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November 27, 2018

International Day of Disabled People and Disability History Month

Monday 3rd December 2018 is International Day of Disabled People!


The Spark! (Staff Disability Network) Steering Group will be available for drop in chats between 10am and 12pm in Charles Street Room 12.3.17. Come along to find out what we’ve been up to and how you can get involved!


Disability Sheffield will be at Sainsbury’s on Division Street between 11am and 2pm. They will have representatives and a stall with information about what they do and the services they offer to disabled people in Sheffield.


UK Disability Month 2018 is from Monday 19th November to Friday 22nd December


It’s UK Disability History Month and this year’s theme is disability and music.


Image of The Pygmy Globetrotters, Sheffield Musicians


Read here about musicians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and their experiences of disability. The text only version is here.


‘Playing an instrument or developing a concert singing voice is a complex, specialised form of development of body control. When disability is juxtaposed with ‘talent’ or extraordinary ability it contains the power to disrupt the socially developed and oppressive distinction between disability and ability.’


And here is an interview with musician Gary Numan.


‘Having Asperger’s has given me a different view of the world and I’d never wish it away … Unless you’ve actually suffered depression, it’s impossible to understand how it feels … I mean it’s no good telling someone to cheer up. That’s like trying to talk them out of having flu.’


Here Rachel Kolb in the New York Times writes beautifully about her experience of deafness and music.


‘Sad. This is how some hearing people reacted to my imagined lifetime without music. Did it mean that some part of my existence was unalterably sad, too? I resisted this response. My life was already beautiful and rich without music, just different. And even if listening to music did not yet feel like a core part of my identity, I could be curious.


Once I got the cochlear implant, a transmitter of rough-hewn sound that set my skull rattling and my nerves screeching, I found that music jolted my core in ways I could not explain. Deep percussion rhythms burrowed into my brain and pulsed outward. A violin’s melody pierced and vibrated in my chest, where it lingered long after the song had ended. Other tunes sounded overburdened, harsh and cacophonic, and I longed to shut them off and return to silence — as I still do.


The new contrast I’d found, between the thrill of sound and the relief of silence, showed me something that I had perhaps known for my entire life, but had never been able to articulate. Music was not just about sound. It never had been. Music, to me, also was, and is, about the body, about what happens when what we call sound escapes its vacuum and creates ripples in the world.’


Finally here are some resources on the subject of disability and music:


Inclusive Creativity


‘Inclusive Creativity is a concept devised by Professor Frank Lyons at Ulster University in collaboration with key partners such as Share Music Sweden, Drake Music Project and Stravaganza, which aims to level the playing field in performance and composition for disabled musicians by developing new technologies and methodologies for their use.’


Open Up Music


‘Open Up Music’s mission is to make orchestras accessible to young disabled people.’


Help Musicians (advice and support for disabled musicians)


Thanks for reading!


Lucy Davies


Co-Chair of Spark!