefield, OBE, MA: award winning playwright, director and arts consultant and leading representative of the struggle for disability rights in the arts.

This remarkable book is the first to focus on disability arts. Drawn from over 50 of the author’s speeches, it eschews the historical charity based, patrician assumptions about disabled people and the barriers and prejudices that have kept them invisible in education, the arts and every day life. Instead, it offers readers the excitement and diversity of disability arts and the artistic expression of formerly excluded sectors of society, such as people with learning disabilities and survivors of the mental health system. It is concerned not with their medical impairments but with the insight and originality of their art works that are beginning to fill a space on the canvas of arts history that has too long been blank.

Strength is intended for disabled and non-disabled people, arts professionals, teachers and students of the arts, sociology and humanities, from school to university level. Its wit, warmth and passion will also appeal to a general readership. No college of art, drama school or music conservatoire can afford to ignore its unique material and depth of knowledge.

Liberally and strikingly illustrated, this anthology will appeal specially to those accessing the subject of disability arts and the social model of disability for the first time. Drawn from over fifty speeches commissioned nationally and internationally from the author by bodies as diverse at the Arts Council of England, the British Film Institute, Central Television and the Foundation for Community Dance, it is an unusual mix of fact, shock, humour, reason and story telling.

Paddy Masefield OBE, MA, award winning playwright, innovative theatre director and arts consultant, became a disabled person at the age of 44. Since 1990 he has campaigned for and represented disabled people on boards, committees and enquiries concerned with arts funding and policy making. His influence has been immense across the whole field of the arts and disability.

With funding from Arts Council, England

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