Awkward Bastards symposium: rethinking diversity

At a one-day symposium in Birmingham, disability led visual arts organisation DASH will be asking awkward questions about diversity, shifting definitions and changing its place in the cultural mainstream.

Co-produced with mac Birmingham, the Awkward Bastards conference will take place on Thursday 12 March 2015 from 10-5pm. It will look to looks to challenge the thoughts, ideas and practices surrounding diversity, using disability art as a focal point.

Speakers and panellists from across the globe explore the history of disability through the ages, as well as behaviours within the country’s top institutions, including Curators Amanda Cachia and Matt Smith who will also discuss if museums are becoming more responsive to their audiences, recognising their different needs and interests, to ensure greater diverse representation within cultural institutions

Asking those awkward questions around diversity, the symposium will draw links and break down barriers between different cultures and schools of thought, challenging and exploring the concept of diversity.

The symposium includes a panel of leading disabled artists including Christine Sun Kim, Gill Nicol, Sean Burn and the Vacuum Cleaner discussing the reasons why they feel it is difficult to define themselves as a ‘disabled artist’.

Speakers for the symposium include Professor David Turner from Swansea University and academic adviser on the recent BBC Radio 4 series ‘Disability: A New History’, Amanda Cachia from the University of California and author of the paper ‘Disabling the Museum’, and Lois Keidan, co-director of the Live Art Development Agency.

“I think everybody will have their own interpretation of the title,” said Mike Layward, Artistic Director, DASH.

“For me it is that feeling when you are challenging the status quo and you feel a certain awkwardness in the air, the unspoken why don’t they just shut up.

“The Symposium will challenge the idea that inequality around Diversity (especially Disability) is in the past. We are at a crucial time where (as artists) we need to redefine Diversity and make connections across all the strands of Diversity.”

Find out more

See the full line-up for the day here.

For tickets click here or call mac Birmingham on 0121 446 3232.

Join the conversation using #dash_AB2015

DASH and mac Birmingham are supported by public funding through Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. Read more about the Arts Council’s commitment to the creative case for diversity.

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