One of my big worries regarding Art Rabble is that I will say the wrong thing. I am acutely aware that everyone’s experience of disability is different, from the adult diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s to a child born with Downs Syndrome, to the neuro-divergent young adult. There has been much debate, for instance, about the term “disabled” itself. Some people reject the term as overtly negative in its assumption of being un- able and somehow less. Indeed one of our artists calls herself celf-able, directly challenging the term. In contrast, others find it a useful way to convey a different experience to the mainstream. Our brains are wired to make connections and form patterns and sometimes a defined group is easier to visualise than a varied and complex web of medical diagnosis and terminology. I don’t know the answer to the quandary. What I do know is that I don’t want any of our artists to feel that they have not been represented as they want to be.
On top of this, I am conscious that I am the mother of a child with a disability, someone invested in this community but not wholly within it. I see my son’s ups and downs, his challenges and his triumphs close up, but still I am only looking in from the outside, imagining (No doubt projecting my feelings onto him). So, when I write pieces for the website and PR pieces to promote the site, I try to take as much from the artists as possible, to use their words, rather than my own. But it is hard, and quite a weighty responsibility. Art Rabble is a group of vibrant artists but that doesn’t mean that they all agree on everything – or even that they agree with me!
The head teacher at my children’s primary school often reminds the children that it is good to fail. That, in fact, a fail is a First Attempt In Learning (FAIL) and something to be encouraged not shied away from. I suppose I am writing this because whilst I am nervous that I will make mistakes (in PR, on the website and across social channels) and I hope that I don't offend, mis-represent or upset anyone, I think it’s important to see the error, dust yourself off and keep trying. Because it is better to keep trying, and sometimes get it wrong, than it is to give up because it is too hard to get it right every time. So, if and when I say the wrong thing, please point it out to me, explain how I could have said it better, and then lets try again. Together.