It was with great sadness that I learnt of Chris Hammond’s passing this week. I had the privilege of working with her at Full Circle Arts in the mid to late ’90’s and will be ever indebted to her for her knowledge, her talents, her activism and how she encouraged my ambitions to work and succeed in disability arts. It wasn’t easy being a Scouser working in Manchester and I certainly was the butt of many jokes – it was especially hard to bear when Man United won the treble!
Chris and I continued to work together on regional joint projects after I left Full Circle Arts to work at NWDAF (now DaDaFest). The simple truth is that without encouragement from Chris, I would never have applied for the job at NWDAF – her belief in me gave me belief in myself and the rest, as they say, is history. I know that she did the same for many others. Chris was a talented artist but she also understood how the world ‘disables’ us and how this affects how we perceive ourselves too. I will always be grateful for her insight, her encouragement and her belief in me.
My heart goes out to Neil, Sam and Tom and hope their sadness and loss can be helped some small way by knowing Chris made a difference through leaving the lasting legacy of both her art and the artists that she encouraged and supported.