How can artists with intellectual disabilities achieve their rights as citizens to benefit from being part of society and make meaningful contributions as active citizens?

Welcome to Expanding Realities Forums Discussion Forum Artists and Active citizens How can artists with intellectual disabilities achieve their rights as citizens to benefit from being part of society and make meaningful contributions as active citizens?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Realexpand 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #531

  • #1347


    In the past we had art workshops in a daycare centre with more than 150 people. Since about 2 years some of our artists use shared studio space in the city centre of Cork. One of our attempts was to admit art work for exhibitions without being labeled as “outsider art” to be exhibit side by side to “mainstream” artists. For example Open House exhibition in Sirius Art Centre in Cobh, annual exhibition in the RHA Dublin etc. Ironically the most successful events with the stronger media presence were the events called “Outside Inn” the art of inclusion in 2013 and “Beyond” Irish Outsider art in 2015. Is the term “outsider art” a label of a real quality in art, as one visitor of “Beyond” stated or to make sure it’s not mistaken for “real” art. Here are some practical examples how we achieved or attempt to achieve to life into a meaningful role as artists in Cork. We use public transport rather than a special minibus with a slogan of special need and care printed on the side of the car. After a few weeks or months bus drivers and passengers know us and we have interesting conversations on the bus. Having lunch in local restaurants and cafes rather in a canteen in the day care centre leeds to interactions with staff and guests and the possibilities to use the places for exhibitions and events. Taking part in cultural events like midsummer festival or culture night are much more accessible as the organisers and curators are knowing the artists and their work. A local school in walking distance and a nursing home are ongoing partners for art projects and collaborations. It is a living, ongoing process were the artists develop more self confidence to live the role of artists but the influence of living the role of an attender of a day care centre for so many years is strong.

  • #1879



    In our societies people with disability has traditionally been in institutions outside of the city centre and invisible.

    In Spain the history of dictatorship is not so far in the past. Families have been ashamed of family members with disabilities
    I knew a family, I visit the home for years. I know there was a girl with disability in the house, I even heard her but I never saw her. There is this history of shame and invisibility. Even currently there is the case of a person with a disability, hidden by their family and kept locked up for ten of fifteen years.

    In Ireland is movement to close institutions and create more individualized services. There is a movement away from this history of geographically having people with disability outside of society.

    At the same time the whole same story starts again with asylum seeks being located in “institions’ often in areas outside of the city.

    Our projects help address this invisibility with artists working on the street, working in public spaces. There is still this fear of the unknown. We can challenge this and create space for people to see their commonalities.

    Since the GASP artists moved in form the day centre to the city centre space in the art college to produce their work, there is a whole know level of visibility.

    The artists are active citizens. They are part of the economic life of the city. They buy lunch in local cafes with their own money instead of eating meals provided in the day centre. They sell their work and take commissions for their work.

    They make a significant contribution as creative citizens, encouraging creativity in others. Their art café project has allowed members of the public and groups f visitors to connect with their creativity. They have exhibited in most galleries in the city and have also brought art work to new audiences by using alternative venues like empty shop units to show work. They have a high level of visibility as artists in the city. They link with schools, community groups, individuals and through their projects connect people to eachother, for examples older people form a nursing home engaging with the GASP artists and with children.

    Cork is a small city, It seems like it is easier there to have that type of engagement with the community. Madrid is so big. It seems easier to be visible connected and part of the city life.

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