Art exhibition highlights ability over disability

A logo for The Marketplace & I: Commercial Experiences of Disability Explored Through Art

A new art exhibition will put ability ahead of disability as it brings together works from people with different types of disability.

Artists from across the UK created works expressing their experiences of dealing with the commercial world for The Marketplace & I: Commercial Experiences of Disability Explored through Art. They will be exhibited at The Storey, in Lancaster.

Dr Leighanne Higgins, of Lancaster University Management School’s Marketing Department, has led the project, working with people living with disability and disability support groups and charities from across England and Wales.

The artists have produced photos, sculptures, paintings, poetry, music, songs and dance routines that share the commercial experiences of people with disabilities.

Dr Higgins said: “The exhibition is about challenging perceptions of disability, making the ability of these individuals and groups more apparent. So often with disability, the focus is on what the person cannot do rather than what they can.

“The exhibition aims to prioritise ability over disability and challenge negative perceptions of disability in commercial settings.”

The exhibition, funded by The Marketing Trust, features works from people with different types of disability, from the North West of England, East Anglia, Hertfordshire, Wales and other areas.

Eight collections are on show, including works by Piccadilly Support Services, from Lancaster, who work to provide support for people with autism, and Unique Kidz & Co, from Morecambe, who work with disabled children and young people to provide play and social activities.

“We have works from the perspectives of the people with disabilities and also from the points-of-view of carers,” added Dr Higgins. “The carers offer a perspective of what it is like to realise that your child is going to have a disability in their life and what it is like to be a parent/carer.

“There are works by a mixture of people with physical and cognitive and learning disabilities, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, visual impairments and autism. Each brings their own perspective – there is a real mix throughout the exhibition, which is what I really wanted to try to bring together.

“Disability is not just about being in a wheelchair, there are many different types of disability, and while the exhibition does not represent them all, there is a real mixture.”

The Marketplace & I: Commercial Experiences of Disability Explored through Art will be open the public at the The Storey, Lancaster, between Wednesday, December 4 and Saturday, December 7 to coincide with UK Disability History Month.

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