In October, I spoke at the launch of Arts Disabilities Ireland first strategic publication, Next Steps Forward. It was a magnificent experience, and reminded me of the power that organisations – including the Government – can have in changing and shaping people’s lives. As I noted in my speech, I believe that the arts has the capacity to change lives, particularly those of people with disabilities, and as someone with experience of how the visual arts in particular can achieve this, I have maintained a great interest in the field. It was a pleasure to speak at the launch of such an important document, and I am convinced that, with this sort of foresight, ADI will do many good things as they work to incorporate Arts and disabilities.
As I said at the launch, it “marks a new phase in the organisation’s history. I was struck, while reading the document, by how comprehensive their strategy was and, indeed, how clear their vision is for the next five years in relation to both artists and audiences.” I believe that this document, if adhered to, will genuinely improve integration of those with disabilities into the Arts and, as such, enrich the Arts as a whole as well as the lives of those engaged with it.