The DaDaFest International Congress on Disability Culture and Human Rights took place on 2 & 3 December 2014 as part of DaDaFest International 2014. This part of the website will contain presentations, videos and responses from the Congress as a document of ideas and a central resource for both delegates and people who were unable to join us.

A ‘big debate’ was held on the second day of the Congress, with presenters making the case for and against the following motion. Please vote here and we will share the results below.

Writers from Disability Arts Online were at the Congress and the festival, here are some of the articles and blogs written in response:

DaDaFest 2014: Another World! Blog by Deborah Caulfield

Art of the Lived Experiment Interview with Aaron Williamson by Colin Hambrook

Art of Living the Experiment Review by Cate Jacobs

Add a comment below.


Here are the transcripts from Congress at DaDaFest International 2014. Congress day 1: DaDaFest Congress 2014 – Day One
Congress day 2: DaDaFest Congress 2014 – Day Two
This document is in word format. If you would like any other formats, then contact us on:

Share this:

2 thoughts on “Congress

  1. “Disability Arts is a form of human rights activism and as such only Disabled people should be its leaders” – I believe that this should be a less radical statement. I work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in perhaps one of the largest social/cultural projects for those with special needs and with all kinds of disabilities. Every year I take 2,000 to open the world famous Rio carnival – and over 70% have some form of disability. During the year we provide workshops and art therapy too. I am not disabled, but together with the associations, institutions, NGOs etc we put together the world’s most unique project. ‘Disability Arts is a form of human rights activism and as such only Disabled people should be its leaders’ – as mentioned I am not disabled but am able to command a huge impact on social and emotional inclusion. We are changing lives. So I believe that your statement is a little radical. Working together is far better

    • Our company was established to redress the imbalance of work being ‘done to’ disabled people as opposed to creating work with, by or led by disabled people. The ‘lived experience of disability’ means we as disabled people are the experts of how to live our lives, capturing and creating a shared culture and context for disability arts based on the social model of disability. The need for control-led work happened in response to the negative controls experienced by disabled people throughout history and certainly as late as the 1990’s when the UK developed it first disability discrimination act which was a turning point for disability rights. This helped to ascertain our rights to be viewed as equal, valued and part of mainstream life. Our work was very much based in this political arena as we needed to empower disabled people and help secure equality of opportunities.

      Since then, life has moved on and as we developed, our work was in danger of reflecting the disabled peoples voice as the only authoritative one in terms of disability. In this first congress we wished to deal with this issue head on. Ten years ago most of the disabled people in the room would have wanted only their voice to be acknowledged as the leaders of such work, but increasingly we have started to challenge this position and view disability in terms of it being a human issue – we all have to face this as a personal experience at some point in our lives. What we need are people who empower, not control others and appreciate that we have allies, disabled and non-disabled people working together to do this.

      The voting showed, that whilst many in the congress felt that disabled people should still lead in disability arts, this is now changing: the final vote showed that 64% of the room felt the motion was carried with 36% disagreeing. It was a very important benchmark for us and one that we will continue to review.

      I do hope this makes sense and explains the context as to why we would make such a provocative statement. The world is changing and we need to deal with attitudes that may hold us back, continue the ‘them and us’ and prohibit more people from taking part in the wonderful and exciting world of disability arts, and what I personally feel is the last ‘avant garde’.

      ruth gould – author of the motion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *